The karate chop or knife hand is a popular move, seen in a lot of movies and television shows. Despite this, you don’t see the open hand chop being used too often in the MMA ring. So, is this move legal?

Karate chops are a legal tactic in MMA. But you need to be careful about where you are using it. You won’t be able to hit sensitive areas, like the groin or the neck. Because of this, some fighters will avoid this type of strike. In a street fight, the karate chop is an effective weapon.

There is a range of tactics, including karate chops, that MMA fighters have at their disposal. Despite this, they aren’t often used in the cage. Keep reading to learn some of the reasons why this might not be the case.

Effectiveness of Karate Chops in the MMA

While fighters might be able to legally use a karate chop, they might be reluctant to do this. This isn’t because they are worried about being disqualified. They are often concerned about how effective the chop will be against their opponents.

The chop won’t do as much damage as an attack launched with your fist. This will allow the fighter to put more force behind each blow. As a result, when they connect, they will cause a lot of pain and disorientation. Furthermore, the gloves will dampen the impact.

Another concern is that the flat hand can leave them vulnerable. If they don’t land the blow properly, there is a risk of breaking their hand. This is a significant problem, which will often end up costing them the bout. Though the odds are low, why take them at all? It makes more sense to deliver a closed-fist punch.

While these aren’t the most effective types of punches, that doesn’t mean that they won’t be used. You will still see a fighter trying to use a karate chop in a match.

Benefits of Karate Chops

While most MMA fighters won’t use them, that doesn’t mean that karate chops don’t have a place in the world of combat. There are a few reasons why karate chops can be effective:

  • Can be used at an angle. You will rarely be faced with an opponent with the same height and weight as you. Karate chops can be done at an angle. This is a good way of countering any physical advantages they might have over you.
  • Can be used as a strike or block. It won’t take you long to see karate fighters with open hands. The karate chop or knife hand can be used as a strike, regular and clearing, and as a block, both single and double.
  • Lower chance of injury. If you are throwing a punch into solid bones, you are at risk of breaking your fingers. However, the knuckles will be stronger than this. As a result, there is a lower risk that they will get broken.
  • Longer reach. It’s important to have a plan on what to do when faced with someone who has a longer reach than you. This can be a big problem, as they can take control of the match. However, having a powerful karate chop will help make sure that doesn’t happen.

How to Use the Karate Chop

While it isn’t used in many MMA matches, the karate chop can still be a dangerous attack, especially when used in a street fight. In this case, you will need to use the chop on a sensitive part of the body. For example, you might want to hit your opponent in the throat.

A hit to one of these sensitive areas will disorient your opponent. From there, you’ll be able to decide what to do next. Sometimes, you will want to get out of the situation. At other times, you will need to do more damage to your opponent, making sure that they do go down.

These tactics are ideal for a street fight. However, in MMA, you won’t be able to use the same technique. If you try to fight like this in the octagon, you’ll be disqualified.

Other Types of Strikes That Are Banned in MMA

Though the MMA is known for its aggressive behavior, that doesn’t mean that anything goes. There are a few types of strikes that you won’t be allowed to perform. These include:

  • Eye gouging
  • Strikes to the groin
  • Putting one or more fingers into the mouth, in a move known as the fish hook
  • Hitting the throat
  • Small joint manipulation

Final Thoughts

The karate chop has a long history. While it isn’t used widely in the MMA, it can be a highly dangerous strike in the right hands. As with any strikes, however, there are risks involved.

Practicing the strike and knowing its use case, both offensive and defensive, will go a long way in understanding this strike and how it can be used.