The ability to take punches plays a significant role in fights, allowing you to defend yourself and also enabling you to avoid injuries. This article details various ways in which you can take punches better and along with a couple of tips to stay safe when throwing and taking punches in your next fight.
Different Types of Punches:
A properly executed punch is central to any MMA fight. The right force delivered at the right timing can turn the fight in your favor and help defeat your opponent.
To throw a proper punch, you must remember the following pointers:
- Your thumb must be outside your fist and in between the knuckles of your index and middle fingers. This way, you will avoid any injuries to your thumb upon punching impacts.
- Remember to tuck in your thumb tightly.
- When punching, the knuckles of your index and middle fingers must come in contact with the target.
- The knuckles of the other two fingers mustn’t come in contact with the target as far as possible to avoid injuries.
There are five basic punching styles common to every type of martial art. Let us take a closer look at each one of them.
Popular Punching Styles:
1. The Jab:
The jab is one of the most important punches and is crucial to establish dominance or ring control when sparring. Multiple successive thrusts will cause your opponent to flinch and get confused, helping you gain the upper hand in the ring.
To execute a proper jab:
- Get into your boxing/fighting stance. Place your fists in the guard position with your right hand adjacent to your cheek.
- Throw a punch into the air with your left hand, rotating your shoulder, and keeping your elbow straight towards your opponent. Your left foot should stay forward.
- Your fist should face the ground, and the jab should land on your index and first finger. The combination of movements should happen quickly and simultaneously.
- Once you have thrown the punch, you must quickly retract and come back to your original stance.
- To continue punching, you can stay in the attack stance with your left forward.
2. The Straight Right Hand or Right Cross:
This punch is the second step of a combo—the first being the jab. The jab helps you establish an upper hand over your sparring opponent. You can quickly follow this with an offensive punch in the form of a straight right hand, also known as the right cross.
The straight punch uses a full straight hand extension to create a powerful blow and impact the hit. The right cross uses the power generated from your entire body’s momentum to make a full impact blow.
To execute this punch:
- Get into a boxing stance. Step forward, leaning on to your body. Your rear foot should rotate on tiptoes.
- Rotate your shoulders, your body, and your hip. Your rear foot and your hip will give you the power to throw an impactful punch.
- Use your dominating hand to throw the punch while using the other hand as a guard adjacent to your chin. Throw a straight punch towards your target or sparring opponent and retract quickly.
3. The Left Hook:
The left hook is counted among the strongest of boxing punches and is one of Mike Tyson’s favorites.
The Jab, the Straight Right Hand, and the Left Hook are a part of the powerful trio, known as the Clutch 3. This powerful combo delivers the maximum speed, impact, and power and adds to the fighter’s skill and endurance.
For this punch:
- Stand in your boxing stance with your knees slightly bent. Shift your weight to the back leg. Now rotate the knee and foot of your lead leg. This will create the power to deliver the punch.
- Move your torso with the rotation of your knee and foot. Extend your arm and create a punch with your left hand, covering your face and placing your elbow at a 90° angle.
- Now, throw a punch toward your opponent while keeping your fist parallel to the ground. Your knuckles should be perpendicular to your body.
4. The Right Hook:
The right hook is like the left hook in most aspects. To execute the right hook, you must rotate your rear foot and hip and deliver the blow. But unlike the left hook punch, you will not swing your punch, body, or feet.
A right hook is generally followed by a punch to the head. So if your opponent is trying to throw a right hook at you, you must be extra vigilant and protect your head and chin with your free hand.
As the name suggests, this punch is thrown upwards from the waist and aims to hit the opponent’s jawline, chin, or solar plexus. To deliver the uppercut blow, first bend your knees and keep your hips low. Your torso must remain upright. Your hips must go down while your punch goes up and hits the target. This is one punch where you get power by rotating your hip and staying grounded. For this reason, many find the uppercut quite confusing.
If you plan to throw a left uppercut:
- Pivot your left foot and rotate your hips towards the punch. The same goes for the right. Pivot your right foot and rotate your hips in the punch’s direction.
