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Thread: How to knock a person out for at least a few minutes without drugs?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW senka's Avatar
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    How to knock a person out for at least a few minutes without drugs?

    Yes, I know that there are already some threads about knocking out people. Nevertheless I couldn't find anything helpful (maybe that's because the search button is not really useful as the word "out" is automatically excluded from search?).

    However, I wanted to know if there is a way to knock a person out for at least a 2-3 minutes (longer doesn't matter, could also be for hours, but shorter would be bad) without any drugs/chemicals and without a very high possibility to badly hurt/damage that person. It would be great, in addition, to know how this person would wake up afterwards, like if it will happen slow or he would be awake and in control of his body in an instant.

    I know that you can apply some kind of pressure to the carotid artery, but how long would that leave someone unconscious? I thought not very long as the blood would flow normal as soon as the grip is loosenes, or am I wrong?

    Then there is hitting on the head, but I guess that might be very dangerous, or is there a place someone who knows what he's doing could hit and be rather sure the person will only be knocked out and not brain damaged or something? Or a certain technique or something?

    I'm happy about every kind of info you can provide and it doesn't matter if the person who does the knocking out would need to have some special knowledge or anything, he's a very minor character and it would be no problem to make him know martial arts or whatever need be.

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW Vaguely Piratical's Avatar
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    A sleeper hold puts someone out for 20-30 seconds if done correctly.
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    practical experience, FTW senka's Avatar
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    Ah, that's what I expected. Too short

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    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    Can you be more specific as to the scenario here.

    Who are the characters? Is one a doctor, or a wrestler or what? One smaller/larger/female/male?

    Are two people in the same room, aware of each other's presence - or is one person sneaking up behind another, or what?

    Do you mean physically 'knocking out', or simply rendering incapable for a short spell while one character robs the till....?

    Chloroform?
    Last edited by Bufty; 06-21-2011 at 06:43 PM.
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    Monkeys are evil profen4's Avatar
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    Last edited by profen4; 05-14-2013 at 07:31 PM.
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    practical experience, FTW Vaguely Piratical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swhibs123 View Post
    Right hook to the jaw. Goodnight!
    I've taken plenty of right hooks to the jaw without going down. I've taken plenty more where I went down, but didn't go out.

    Hitting someone in the head can knock them out, but it isn't a guarantee. If you do hit them in the head hard enough to knock them, you can't guarantee not to do serious, long term damage. No guarantee you will, but can't be sure you won't.

    The question is whether or not the person doing the hitting is concerned about permanent damage. I'm unaware of any physical trauma that can knock someone out for a couple of minutes without the risk of permanent damage.

    If the attacker is concerned about the main characters safety, and doesn't want to use drugs, then use a sleeper hold to subdue the MC and restrain the MC once they are unconscious.

    If you are concerned about realism, readers will happily accept being knocked out without permanent (or even residual) damage. They do it all the time.
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    Travelling around the sun cbenoi1's Avatar
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    Concussion. Any sort.
    A whack on the head.
    Sudden deceleration into a wall.
    A kick in the forehead by a 400lb football player.
    Or a disabling blow.
    A knock in the groin.
    A sucker punch in the plexus.
    People recover from those in the long term. It may take a few weeks in some cases.

    -cb
    Last edited by cbenoi1; 06-21-2011 at 09:12 PM.

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    Any physical blow or hold will at best be unpredictable; and nothing of that sort works on everybody 100% of the time.

    You'll have to step up your MC's game - cheat.

    Chloroform generally works, but can be fatal to some (dosage can be a real problem). However, a tazer/stun gun nearly always works. It'll deliver 50K volts for 8 seconds; subsequent recovery varies by individual but 30 seconds to two minutes is typical. The downside is that the tazee rarely loses consciousness and may remember who did this to him... Your MC was planning on vacating the premises, yes?

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    Professor of applied misanthropy Drachen Jager's Avatar
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    Vulcan nerve pinch.

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    practical experience, FTW Vaguely Piratical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drachen Jager View Post
    Vulcan nerve pinch.
    Why didn't I think of that?
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    In addition to the Vulcan move, one mught try restricting the carotid arteries for a little while. While the length of unconsciousness will vary from person to person, it will put anyone out, assuming that you have put your thumb and finger in the right place and held the poeition long enough.
    Last edited by Snick; 06-22-2011 at 06:13 AM.

  12. #12
    Professor of applied misanthropy Drachen Jager's Avatar
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    That's essentially the same thing as the sleeper hold mentioned above Snick.

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    Fantastic historian Anne Lyle's Avatar
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    It depends on whether you the author want to make sure there's no serious risk of injury, or whether the character does. If it's the former, you have free rein to make the character's actions turn out the way you want, as long as they're within the bounds of probability.

    I have a character in my book hit an intruder over the head with a stool, in panicky self-defence. To keep it real, I had the victim wake up with concussion and short-term memory loss. Admittedly I didn't need to into medical detail, because of the genre and setting (Elizabethan England).
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    figuring it all out L. Grumbling's Avatar
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    A relatively soft but quick blow (you know, not too hard yet vigorously sent) to the area above the ear, usually produces the effect you seek. It is the first target for professional sappers. No, not the sappers of military ilk.

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    practical experience, FTW senka's Avatar
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    Thanks a lot everyone so far.

