6 Headbutt Techniques for Striking Vital Targets

Headbutting is illegal in most sports competitions, but in a self-defense situation, when your hands are tied up or you are in a clinch, your head may be the only weapon you can use.

The head is a vulnerable target, yet a dangerous weapon in fight.

The head is a vulnerable target, yet a dangerous weapon in fight.

A headbutt causes visceral pain that can instantly unlock a grip, make inroads, knock out, or change the tide of a confrontation. It shocks the inside of the brain. It doesn’t discriminate on size. It can incapacitate the body. Let’s take a look at why it works, where to strike, and how to do it. This blog is adapted from ‘Vital Point Strikes: The Art and Science of Vital Target Striking for Self-defense & Combat Sports.

Why Headbutt

As a weapon, the head is better used for thinking than for striking, however when you have no other options, a headbutt can be a lifesaving technique. The element of surprise is critical to headbutting. Generally, the headbutt is a technique that you can use once in a fight, so if you choose to use it, make it count.

How To Headbutt

From a natural stance, tuck your chin down, clench your teeth, and stiffen the neck muscles. Aim and snap your head toward the target. For more power, use your body weight. Keep your eyes on your opponent at all times. Because of the sensitive nature of the brain, which can be damaged by repeated impact, practicing headbutting is not recommended.

CAUTION: Begin to practice finding the spots on your face with your hands by gently pressing and monitor the effects carefully. Be aware that a vital point strike can render a person unconscious, paralyze some parts of the body and even cause death. Never practice full power or full pressure strikes on a partner and always use common sense when practicing.

Major Targets

1. Cheek Bone-Orifice (ST03, the yellow dot in the photo below right); 2. Nose (GV25, the white dot); 3. Eyebrow (EX-HN4, the blue dot); 4. Upper Middle Mandibular joint (ST07, the red dot); 5. Temple area (EX-HN5, the green dot); 6. Solar Plexus (CV15, not shown in the photo).

Abbreviation: ST=Stomach Meridian; GV=Governing Vessel Meridian; EX-HN=Extra Head & Neck Point; CV=Conception Meridian.

Junsado Vital Point Strikes by Sang H. Kim

The face is rich with glands, plexus of nerve bundles, and nerve branches that are directly connected with the central nervous system in the brain and the vagus nerves in the stomach.

 Scenario 1

Straight headbutt to the Cheek Bone-Orifice (ST03) not only shocks the nerves in the brain but also the sensory receptors in the stomach, causing nausea and disorientation.

Junsado Vital Point Strikes by Sang H. Kim

Straight headbutt to the Cheek Bone (ST03, the Great Bone-Orifice)

 Scenario 2

A headbutt to the nose (GV25) shocks the brain through the external nasal nerve, the branch of the trigeminal nerve, causing excruciating pain, and can seriously damage the assailant’s nose and mouth.

Junsado Vital Point Strikes by Sang H. Kim

A headbutt to the nose (GV25) drastically intensifies the sensory signals to the brain via the nasal nerve, causing pain and confusion.

 Scenario 3

Rather than striking a concussive blow, use your head to push on the Eyebrow (EX-HN4) and force the opponent to move away from you. Or snap with the strong side of your forehead on the ridge at the top of the eye socket.

Junsado Vital Point Strikes by Sang H. Kim

Headbutt to the Eyebrow (EX-HN4) can cause cuts that will bleed profusely, obstructing the assailant’s vision.

Scenario 4

The mandibular joint is a key facial structure for chewing and speaking. It also plays a critical role in counterbalancing the head and neck. Striking the upper inner mandibular joint (ST07) not only causes pain that spreads over the head and face (there is a huge membrane called the Parotid gland surrounded by three branches of facial nerves underneath) but also diminishes the sense of balance.

Junsado Vital Point Strikes by Sang H. Kim

Headbutt to the upper inner mandibular joint (ST07) causes pain and numbness and imbalance.

 Scenario 5

While pressing the middle of the forearm (LI11, Pool at the Bend) with your thumb and striking the groin with your left hammer fist, deliver a headbutt to the Temple area (GB4-8, the V-shaped area packed with vital targets) to shock the opponent into releasing his grip. (Abbreviation: LI=Large Intestine Meridian)

Junsado Vital Point Strikes by Sang H. Kim

The temple area is rich with nerves (GB4-8). When you strike the opponent’s groin with your hammer fist and bend your torso sharply forward, his head naturally drops forward. To avoid striking his nose on the back of your head, he will turn his head to the side, and you can strike his temple with the rear top corner of your head.

