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How to Take a Hit, The Right Way

When talking about fighting tips and advice, most people focus on how to hit the opponent or how to NOT get hit by the opponent. But this leaves out one important aspect that will inevitably happen: when your opponent lands a blow.

To go into a fight expecting to never get hit is unrealistic. And while you can’t avoid it entirely, there are things you can do to minimize the level of damage each blow deal. If you can take the wisdom we provide below and train them into a reflex, your combat endurance should be notably better than what it once was.

All of this comes with a few assumptions on our part. First, we assume you know things like how to hold your arms to block punches, and the basics of how to actually block punches. Second, this is assuming this is a good ol’ fashion fist fight. The rules of survival are VERY different when weapons are involved.

Taking a Punch to the Head

Let’s start with the head. Housing your brain, eyes, ears, and all other senses, really, this is a popular target for attacks. And while too many headshots can be far more dangerous than too many gut shots, the skull is still pretty tough.

Keep your neck muscles ready and strong. When taking a shot to the head, you want to try and minimize how much whiplash you experience from your head moving. That’s what causes more issues than anything. As such, strong neck muscles can make a huge difference when taking general blows to the head. Exercise that works the trap muscles are popular with football players for the same reason.

Don’t worry too much about “breaking your skull.” A person’s hand will break far sooner than a skull would. So let’s move on to the next section, which will cover the sensitive parts of the head: the face.

Taking a Punch to the Face

The face is the danger zone in most fights. Broken noses are one of the most common injuries and broken jaws aren’t far behind. This is where more careful consideration needs to be taken to reduce damage.

First, roll with the punch, literally. When taking a blow, don’t try to push against it or resist it. Let the head/face follow in the motion of the strike. This will help reduce the overall impact. When done correctly, this will be one of the most effective methods to reducing damage. Just don’t let your head be loose or limp; You want to follow the punch, not bobble around.

Even before you get hit, try to keep your tongue on the roof of your mouth and your jaw clenched. While not terribly comfortable, this will reduce the chances of both biting your tongue and of your jaw becoming injured. Clenching the jaw will also help keep your neck muscles flexed for the previously mentioned advice.

Taking a Punch to the Gut

With the moneymaker out of the way, it’s time to protect the power train, so to speak. Not everyone will go after the head, especially if they see it’s well defended or know some hand-to-hand combat knowledge themselves.

With arms in the defensive position, there won’t be any good spots to hit your chest itself. And with the shoulders being a generally pointless target, that leaves the abs and the sides.

The abs are simple: flex. By tensing your ab muscles, you can create a fairly effective barrier down your torso. The first time I actually learned this trick was from the Pokémon video game, actually. One of the actions a Pokémon could take was called “Harden,” and it raised their defensive stat. I didn’t understand what they meant exactly, so I looked it up. Just like this, the move is described as tensing their muscles to reduce the damage of incoming attacks.

So what about your actual guts? Along your sides are things like the liver and kidneys. A good blow to these can down most people. But your ab muscles don’t cover them, so the above method isn’t as good for that. Well, the answer isn’t a great one: block with your arms.

While in a defensive pose, your arms should be close to the chest and pointed upwards. At this pose, you can easily lower your arms so that your elbows cover your side. This is, more or less, the most effective way at minimizing damage to this area. It’s not our favorite, since if you’re caught with your arms up, you’re in a tough spot,  but what can you do? The human body isn’t perfect. But at least you know a good spot to aim for on the opponent.

Stay safe, preppers. Let’s hope you never need to use this information.

Source: Art of Manliness, Brett & Kate McKay

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