Brain Damage Prevention Advice

"I have documented brain damage from too many knock-outs – police work, boxing, kick-boxing, 2 car wrecks, baseball (yes, baseball) – and I've been through the mental ringer over this, with many top neurologists since my various symptoms started. Migraines, vision distortions, occasional seizures, lost train of thought, fixations, well, odd things I almost cannot describe that I experience. Too complicated. When I warned people about head butts in the past, I was soften ridiculed. And misunderstood!

One famous stick-guy proclaimed on a video that I once said, "Head butts don't work." Never said that. What I did say is that head butts may work so well, they work right back at cha!" The bad and "newer" news, as in growing football and even soccer medical and forensic studies, is don't screw with your brains. Every little ding aggregates.


Since, I try to warn people about this cavalier attitude about head butts, Since Chris mentioned me… I promised myself to make a campaign speech about this when and where I can. When you head butt someone? You are…headbutting yourself. In essence, brain splash is brain splash. We try to brain splash the other guy when we punch them, or slap them. In contrast, we should try to minimize our own brain splash. Through the years, young people refuse to listen to self-inflicting, head butt warnings.

Instead I hear- "Well, I did it once and the guy fell…" "Pete Smith is the head butt king, why, I've seen him…." (Ever check Pete's IQ? Why is he getting into so many bar fights anyway?) You are the king of head butts? Or did one once? Twice? Consider yourself then, lucky each time. They are risky. We all seem to have a story about the wonders of head butts, or know a guy named "Rocky" whose head-butted 30 people. I have stories too after 20 years investigating all kinds of assaults. Not many are good for the head butters.

Though they can work really well, they also can work right back on you. Next, the stubborn excusers like to say, "Ah…well, what we do at _________ school is we clutch the head, freeze it solid still, than take the hard crown of our skull and crush his soft nose." Great. Hope that works out for you. But I have to ask – "ever try to hold a head still in a fight?" The head can move powerfully supported by an isometric neck and torso movement. I hope that specific targeting works out for you. In a real fight, not a mutual training simulation.

Folks, "God" did not make your head to be an impact weapon. In fact, your body, nervous system, reflex, etc is built to protect your brains. Your brain is like Jello, with ALL impacts to your brain splashes in decelerated and accelerated motions inside your skull. And usually splashes a couple of times. First, the biggest Jello splash, then a lessor, Jello back splash, then even a third lessor one? It does not matter much to you whether you use the this-or-that hard side of your skull. Jello splashes inside. Some of the biggest head butt proponents have been "carried out" after they did one for real. I have had students in my old school, accidentally do fake head butts at the same time and one hit the floor. Out. The other drop to his knees. Which one was the good guy? Which was Captain Kirk and which was the Klingon?

Doesn't matter, "splashed brains is splashed brains." Which one was you? Old-timey, pro-head butt writings like by Geoff Thompson or Paul Vunak didn't know about these new concerns. (Although I know eye-witnesses who have carried famous "head-butters" out of bars having done them and knocked themselves silly. It's too late to warn you after they have made 6 movies on the wonders of head butts. The US military has done new and amazing studies on brain damage as in impact splashes as well as bomb shock waves just zipping through the brain. For example, Never mind simple, brain splash. What about newer stuff like "brain shearing?"

– Diffuse Axonal Injury otherwise known as shearing brain injury, is caused when the head simply accelerates, decelerates, or rotates, changes direction quickly and violently. Shearing occurs when brain tissue slides over other brain tissue, stretching the axons within it, especially at the junctions between white matter and gray matter. If you think of how the rubber string on a paddle ball stretches as the ball moves away from the paddle, you have an idea of what might be occurring with the axon." The irony of it all is, the more head butts you do, the more dumb you can get. It's all great fun to play-pretend to do violent, cool-looking had butts in training classes (try faking one real fast and some people experience a split-second dizziness even with the no-contact fake!)

Everyone watching your fancy, slap-dash drill says, "wow!" And that butt may really jack the other guy, BUT, but, but – it might jack the snot out of you too. You may well knock yourself out inside a fight for your life. This has happened. A survivor prides himself to be a "survivor." What about in the long-term? In the short term, head butts can stun your own self, or cause you to black-out right inside a fight for your life. In the long term? Bubba? You won't like what aggregated brain damage might do.

I teach to downplay head butts, use them only as a last resort and if so, try to "steel" yourself against the back-lash, or should I say black-out-splash, if you must use them. Look at your situations and scenarios. It almost always seems like there was a better, safer easier tool to use, like a simple punch, shoulder or even a hammer fist or something, anything, that is better THAN YOUR FREAKEN HEAD and BRAINS as an impact weapon!

I know you won't listen to me.

I know I will be ignored about this.

I know I will next hear, "yes, but what we do is…"

Just remember…"God" did not design your head to be a mace, a hammer, or an impact weapon, because of the Jello-splashing brains inside.


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