Date of this Version
The term "King Hit" is well known in rugby league and ice hockey circles. It is, of course, not a practice in rugby union. Today, being "king hit" means to be hit heavily when you are not expecting the blow. You do not often rise quickly after being "king hit". The origin of the term concerns "the rule of law". Brilliant English Chief Justice, Sir Edward Coke felt the force of his King's fist in 1608 when he gave King James I the unwelcome news that "The king is not subject to men, but is subject to God and the law". James I thought he should not be subject to man made law. It was a revolutionary thought. Enraged, he felled Coke to the floor. Thus "king hit". James I claimed that his prerogative right was divine and that he, as monarch, was above the law, at least above the law made by other mortals.