With powerful striking, you always have ‘a puncher’s chance.’ You are never more than one strike away from victory at any time. I often tell people, ‘don’t hit to hit, hit to break.’ By keeping this in mind, one will generate full force strikes. While sniping skillfully at targets has its benefits, it is extremely useful to also have the option of smashing through an opponent’s defenses even when he thinks he is completely covered.
Another thing you must consider are the distinct differences between causing pain, causing injury, and actually incapacitating an opponent. The three can go hand in hand, but do not always. It is bad strategy to rely solely on the manipulation of pain inducing nerve points. In combat, determination and adrenaline are powerful forces. Pain tolerance is tremendously increased. Likewise, inflicting injury alone may not stop an opponent. One may brush off punches to the body in the heat of combat, only to find later, massive bruising or broken ribs. People can even sustain knife and gunshot wounds without realizing it for several moments.
The ultimate goal in a physical conflict is to incapacitate the opponent. This may or may not bring injury with it. A killing blow will incapacitate and opponent, as will a harmless blood choke. The degree of injury inflicted will vary according to the situation, but incapacitation is the name of the game. Striking is usually the quickest method of accomplishing this, and a knockout strike to the head is a reliable technique.
Mostly everything from the neck up, other than the top of the skull, is very vulnerable. It does not necessarily require a powerful strike to this area for the desired results, and this provides support for those who argue that breaking power is unnecessary. If you have seen many fights though, you probably realize what little effect a strike to the head can actually have. The effectiveness of an already mediocre strike can be tremendously reduced by the movement of an opponent. A very quick, relatively weak strike can seem impressive in a demonstration, but in real application, the other guy is not just standing there like a tackling dummy. If he flinches and moves, the power of the strike will probably be reduced and you may achieve only a glancing blow.
It is amazing what someone can withstand in the heat of combat. If you tap yourself in the head with a knuckle, it already hurts a little. This might lead you to the false conclusion that only a bit more power is needed to inflict serious damage. Something instructors will do to impress students is add a little extra force in their demonstration. They purposely rough you up while showing a technique. By playing it off as light contact, they intimidate you into thinking that if they were really trying, the move would be devastating. This builds false confidence.
Remember, lots of stuff can hurt in a demonstration, when you are not in fight or flight mode. This does not necessarily translate to a lethal technique. Even worse, attempting a full force application of the demonstrated technique may result in injury to yourself if your anatomical weapons are not conditioned.
Once again, hurting and incapacitating are different things. Sure, an opponent will not enjoy getting hit in a fight, but it may not stop him. If you land your best shot on the attacker and he does not go down, you are left in a very disadvantageous position. You have already wasted your best opportunity to end the fight and you may well have injured your hand in the process.
By developing true breaking power, you maximize the potential for your strike to stop an attacker.