Punch lead in
Photo by Joshua Chinsky

Fight Club: 5 Ways of How to Take a Punch Like a Man

Sucker punches knock you out because your brain and body aren’t ready for the impact. When you SEE the punch coming, there are a few things you can do to prepare. Make sure you keep your eyes glued on your opponent and be aware that he might have friends to your side or behind you. 

When a confrontation starts, I like to have my back against a wall or anything I can stand in front of. Don’t make it easy for someone to sneak up on you from your backside. 

Block the punch with your face

Sure this sounds like a horrible idea, and it is, but I always say, “Make them miss if you can.” Let him take the first shot because then he KNOWS it’s going to be hard to knock you out! Of course, a swing and a miss on his part would be ideal. The trick is, again, to see the punch coming. Brace yourself and even push your head a tiny bit INTO the punch. Don’t do this when your opponent is 100 pounds heavier than you and looks huge. Remember, even when a fighter has bad technique, “weight and power” can still knock you out. Every idiot can be lucky once, right?

Roll with the punch

punch 3
Photo by Joshua Chinsky

See the punch coming and move your head backwards or to the side — depending on whether it’s a straight punch or a hook — while taking the shot. It takes a lot of steam out the punch.

Use your shoulders to deflect the punch

punch 5
Photo by Joshua Chinsky

Don’t stand straight in front of him. Position yourself in a “fighting stance,” but don’t bring your hands up. Keep your eyes on him. Bring your shoulder up at the exact moment he punches and lean a little bit backwards. If you don’t lean a little back and he hits the top of your head, he still can deliver with power. If you lean backwards a bit, the punch will ricochet over your shoulder. Your head will no longer be a full target since it’s at an angle now.

I call this “Take Slip the punch like a SMART man”

punch 2
Photo by Joshua Chinsky

As I mentioned before, it’s never good to get hit, so letting your opponent miss is always the best thing to do. It’s pretty simple if you don’t overthink it. You know what he wants to hit — your head — so, if your head is not at the spot where he aims, he’ll miss. The trick is to look super relaxed. Avoid flinching. In training I call this “poker face.” When your face muscles are relaxed, your body is relaxed. When you start flinching, you’re telling your brain that something’s not right. You’ll start panicking and therefore be too late when he throws a punch.

Stay calm. Your head is the target so just move to the side with a fast motion. Come back immediately to your starting position to intimidate him! When you keep your “poker face,” he’ll know that YOU’RE the man with all the skills. Don’t forget to be ready for another shot. Never think “it’s over” because that’s when you lose.

Head-butt his fist

punch 4
Photo by Joshua Chinsky

I love this one. As a bouncer, this was always my favorite. As soon as you see him “load up,” wait till he throws and simultaneously bring your head forward, head-butting his fist. Two great things are happening here: First, when a guy throws a punch, he’ll probably start flexing his fist at the end of the punch, like every pro. Flexing ensures that you don’t break your hand on impact. If you suddenly throw your head forward while he’s punching, he will connect on the top of your head. Since you brought the target (your head) suddenly forward, his hand isn’t flexed yet and it will hit the top of your skull.

You know when the punch is coming, so you’re ready for impact, and his tiny little hand bones are twigs compared to your skull. This will result in him screaming and yelling from pain. Second, because you brought your head forward, his punch is now really short. Normally, a punch is the strongest at the end of its reach, because it had time to develop speed and power. When you throw your head forward, you suddenly shorten his reach, and he connects way too early. He won’t have real power because you didn’t allow him the space to do it. 

The Wrap-Up

Good luck, and again, always keep your eyes on your opponent. When he laughs and turns away, get ready, because it’s coming. Never be the sucker. Let him have that one punch only. That’s enough. Now, you have to return the favor because it’s time to get back to socializing, right? 

This article is from a previous issue of skillset magazine, for subscriptions please visit outdoorgroupstore.com and make sure to listen to our podcast Skillset Live.

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