How To Block A Punch – Step-by-Step Guide

Whether you’ve taken up street fighting, boxing, or any kind of martial art sport, you’ll need to learn how to defend yourself by blocking a punch. The good news is that of all the defensive techniques you’ll learn, this one will be the easiest. 

In an ideal world, you would be able to always avoid a strike from your opposition but we don’t live in an ideal world and the likelihood of you being able to avoid every strike that the opposition throws your way is minimal, if not near impossible.

How To Block A Punch?

You need to learn a dependable and sturdy block and this needs to be the foundation upon which the rest of your defense can be built. 

Blocking is less about avoiding and deflecting the strikes from your opposition and more to do with cushioning and softening the blow. You’ll be using your forearms, hands, elbows, and shoulders to absorb the impact of an opponent’s strike. 

Is It Possible To Block A Punch?

Yes, although blocking punches can be the easiest and most difficult thing to do at the same time.

You see, it’s fairly easy because the standard fighting stance that you will have learned in whichever class you take will have blocking integrated into it in one form or another.

In most cases, your hands will already be close to your face protecting your head. However, your opponent only needs to land one heavy punch and you’ll need to adjust your position.

Successfully executing several blocking combinations also makes things a lot harder.  

How you go about blocking your punch will also depend entirely on the sport you are participating in. For example, if you are boxing you have a much bigger surface area when you’re wearing boxing gloves.

This means that you can mainly use your hands to block. If you are fighting with bare hands it’s a lot safer to use your elbows and forearms to block. 

Blocking is always a good strategy as it’s easy to do and requires minimal effort so won’t tire you out while you’re fighting. Of course, blocking doesn’t guarantee that it won’t hurt at all.

Strong opponents can still cause a harsh blow even when it has been effectively blocked. 

How To Block Punches To Your Face?

Since your face is arguably the most vulnerable part of your body, it becomes your biggest target. Once in combat, your opponents are going to try and take advantage of your weaknesses.

Ensure that you always keep your guard tight and keep your hands close to your head. When you block you want it to be subtle, your body and your hands should work together in perfect union. 

  • Straight Punches – If your opponent goes for a straight punch, make sure you’ve raised your hands a little bit higher. Place your palms on your forehead and bring your forearms together. Your arms should then absorb most of the blow. 
  • Looping Punches & Hooks – If you’re faced with either of these moves, you’ll need to raise the elbow of your blocking hand up high, your hand should be pressed tightly to your head. Tuck in your chin and then rotate your body fractionally to the other side. This way the strike should make contact with your shoulder or your forearm. 

How To Block A Punch To The Stomach?

A punch to the stomach can be seriously painful. And if you haven’t yet gotten used to taking a few blows in that area, they can definitely take your breath away.

This can leave you incapacitated, and even if it’s only a fractional amount of time, it can be the difference between you winning or losing a match.

Thankfully, it’s not too difficult to defend a stomach punch (that is if it’s not part of a combination.)

  • Straight Punches – If a straight punch is aimed for your stomach, just rotate your body marginally and then position your forearm and elbow to block the inbound punch. 
  • Side Shots – To block a side shot position your elbow so that it covers the sides. All the while you must make sure that you keep your hands close to your head. 

It’s really important that when covering your sides you don’t lower your hands from your face.

Your opponent may fake a stomach strike and then collide with your head once you drop your hands. Use your elbows and lean your body into the strike to absorb it. 

Common Mistakes

You’ll want to try and avoid these common mistakes that are made while blocking a punch

  • Reaching – You should never have to reach too far to block a punch. You may do this in a moment of fear or panic but you should try not to. This is because your hands should always be protecting your face, if you move your hands too far you leave yourself open and vulnerable. 
  • Not Looking At The Opponent – Keep your eyes on your opponent at all times. Closing your eyes can be a difficult habit or instinct to grow out of, but it’s imperative that you always keep your eye on your opponent’s moves. 
  • Disconnecting The Hand From The Forehead – A lot of beginners can struggle with keeping their gloves tight to their faces when blocking. It can be a bit of a habit to just try and use only your arms, but you’ll never effectively block a blow this way. 

Final Thoughts

Blocking a punch is a very basic necessity for your defense. It should be the very first defensive move that you learn. It keeps you in position and it won’t drain your energy.

However, it is only the very first stepping stone of your defense, to be ring ready you’ll need to learn a few more techniques such as parrying, bobbing, slipping, and weaving.

So get practicing your blocking skills now, and I’m sure in no time at all you’ll be learning all the aforementioned defense techniques.

If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy our article on ‘What’s TKO Mean?‘.

Christopher Anderson
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