I came across a provocative individual with long thumb nails, on both hands; about 2cm extra length.

How dangerous could his nails be?

Eye gouging comes to mind. But is it more effective with that type of nails? What about neck tissue? Can it be pierced or slashed more easily? Would it be able to reach the carotid artery?


2 Answers 2


Generally speaking, human nails aren't much of a threat. There is more of a chance the individual with long nails will injure themselves trying to use them as weapons (e.g. painful tears and nail-bed trauma) than there is to an intended target.

You have already identified the eyes as particularly vulnerable (and honestly they are just as ready a target to someone without long nails), but painful scratches to the dermis are the likely outcome from a fingernail attack. As someone who has practiced both striking and grappling arts for decades, I see long nails as far more of a hindrance/risk than they are an advantage.


Nails aren't really all that dangerous, but they can be painful, especially when practicing things like grabs and releases. Personally, I've had my share of scratches from long nails in practice. If anything his nails are more of a threat to himself, they're probably fragile enough that they could break.

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