Blocking Punches


This article offers some guidelines for blocking in boxing. For rookies and seasoned boxers, blocking is probably the easiest active defense there is. Along with being relatively easy, it is probably the most effective active defense there is. What more could you ask for?

What is Blocking:

Blocking is a fundamental defense taught first to beginners. It involves the boxer subtly moving his or her arms and torso to intercept and ‘block’ the opponent’s punches. And this defense does not take much effort because blocking is built into the stance of the boxer. Since a boxer’s stance and blocking are linked so closely, any movement involved in blocking a punch should not deviate much from the boxer’s neutral stance. Unlike your other basic defense, blocking does not allow the boxer to completely avoid or deflect the blow, but soften the impact of it.

How to Block Punches:

On guard, use a combination of twisting your torso and moving your arm (the one closest to the intended target of the opponent’s punch) to block any punch. You want to stay as close to your neutral stance as possible: elbows tight, hands up, chin down, etc. The most important thing to keep in mind is to keep your guard tight. Rookies tend to reach out due to the impacts of the blocked punches.

  • For a jab, simply make sure your hands are at your cheeks. Unless your opponent is aiming at your forehead, a jab should not touch you.
  • For any power punch targeting the head, position your hand (the one closest to the incoming punch) in the way of the punch while twisting your torso enough so that your hand can block the punch completely.
  • For any body punch targeting the middle (e.g. straight, uppercut), position your elbow (the one closest to the incoming punch) towards your center line by twisting your torso away from the punch. Never drop your hands to block these punches, and let your torso do most of the positioning for your elbow.
  • For any body punch targeting the sides (e.g. hook, uppercut), position your elbow (the one closest to the incoming punch) to cover your oblique. Use a combination of lowering your arm and rotating your torso laterally to block the punch.

When to Block Punches:

Blocking is the default defense for a boxer because of its ease and efficiency. It goes without saying that blocking is great for conserving energy and keeping the integrity of your stance. It allows the boxer to answer back quickly while being in her most neutral stance. Unless you plan on crowding your opponent’s offense, blocking is not that useful for closing the distance. If your opponent has too much power, blocking should not be your primary defense. And when fighting an accurate opponent, poor blocking will be just as ineffective. It is also important to keep in mind that blocking can obstruct a boxer’s vision.


Blocking is great for both all levels of experience since it is simple and is very efficient at conserving your energy and maintaining your stance. Against most opponents, blocking should be your default defense. However, against accurate or powerful boxers, blocking should be done more carefully.

Author: Le Ho

I am currently a law student at the University of North Carolina Law School. As an undergraduate, I boxed for Carolina and earned its first men's national championship title.

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