The carotid slap / strike is a great self defense technique, which is very useful in self-defense and close range situations. When executed correctly, the so-called “Okinawan slap“, “carotid strike” or “carotid slap” will cause the assailant a sudden loss of oxygen to the brain, followed by the fainting and collapse. This self-defense technique aims to strike the carotid sinus, which is located on either side of the assailant’s neck, slightly behind the jaw. If we may delve into human anatomy for a minute: the carotid sinus is the area at which the common carotid artery separates into the internal and external carotid arteries. The carotid sinus contains numerous baroreceptors which act to regulate our blood pressure.
A strike to the carotid sinus “confuses” the receptors to believe that the body’s blood pressure is too high. That, in turn, leads to a sudden drop in blood pressure, as the body attempts to rectify the “high blood pressure”. The effect is insufficient blood supply to the brain, which triggers the fainting. It is a very striking result — a seemingly simple self-defense strike / carotid slap, and the assailant falls to the floor. Yet another version of slap hits the assailant’s ears, aiming to rupture the eardrum.
The slap is seemingly simple — everyone knows how to do an open hand slap! The key to generating good power in the slap is to keep the arm relaxed, and use the legs and hips to power the technique. Here is the result on a Thai pad:
And here is a result in real life — a strike to the carotid sinus, which causes immediate loss of consciousness, and a lingering effect that ends the fight right there:
(Please don’t try this at home — the partner in the video could have easily hit his head on a piece of furniture while collapsing, sustaining serious injuries.)
and another one (with no comment on the appropriateness of the situations):
Please join our regular martial arts and self defense classes in San Diego for more training.