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A groin attack is an attempt to cause pain to the groin area of one's opponent. The technique can be quickly debilitating, due to the large number of sensitive nerve endings in the penis and testicles of males, as well as the highly innervated vulva of females. A sufficiently powerful blow may fracture the pubic bone of the victim, resulting in physical disability. They have been popularized as a comedic device on programs such as America's Funniest Home Videos, professional wrestling, and YouTube.
An attack to the groin is considered to be a "low blow" not only in the literal sense, but is the origin of the metaphor. In a playful attack, or attack in the framework of a sport, a low blow is seen as unfair or improper and is often considered dishonourable. Strikes to the groin are almost universally forbidden in martial arts competitions, including boxing, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts competitions where full-contact strikes are normal and permitted, eventually resulting in penalties and disqualifications. Testicle attacks were, however, allowed until the 1980s in international Thai boxing (Muay Thai) and are still permitted in Thailand itself (though the boxers wear cups to lessen the impact). Many martial arts organizations require competitors to wear protective cups against accidental blows, as do many other sports. Direct strikes to the groin are generally considered illegal in professional wrestling as well. However, in certain "hardcore" matches the rules are relaxed and such attacks are allowed by mutual consent.
In street fighting, a low blow may be considered more appropriate as a self-defense technique. The attack can allow a much weaker combatant to temporarily disable an assailant, making it easy for them to escape. When ones opponent is at close range, a knee attack to the groin is easy to execute and difficult to defend against. It is often, though not always, effective.
Effects on genders
Groin attacks enacted upon male victims are the most widely known, and women are often taught to use the groin attack to discourage potential rapists and other attackers. Also they are used as a form of bullying for both males and females. Groin strikes are debilitating and pose potential harm to males due to the high sensitivity of the gonads and vulnerability of human external testicles. The pain associated with testicular trauma travels from the testicles into the abdominal cavity through the spermatic plexus, the primary nerve of the testicles. A prolonged squeeze to the testicles can cause the victim to black out. A hard strike or squeeze can cause the testicle to rupture, potentially sterilizing the victim.
Contrary to depictions in popular culture (in which females are no more vulnerable in their groin than anywhere else), strikes or grabbing and squeezing the vulva or clitoris can incapacitate females due to the high amount of nerve endings in these structures. Potential long-term health problems can arise for female victims of groin attacks including nerve damage to the clitoris, fracture of the pubic bone, hematoma, and vulvodynia.
The Old Testament, (Deuteronomy 25:11–12) states the following:
When men fight with one another, and the wife of the one approaches to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him, and puts out her hand and seizes his genitals, you shall sever her hand; you shall have no compassion.
- Anterior Pelvic Injuries – Wheeless' Textbook of Orthopaedics
- Combatives for street survival, by Kelly McCann, Black Belt Books, ISBN 0987501764, (2010, second edition), pp 111, 112, 139–142
- Translated from the original Hebrew, Metzudah Linear Chumash, 1996, page 296-297
- John Hibbard (February 1993). Karate Breaking Techniques: With Practical Applications to Self-Defense. Tuttle Publishing. pp. 70/72/147/194. ISBN 0-8048-1876-2.
- Fred Hutchinson (May 2001). Low Kicks: Aiming Low For Maximum Punishment In Unarmed Combat. Paladin Press. pp. 3–4. ISBN 1-58160-138-7.
- Philip W. Cook (1997-09-30). Abused Men: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence. Praeger Trade. p. 40. ISBN 0-275-95862-0.
- N. Mashiro (September 1979). Weapons At Hand (Black Medicine). Paladin Press. p. 31. ISBN 0-87364-168-X.