How to Take a Punch

How to Take a Punch

Everyone wonders if they would be able to hold their own in a fistfight.

Something not everyone thinks about, however, is how they'll feel after a punch.

And if they'll remain standing.

Especially one to the face.

We will discuss actual street fighting and hand-to-hand combat techniques in detail at another time.

For now, we're going to focus on how to get hit.

How to take a punch and remain standing.

A Blow to The Body

1. Tighten your stomach muscles.

A body blow to the gut (solar plexus) can damage organs and kill.

While this is unlikely to happen, most don't realize how much damage a close-up punch can actually do to the body. 

Especially one that is totally unexpected.

In fact, Harry Houdini died from an unanticipated blow to the abdomen.

This is serious stuff.

Moreover, this sort of punch is one of the best and easiest ways to knock someone out unconscious. 

2. Do not suck in your stomach if you expect that a punch is imminent.

This will actually increase the amount of damage your abdomen and insides will take if you do this.

3. If possible, shift slightly so that the blow hits your side, but do not flinch or move away from the punch.

Try to absorb the blow with your obliques: this is the set of muscles on your side that wrap around your ribs.

Sometimes referred to as "side abs."

See below:

absorbing a punch with the obliques

While a blow to this area may crack a rib, it is less likely to do damage to any internal organs.

A Blow to The Head

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

Getting punched while moving backward can result in the head taking the punch at full force.

A punch to the face can cause head whipping, where the brain suddenly moves around inside the skull, which may result in severe injury or even death.

2. Tighten your neck muscles and clench your jaw to avoid the upper and lower palettes from scraping inside the mouth.

This also significantly reduces the change of your jaw itself taking any damage.

A Straight Punch

How to take a punch straight to the face

1. The straight punch--one that comes straight at your face--should be countered by moving toward the blow.

While this may seem entirely counter-intuitive, this will take force away from the blow.

The extended punch will have less distance to travel and likewise work-up additional power.

2. A punch can be absorbed most effectively and with the least injury by the forehead.

Head butts were outlawed from the UFC for a reason.

The forehead is firm and powerful.

Don't get us wrong here, obviously, you'd want to avoid taking a punch to the face altogether, yet, if and when necessary, the forehead is a great "defensive tool" of the face.

Lastly, avoid taking the punch in the nose at all costs.

It is a vulnerable area and can be extremely painful when hit.

It also isn't uncommon for a punch to this region to result in a blood-gushing, broken mess.

While not only unpleasant, this can also reduce your ability to fight effectively--blood pouring all over your face.

3. Attempt to deflect the blow with an arm.

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

4. Hit back with an uppercut or roundhouse! (Again, more on this in a later post!)

A Roundhouse Punch

Not sure what a roundhouse punch is? Click me to find out (also referred to as a 'Haymaker').

How to be prepared for a punch to the side of the head

1. Clench your jaw.

A punch to the ear or cheek can cause great pain and may break your jaw.

2. Move-in close to your attacker.

Try to make the punch land harmlessly behind your head.

In other words, move into the 'circle' of their punch so it wraps behind you.

You'll now find yourself in their personal space, which means...

3. Hit back with an uppercut!

An Uppercut

Not sure what an uppercut punch is? Click me to find out.

How to counter an uppercut punch

1. Clench your neck and jaw.

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

2. Use your arm to absorb some of the impact or deflect the blow to the side--anything to minimize the impact of a straight punch to the jaw.

3. Do not step into this punch.

If possible, move your head to the side, rotating your body slightly if need be.

They may fail to make any contact with your body in the first place when done at the right time.

4. Hit back with a straight punch to the face or with an uppercut of your own.

Pour Conclure

Hands-on skills (literally) like hand-to-hand combat will take more than reading an article to learn and implement.

We're not trying to sound like a smart ass by saying that, as we're sure you realize this.

Albeit, it is helpful to understand what to expect even if you don't have time to play around shadow boxing or get formal training of some kind.

You really never know if you'll end up in a scenario where this knowledge will be helpful.

By the same token, most are surprised by how much information rushes into their conscious mind when an emergency situation presents itself!

The majority of the world has little to no formal training whatsoever in this regard, so simply reading something like this can put you that much farther ahead of everyone else.

This includes the type of people who would jump you in the street.

While we always recommend conflict avoidance, most of these types rely purely on fear and intimidation and will run like hell if facing someone who will actually fight them.

Finally, if you do get the chance or have the time to get proper instruction of some sort, we'd highly recommend you do so. 

Please, let us know if you have any comments, questions, or thoughts you'd like to share.

We WANT to hear from you!


-Alexander @ Survival Cat


The information presented to you here today is from Joshua Piven's book, The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook - an excellent on-the-go addition to any hiking pack or bug-out-bag.

However, something like the SAS Survival Handbook will be more practical for everyday use while outdoors.


If you're gearing up for your next adventure, take a peek at our catalog and see if there is anything you'll need to accompany your travels. 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published



Sold Out