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Nephthis
09-15-2011, 10:27 AM
I'm writing a story and one of my characters attacks with the heel of her palm into someone's nose.
I'm curious how it feels to do this. What do you, as the attacker, feel in your palm? Can you feel the nose break? Does it just go squish? Is it jarring, or simply a smooth thrust forward?

Any information would be helpful. Thank you!!

samw11
09-15-2011, 01:02 PM
Be careful - if done with an upwards thrust that technique can kill! (something to do with minimal distance between the brain & the heel of your palm & it's the least protected part of your brain due to the lovely gaps in your skull so you can breath through your nose).

But yes, you would feel the nose break & it would send a jarring shock back up your arm - but a proficient martial artist would be expecting that - would hurt like hell if you weren't expecting it though! If the technique is done badly that could really hurt your whole arm, right up to your shoulder & if you allow your elbow to lock when you strike could make your elbow ache too.

Best advice I can give you would be to go along to a local martial arts group (ours is maybe a bit far) but most reputable clubs will allow you a free taster session to see if you like it & provided you wait till the end of the class & don't interrupt the session, most instructors would be more than happy to talk to you in person & maybe safely demonstrate the sort of thing you're after (they probably won't break your nose or let you break theirs though!!!) But they are likely to have some form of punch/kick shield so you could try the technique on that - I wouldn't recommend a punchbag to try it on though... you need something a bit firmer to get a realistic idea of the technique.

You may also want to check in at a martial arts forum - try Martial Arts Planet (http://www.martialartsplanet.com) - it's free to register & most of the contributors are friendly - that way you can pick & choose the martial art that your character uses as they have sub-forums for most martial arts on there...

Summonere
09-15-2011, 07:49 PM
I'm writing a story and one of my characters attacks with the heel of her palm into someone's nose. I'm curious how it feels to do this. What do you, as the attacker, feel in your palm? Can you feel the nose break? Does it just go squish? Is it jarring, or simply a smooth thrust forward?


I've not used that particular strike in that fashion, though I've used palm-heel strikes on chins, skulls, ribs, and the sensation seemed rather like any other strike in that the contact is so very fleeting there's almost no time to feel anything beyond the dullest sensation of contact, the head hinging away from the strike and feeling comparatively solid, the body mostly remaining in place (except as opponent may move) and feeling moderately softer. With other strikes I've broken things on others, but I didn't feel the breaks occur, and none of the blows were jarring to me, or painful.

I'm not sure about samw11's comment that allowing your elbow to lock when you strike could make said elbow ache. I trained in at least two hard styles that were all about locking out, and I never hurt my elbows doing that.

As usual, though, my experience is only that. Mine. Others may differ.

I suppose the real answer may rely upon how skilled your striker is. And since this this fiction, you can have her feel anything you want. :)

Drachen Jager
09-15-2011, 08:44 PM
I agree with Summonere, you really don't feel your blows landing. Getting HIT on the other hand you notice.

That's part of why a ref is so important in any kind of contact fighting. As a fighter you really don't notice how badly you're damaging your opponent.

That being said though, your average reader has probably not struck too many opponents in the nose. Even those with some martial arts training are not going to nit-pick over the sensation of the nose breaking to the one doing the strike. IMO if yours is the kind of book where people get their noses pulped like that you need to consider what is most effective, not what is most realistic, and the greatest effect these days is usually accomplished with the most graphic descriptions you can imagine.

I have quite a few fight scenes in my current project and everyone who's read it says they're some of the best parts.

Nephthis
09-15-2011, 09:55 PM
Be careful - if done with an upwards thrust that technique can kill! (something to do with minimal distance between the brain & the heel of your palm & it's the least protected part of your brain due to the lovely gaps in your skull so you can breath through your nose)

See, everywhere I searched online said that killing someone with this technique was actually rather difficult because you have to hit hard enough to crack their skull and cause hemorrhaging in their brain. That if anything, it will simply cause the cartilage to break, causing the nose to bleed, their eyes to water, and both to swell.

Since I've never heel-palmed anyone's nose (and I don't think they'd let me on purpose) I figured I'd ask what it would feel like for my character to find out what her reaction might be to it. :)

Thank you for your suggestions though!

Nephthis
09-15-2011, 09:58 PM
Drachen and Summonere,

Thank you for the descriptions. I've never BEEN in a fight, and never written a fight scene, so I suppose I'm really just a bit nervous to write it.

Thanks again for reminding this IS a fiction and that most people haven't heel-palmed anyone.... so they won't really know if I'm making it up or not! ;) You guys are great!

samw11
09-16-2011, 01:03 PM
Main reason I mentioned it is because there was a chap in Liverpool died in competition that way some years back - I didn't know of the event at the time, but have heard about it since from people who were there/knew the guy.

With the elbow locking out - it must depend on style because I've always been taught not to lock it. I was instructed not to aim at the opponents head, to aim behind it - if you lock your elbow out you're aiming too soon & your strike won't be as strong.
I find that if I do over-extend (usually if my opponent steps back) it aches for a while after.

But that could just be me ;)

You guys are right - at the end of the day not everyone does martial arts & Nepthis didn't say that the attacker is a martial artist - just the technique they use...

You are writing it - you can make them do what you like with whatever results you want from it.

