Ask A Genius 418 – The Physics of Punching (1)

In-Sight Publishing

Ask A Genius 418 – The Physics of Punching (1)

October 20, 2018

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is the physics of punching [Laughing]?

Rick Rosner: For someone who is somewhat of a wuss, such as myself, I have done a lot of punching in my life. I have punched a fair amount. I was a doorman in bars for 25 years. I got punched – I don’t know, maybe – a dozen times.

I would usually forget to punch back. I never punched anyone in a bar. I worked in one chain of bars if you punched a customer. But you got $25 if you took a punch. I used to punch myself in the face to toughen up.

In the gym, I used to work with the big rubber guys for practice. That you’re supposed to beat up. I punched a lot of walls. This past week, I punched two walls because I got pissed off. Yet, having punched a lot of walls, I never punched through it.

In movies, you always see people punch through drywall. The angry husband or dad punches next to the wife’s head and then punches through the drywall. I have punched a lot of walls and never even dented drywall.

We should talk about the physics of that. For one thing, most walls have a stud, at most every 16 inches. A vertical piece of wood holding the wall together every 1 foot and 4 inches. So, if you punch and happen to be over or near a stud, the wall will not move or break.

Your fist is, maybe, 3 or 4 inches wide. There is only a sweet spot of around 3 or 4 inches between studs where you might get enough flex in the drywall to crack it, and break through.

But that three and a half or 4 inches gives you less than a 25% chance of hitting the sweet spot. Also, it is harder to punch through drywall than you think.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


Rick Rosner

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing


[1] Four format points for the session article:

  1. Bold text following “Scott Douglas Jacobsen:” or “Jacobsen:” is Scott Douglas Jacobsen & non-bold text following “Rick Rosner:” or “Rosner:” is Rick Rosner.
  2. Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott.
  3. Footnotes & in-text citations in the interview & references after the interview.
  4. This session article has been edited for clarity and readability.

For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:

  1. American Psychological Association. (2010). Citation Guide: APA. Retrieved from
  2. Humble, A. (n.d.). Guide to Transcribing. Retrieved from

License and Copyright

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at and


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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