What Kind of Punches Are the Most Painful?

When I was looking into punches techniques, I found that there was a lot of information out there centered around punching for knockouts and what punches are effective in certain situations, but very little out there to tell me what punches actually feel like or how much they hurt. So, I set out to figure out what types of punches actually inflict the most pain.

A liver punch is generally accepted as the most painful punch. It can debilitate an opponent through extreme pain and can sometimes be fatal. Other notably painful punches include punches to the kidney, nose, and groin.

Let’s take a dive into punches and target areas that cause the most bodily damage and pain to an opponent and other related topics.

Where Can I Punch Someone To Hurt Them the Most?

Most punches can do damage to an opponent, but this is not always correlated to the one that causes the most pain.

To hurt someone the most, punch them in the liver. A liver punch causes tremendous pain and can incapacitate an opponent. Aside from the excruciating pain, it can also get deep painful bruising, burst blood vessels in the liver, or even tearing.

The liver is the largest internal organ in the body. It is a majorly connected center in the body and has many blood vessels and nerves clustered in the area and is an incredibly potent target for a painful punch.

Other Painful Punches

The liver shot might be the most painful punch, but there are many other areas of the body that can be intensely painful if they get punched.

Here are some areas that you definitely don’t want to get punched on:

  • Nose: Getting punched on the nose can be very painful, and anybody who has had their nose broken can attest to the fact that it is not a pleasant experience.
  • Kidneys: A hard strike to the kidneys can be nearly as incapacitating as a liver shot and can cause nausea and vomiting from the pain.
  • Jaw: A forceful punch to the jaw can dislocate it and cause severe pain. It can also break or fracture it.
  • Throat: A punch to the throat can be quite painful and also damage your larynx and make it hard to breathe and swallow.
  • Base of the Skull: This is a dangerous punch that can cause serious pain and injury.
  • Solar Plexus: A punch to the solar plexus is certainly painful and you can also have had the wind knocked out of you, making it difficult to breathe.
  • Groin: One of the most painful punches you can experience is a punch to the groin. It isn’t a picnic for women, but for men, a punch to the groin can cause debilitating pain and even cause a testicular torsion or rupture.

What Does a Hit to the Liver Feel Like?

A liver shot causes sharp pain in the stomach and back and is so painful that it makes you feel like you cannot breathe. This acute pain occurs because the liver is covered in nerves that can send pain signals throughout the body.

The liver is also connected to the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is a part of the parasympathetic nervous system that is responsible for rest and digestion, which includes blood flow to the brain. When the vagus nerve is stimulated, it reduces blood pressure. In order to protect the brain, the vagus nerve sends a signal to make a fighter fall down to allow blood to more easily get to the brain.

A punch to the liver can easily incapacitate someone from extreme pain. There will be an immediate sharp pain in the area of impact. The pain is severe and will radiate throughout the person’s body.

Other issues that come up are that it will also feel like you can’t breathe, and cause panic. Panic can make the situation even worse and make breathing feel even more difficult.

A punch to the liver can cause internal bleeding. The strange thing is that the person might feel okay, but if the punch was really hard, they could still have internal bleeding even if they can’t feel it.

Symptoms to look out for:

  • Blood pressure dropping
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pain
  • Back pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling

If these symptoms are still occurring after a few minutes subsequent to being hit with a powerful liver shot, it is a good idea to seek medical attention.

Can You Die From Getting Punched in the Liver?

In rare cases, it is possible to die from a sufficiently severe punch to the liver. The cause of death from a liver punch is usually related to serious internal bleeding from ruptures in the blood vessels in the liver. This condition is critical and would need immediate treatment from a medical professional.

A punch to the liver most commonly simply causes a lot of pain and discomfort. Typically, the liver will be bruised or minorly cut in some fashion and self-resolve if you follow your doctor’s guidance.

What Does a Hit to the Nose Feel Like?

A hit to the nose is quite sharply painful and can cause, the usual symptoms of severe sharp pain including nausea, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and makes your eyesight go blurry. A broken nose is fairly likely to end a fight.

Your nose only has two bones and is primarily structured with cartilage with plenty of nerve endings so a punch with a lot of force can break your nose and result in a lot of pain.

Short and long-term symptoms of a hit to the nose include:

  • Sharp, intense pain
  • Throbbing pain
  • Eyes watering and going blurry
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Swelling
  • Broken nasal bones requiring rhinoplasty
  • Sinus pain and congestion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bleeding

How many of these symptoms you experience will be determined by the force and angle of the hit. Always seek immediate medical attention if you think your nose might be broken or fractured since it is best to fix a broken nose to avoid problems in the future.

Can You Die From Getting Punched on the Nose?

There are many people who believe you can drive someone’s nose cartilage into their brain with a punch or palm strike. However, this is actually not possible.

You can’t directly die from getting punched on the nose. Getting hit on the nose can cause a broken nose and require rhinoplasty to fix it. Being disoriented and losing your balance in a fight situation can, however, make you sustain more severe damage since you can’t defend yourself.

