Before any match, with his infinite sea of wisdom, my master always used to say, “Bang the holes and don’t block punches with the face”.
In this article, we will be discussing a serious matter. How do you block a punch? Who likes getting punched, right? Well, some strange people do, but that’s another story. The number one rule of boxing or any other fighting sport would be: ALWAYS HAVE THAT GUARD UP! This is directly connected to blocking punches. There is one thing we need to mention before we get into serious fighting philosophies. Where do most punches want to land? Where is the main target set by your opponent? – Your head, of course.
When you watch bicycle stunts, or skateboard stunts, or stunts in general, you can almost always see them wear a helmet, they maybe even sleep with it in case they fall in their dreams. Fighters do too. Now, why?
Well, the answer is simple, to protect the center of opponents attention, your head. People aim at your head first because that’s how they can disable you with ease. Someone can simply hit your nose and cause massive pain, eyes full of tears and ringing in your head. There is a place really close to the jaw, that can, when hit with force, instantly knock you out. So if people like skateboarders are protecting their heads, a fighter needs to know how to do that even without a helmet. If you let your guard down, don’t know how to move and block, well, it’ll be lights out for you friend. This article will help you do that, in theory. It is just in theory because you will still need to go out and work your ass off to master it. Remember, what we are about to teach you here is KEY when it comes to fighting!
The fundamentals of How to BLOCK A PUNCH
You can look at blocking a punch like it is art. You need to finesse your way around it and learn the fundamentals perfectly, in order to block those punches like a pro. Blocking a punch is very hard to learn. You will never be able to block all of your opponent’s punches if he is very skilled, but you will be able to control the damage you take from him and not get hurt. With this, you will also get more good opportunities to punch back. The truth is, you don’t need to block all of your opponent’s punches to win because when you are in a fight, your focus should be to neutralize the opponent as fast as you can. You don’t want the fight to last long and your opponent to take many swings at you, one may land, and one can be enough. So with that being said, you must be a great striker in order to win, but without defense, it all falls down. Defense comes first. Blocking comes first. If you master this and have a good offense, you will be pretty hard to stop and pretty hard to hit! Let’s begin.
The way you move determines the way your opponent will try to fight you. You should always try to be as agile as your body allows it. So this brings us to another point, your fitness. Shape your body enough for it to allow you to move as you would like. There are many movements in fighting sports today. You can see many different versions in movies. You must have seen at least one movie, or game, that has a character that moves like a monkey or has tiger stance. The movement has many things to say when it comes to blocking. If you stand still and rely on your guard and hand movement at all time, you will be an easy win.
It is really easy to hit something that is always in one place. However, if you keep moving, deliver some good punches but all with movement, you will be really hard to hit. Your whole body should move as one strong and fast unit, but the movement of your upper body is really what gets you out of harm’s way.
The proper head and upper body movement are a special skill most people take lightly. Little do they know that this technique can save their life, and make their job easier. The movement itself looks strange and it is really difficult to do all the time (that’s why you need proper conditioning and body strength) but it makes all the difference. Remember: Do not be a punching bag, stick, move, attack smart!
Here is a video demonstrating how it looks:
Do you know who is a huge fan of movement? If you are a fighting geek you will recognize this name.
Conor McGregor, yes! He actually has a special coach just for that. His name is Ido Portal who has been working with Conor for a long time. They are practicing balance, movement, and speed. You can see many videos on Youtube where these two are crawling like alligators, walking like monkeys and doing other interesting stuff.
Everyone has a pattern for, almost everything. There are patterns in mathematics that can be used to solve many problems. There are patterns for literally everything you do multiple times, and you don’t even recognize it. You go make yourself a cup of tea, what’s the first thing that you do? What’s next? See, you have developed a pattern or a ritual as some would call it, for making tea. Everyone has it. We are all different as individuals, meaning there are many different patterns. So, it would be logical that there are patterns in fighting as well. There are two types of them that you should be aware of. Movement patterns and Punching patterns.
When you are fighting, the way your opponent moves and selects his shots should be of huge importance to you. The sooner you recognize his patterns the better. When you finally do, then it’s game time. You can anticipate him and counter him right on the spot. Look at your opponent’s shoulder movement, see how he prepares for a punch and how he delivers a punch. Pay attention to his movement, see how HE blocks the shots, what he’s doing, when is he doing it. So now you know where he will go after a specific punch of yours. That is all happening automatic, the way your opponent practiced and fought before sets that up. That’s the reason why you can learn your opponent’s patterns always, but of course, the better the fighter, the harder it is for you to recognize it.
