Lesson 6 – How to dodge a punch

Dodge an attack is anything but simple

Parrying a shot (eg. a punch) is not easy but to effectively dodge it, probably, it is even more difficult (read Dodge attacks). To gain a perfect dodging ability it takes:

  • Noticeable reflexes (combined with muscle memory)
  • The right explosive speed (combined with softness, flexibility and balance)
  • Ability to read the opponent’s body mimicry (without being victims of the feints)
  • Wide precision (to avoid movements that are uselessly too wide or worse too tight)
  • Good spatial intelligence (to interpret the time / space relationships within the fighting scenario)

Important premises:

  • In this lesson, we will deal with one of the most classic dodges but as for the previous lessons, we are still in the field of theoretical study
  • In a personal defense situation, to avoid a real attack (hurled at full power / speed) it is required a considerable practice and conditioning
  • Especially if you are not a skilled practitioner do not try to dodge the opponent’s attacks without the guard up (read Lesson 5.2)

Dodge a punch: the “U” motion

The “U” motion we are going to describe is:

  • A simple curvilinear downward motion from a position A to a position B (where the legs can remain motionless)
  • Common to various fighting sports / disciplines (eg. Boxing) and to a lot of other martial arts (eg. Jeet Kune Do)
  • Useful to avoid the opponent’s attacks to the upper body (or better above the abdomen)
  • Perfect to avoid (high) kicks, cutting / impact weapon’s strikes or punches (eg. a hook fist to the head)
  • Not the only possibility and not always the best choice (but at high-level, it is one of the preferable tactics)
  • Normally directed to the right or to the left (at an advanced level even in other directions)
  • A technique used not only to defend but also to gain a favorable position for a devastating counterattack

How to dodge a direct punch

To stay within the scope of what we have already mentioned (Lesson 5.3), let’s see, didactically, how to avoid a direct punch:

  • The guard stance – As always we start in our fighting position (remember, for the entire movement you have to keep the guard up)
  • The opponent’s attack – The opponent punches his fist with the idea of hitting our nose (in this case let’s imagine a right-hand attack)
  • Exit the trajectory – The first thing to do (as for the parry) is to exit the trajectory of attack, this way you reach your first goal, safety
  • Head initial direction – In the case of a direct punch it is possible to go both to the right (inside) and to the left (outside, better for a novice)
  • Against an hook punch – In the particular case of a hook punch we must forcibly move away from the fist that arrives (in this case moving to the right)
  • Body movement – First moves the head (away from the punch), then (simultaneously) the knees flex and, in sequence, all the rest of the body follows
  • The dodge – Once out of the trajectory, the body lowers (al 45°), passes under the fist and specularly rises from the opposite side
  • The “U” motion – When your body goes down the movement must be balanced, sprung, harmonious and circular
  • Movement characteristics – Our body must move explosively and (in the basic version) avoid any contact with the opponent’s limb

This is the basic version of this technique, later we will see more details. A good exercise for the development of a good dodging ability (and to build endurance / stamina) are described in the article Preparing for our body to dodge punches (“U” motion).

In-depth articles

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Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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