Blocking is a very important part of fighting. You can be the best attacker in the world, but if you don’t know how to block a punch, you have a big problem
Blocking is a very important part of fighting. You can be the best attacker in the world, but if you don’t know how to defend, especially how to block a punch, you have a big problem. An opponent can neutralize your strikes and deliver a single strike to your chin. The fight will be over and he will win. You were dominating the fight, but your blocking skills were lacking. In one of our previous tutorials, you learned the true power of jab and cross.
Jab and right cross might be dangerous techniques, especially of the counter. Semmy Schilt knew to knock his opponents out via a powerful jab! His match against Ray Sefo taught us one thing – nothing is impossible when you hit the chin!
Now it’s time to avoid this scenario. This tutorial describes how to block two punch attacks – jab and cross – in details. These are two techniques mostly used by Muay Thai fighters, boxers, kickboxers, and even some stand-up MMA fighters.
Good counterattack is nearly impossible without perfect defense! A fighter who defends well has a lot more chances of ending the fight before the final bell than the one who has good offense only.
Basic Defensive Techniques
There are seven basic defensive techniques – blocking, parrying, avoiding, disruption, anticipation, catching, and countering.
#1 - Blocking
Blocking is the most basic thing in Muay Thai. Many of you will start learning it in the first class. It means putting arm or leg to prevent the opponent’s strike. Punches are usually blocked by the upper part of your forearm, or glove. Body punches are neutralized with the lower third of your forearm or even elbow. In extreme situations, the knee can be used against an opponent who constantly tries to punch your stomach.
#2 - Parrying
Parrying is the defensive technique used to redirect the opponent’s punch which goes towards your body or head. The purpose of parrying is minimizing the power of impact created by the opponent. Parrying techniques are used against an opponent who is a very good puncher and where your blocks would be useless. If an opponent is a lot stronger than you, parrying is definitively better choice than blocking.
#3 - Avoiding
Avoiding is the most often technique used by boxers. In Muay Thai, a fighter who knows how to avoid the incoming strikes mostly has an advantage. He will know how to use the space for counters. There are few types of avoiding – ducking in, ducking out, leaning back, movement avoiding, and hand avoiding.
Evading punch opens a lot of space for a counterpunch or a counter kick. Many Muay Thai fighters stand like a tree, receiving strikes and going forward only. When you learn to avoid strikes, you will be an extremely dangerous fighter who threatens from all angles. When you go back, sometimes you won’t be able to deliver a counterpunch, but the opponent will waste energy missing you.
#4 - Disruption
Disruption techniques are used to prevent the opponent’s punch before it reaches your face or body. Teep kick is a great disruption technique which slows down the pace of a fight, irritates your opponent, and potentially opens up a lot of space.
#5 - Anticipation
Anticipation can be used to your advantage if you know how to predict the incoming strike. For example, when your opponent constantly repeats one technique, you can anticipate it and hit his limb intentionally. That is an example of good anticipation.
#6 - Catching
Catching can be used effectively against kicks, sometimes even knees. There is no possibility to catch arms in the Muay Thai fight, but you can catch somebody’s punch in the street or MMA fight. However, this technique is rarely used for punches and it is a lot more effective against middle kicks.
#7 - Countering
Countering means application of the counter technique which puts you into an advantageous position against a technique your opponent throws at you. It needn’t mean your counter technique will create more damage, but it certainly brings more risk to your opponent. A good counter can knock your opponent down or out, knock him off balance, or rock him. An experienced fighter mostly looks for his opportunity off the counter, forcing the opponent to open up. Enjoy some of the best counter punches ever!
How To Block a Punch – All Defensive Techniques for Jab and Cross
Jab is a technique used by most fighters. Its main purpose is to open up space for the incoming attacking, tricking the opponent. Jab can be used as a good counter, but its main purpose is irritating and feinting.
#1 - Block
To be able to block the jab, all you need to do is close your guard, holding the fists in the level of your forehead, and rotating forearms towards your opponent. You can also put the open right hand in the path of the jab, and the glove or the palmar side of your hand receives the strike.
