Body shots are like money in the bank for a fighter, they slow down the quicker fighters and sap the strength from the powerful. Body shots take courage from the brave and they tease down the guard of those who like to play it extra safe. Properly used a good shot to the body can end a fight and the body shots that don’t end it are certainly bringing it about a lot sooner.
A fighter can be hit in the head and if it doesn’t stop them right away and soon as any dizziness has worn off you aren’t any closer to winning, you are pretty much right back where you were with the exception that your opponent now knows a technique or strategy you are potentially dangerous with. I have seen many people score a knockdown with a well timed or even a lucky head shot only to be completely finished by their opponents counter attack. The fighter who is knocked down may only need a few seconds to clear their head and get back their composure before fighting at 100% again. This can give them the advantage over someone who wrongly thinks they are injured or now disabled in some way. It is far easier for a fighter to brush of a head shot than it is to brush off a body shot.
Getting up from a body shot that hurts you is a very different story, getting hit in the head is uncomfortable but being hit hard to the body is it’s own kind of pain. Body shots stay with you for the rest of the fight, you can damage the intercostal muscles making it harder to breath, damage and disrupt breathing further by disturbing the diaphragm and best of all you get people worrying about taking more body blows. When your opponent is worried about being blasted to the body other openings appear, feints become more effective and tight guards no longer work.
Check out this clip of Bas Rutten, professional spleen buster showing us just how much damage a punch can do to someones internal organs. Keep in mind your spleen is protected by the rib cage but still a valid target.
Now let’s take a look at this killer of a shot right to the solar plexus from Melvin Guillard in the UFC. He notices the high guard and sets his feet before throwing a highly effective body shot.
A hard shot to the head either puts your lights out or rattles you but you feel it right away, it typically doesn’t get worse over the fight. Look how this body shot really sinks in and it takes a second or 2 for the real pain to fully set in and take over, moments later this fight was stopped.
When you get a body shot to the solar plexus it effects your diaphragm and this can stop you from being able to breath properly, the target area is just below the sternum (breast bone) so you will be aiming to hit an area that is only protected by soft tissue. Even if someone has a very well developed abdominal wall, good body shots are still going to effect them over time, repeat blows to the body add up! Check out this boxing highlight which shows quite clearly what happens when you take a body shot that you really shouldn’t have.
From your spleen, to your solar plexus to your less well protected liver, they are all weaker points and skilled fighters will always look for a well timed body shot to finish you off! The worst body shots by far are the ones that aren’t seen coming, just like this cheeky knee in this Thai boxing match. When you don’t see a shot coming you have no way to intelligently defend against it, normally a sharp exhalation and tensing the body can reduce some damage but a body shot from a blind spot is sure to hurt, you don’t see it and you can’t get out of the way!
Mike Tyson was one master boxer who really knew the importance of hitting the body and hitting it hard. He had many attacks and a whole working tool set of combinations. Tyson’s right hook to the body followed immediately by a right uppercut to the head was particularly devastating, most of his amateur and professional adversaries suffered it.
The reason this works so well is you begin by attacking the lower and much weaker area of the ribs, this causes your opponent to instinctively try and defend the area which brings the guard down from the face and away from the centre which allows those sweet, sweet, uppercuts to do their work. Even Tyson himself admitted that many of the punches that were attributed to his knockouts were really only finishing the job that the earlier punches had started.
Benny “The Jet” Urquidez can be seen here smashing his opponents ribs with a perfectly timed and brutal turning back kick. Urquidez was a master kick boxer with many world title defences, he was also one of the earlier western fighters to ply his trade in the far east, his use of body kicks and punches helped him beat sometimes larger fighters.
Now taking a punch to the body is 1 thing but taking an accurate kick is a whole other world of hurt, kicks are thrown with much more powerful muscles and with a heavier limb, usually this means kicks can be less accurate but this 1 sure found the sweet spot!
So remember, body shots are king, don’t go skipping out on your situps or sparring to condition yourself. If someone hits you with a perfect shot, you are going to go down but you can still do all you can to protect against everything else.
Keep in mind that it wont just be punches and kicks, but knees, slams and throws that help but someones body out of action. Enjoy this last MMA highlight of nasty body shots that finished the fight or brought the end much closer, keep an eye out for another angle of Melvin Guillard’s beautiful hard straight punch to the body.