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Eye-gouging using the thumb

Eye-gouging is the act of pressing or tearing the eye using the fingers or instruments. Eye-gouging involves a very high risk of eye injury, such as eye loss or blindness.

Eye-gouging as a fighting style was once a popular form of sport fighting in the back-country United States, primarily in the 18th and 19th centuries.[1]

Eye-gouging is prohibited in modern sports. It is a serious offense in rugby football codes where it occurs rarely. It is prohibited in combat sports, but some self-defense systems teach it.[2] Training in eye-gouging can involve extensive grappling training to establish control, the eye-gouging itself being practiced with the opponent wearing eye protection such as swimming goggles.[3] Yuki Nakai went on to win a bout in the Vale Tudo Japan 1995 tournament after his opponent, Gerard Gordeau, performed an illegal gouge that blinded him in his right eye.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Gorn, Elliott J. (1985). ""Gouge and Bite, Pull Hair and Scratch": The Social Significance of Fighting in the Southern Backcountry". The American Historical Review. 90 (1): 18–43. doi:10.2307/1860747. JSTOR 1860747. PMID 11620667.
  2. ^ Hosey, Timothy; Michael Klaybor (October 1984). "Common Sense Self-Defense: For the Woman Who Doesn't Have the Time to Train". Black Belt Magazine. Vol. 22, no. 10. Active Interest Media. p. 110. ISSN 0277-3066.
  3. ^ Vunak, Paul; Erin Vunak (March 2001). "Biting and Eye Gouging: Why You Need to Know the Philippine Art of Kino Mutai". Black Belt. Vol. 39, no. 10. p. 69. ISSN 0277-3066.
  4. ^ Jason Nowe and Stephen Martinez (February 14, 2006). "Nakai talks Vale Tudo, SHOOTO and Rickson". Retrieved 2008-11-03.

Further reading