Lesson 6 – How to dodge a punch

Dodge an attack is anything but simple

Parrying a blow (eg. a punch) is not always easy but to effectively dodge it, it could be even more difficult (read Dodge attacks).

To gain a perfect dodging capability you need:

  • Noticeable reflexes (combined with the right muscle memory, read The muscle memory)
  • The right explosive speed (combined with relaxation, flexibility and balance)
  • The ability to read the opponent’s body mimicry (without being victims of his feints)
  • Precision (to avoid movements that are uselessly too wide or, worse, too tight)
  • A good spatial intelligence (to interpret the time-space connections within the fighting scenario)

Note – This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).

A few 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 (at full power / speed) it is required 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 even 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 a 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 devastating counterattacks
  • An ideal training movement

The technique: 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, read How to rapidly learn Kung Fu: guard stance)
  • The opponent’s attack – The opponent throws his punch 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, as we said, better for a novice)
  • Against a 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 (almost simultaneously) the knees flex and in sequence, all the rest of the body follows
  • The dodge – Once out of the trajectory, the body lowers, 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

A note by Master Kongling – This is the basic version, later we will see more details. A good exercise for the development of a good dodging capability (and to build endurance / stamina) is 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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