    The victim doesn't actually have to be unconscious all the time, he just has to be unable to seriously fight back, so being dazed or in too much pain to do anything would also be ok.

    Chemicals of any sort (chloroform or whatever) don't work for me as the character who knocks out meets the one who is knocked out accidentally, so he couldn't plan his actions beforehand and that's why he can't have brought anything.

    Both are male, in their 30s and the victim is a quite stron guy, but as I said I can make the assailant as strong as need be. The man is actually from a group that has been looking for the victim but the meeting happens totally unexpected. They run into each other (on the streets, a short walking distance from the assailants van, alone and no one sees them) so the assailant doesn't have anything with him to handcuff or whatever his opponent so he has to bring him down, drag him to the van, get him inside which I thought to be quite difficult if the victim is fully conscious and fighting back all the time... Inside the van there is parcel string he can use to tie up his prisoner.

    I imagined all this to be somewhat hard to do if the victim will start to fight back within 20-30 seconds...
    And for the serious damage risk: The assailant intends to take the victim captive, not to kill/damage him because his people want to inerrogate the victim. They would not be pleased if he ends up brain damaged or something.

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    Arranger Of Disorder WriteKnight's Avatar
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    The old hit in the head can really have whatever effect you want. Everything from stunned to death. I was hit in the head with a metal bar once - loud ringing noise, disorientation - but I did not go down - stayed on my feet and turned to face the mugger.

    I also bumped my head on a low door jamb, while walking through it. (I'm over six feet tall.) I was out cold for a solid minute. How do I know? Because I came to with the 'dead air' alarm sounding in my ears. I was working all alone at a radio station after midnight.

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    ever seeking GeorgeK's Avatar
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    strippergram?
    no knocking out, but distracted

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    Oleo capsicum spray (pepper spray) might be an option, but it doesn't work on absolutely everybody, and it takes a moment or two to be effective. Recovery can take as long as ten minutes to several hours depending on the individual.

    Caution - it really enrages a very small percentage of people and can send them into berserker mode.

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    Gone to pee - don't touch my glass! Sweet Tea's Avatar
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    Try reading to your victim from the first ms I ever wrote.
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    Crowbar

    Sounds like you don't REALLY care if they get up or not. You're just being PC nice
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  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW senka's Avatar
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    Maybe a bit stupid question, but just out of interest: What happens if someone does the sleeper hold but keeps pressing on the carotid arteries after the victim is already unconscious?
    Not that I consider that a possible solution, just... curiosity.


  22. #22
    ever seeking GeorgeK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by senka View Post
    Maybe a bit stupid question, but just out of interest: What happens if someone does the sleeper hold but keeps pressing on the carotid arteries after the victim is already unconscious?
    Not that I consider that a possible solution, just... curiosity.
    Brain damage and risk of death in like 2 minutes. That's how the tigers do it, well most predators.

  23. #23
    figuring it all out samw11's Avatar
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    We were discussing this at training this afternoon (karate) & a punch to the chin (proper punch or uppercut) would push the lower jaw into the pain receptors at the base of the ears & is likely to knock someone out (couldn't tell you how long for though - Sensei never said).

    We were warned against punching to the throat unless our life is in danger, as this can collapse the windpipe & stop someone breathing - if the person punching doesn't punch right, or is slightly too far to connect properly, it could seriously disable someone temporarily without killing them.

    The last one we were warned about was a punch directly to the chest over the heart - Sensei referenced a case in Liverpool about 15 years ago where a guy in a martial arts competition actually died after a direct punch to the chest above the heart interuppted the rythm of his heart & he arrested. I don't think that this would kill someone evey time - but it would seriously incapacitate someone - but probably for substantially more than 6 minutes...

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW tim290280's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by senka View Post
    Maybe a bit stupid question, but just out of interest: What happens if someone does the sleeper hold but keeps pressing on the carotid arteries after the victim is already unconscious?
    Not that I consider that a possible solution, just... curiosity.
    One of the easier ways to kill someone. I don't know how long you have to hold it to kill but you can effectively cut the blood supply off from the brain. The brain can't survive without oxygen for more than 10-30 seconds. So hold that thumb press properly (military get taught how to do it, I'm using it in my book) and they'll be dead in a minute, unconcious in seconds.

    We did some stupid things at school and one was based on this. You had to release as soon as they went limp. They collapse and have a fit for 10 seconds or so and then have no memory for another 10-20.
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  25. #25
    Easily distracte-ooh, a bird!
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    A solid punch right up into the armpit will drop more or less anyone if done right; there's all sorts of nerves and delicate tissues up there. That'll give you between 10 and 30 seconds of unconsciousness in most people, but more is not unheard of. Even if you miss, it tends to set their head ringing, and cause general disorientation and maybe a little nausea. Alternatively, a strong hook to the jaw will whip your head round so fast that your neck pinches your spinal cord just slightly, which is how boxers put their opponents' lights out so sharply. Those two are probably the easiest methods that don't risk injury; the other pressure points tend to be trickier. Beyond that, a hefty clout to the head will bounce your brain around and can cause unconsciousness of anything from a split second to a few minutes without being too damaging, but a blow that knocks you out for more than three minutes or so is risking lasting damage. It's standard procedure to send anyone who's been knocked out for longer than about a minute to get a scan to check for injury.
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