If you already learned your opponents fighting patterns then this should come easily to you, if not, try to sense when he is going to throw a punch. When you see him getting into his shot, ready to go straight for your face, try and block it midway. Don’t let him have his full range of motion, catch the punch while the arm isn’t fully extended, block it, and then your opponent will be wide open. That’s when it’s your time to punch, make fast combinations and hurt him pretty bad. So, hunt the punch, block it midway or push it down, and then react fast. It will stun your opponent, damage him or even K.O him.
In almost every boxing movie there is a prodigy in the gym sparring with someone. When he starts taking damage his coach yells “Get those hands up boy!”. That is one thing you can learn from movies. Your guard MUST be always up. You shouldn’t test your luck no matter who you are fighting. You can see many professional fighters getting knocked out and embarrassed because they didn’t take their opponent seriously, started dancing around and forgetting that the other person is a boxer as well! This is a rule in every ring, cage, on every street. Never underestimate your opponent and always have that guard up.
There are many hand positions that you can practice and use. In each martial art, there is a unique one. Which one is the best? Well, that depends on you, and you alone. They aren’t there just to look cool, every single guard, stance, nd punch has its own meaning. The position of hands in boxing can vary as well. There are many different tactics that people are using. We will describe some of them so if you see something different, don’t feel surprised.
These protect you against uppercuts, directs, and swings. You should put the palm of your hand on the back of your head, leaving the rest of your arm on the side of your face. Always put your block on a good angle so that you can see your opponent and have time to counterpunch. Remember to create some space between your block, and your head. You don’t want your hand to punch your head, you want it to absorb the shot. So place your hand in the correct way, make some space between it and the head, and you’re good to go. Your elbow will protect you from uppercuts, the rest of the block will do its best against directs. The video explains it best:
A good block can give you a match winning opportunity. Absorb that shot and then counterpunch. It is all that it takes, but in order to master it, you must train!
“Blocking the cross to the head”
An opponent will throw that punch with his rear hand and you must rotate your body and block the shot like it is a rear hook. Doing this will make the punch deflect from your glove and give you a chance for a quick and precise counterattack.
“Blocking the cross to the body”
Although your head will be your opponent’s main focus the entire fight, he will and must go to your body. Body shots are incredibly painful, if struck at the right place with power multiple times, that can literally destroy you and even cause internal bleeding. With this being said, a fighter will take his focus off of your head if he sees that you are blocking it pretty well, and then go for the body. His main target, among other parts, is the solar plexus. It is just a little bit higher than the belly button. If he hits you there he can cause massive damage. You will lose your breath and breathing will be a problem. Talking from personal experience, it may seem to you like you’re suffocating. This is a problem as you can see, so you must block body shots as well.
Your elbows can provide you one type of blocking body shots. When you notice a punch aimed at your body, put your elbows close together and a bit lover so that they cover a bit of your face and most of your chest and plexus area. While doing this, bend your knees a little bit and your back, that will make you absorb the punch better.
What you shouldn’t do
Do not square up!
If you square up, blocking shots will be difficult for you. You lose the flexibility you have when you are in a stance. So without flexibility, you can lose your stability in no time. Balance is important, it helps you with agility.
Don’t stand in one place!
Move, pick your angles, try to make your opponent guessing what you are going to do and where you are going to move. As we discussed, not moving will make your opponent’s job that much easier.
Don’t get trapped and tangled on those ropes – Don’t get backed into a corner or wall!
The first one applies to a ring, and the second to anywhere outside of it. If you get pushed back you will lose space, and if you lose space you lose a chance to move. This would mean that you won’t be able to block punches as you would like. If the guy in front of you is huge, then your situation is even worse. Of course, you can block some of his shots, maybe all of them if he is some random angry dude, but if he knows what he’s doing, oh boy, you are in for some pounding.
Don’t have a bad guard position!
Learn where to place your hands and your guard. You don’t want to be too close to your head, but you don’t want it to be too far from your body as well. Once you get a hang of it, you will feel where the right position is.
This is all that you need to know on blocking punches. If you follow and master these steps, and keep the thing that you shouldn’t do in your mind, you should be fine. Of course, don’t solely depend on your block. If you have a chance to strike first, then do that. Strike hard, fast and pick the right spot. Blocking shots always has its risks, and remember that even the best blockers out there, get punched and knocked out. Practice blocking like your life depends on it, because it does, but also fight smart, don’t be too cocky and sure of yourself. Your body can endure a limited amount of shots, protect it and get it out of harm’s way. That’s how you win.
We hope that we helped you learn something new. There are many things out there that can make the difference between getting punched or not, but we selected the ones that we feel are most important.