- Place your arm at an angle to deliver the uppercut, keeping it relaxed while your palm faces upward, and rotate your body accordingly.
- Tighten your fist to deliver a powerful punch and land the punch right after your hip rotation to land the maximum impact on your target.
The uppercut is again counted among the powerful sparring punches. When thrown the right way, this punch isn’t visible to the opponent, catching them off guard creates full impact and maximum damage.
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How to Take Punches:
Learning the different punches and how to throw them the right way is one aspect of winning any MMA fight. The other aspect is learning the different ways of effectively taking punches, minimizing impact, and damage.
This section will discuss how to take a punch depending on your opponent’s strategy.
1. Blow to your Body:
Fighters commonly use body blow, as it can create a maximum impact quite easily. Blows to the body can affect and damage various important organs.
When expecting a body blow, you must first tighten the muscles of your stomach. Instead of flinching or moving away from the punch, move towards the sides.
You must aim to reduce the force of the punch. Let your obliques or the muscles that wrap around your ribs take the impact of the blow. This way, there is no damage to the internal organs of your body.
Alternatively, you can use your arm to block or absorb the impact of the punch.
2. Blow to your Head:
When expecting a blow to your head, your best strategy is to move forward towards the blow. This may result in lesser damage. Moving backward can result in a full-fledged impact on your head.
As you move forward, you must tighten your neck muscles and lower jaw and clench your jaw to reduce the impact of the oncoming blow.
3. Straight Punch:
A straight punch must also be dealt with by moving towards the blow and not away from it. Let your forehead take the impact, as it will result in less injury. Do not take the punch with your nose. If you have enough time, use your elbow to escape the straight punch.
If you are feeling adventurous enough, you can counter a straight punch with an uppercut blow to catch your opponent unaware.
4. Uppercut/Hook, etc:
We already know that moves such as the uppercut can be quite dangerous. When faced with such impactful punches, the best thing to do is to deflect them with your arm or escape them totally.
Dangerous Places to Get Hit:
Safety is of paramount importance when you are sparring. There are a few places you must avoid being hit to ensure there is no lasting damage.
Blows on your nose can be extremely painful. The nose is quite delicate and blows frequently result in bleeding, fractures, and breathing problems. When you get hit on the nose, your eyes water, leading to lowered visibility and concentration. This gives your opponent a chance to deliver additional blows. The jab and straight cross punches are the most dangerous punches that can cause considerable damage to your nose.
A blow to your chin can be pretty dangerous, impacting your brain and causing trauma. Hooks and uppercuts cause considerable damage to your chin, which will then jolt your skull. A powerful blow to your chin can even knock you unconscious, giving your opponent an upper hand in the fight.
3. Jaw Hinge/ Behind your ears:
The areas behind your ears are common targets for sparrers, since these areas have many nerves running through them. Additionally, the skull is thinner here, which means a blow can cause maximum impact. A punch behind your ear can cause injury to the nerves and your skull as well. Standard punches that can cause damage to these areas include hooks and straights.
4. Base of the skull/neck:
A blow in this area can cause spinal cord injuries, leaving lasting and damaging impact. Most fighters target this area only as a last resort due to the damage it can cause.
A punch to either of these areas can cause lingering and excruciating pain that will take a long recovery time. Punches such as left hooks and left uppercuts target these areas.
Apart from the above, you must also avoid injuries to areas such as the groin, temple, solar plexus, and armpits. These parts are quite sensitive, and any impact in these areas can cause extreme pain and damage and leave you vulnerable to further attacks.
The key to winning any tournament is a proper training on the various methods and techniques of throwing and taking punches. You must also have an awareness of the various safety precautions that must be taken. Always wear protective MMA gear such as gloves, jaw protectors, headgear, shin guards, groin guards, and body protectors before a fight.
Also, be aware of the dangerous places to get hit during fights and how you can escape damaging blows.
With these precautions, you can ensure that your next fight is safe for you with less impact or zero injuries.