How not to get punched

Bob, duck, weave, and slip. That's pretty much it. Oh, and- most important of all- KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN.

It's actually not quite as easy as I make it sound- or he makes it look in that video. If you'll notice, he uses his hands a great deal to slap or push other people's punches away- which is also very important. But the simplest way to avoid getting whacked in the face in the street is pretty much what is outlined in that video- if someone sends a punch towards your face, just get your face off the line of the strike so that it's not there when the strike arrives.

And always, always, ALWAYS remember to keep your eyes open. This takes a lot of training. When someone throws a punch at your face, your body's first instinct is to close your eyes, raise your hands, and back away. The problem is that if you close your eyes, you're NOT going to see the next punch coming. And because of that, you won't be able to get out of the way, and the punch you DON'T see coming is going to hurt a damn sight more because of that. You have to train your body to react against its own instincts in this one case- not an easy ask.

You might be surprised, by the way, to realise that although this sounds very easy in practice, the majority of people find it quite difficult.

There are two "beginner" levels in Krav Maga- yellow belt, where you learn how to throw strikes, and orange belt, where you learn to dodge strikes and spar. (Certain organisations use patches instead of belts, but it's basically the same idea.) This is because, in order to dodge a strike, you have to have some idea of how to throw the strike in the first place.

And I can tell you from sometimes painful personal experience that most people who test for yellow belt really still don't have a clue how to throw a proper punch, because most of them have never sparred, and never will actively spar. Then they get to the yellow belt classes and are called upon to spar at the end of the class, and they have absolutely no damn clue how to deal with what's coming.

(By the way, I love watching new yellow belts come to those classes. I spar regularly. I don't claim to be any good at it- personally I think I'm pretty terrible- but I do it anyway. The end result is that nowadays light sparring doesn't scare me; actually, it's my favourite part of any class. So when I see fresh meat hit the mat, the first thing I'm thinking is, "Maw, hand me that there carving knife...")

If you were to take 1,000 random people on the street and toss them straight into a Krav Maga class (or any difficult strike-based art, like muay thai or traditional karate), then you'll find that of those 1,000:
  • Something like 600-700 will make it to yellow belt
  • Maybe 100 will make it to orange belt
  • Perhaps 40 of those will make it to green belt
  • Something like 15 of those get to blue belt
  • Say 8 of those will make it to brown belt
  • If you are very, very lucky, 3 of those will make it all the way to 1st Dan black belt

A 0.3% graduation rate. That is how difficult it is- and in my very frank personal opinion, that is exactly how it bloody well should be. The last thing you want is to be teaching knife/stick/gun defences and wrestling takedowns and joint manipulations to people who don't have the speed, self-control, or experience to handle techniques like that- and you certainly don't want those same people going out into the world and teaching techniques in a half-arsed fashion.

And it saddens me greatly to say that indeed, there are several global KM organisations around the world that have become little better than the KM version of McDojos, churning out "black belts" who in reality couldn't outfight my own organisation's green belts. I'm not going to say who these are, mostly due to my immense personal respect for my own teacher and the fact that he knows most of these people as personal acquaintances and even erstwhile friends, but it is a real and serious problem for the art.

But I digress.

If you've never boxed before, you might find yourself wondering what it's like to get punched in the face. And you might think that it actually hurts more to get punched by someone wearing heavy gloves than it does with a naked fist.

In fact, it's the other way around. You might be surprised to realise that a 14oz boxing glove actually contains a significant amount of padding. This is quite deliberate. Getting hit in the face with the big knuckles of someone's fist is actually extremely painful- you ain't gonna last long if someone repeatedly lands punches like that. The padding on a boxing glove is there for two purposes: to protect your hand from shattering like porcelain when you throw a sloppy punch and it connects, and to protect your opponent's face when you throw a good punch and it lands.

The size and weight of 14oz boxing gloves is also a good reason why it's difficult to use inside blocks against punches in a sparring match. (This is a technical term which I won't get into in detail here.) In a real street fight, though, you WANT to use your hands to slip past punches wherever you can.

So if you're going to get into a street fight, remember to use the 5 Ds of Dodgeball: Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive, and Dodge.

Lord help me, but I love this movie...


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