Oct 22, 2007

How to Take a Punch to the Head

Well, I'm back from an exciting weekend in San Diego, and I hope you guys missed me very much. Really.

Today's topic will actually be written in pseudo-physics + kindergarten level physiology terms, but bear with me here. This morning, when I woke up at 6:15AM to check on some work, I thought of my high school years, and when, in a fit of silliness, I would decide to punch myself in the face. Not like "haha, I'm actually moving my head and my fist at the same speed, so it doesn't actually hurt," but more like "holy shit, I just caused a mass genocide of brain cells." As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure I can take a Tyson-in-his-prime left hook to the right side of my face now. That side of my jaw's been tempered. But I digress. Today's post is not about being a troubled teen, but about being able to get punched in the face without getting KTFO.

Your skull is kind of like an egg, with your skull being the shell, the fluid surrounding the brain would be the white, and the brain would be the yolk. However, I'm pretty sure your skull wouldn't crack quite so easily. Also, for this case, imagine that the yolk has a taut attachment on one side to the shell. (You know, hind/mid brain, spinal cord)

Now, imagine that egg being on a rear-spring-equipped limited-motion pivot point, aka, your neck, attached to the top of a bendable mass (imagine a chunk of gelatin), your body. If the egg took a hit straight on (no, not hard enough to break it, smartass), the yolk would be protected from both the egg white and the dampening force of the spring and the bendable mass its on (the fulcrum point, if you imagine this whole setup properly, would be in the mass at this case), as the shell rocks back and forth, in a generally managable (not too fast) manner. The shell might have taken damage, but thankfully, the yolk is fine.

However, now imagine hitting that egg horizontally at its tip. The imagined fulcrum point in this case would be the pivot point, not the gelatinous mass, adding to the lack of resistance to the incoming force. The egg would spin incredibly fast for a moment, then the spring and the implied limited range of motion would suddenly stop the egg. So, what does that mean? There would no longer be the extra dampening from the mass, and the spring and limited motion kick in while the egg spins. That means the shell stops spinning eventually, but guess what happens first? The yolk is inside, moving inside fluid, and can't match the speed of the shell whipping around. It's going to get whacked by the side of the shell coming at it. And, if that's not bad enough, if the whipping is fast enough, when the shell suddenly stops, the yolk could possibly bounce off both sides.

Just in case you need another visual for that visual, imagine walking with two big brick walls walking at your speed (Fantasyworld/You'reondrugs Land) back and forth with you, at even distances away. You have your eyes closed, and the walls don't make a sound while they are walking. One wall suddenly starts running at you, full speed. What happens? You get run the &!$@ over by that wall. If that wall runs at you fast enough, it rams you into the other wall as well.

That's an issue, because back in the real world, as soon as your brain slams into a side of your skull with significant force, it tells your body to shut off, causing what we call a "black out," or just as commonly used, "getting knocked the fuck out."

Now, how do we prevent this? Aside from not getting punched, there are many things we can do. I'm getting tired of writing, so here's a list:

-Strengthen your neck and back muscles

-Use proper blocking (As in, blocks that don't have your head fully exposed. I'm looking at you, TMAers.)

-When you can't duck/lean away from a punch, step in towards it with your head angled toward the attacking arm.

-If nothing else, take the punch straight on, forehead presented. You don't want to get punched on the top of the head as well.

Well, that's the conclusion, and I hope today's article was helpful.
Also, if I see any mistakes, I'll fix it this evening. I'm still very tired.

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