 Scenario 6

When there is a sudden totally unexpected change in the environment, we have a tendency to inhale. When the opponent grabs your wrist, relax your muscles initially, then suddenly rotate your wrists inward and open the gap. As he inhales, strike the solar plexus (CV15) with your head. A well placed headbutt can stop his breathing.

Junsado Vital Point Strikes by Sang H. Kim

A headbutt strike to the solar plexus (CV15) or the sternum (CV17) is a classic close-quarter martial skill.

 Bottom Line

The head is a vulnerable target and thus a headbutt is dangerous to use in fighting. However, due to the hardness of the skull, when applied correctly, a headbutt is a powerful technique that may stop an aggressive opponent in a desperate situation. The key is to close the distance and to use the hard part of the forehead to strike a soft target such as the nose or temple.

Junsado Ground Kicks

Ground kicks are versatile weapons in a fight. Especially in an unexpected and unintended situation like falling or sitting. Unexpected as it is, the situation may work against you, but switching the view other way around, you can change the odds. So be the cause of the unexpected change.

Junsado Ground Kicks

To increase your ground fighting skills, diversify your ground kicks by mixing front, side, and hook kicks aimed at multiple targets such as the ankle, shin, kneecap, groin, and rear knee joint.

Ground kicks are used to keep the standing opponent at bay, to attack the body parts that are most essential for mobility, to diminish his access to you by injuring his joints, or to end a fight by powerfully kicking a fallen opponent. Below are three essential Junsado ground kicks that are easily adaptable to various fighting situations.

1. Ground Front Kick

Junsado Ground Front Kick

Junsado Ground Front Kick is versatile weapon to attack the groin, stomach, face, and other body parts that are essential for mobility.

Function: Use a ground front kick to keep a standing opponent at bay when you are on the ground.

Method: Plant your hands on the floor on both sides of your hips. Bend your supporting knee and stretch your kicking leg half-way out toward the opponent’s knee. For repeated kicks, keep your hips off the ground while moving around, like a crab, to adjust your body position according to his movement.

Major Targets: shin, kneecap, thigh, groin

Key Points: It is not wise to stay on the ground in any fight, except perhaps in a sport fighting tournament that has rules and a referee. In reality, you should get up as quickly as you can and keep yourself mobile. Run away as early as possible in the fight, especially if there are multiple attackers. However, if fighting from the ground becomes inevitable, you should know how to survive. The first goal is to damage the lower limbs of the attacker while assessing your exit strategy. Be like a little animal that would bite anyone who comes near. The secondary goal is to take him down and then get up to run away.

2. Ground Side Kick

Junsado Ground Side Kick

Junsado Ground Side Kick is a good skill to stop an incoming opponent or to strike the neck and head of a fallen opponent.

Function: Use the ground side kick to stop a standing opponent from approaching you on the ground.

Method: Put both hands on the ground on the opposite side as your kicking leg, kneel on the supporting leg, turning your body sideways, and kick to the side with the blade or the bottom of your foot.

Major Targets: kneecap, shin, thigh, head

Key Points: Use the wide blade and the bottom of your foot as a weapon by turning it horizontally to push at the opponent’s vertically standing legs. Or kick the torso or head of a fallen opponent to prevent him from engaging in grappling with you. Adjust your body position as the situation evolves to accomplish three goals: keep him at bay, inflict pain, and run away.

3. Ground Hook Kick

Junsado Ground Hook Kick

Junsado Ground Hook Kick is highly effective in pinpointed striking at the groin and knee joint.

Function: Use the ground hook kick to take down or knock down a standing opponent from the ground.

Method: Put both hands on the ground on the opposite side of your kicking leg. Kneel on the supporting leg, turning your body sideways. Chamber your upper leg and kick with the instep at the opponent’s groin or rear knee.

Major Targets: rear knee, groin

Key Points: The ground hook kick is less effective for keeping an opponent at bay but highly effective in pinpointed striking at the groin and knee joint. It is also a good choice for striking the neck and head (of a fallen opponent). To increase your success rate, diversify your ground kicks by mixing front, side, and hook kicks aimed at multiple targets such as the ankle, shin, kneecap, groin, and rear knee joint. Once you have inflicted serious pain or damage on a particular vital area, for example the calf, then focus your attack on that area to take the opponent down. If he blocks, attack elsewhere, then resume attacking that same spot with renewed intensity.

This article is an excerpt from Junsado Fundamentals, Standing and Ground Combat.

Junsado Fundamentals, Standing and Ground Combat ($5.99, over 650 full color photos) is available exclusively in e-book format for Kindle (Amazon.com).