“A headbutt can cause severe injury, such as a laceration or skull fracture or even death to you and/or your opponent,” says Dr. Geoffrey Thor Desmoulin, president of GTD Engineering and former co-host of Deadliest Warrior. And since you only have one skull and one life, you should never ever ever (ever ever) consider using a headbutt outside of deadly force encounters.
In other words, unless your life is in danger, do something that won’t involve putting your brain in harm’s way. That said, there are right ways and wrong ways to go about slamming someone with your melon. Here are a few tips for making sure you don’t do more harm than good if you’re forced to rely on your last resort …
HEADBUTT TIP #1: AIM FOR THE SOFT SPOTS
Given the fact that the skull is basically a bony briefcase that protects the only brain you have, you’ll want to be careful where your headbutt lands.
“Aim for vulnerable portions of the face and skull, like the bridge of the nose, upper lip area, or temple region,” Dr. Desmoulin says. “These areas have lower tolerance to injury that other areas of the head, such as the forehead.”
HEADBUTT TIP #2: STRIKE WITH THE FOREHEAD
Don’t barrel forward like a mountain goat and hope to make impact. Instead, use your skull’s natural shape and strength to minimize damage to your body.
“The frontal bone or forehead is the strongest part of the head,” Dr. Desmoulin explains. “Since it has a convex shape, it forms a natural point as you move from the flat portion just above your eyebrows to the top of your head. This location should be your target contact point as it lowers the surface area, and increases impact pressure.”
HEADBUTT TIP #3: USE PHYSICS
Executing a headbutt is situation dependent and should be used by experienced tacticians as a last resort, according to Dr. Desmoulin, but it’s typically used to create space to set up a follow-up technique when you’re in close and can’t leverage fists, knees, or elbows effectively.
“Physics dictates that you must maximize speed and weight (mass) at impact to cause the most damage,” he explains. “Speed of impact is largely controlled by the person doing the headbutt, and the weight refers to the heaviness your target feels through your headbutt as you move forward. A successful combination of the two requires neck and core strength.”