Last lesson monkeys. For the lovers, the haters and the master debaters.
Eddie will show you how to throw and then I'll take you home with how to take... a punch.
Taking a punch should be avoided at all costs, but once faced with the prospect risk management is key. As Eddie points out, hands are very easy to break. The skull is generally a lot tougher and more durable than the fist. For the most part, it is a lot easier to get hit and minimize the damage than it is to one hit a quitter. Keep the following steps in mind if/when you find yourself about to be hit:
1) Set your jaw
You may recall this suggestion from earlier in the week. Jaw setting is a technique used by soldiers and fighters since the dawn of time. Needless to say it is no longer popular, but still very useful. Jaw setting gives your whole head enough tension to absorb a blow with minimal impact. It decreases the likelihood of a broken jaw and knocked out teeth by helping limit impact displacement. Most importantly, a set jaw helps to keep you from biting your own tongue. The majority of coughed up blood in a fight comes from guys biting through their lip or tongue. This is why referees will stop a boxing match the second a fighter loses his mouthpiece. If violence is imminent, you want to do your best to protect yourself and this is the first step. Some fights you just cannot win, jaw setting will always help you minimize the damage to your face and decrease the likelihood of being knocked out cold.
2) The sideways stance
Eddie addresses the issue in the video, so I won't go crazy with elaborations. You want to give your opponent the smallest possible target. Squaring up to your opponent makes you a bigger target, give him less to aim at. Also, remember to stay on the balls of your feet. If someone is approaching you in an aggressive fashion or starting to get loud and demonstrative, it is a good idea to loosen your knees and hips. Move them around a bit, no need for full blown dancing. Combining these suggestions may buy you a split second and could prove very useful in case you are dealing with multiple attackers.
3) Point your head towards the ground and focus on his chest
The majority of knockout blows to the head are caused by one of two things: Either you will take a direct strike to the temple, nose, throat, jaw line or jaw tip (a.k.a. the button) OR the violent snapping back of your head resulting from a hard blow (usually an uppercut) will cause you to momentarily lose consciousness.
Pointing your head toward the ground will make these sensitive areas harder to aim at. In conjecture, staring at your opponent's chest rather than his eyes or whole body will help you judge which way he will throw his punch. Eye and head fakes are common in fighting. Observe boxers, MMA fighters and martial artists in action...almost all of them move in while bobbing and weaving. This is done to disorient the opponent and disguise the coming attack pattern. Focus on the torso and you will see the shot coming a split second sooner. This can make all the difference in an adrenalized setting.
4) Tuck your neck into your shoulders
You know that motion you make when it's raining and you don't have an umbrella? That's what you do. Pull your head down and your shoulders up, Quasimodo. Expanding to the point brought up in #3, your neck is your enemy. If you are a giraffe type of guy in terms of your neck, pay closer attention to this point. If we were to take a survey of fighters across disciplines we would find that many have absolutely no neck, their heads practically extend from their chest. This is due to the fact that the aforementioned neck snap effect can cause serious brain damage. Fighters perform neck exercises since their earliest days of training to toughen up their neck region. It is arguably the most crucial area to develop for a career scrapper. Since I assume most of you guys do not wear 50 lb steel chains around your neck in preparation for the 0.7 times you may need it in your lives, I recommend the next best solution. Protect your neck as much as possible. A combination of a neck tucked into shoulders and a head pointed down is your optimal hedge.
5) Keep your elbows close to your body and your abs contracted
There is a temptation to lift your arms out wide, bench press style. Do not give into it. Your body is susceptible, as well. Since this isn't a full street on guide I am omitting suggestions for dealing with weapons, groin shots, being jumped, etc. After all, most of you guys are finely dressed and manicured gentlemen of class and culture...
who would ever want to attack you?
I am only giving one point to body blows, as the tendency to go for knockout head shots is ever prevalent. You want to avoid having the wind knocked out of you at all costs. I have both been dropped and dropped guys with pretty tame body shots. The key is to breathe hard, shallow and fast. Notice that hissss sound boxers make? It helps them get more power behind their punches, but also helps prevent getting the wind knocked out on a counter-punch.
Now make sure that your elbows are in tight. You can't protect both your face and your entire rib cage simultaneously. You can, however, place those elbows close enough to your torso where you can easily block attempted body shots by bending down or moving your arms lower with the coming blow.
There they are boys. Five tips to helping you take a punch. Combine them with Eddie's video instructions on how to throw a punch and you should be able to hold your own in a fight even if you've never experienced the pain and panic of it all.
Remember, the goal is not to be a hero or to pummel your opponent into submission. The goal is always to live and fight another day. Memorize this quick and simple guide, you never know when it may come in handy. Good luck and kiss Man Week goodbye.