The Kidney Punch: The Illegal One Hit KO

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kidney punch.

Every move and strategy can significantly affect the outcome of a fight. And one controversial technique that can be a powerful and fight finisher is the “kidney punch.”

This move carries a mix of intrigue, caution, and a fair amount of confusion on whether it can be used in competition. So, in this article, we’re diving deep into the world of kidney punches. We’ll explore:

  • What it is,
  • How it’s executed,
  • And why it’s typically banned in combat sports.

Whether you’re a seasoned fighter, a martial arts aficionado, or just curious about combat sports, this comprehensive guide to kidney punches will share insights that may be new to you!

Key Takeaways about the Kidney Punch

  • The kidney punch is a dangerous strike aimed at the lower back, of course, targeting the kidneys. It’s an illegal punch in boxing and mixed martial arts due to its potential for serious injury.
  • A punch to the kidney area can severely disrupt organ function, leading to intense pain and possible internal injury.
  • The prohibition of kidney punches in the early 20th century marked a significant move towards safer boxing practices.
  • Avoiding kidney shots in competition or on the street requires footwork and controlling natural impulses like flinching, which can expose a fighter to more risks.
  • Delivering a kidney punch in a boxing or MMA fight can lead to severe consequences, including disqualification and suspension.

What’s a Kidney Punch?

A kidney punch is a powerful strike aimed at the lower back area, specifically targeting the kidneys.

This punch can be delivered in various situations, such as in a clinch—where fighters are locked closely together—or from a distance with a more strategic aim.

In sports like Muay Thai, the clinch, given the close quarters and the leverage it offers – punches or knees may land to the kidneys.

the kidney.

Why is The Kidney Punch Illegal In Boxing?

The kidney punch is banned in boxing for a good reason: it poses a significant risk of serious injury.

The kidneys are vital organs located in the lower back and are not well protected by bones or muscles, making them vulnerable to damage from direct strikes.

Due to the potential for long-term health consequences, including kidney damage and internal bleeding, boxing authorities have deemed this punch illegal to protect the fighters’ well-being.

punching a kidney.

What Happens To Your Body When You Get Punched In The Kidney?

Getting punched in the kidney can lead to various immediate and long-term health issues.

Short-term effects include sharp pain, nausea, and possibly blood in the urine, indicating kidney damage.

Long-term, the impact could result in more serious kidney problems.

A kidney punch is not a simple bruise but a potentially serious injury.

When Was It Officially Banned?

While the specific banning of kidney punches in boxing doesn’t have a single, clear-cut date due to the sport’s long history and the gradual evolution of its rules, the prohibition has been a part of the sport’s regulations for well over a century.

The foundation for modern boxing rules, the Marquis of Queensbury rules never specifies kidney punches, but the New York State Athletic Commission does since 1914.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), founded in 1993, operates under the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, which were established to standardize the sport’s rules across various jurisdictions in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

These rules also prohibit strikes to the back of the body, including kidney punches, to protect fighters from serious injury.

And the Unified Rules were formally adopted by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board in 2001 and have since been widely accepted by other states and international athletic commissions.

Kidney Strike vs Liver Shot

While both target vital organs, a kidney strike and a liver shot differ in location and impact.

A powerful liver punch is aimed at the right side of the body, just below the rib cage, and can cause immediate pain and disorientation. However, the liver can heal itself.

The kidney punch, on the other hand, targets the lower back area. And a bruised kidney is indeed a serious injury that requires immediate medical attention.

Both are powerful and can be debilitating, but they require different techniques and strategies to execute effectively.

How To Do A Kidney Punch 

When executing a kidney punch, the technique can vary based on the combat sport and the situation within the fight.

In a clinch, for example, fighters have less space to generate power, so the punch may rely more on precision and timing to effectively target the kidney area.

From a distance, the technique involves a combination of footwork, speed, and power to deliver a more explosive punch to the lower back.

Tips For Avoiding Kidney Shots

Avoiding kidney shots involves a combination of smart footwork, positioning, and body awareness. Good footwork can help you maintain a safe distance from your opponent or move out of their strike path quickly.

Additionally, being aware of the natural impulse to turn away from a strike—which can expose your kidneys—can help you stay in a safer position during a fight.

Practice Your Footwork

Mastering agile and dynamic footwork is crucial. It enables fighters to maintain a safe position, out of reach from harmful kidney shots.

Avoiding Natural Impulses To Turn

Overcoming the instinct to flinch or turn away requires discipline. As explored in our article on flinching, these natural reactions can expose you to more danger in a fight.

What Are The Repercussions For Punching an Opponent’s Kidney in Boxing?

In boxing, delivering a kidney punch can result in penalties, ranging from points being deducted to disqualification, depending on the severity and intentionality of the act.

Such strict consequences reflect the sport’s zero-tolerance policy for strikes that intentionally target vulnerable areas of the body.

However, there are people like George Foreman who said hold my grill and repeatedly threw hook punches at opponents’ kidneys.

He now likes to portray himself as a nice, happy guy to sell his grills to those who forget or simply don’t know his more menacing side.

And if it wasn’t so dangerous and psychotic, it would be laughable.

How About in the UFC?

The rules around kidney punches in the UFC and other mixed martial arts (MMA) organizations can vary, but strikes to the back, including the kidneys, are generally prohibited. Fighters who execute such strikes may face penalties, including point deductions and potential disqualification, to ensure fairness and safety in the octagon.

Kidney Punch FAQ

Here are the answers to some very common questions surrounding kidney punches.

In which combat sports is the kidney punch illegal?

The kidney punch is illegal in boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) under the Unified Rules. These sports have specific regulations that prohibit strikes to the back, including the kidneys, to ensure fighter safety.

How long should a kidney punch hurt?

Pain from a kidney punch can last a few minutes to several hours, depending on the force and the individual’s pain tolerance. If severe pain persists, a medical evaluation is recommended to rule out serious injury.

How long does it take to recover from a kidney punch?

Recovery from a kidney punch can take several days to weeks. The time greatly depends on the severity of the injury and the individual’s health condition.

What does a kidney punch do to your body?

A kidney punch can cause bruising, internal bleeding, and disruption of kidney function. It delivers a forceful blow to the lower back area, potentially leading to significant pain and injury.

Can a kidney punch cause death?

While rare, a kidney punch has the potential to cause serious complications, including internal bleeding or kidney failure, which, if left untreated, could be fatal.

Immediate medical attention is crucial after receiving such a blow.

Kidney Punches: The Wrap-Up

The kidney punch remains a potent and controversial technique in combat sports.

It’s banned in boxing and highly regulated in other sports for good reason. Understanding its risks, techniques, and the reasoning behind its prohibition helps fighters and fans alike appreciate the complexity and safety considerations of these competitive arenas.

As sports continue to evolve, the discussion around such techniques reminds us of the balance between the art of fighting and the paramount importance of safety.

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We're a team of fight fans and martial arts practitioners. Many of us have been involved in martial arts our entire lives.