Sometimes you won’t be having time to lift your hands up, because the opponent may deliver a barrage of punches and kicks towards your body. In that case, the best option is a closure, lowering your center of gravity and flexing your knees. However, put your fists in the level of your zygomatic bone, flexing the thoracic and cervical part of your spine. Rotate slightly to the right to absorb the force of the incoming strike. If you make a mistake and rotate to the right, the power of the opponent’s strike will be bigger. Remember the Newton’s Third Law. When you cannot avoid a strike, put your forehead down, letting it receive jab. The forehead is stronger than the other parts of your face, and you have fewer chances of being knocked out.
#2 - Parrying
Parrying a jab requires moving your left arm to the right and neutralizing the opponent’s incoming attack. You must perform this move before the opponent’s hand reaches your face, hitting the inner part of his forearm.
If you want to neutralize with your right arm, simply slap the outer part of the opponent’s forearm as soon as he tries to punch you. This is the safest way, and it protects you from his right cross too. You can also clench your fist and move it to the right, but you won’t be able to deliver a counterstrike.
#3 - Avoiding
Avoiding jab might be tricky. Move your head to the right, transferring the weight slightly to your right knee. Leaning back is a solid option, but you will have a hard time countering. The safest way is to lean back and right at the same time – the opponent will miss 100%. You can also jump back, but the opponent can continue chasing you. Optionally, you can perform a side step to the right. Do not duck in or out.
#4 - Disrupt
You have many ways to disrupt the jab. Both teep kicks, front, and rear, are great solutions. The front side kick is a great option. Or simply move your head to the right and push your opponent.
There is one golden rule – whenever you try to disrupt, keep your hands up!
Catching can be applied in MMA or street fight. When the opponent tries to jab, perform the movement similar to slapping, catching his wrist with your right hand. However, this movement is very risky.
#6 - Countering
Countering jab is difficult, but not impossible. When you move your head to the right, you have three options – right hook, right cross, or right uppercut. When you want to counter via hook or uppercut, slightly move your head forward and rotate your left knee to the right, to decrease the distance. If you performed a side step to the right, you can try a low kick or a right cross while your legs are still in the air.
To perform a leg counter, you need to be fast as lightning. The most effective ones are right spinning back kick and a right spinning heel kick. It might be useful if the opponent is annoying with his jabs, however, a jab is a lot faster than spinning kicks, so you must hunt the moment when your opponent makes a step towards you. Less effective, but suitable is left low-kick, which must be followed by moving your head to the right.
#1 - Block
A closure can be very effective technique against right cross too. But successful blocking requires slight rotation of your leading leg and torso to the right. This will neutralize the power of the opponent’s attack additionally. Even when the opponent is ten times stronger, he will not break your guard when you slightly rotate to the right. Putting an open left hand on the way is effective, but riskier. I recommend you to hold this hand at least 15 centimeters from your face when trying it. Whatever you do, do not keep your hands wide, or the punch will find a way between your hands.
For the safest block, lift your left elbow up, putting the hand in the level of your ears and receiving the impact by the lower third of your forearm. It prevents the incoming strike but leaves your stomach wide open. Lift your left shoulder, tucking it to the chin.
#2 - Parrying
Parrying right cross has one safe option only – slap the lateral part of the opponent’s forearm. There are many other ways of parrying, but the safety is questionable. You can also parry it down, slapping the upper part of the opponent’s forearm.
#3 - Avoiding
Avoiding is usually done by moving your head to the left. You will stay close to your opponent and you will be able to perform counterpunches. If you lean to the back, make sure to lean to the left at the same time to minimize the chances of receiving the strike. There is one more option – 90-degrees avoidance. Move your right leg 90-degrees clockwise.
#4 - Disrupt
Catching is also possible in MMA and street fight, but a lot riskier than catching a jab. You can catch the lateral side of the opponent’s wrist when he tries to execute the cross.
#6 - Countering
Countering is easy in the fight of two right-handed fighters. You can simply intercept with your left jab, lifting your shoulder up. When you move your head to the side, there are few options – left hook, left uppercut to the body, left uppercut to the head, right cross, right overhand, or right hook. Enjoy ten ways of countering right cross.
When it comes to kicks, a spinning back kick is a good counter, but a bit risky. If you really want to blow your opponent away, karate front kick is the safest way. But keep both hands up!
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