Mark Jacobs
04-21-2012, 03:07 AM
Not sure if this thread is still active but since this is my particular area of expertise (contributing editor to Black Belt Magazine) thought I'd chime in. To first directly answer the original question, some of the others are correct in saying you usually don't feel the graphic consequences of a good blow. The nose, itself, is not a bone but cartilage so it doesn't truly "break". But it will get "squished" for lack of a better word. What you might get, though, is the feel of the person's blood on your hand as noses tend to bleed quite a bit when damaged. But you should also remember, in most cases, the person's head will fly back so your hand won't be in contact with it all that long. Whether you feel a jarring sensation will depend on how much the person's head does fly back. Basically, the better you throw your strike, the less you're likely to feel yourself jarred. It's the strikes that don't do much damage to the opponent that tend to jar you occasionally.

Next, to correct a few things:

It's a fallacy that you will kill someone with a blow like you're describing to the nose (there's an old wives tale that you will somehow drive the "nose bone" up into the brain, which is nonsense). However, any blow to the head can potentially cause death, though this is obviously not a common occurence. But blows to the nose are no more likely to cause this than to any other part of the head.

Second, there are very few styles that engage in actual full contact fighting who recommend fully locking out your elbow, though you do want to extend your arm most of the way. But locking it out can cause strain on the elbow.

Hope that helped.

L. Y.
07-14-2012, 05:02 AM
It's a fallacy that you will kill someone with a blow like you're describing to the nose (there's an old wives tale that you will somehow drive the "nose bone" up into the brain, which is nonsense). However, any blow to the head can potentially cause death, though this is obviously not a common occurence. But blows to the nose are no more likely to cause this than to any other part of the head.
I have to agree with this.

On the other hand, most trained fighters are used to the rigors of striking.

An open-palmed strike is one of the safer methods of striking an opponent, versus a closed fist. With a closed fist, a person can break their knuckles, or jam and/or break their carpels or metacarpels, if they strike the forehead of their opponent--the skull is a pretty solid target.

An open palm strike is cushioned by the palm and stabilized by the wrist, making it a safer choice to strike with.

Hope this helps.

Mark Jacobs
07-21-2012, 01:58 AM
Quite a bit of debate in martial arts circles on palm vs. knuckles when striking to the head. I did a fair amount of research on this in writing a book on the technical and scientific underpinnings of unarmed combat. Bottom line is that if (and that's an important "if") you have properly conditioned your hand, are making sure to hit with the two big knuckles and you strike to the appropriate part of the opponent's head, you can use a closed fist successfully and it will probably be a little more effective than a palm. But if you have not properly conditioned your hand (and most people either don't or do it incorrectly) or are inaccurate in striking, you do stand a chance of breaking your knuckles, in which case an open palm is likely your better option.

Kdaw
08-17-2012, 12:05 AM
are making sure to hit with the two big knuckles and you strike to the appropriate part of the opponent's head,

Just want to say that in wing chun they hit with the three smallest, some say even the two smallest. I have seen a wing chun sifu hitting towards a man wearing a motor cycle helmet so hard that the helmet broke.

StephanieFox
08-17-2012, 01:29 AM
I'm writing a story and one of my characters attacks with the heel of her palm into someone's nose.
I'm curious how it feels to do this. What do you, as the attacker, feel in your palm? Can you feel the nose break? Does it just go squish? Is it jarring, or simply a smooth thrust forward?

Any information would be helpful. Thank you!!

My husband, David, is a martial arts instructor and he says;

"Using your palm, it depends if you are striking from below, you'll fell the nose cartilage crunch, probably snap to one side. If it's coming overhand, coming high, it'll come down on the bridge of the nose, you may or may not feel anything feel anything.

However, if you hit hard enough you'll feel the nose crunch, collapse in and go flat. It'll collapse more like an egg shell because the nose is thin right there.

The whole nose going int the brain story is not going to happen because the anatomy doesn't work that way.

Unless you are very well trained to hit with a fist, there's a better chance that you'll hurt your own hand or wrist. You'll want to hit flat areas like temples, around the jaw just in front to the ear. If you hit the nose, use an open hand unless you are a boxer with your hands wrapped or gloved. And trained boxers break their hands all the time.

Hard target, soft weapons. Soft target, hard weapons."

There you go!

Mark Jacobs
08-17-2012, 01:39 AM
To reply to the person who mentioned Wing Chun kung fu, while one can always find anecdotal examples of certain exceptions to every rule, hitting with the smaller knuckles of the hand is generally wrong. When fighters break their hands, the vast majority of the time it is the two smaller knuckles that break, not the larger knuckles. This is a well established medical syndrome known as a "boxer's fracture." Hitting barehanded with the two large knuckles is risky enough unless you have done a fair amount of conditioning and practice for it. To hit with the two smaller knuckles is medically, very unsound.

Kdaw
08-18-2012, 12:38 PM
Mark Jakobs let us not make a discussion within the discussion. Of course the smaller knuckles are smaller and therefore weaker, but when properly conditioned they can also deliver fairly hard punches.


I have one remark to the hit on the nose. I have no medical info to verify this, but it's my experience that when someones punched on their nose hard enough to make them bleed that will make them disorientated for some seconds. Feels like a 3 seconds blackout.