How to Take a Punch


How to Take a Punch


1. Tighten your stomach muscles.

A body blow to the gut (solar plexus) can damage organs and kill.  This sort of punch is one of the best and easiest ways to knock someone out. (Legend has it that Harry Houdini died from an unexpected blow to the abdomen.)

2. Do not flinch or move away from the punch.

3. Shift so that the blow hits your side; move in to reduce its force.

Try to absorb the blow with your obliques: this is the set of muscles on your side that wraps around your ribs. While a blow to this area may crack a rub, it is less likely to do damage to internal organs.

4. Absorb the blow with your arm.

Move your arm into a blocking position to absorb the blow, if you have time.


1. Move toward the blow, not away from it.

Getting punched while moving backward will result in the head taking the punch at full force. A punch to the face can cause head whipping, where the brain moves suddenly inside the skull, and may result in severe injury or death.

2. Tighten your neck muscles and lower your jaw to your neck.

This will create a more “unified” object (body, head, and neck).

3. Clench your jaw.

This will help limit scraping of the upper and lower palettes.


1. Move toward the blow.

The straight punch—one that comes straight at your face—should be countered by moving toward the blow. This will take force from the blow.

2. Meet the blow with your forehead.

A punch can be absorbed most effectively and with the least injury by the forehead. Avoid taking the punch in the nose, which is extremely painful.

3. Attempt to deflect the blow with an arm.

Moving into the punch may result in your attacker missing the mark wide to either side.

Optional: Fight back! Respond with an uppercut or roundhouse punch.


1. Clench your jaw and tuck your chin.

A punch to the ear causes great pain and can break your jaw

2. Move in close to your attacker.

Try to make the punch land harmlessly behind your head, or pass over you. Alternatively, try to roll under the punch.

Optional: Hit back with an uppercut.


1. Clench your neck and jaw.

An uppercut can cause much damage, whipping your head back, easily breaking your jaw or your nose.

2. Use your arm to absorb impact or deflect the blow.

Do anything you can to minimize the impact of a straight punch to the jaw.

3. Do not step into this punch.

Move your head to the side, if possible.