Sometimes the inevitable will happen. A fight breaks out, someone is bad mouthing someone else and before you know it, a knuckle sandwich is served to you on a plate. There is no way to stop a punch from hurting, but if you’re in a situation where a fist is incoming, you should at least try to lessen the damage and survive the blow. If you can’t dodge and run, then here are few defensive tips that may just save you in a tight spot.
In really simple terms, remember to keep your mouth shut, tuck in your chin, stay loose and roll with the punch. The stiffer you are the more of a wall they will have to break down, but we know you don’t always have time to plan how to be punched and even more often it can be hard to roll with the punch when it hits you. For that reason, we are going to (try) to go into a bit more detail to help prepare you for the inevitable.
Start with closing the gap. If you are well versed in martial arts you’ll probably know this strategy already, but basically, all you need to do is reduce the distance between him and you, helping in reducing the speed and momentum they can build up before fist meets jaw, but also helps to catch them off guard. However, do try and remember that if that fist is coming to the side of your head then this will do nothing but get you in attacking and grappling distance – choose your opportunity wisely.
As we mentioned before, tuck in your chin and expose your forehead. It may seem unnatural at first, presenting a fair amount of head to your rival and all, there is one main reason you should do this. Your forehead is bony, and so is their hands – meaning that yes you’ll get hurt but maybe they’ll bust their hand too. Oh also, this move can be paired with stepping closer to help reduce power and it also helps redirect the hit to come into contact with somewhere that is not eyes, nose or mouth.
Another tip is to roll with the punch when you can. It’s not uncommon to hear such a phrase but there is a lot of logic to it. If someone’s fist connects with your face, and that face is already moving in the same direction as you turn your head to ‘roll’ with the punch, then the impact force will be much less than if you were stood still and rigid. Try to watch boxing videos to get an idea of how it works from the professionals in the ring.
When you are hit, keep your mouth shut too. A shut mouth will not only protect your teeth but also prevent you from accidentally biting your tongue on impact. A clenched jaw is the best defense against a roundhouse punch.
The final thing you should try is strengthening your muscles, especially your neck. People get knocked out in one punch party due to a well-placed strike, but also because your head shakes after a successful hit. If you can minimize that ‘shake’ by having a strong neck that can absorb more of that energy, you’ll be less likely to blackout.
Either way, a strong upper body, and attuned senses will always help you in situations where you are not getting out with at least one black eye. If you can train in self-defense, make sure to spend time working on your neck and practice rolling with punches as best as you can. If you can’t train for whatever reason, that is fine too, but make sure you have a hiding place or an escape route worked out when things start to get hairy.