It is never cowardice to walk away from a fight and doing so could save you a lot of head trauma. If some idiot wants to start trouble in the street, leave them to it, and if you have no choice but to stand your ground, you need to be ready to get punched.
You could be a great fighter but at some point, someone is going to land a punch and you will need to know how to take it. While avoiding hits is always going to be the better option, it is important that you know how to lessen the impact when they do land.
First off, the most dangerous areas of the head and face to get hit are:
- Chin/Jaw – A punch to the chin or jaw does not need to be accurate to cause damage. The reason that this is such a dangerous place to get hit is to do with the brain. The brain is floating around in liquid and if someone hits you with force to the chin, it can cause enough trauma that the brain will actually bounce inside the skull and momentarily shut down. It will be a knockout!
- Behind the Ear – There are a lot of nerves bundled together right behind the ear and this part of the skull is thinner than other areas like the forehead. This too could be an easy knockout.
- Nose – It doesn’t take much pressure to break someone’s nose and will cause excruciating pain. A light hit here will tear anyone’s eyes up meaning temporary loss of vision.
- Throat – It is never a good idea to leave your throat open to an attack because not only will it hurt like hell, it could also potentially kill you.
This guide is not going to focus on striking back at an attacker. The idea behind this guide is solely to show you how to actually take a punch.
How to Take a Punch to the Face
1. Watch What’s Coming
A punch can do a lot more damage when it takes you by surprise compared to those that you see coming. If you see a punch headed your way it gives your survival instincts time to react and lessen the impact. It is harder than you may think to keep your eyes open when a punch is thrown but it gets easier with practice. A good practice routine is to lean back as a friend throws light punches towards your head and just before they hit you.
2. Keep Your Jaw Closed
An open jaw on the receiving end of a punch is at risk of breaking. By keeping your jaw closed tight, you allow the muscles of the jaw to absorb some of the force. Make sure that you do this both when throwing punches and when getting hit.
3. Roll With It
You may have heard about rolling with the punches before but it isn’t just something someone made up one day, it really works and simply means to go with the motion of the blow. This will be tougher to master but will be worth it if you ever come against an attacker. Get your friend throwing punches at around 50% power and try to move your head or body in the same direction as the punch. If it’s a hook to the head coming from your left move your head left and vice versa. If it’s an uppercut lean back.
4. Chin Down Shoulders Up
We have already looked at how bad it can be to be hit in the chin so at all times, keep your chin tucked in and your shoulders up. Your shoulders will help to protect your chin so don’t fail to do this.
5. Use Your Forehead
If a punch has already broken through your block and you have no chance of avoiding it then you have to take it. This doesn’t mean that it needs to end badly for you. The thickest parts of your skull are the top of the forehead and the corners of the head so aim to take the punch here.
I remember once when I and a couple of friends went out for drinks one night and some guys tried causing trouble with us. One of the guys came forward and tried to headbutt me. All I did was tilted my head down slightly and he caught the top of my forehead knocking himself clean out. It was pretty funny, to be honest, though it wasn’t intentional at the time.
6. Keep Your Balance
The last thing that you need in a street fight is for an attacker to knock you off balance and you fall down to the ground. To avoid this from happening, keep your knees slightly bent and take a wide stance so that your center of gravity is closer to the ground. You also want to make sure that you are in more of a sideways stance rather than squared up against an attacker.
7. Breathe Out
While this is often talked about in regards to body shots, it is also important when taking shots to the head. If you haven’t really been in a fight before it can be easy to automatically hold your breath on impact but this needs to be avoided. If you exhale on the impact your body regulates your breathing which improves your recovery time.
8. Strengthen Your Neck
One important part that you should never overlook is your neck strength. Strong neck muscles will help lessen the trauma your brain receives from whiplash when you get hit. Some good neck strengthening exercises are:
- Head Weight Exercises – lie down on your back with your head hanging off of a surface. Start to nod your head up and down whilst keeping your chin tucked into the chest. Do this ten times and then do the same but this time moving your head from side to side.
- Dumbbell Shrug – stand up holding two dumbbells at your sides and lift your shoulders as high as possible, then slowly lower them back down. Do this time times a set.
- Neck Crunches – lie down on your back and sit your head up as if doing a stomach crunch using only your neck, keeping your back flat on the floor. When you lower your head try not to let it touch the floor until your set is complete, doing so will make the muscles work that little bit harder.
- Neck Bridges – lie down on your back, take a big breath, and raise up onto your neck, holding for around 30 – 60 seconds. It is recommended that you place your hands on the floor, either side of your head to add some stability.
9. Watch Their Shoulders
The fist is the point of contact and staring at the fist means that before you know which way it is going, it will already be too late. Because of this, instead of watching the fist, you should be focusing on their shoulders which will allow you to see how they are shifting their body giving a better indication as to where the punch is headed.
That is all we have for you today for this guide but if you have any tips that you’d like to share, feel free to drop them in the comments section below.