Instructions for a Self-Defense Ear Clap or Thunderclap Strike

Black Belt Wiki is a free martial arts wiki. We will help you with Shotokan Kata, Taekwondo Forms, Kicks, Punches, Grappling, Aikido, Goju-Ryu, Krav Maga, Bo Staff, Kyokushin, Terminology, etc. This wiki will also improve your martial arts agility, balance, conditioning, flexibility, speed, strength, etc. We hope that you will help others by adding some info to this wiki. Page Date - 11 Oct 2015 12:51

Instructions for a Self-Defense Ear Clap or Thunderclap Strike

This page provides details on how to do an "Ear Clap". This martial arts self-defense technique involves striking the ears on an attacker in order to force them to release you. This strike is also known as a Thunderclap Strike, Cupped Ear Blow, Thunder Palm Fist, etc. To learn more about the underlying anatomy of this vital point strike, please visit the main Ear section.

For more information and videos on a wide variety of punches & strikes, please visit the main Punches & Strikes section.

Details for this Strike

  • Start by making a knife hand and cupping your hand slightly.
  • Then strike your attacker by slapping your hands together against their ears.
    • When throwing both hands together it may be preferential and quicker shoot the hands forward about 6 or so inches away from the ears
    • And then proceed with the ear clap
    • This will be less devastating but a quicker stun
  • The arm can also be swung in a larger arch similar to a hook punch
    • In this situation it would be preferential to throw only one hand that way you are not left open to an attack
    • This strike will do more damage but could more easily be seen by the opponent

Picture of the Hand Position for an Ear Clap or Thunderclap Strike


Damage to the ear: These two similar strikes are likely to result in either a rupturing of the tympanic membrane (the ear drum) or an ossicular chain dislocation.

  • The average person can punch with a around 25 to 80 psi however it only takes about 14 psi to rupture the ear drum.
    • Seeing as how this is a slapping like motion the average would drop a bit but due to the shape of the hand this strike both conveys the kinetics of the strike as well as a pressure wave forced into the ear.
    • Thus even for a weak person it is fairly easy to inflict damage to the ear.
    • If the ear drum is ruptured sounds are muffled, ringing noises occur, and infection is a likely possibility. If the rupture isnt too bad the ear drum can heal within a few months.
  • An ossicular chain dislocation is likely to occur from an improper strike of this sort which doesnt create enough pressure to rupture the ear drum but dislocates the bones of the middle ear from impact.
    • This can result in about 60 dB of hearing loss which is the equivalent of hearing a train whistle as if it were a whisper.
    • Depending on the dislocation between the three bones success rate of healing is moderate but medical and surgical attention is required.

Instructional Video of an Cupped Ear Blow Self-Defense

Note: Use extreme caution when practicing with a partner (use partner primarily for the motion) and practice this technique on a B.O.B. dummy.


  1. Old School Martial Arts Academy, Te Waza,, Added - 05/08/14
  2. Pressure to Rupture an Eardrum, Glenn Elert,, Added - 10/11/15
  3. Bayer College of Medicine "Head and Neck Surgery",,, Added - 10/11/15

Please support this free martial arts wiki
by buying your martial arts books & gear via the Amazon links below.

At no extra cost to you, Black Belt Wiki receives a small commission on any purchases made through the links in this section. This helps us to pay our website expenses & expand this free wiki.
Thank you for your support!!!

Latest Martial Arts Pages Added to Black Belt Wiki

Martial Arts Video of the Month

New Cobra Kai movie trailer added to wiki on 3/3/18.

The Karate Kid movie is being made into a sequel called "Cobra Kai". This will be a series on Youtube that stars the original Karate Kid "combatants" Ralph Macchio (Daniel) and William Zabka (Johnny).

Do you give this new Cobra Kai show a thumbs up or thumbs down?

If you want to learn more about Cobra Kai,
you should read this Rotten Tomatoes editorial.

You can also follow us on
Twitter or Facebook.

Material on this wiki may not be copied or reproduced without the written approval of Black Belt Wiki.
All rights reserved. For other terms & conditions, please read our legal disclaimer. This site is for informational purposes only. All martial arts techniques and fitness exercises should be supervised by a trained martial arts instructor in order to prevent injuries and to ensure the proper technique is utilized. If you have had an injury or are in pain, please see a doctor before starting or continuing any martial arts and/or physical fitness program.