Typically, a person will experience uncomfortable swelling around the nose, and it might feel like they are unable to breathe because of the swelling pressure.

What Type of Punch Does the Most Damage?

There are a lot of punches that can do some significant damage. A punch to the groin can cause a testicular torsion that needs surgical intervention to fix. In severe situations, the testicle might have to be removed completely. A punch to the groin of a female can also cause a lot of pain and damage.

As we discussed, a liver punch can be fatal, and a throat punch can cause you to suffocate and even damage your spine.

All of these sound pretty horrifying—and they are, but which punch causes the most damage?

A rabbit punch to the base of the skull causes the most damage out of all punches. If landed correctly and with enough force, it can detach your brain from your brain stem and lead to instant death.

What Does a Hit to the Base of the Skull Feel Like?

A hit to the base of the skull is also known as a rabbit punch. It is one of the most lethal punches when done with sufficient force, and even if it doesn’t cause death, it can leave someone brain dead. There is a reason why it is a disqualifying move in essentially every combat sport.

A hit to the base of the skull or back of the head will cause pain if landed with enough force. However, the real issue is the danger to the brain stem which can cause severe physiological repercussions. Even moderate blows can cause persistent throbbing pain, dizziness, and disorientation.

A rabbit punch can damage the brain stem as the brain bounces and twists within the skull. If the impact has enough force, the brain can hit the inside of the skull, bounce back, and hit the other side of the skull as well.

A punch to the base of the skull can lead to many serious conditions such as a concussion, skull fracture, swelling of the brain, damage to the brain stem, a brain hemorrhage, hematoma, and death.

If somebody sustains such a punch, they can experience dizziness, trembling, and vomiting. If any of these symptoms are present, the person needs immediate emergency medical treatment. These symptoms can lead to bleeding and swelling in the brain and cause the person to go into a coma.

Does a Punch or Kick Hurt More?

Punches and kicks can both do a lot of damage and hurt badly depending on where the blows land and with how much force they are done. But if you are defending yourself or want to hurt your opponent, you might wonder which one you should go for.

A kick hurts much more than a punch because it can be done more forcefully. Both types of strikes can be plenty painful but the primary determining factor in how much pain is sustained is where the strikes land on the body and with how much force, so on average a kick will hurt more.

What Hurts More an Elbow or a Punch?

One of the determining factors on how effective or painful a strike can be is how hard the object or body part is that is making contact with the person being hit. Compared to a fist or a foot, an elbow is harder and sharper, which causes more pain and damage to the person being hit.

An elbow strike hurts more than a punch and can easily cut open your opponent if landed correctly. Throwing a punch comes more naturally, but an elbow strike can be thrown with plenty of force and be more painful and cause more damage if practiced. 

Do Body Punches Hurt?

Body punches do hurt and can cause significant pain and damage to your opponent. A hit to the liver or sternum can easily debilitate or knock the wind out of someone.

When facing an opponent or trying to protect yourself, you might think that punching them in the face or kicking them in the groin are your only options, and although those two techniques can be very effective, you do have other ways of attacking.

The body is protected by ribs and muscles, making it more challenging to get a direct hit to the liver or kidneys—but it is doable. If you are throwing punches in a defense situation you are more likely to break your hands hitting somebody in the head than you are when you strike their body

Can a Body Punch Break or Crack Ribs?

While bones are robust, they can break, crack, and dislocate with a forceful enough punch to the ribs. A forceful blow to the ribs or sternum can break or crack ribs, which can cause severe pain. Bruised ribs can also happen quite easily and are almost the same pain levels.

Broken rib bones cause pain and can also lead to serious, life-threatening injuries if the broken edge damages the lungs or kidneys. If you feel your ribs are broken it is a good idea to get checked out by a medical professional to ensure that you do not have internal bleeding and can treat the rib injury appropriately.

A Punch to the Sternum

Your sternum—also called breastbone—is hard, but can be broken or fractured from brute force. It isn’t especially common for a punch to break the sternum, it is way more likely to be broken in an event like a car crash. A broken sternum may lead to shortness of breath and severe pain. There might be swelling in the area, and the pain will increase with movement. Because of this, it can easily incapacitate an opponent.

Is It Better To Throw the First Punch?

Some people believe that throwing the first punch is a good idea, while others believe you should wait for your opponent to attack first. Just keep in mind that if you escalate the fight to throwing strikes and lose, you might end up taking more damage in the end.

Throwing the first punch is only better if you feel like your life is being threatened and you cannot avoid the conflict or escape effectively. It is usually best not to engage in a fight, but if it is unavoidable, finishing it swiftly and decisively with striking first is a good option.

Here is an informative YouTube video on when to throw the first punch and how to defend yourself:

For more check out Which Martial Art Has the Best Punches?


Hi, I'm Andre and I am the author of this website. I currently train primarily in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but supplement with other grappling martial arts as well as help to coach my kid's blended grappling program.

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