Have you ever pictured yourself in a narrow hallway cornered by your greatest enemy, with nowhere to go? And in that moment, the only option you have is to fight? The only problem is, your enemy is bigger and stronger than you. But some how you still believe you can beat them. And with your outrageous belief fueled by all the Jackie Chan movies you’ve watched; you prepare for a fight.
Now whether you’ve ever imagined this situation, or even experienced it first hand, then you’ve probably always wanted to learn how to fight. Or at least defend yourself. That’s what this blog is here to teach you: How to block a punch.
Firstly, there are no two ways about it, blocking a punch is not easy. Especially because every scenario is not the same. One day you may be attacked unexpectedly in a bar, another day you may be boxing with a friend. No two punches are ever alike.
So, let’s look at the different scenarios and how to handle them
1. How to block a punch when you don’t expect it
Despite how much practice you have, or even how schooled you are in martial arts, it’s impossible to block an unexpected punch. If someone swings a fist at you when you’re completely unaware, it would be almost impossible to get out of the way let alone block the punch.
By the time you notice a fist coming toward your face, you will not have the time to pull out a catalog of blocks you learned in Karate class. Instead, two things will likely happen. Either you will get hit. Or you will move out of the way.
The focus then does not become how you can block the punch, but rather how can you realize it fast enough to move out of the way. Here are a few keys;
Clenching their fists
A clenched fist, with nothing in it, is rarely used for anything other than striking something. If someone clenches a fist, the may be gearing up to punch you
Watch the feet of your attacker
Watching the feet of your attacker is a good way of noticing if and how they might punch you. It is rare that someone punches whilst standing flat footed and upright. Usually, if someone intends to deliver a punch with their right hand, they will plant their left foot forward to maintain balance and optimize power. The opposite goes for the left hand.
A drop of the chin
Apparently, it is a natural reaction to dropping the chin whilst intending to punch someone. The body does this inherently to protect the throat.
Immense rage is hard without expression. If your attacker suddenly gets red in the face, shortens his breath, or grinds his teeth, he may be preparing for violence.
Though noticing these traits is not easy and it is difficult to see them in the split seconds you have before an unexpected attack, they are the best chance you have to move out of the way. Who knows, if you’re Jackie Chan, you may even be able to block the punch.
2. But what if you’re already in a fight? How to block a punch?
In some cases, you and your opponent are both in a fight and here is no surprise factor. This would drastically improve your chances of blocking a punch. Obviously in this case, whilst you're expecting an attacker to attack, your stance would be different. You wouldn’t stand upright with your hands down expecting to block a punch. You have to prepare. Here’s how;
Watch your stance
Different fighters will have different stances but they all generally look similar. There is a reason a boxer plants one foot ahead of the other. This is the best way to maintain balance and load your punches. If you are receiving a punch it is also the best way to prepare for a block.
Keep your hands high
Your head is probably the most vulnerable place to be hit by a punch. Keeping your hand as high as your face will give you the best chance of blocking a punch that targets your head.
Try to stay loose
When there is a 250-pound man throwing his fists at you, it may be hard not to tense up. But in fact, staying loose is the best thing you can do. It is natural to tense up when a punch is coming toward you, but the best fighters remain loose, agile and nimble until the punch actually contacts them.
At that point, they may tense up but they have given themselves the best chance to dodge or block the punch.
Focus your eyes
It is best to focus your sights on the chest or chin area of your opponent. This way you will not only stay attentive to his center of gravity but also be able to watch his shoulders. His shoulders will not lie, and you will sense when an attack is coming.
Tuck in your chin and elbows
Keeping your elbows by your side will help to protect your body. And keeping your chin tucked will make you a smaller target and difficult to hit.
Rolling with the punch
Half the job of blocking a punch is learning how to diffuse the energy of your opponent's attack. This not only minimizes the impact of a punch but also prepares you best for a counter attack.
Sometimes the best form of defense is offense. If your opponent never feels threatened by your punches, then they will rain punches on you. And there's only so many you can block. The truth is, your opponent's punches will feel very different if he/she feels they may be punched back.
Don’t be stationary
Move. Obviously, it is harder to hit a moving target. If you simply stay in one place your opponent is likely to the get the best of you. This is how more agile fitters are able to compete with bigger fighters, they simply move around like crazy and never get hit.
Don’t get cornered
One of the most vulnerable positions you can be in is up against a wall or cornered in one place. This will only make you more susceptible to your opponent's attacks. The best thing to do is try and use your opponent's energy against, ducking and weaving until you can roll out of the tight space.
Similar to a boxer cornered in the ring or lying on the ropes. There is a reason that is the worst place to be.
No matter how many Jackie Chan movies we watch, blocking a punch doesn’t get any easier. An ideal situation is not to have to fight in the first place. But in the case that you do, it is a common mistake to rely on your defense to get you through a fight.
Let we said above, if your opponent does not fear that you may strike back, he is likely to gain momentum with his punches. Half of defense is attacking. Make sure that you not only know how to block a punch but also, how to dish one out in return.