Is there any relatively safe way to knock someone out with no resources but your hands? My character needs to knock this person out so they don’t run off, but he has nothing on him to do so. It’s necessary to the story that he be knocked out. Thank you!

No.

We’ve gone over this, many times, before. There is no safe
way to knock someone unconscious. By definition, you’re specifically attempting
to damage their brain, with the goal of getting it to take a little vacation.

More than that, there aren’t even many reliable means to
knock someone out. Blows to the head can, theoretically, work, but they can
also, just as easily, piss off the person you’re attacking, without much ill
effect.

Tranquilizers take ages to kick in, and are very difficult
to dose. Too much, and you’ve got a corpse. Not enough, and you’ve got someone
who’s groggy, but still ambulatory.

Choking is, in theory, the safest, but the fine line between
unconscious and dead is still something you can’t spot intentionally. Choking
is something that can be practiced in a safe environment, but using it in the
field is incredibly finicky.

And, it gets better.

Strip away all the terminology and a concussion is just
bruising on the brain itself. You get hit, your head gets jostled around, and
your brain bounces off the inside of your skull. You may have been using that
organ for something, and might understand why you don’t particularly want it
getting directly injured. Either way, this will, absolutely, interfere with
your ability to think, remember unimportant information like your name, or
count the number of fingers some well meaning smartass is holding up. Still,
probably won’t knock you out, though.

When you’re talking about knocking someone out, you’re
really asking, “how can I directly assault their brain, without having to
develop psychic powers?” Yeah, that’s never going to be safe. It turns out,
getting the human brain to stop working, temporarily, is a lot like trying to
get it to just flat out stop working in general, and it’s a crap shoot, which
you’ll get.

Concussions are cumulative. This should be fairly obvious,
when you actually think about it. If your brain has been pre-tenderized, it’s
going to be more susceptible to future concussions, and the ones you receive
will be more severe. This means someone who’s had a few before will be knocked unconscious
or killed far more easily than someone with a relatively healthy brain. Even
then, it’s not like there’s a stable baseline of, “you can hit your head this
hard before it kills you.”

Knocking someone unconscious for more than a few seconds is
very bad news. If you’re knocking someone out for more than a minute, there’s
going to be irreparable brain damage. (The specific threshold is usually around
30 seconds, but for each unique brain, there’s equally unique catastrophic
brain damage.) So, you’ve, “safely,” reduced someone to a vegetable. More than
a few minutes and you’ve (probably), “safely,” killed them.

So, what do you actually
do when you need to be somewhere else and someone is intent on getting you to
stick around? Knock them off balance and run. Sucker punches to the stomach are a good option.
If unexpected, they’ll usually wind the victim, and give you a good head start.
Knees to the gut are another classic. One common variation is to knee the gut,
and when they double over, knee them again in the face. Slamming a door in the
face, or knocking them to the ground are also excellent options. Really, there
are a lot of options. The goal is to simply create an opening and escape. You
don’t need to knock someone unconscious to do that. You really don’t want to knock someone unconscious to do that.

-Starke

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