Punches without the use of instruments/objects are a common type of body violence and as such a frequent subject of medicolegal analyses. The assessment of the injuries occurred as well as of the potential of the assault to produce severe body harm is based on objective traces (especially the documented injuries of both parties involved) as well as the—often divergent—descriptions of the event. Quantitative data regarding the punching characteristics that could be used for the assessment are rare and originate mostly in sports science. The aim of this study was to provide physical data enabling/facilitating the assessment of various punching techniques. A total of 50 volunteers took part in our study (29 males and 21 females) and performed severe punches with the fist, with the small finger edge of the hand (karate chop), and with the open hand with both the dominant and the non-dominant hands in randomized order. The strikes were performed on a boxing pad attached to a KISTLER force plate (sampling frequency 10,000 Hz) mounted on a vertical wall. The punching velocity was defined as the hand velocity over the last 10 cm prior to the contact to the pad and ascertained by using a high-speed camera (2000 Hz). Apart from the strike velocity, the maximum force, the impulse (the integral of the force-time curve), the impact duration, and the effective mass of the punch (the ratio between the impulse and the strike velocity) were measured/calculated. The results show a various degree of dependence of the physical parameters of the strikes on the punching technique, gender, hand used, body weight, and other factors. On the other hand, a high degree of variability was observed that is likely attributable to individual punching capabilities. In a follow-up study, we plan to compare the “ordinary” persons with highly trained (boxers etc.) individuals. Even though the results must be interpreted with great caution and a direct transfer of the quantitative parameters to real-world situations is in general terms not possible, the study offers valuable insights and a solid basis for a qualified forensic medical/biomechanical assessment.
Fields of Science and Technology Classification 2012
- 305 Other Human Medicine, Health Sciences
- Forensic biomechanics
- Open hand