I know why the liver shot is so devastating, but I was wondering how to maximize the damage. Specifically, what kind of size and shape are best for the strike? Large and flat, narrow and rounded, a mix of both? Also, would any specific shape reduce the power necessary to incapacitate with the liver shot? And is there a certain angle that it is best to hit from, i.e. front, side, coming up or down.

I am interested in any style of martial art. I am more interested in what best incapacitates the recipient.

Also, I am looking for the best technique (angle of hit, shape of fist, etc.) for one strike to the liver with a fist. I know that a proper strike will cause them to faint as a reaction of the autonomic nervous system. I am wondering what this takes and what, if any, lasting damage it will cause.

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    Seems silly to put that on hold to me, it's about a specific attack and how best to optimise it... At worst, edit it slightly. Just disabling it is very unhelpful and not encouraging to someone who is clearly new. Smh – Nathan Mar 24 '16 at 19:41
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is asking in a thinly veiled way how best to kill someone. ☹ – Sardathrion - against SE abuse Mar 30 '16 at 9:59
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    @Sardathrion: Only in that asking the best way to incapacitate an opponent with any technique would. One could say the same thing about asking the best way to score a knockout punch in boxing. – Macaco Branco Mar 30 '16 at 10:15
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    @Sardathrion you misunderstood what I meant, I was asking about how to best stop someone with a liver punch with your body, without doing lasting damage. I didn't mean anything like stabbing or shooting, repeated strikes, etc. And as for trouble with the law, I was referring to a specific situation that I have done research on the laws of. I'm sorry if I was unclear, I will edit the question to fix it. – Bill Roberson Mar 30 '16 at 15:48
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    @Sard asking about a specific technique and the optimal ways to deliver it are one of the primary purposes of the site - many techniques can kill if used improperly. Bill: thanks for the edit, it better defines exactly what you're asking. – slugster Mar 30 '16 at 23:01

I was actually doing some research on body knockouts last year, and I can give you some of the information I've dug up. It's not as detailed as what you're looking for ("best methods"), but it is some useful information nonetheless.

Liver, Location, Access

The liver sits under the right side of the ribcage. It's mostly, but not entirely protected by the ribs. Why mostly? Well, there's a host of reasons the liver can end up with it's lower half below the ribcage, including:

1) Depression downward when the diaphragm is depressed when people have full lungs

2) Visceral drift - the viscera in the abdominal sack aren't tightly locked into place, they are held mostly by the network of blood vessels and fascial connective tissue. The stomach is the most common organ to migrate around from standard, but other abdominal organs can vary position as well.

3) Anatomical variation - some people have larger, or smaller livers, and sometimes the variant can have the liver covering from the front to 2/3rds around towards the spine. Likewise, taller/shorter and rib coverage.

This medical article talks about the liver typically being accessible 2-3 CM below the rib margin, my experience in bodywork typically finds most people have about 1-2 inches available.

(Fun sidenote: you can do test this on your friends and training partners by tapping on person's abdomen, the liver is denser than the intestines and gives a different sound. Doctors sometimes also do this when they're trying to isolate your lower right lobe of your lung to place the stethoscope above the liver.)

Delivering the Strike

I have no clue what's the best way, but I see several styles and places give a thought to how to get in there and deliver it. It shows up a lot in boxing, for pretty obvious reasons, and it follows from a basic jab or 1-2 followed by a digging hook to the ribs. Here's another video with a few combos to get into a liver shot.

EDIT: I've found the Muay Thai liver shot video. They talk with a doctor about the anatomy, then go into some of the ways to get hits in both with hands and kicks.

As far as I can tell, pretty much every style that puts thought into doing it mostly looks for how to open up the opponent to drop a power strike in. Whether one is better than the other, is something I'd want to have some practice with or at least talk to someone who's gotten it to work in different situations.


A proper liver shot, needs to be prepared with some kind of combination. Usually a punch combo to the head so your oponent brings his hands up. The next thing would be to hit his right, lower rib cage in a 45° angle in un upward-motion with the intention to go through him towards his left shoulder.


So you want to punch someone's liver?

Why liver? I hear a large number of people shouting. If you are going to hit an organ, why not the brain, groin, stomach, eyes, kidneys? Why pick the hardest to hit?

These are questions we won't be answering. Mr Robertson wants to inflict some liver damage on others.

The liver is protected by the ribs. So you want to strike their ribs, around the area of the bottom of the solar plexus, towards their right side (as they face you, your left). This is because your only chance of damaging the liver is by getting a rib to crack and puncture it.

On the topic of incapacitating an opponent, any level of internal bleeding is going to incapacitate someone. However, using the well known (police taught) principle of hit once, hit hard, you would be better aiming your one hit towards a region like the solar plexus, temple or groin.

Closing, if you are looking to damage someone's liver in a serious/incapacitating way, buy them a few too many drinks.

  • Thank you for your answer. I was asking about the liver because I know the least about that strike. And as for the internal bleeding, I thought that just by striking it with sufficient force you could cause a person to pass out with no lasting damage. Am I wrong? – Bill Roberson Mar 30 '16 at 15:45
  • Kind of, the passing out would be part of going into shock. But to create that level of damage would mean breaking a number of ribs. If you want detail on how applied force to organs can cause damage, look at the theory behind kidney strikes. – John Mar 30 '16 at 15:47
  • @BillRoberson: If you strike someone with enough force to make them pass out, then chances are that you have caused lasting damage. – Sardathrion - against SE abuse Mar 30 '16 at 15:49

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