In boxing or fist fighting, there are 3 pillars of defense you can use to keep yourself safe. All the defensive moves boxers learn and practice fall into one of these three foundational parts of the sport or fighting system.
1 – Move your head
This is the easiest way to protect yourself in a fight.
No matter how good your opponent or attacker is, you can make him miss his punch by moving your head. Your head should never remain in the same spot long enough for him to target you and get off a clean punch. Especially if you’re a short guy or if you like to fight on the inside, good head movement is what makes the difference between getting hit or not.
Remember: it doesn’t matter how tired you are, you can always keep your head moving. Even if you’re up against the ropes, with wobbly legs, and so fatigued you can barely hold your hands up, you can still keep your head moving and make it to the end of the round.
2 – Block a punch
The word “Blocking” can be deceptive. Lots of non-fighters think of blocking as the thing kids learn in Karate class where they go through a big, impressive ‘block’ against a punch that probably wouldn’t have landed anyway. Although those techniques are called blocks, they really aren’t. They’re really joint-locking techniques or breaking techniques.
Nevertheless, boxers and full-contact fighters do block. They just don’t do it with as much fanfare as Karate guys. Lots of guys ‘catch’ punches with the rear hand, or ‘deflect’ them with the front hand. Even if you only alter the angle of the punch by an inch, it’s still an effective block.
Blocking is very useful in a boxing match where the fighters are wearing big gloves. It’s less useful in a bare-knuckle fight. Without gloves, it’s harder (but not impossible) to block a punch. Blocks are still useful in street fights, but the techniques are somewhat different.
Keeping your hands up is the first and most important part of blocking a punch. Some expert boxers fight with their lead hand down, but they’re still capable of blocking with the lead shoulder or with the rear hand.
3 – Defensive footwork
Footwork – or moving your feet (as opposed to moving your head) – is the experts’ way of making an opponent miss his punch.
With subtle adjustments of stance and footwork, an expert fighter can make his opponent punch air. And when he hits back, he’s in range to land damaging counterpunches.
Pick one technique and work on it
So if you’re getting hit too much in sparring, make the decision to practice one of these three aspects of fighting defense. Learn all you can about it and work on it until you feel like you’re surrounded by an impenetrable shield.
If you’re a big, tough guy, you might decide to get good at blocking punches. If you’re small and agile, footwork might be your friend. And no matter who you are, you have to learn how to move your head.
Have fun with your training and remember to always keep your chin down!
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