Learning to take a punch

Discussion in 'Self Defence' started by AussieGirl, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. AussieGirl

    AussieGirl Valued Member

    As a 30-something year old woman who likes to travel, often alone, self-defence is high on my agenda to learn. I currently train in taekwondo, however I am very aware that there is significant difference between sport and a real fight. My school (from the Moo Duk Kwon federation) doesn't place a high emphasis on high impact sparring.

    I've read many accounts of muggings and one of the key themes I've found is the ability to take a punch.

    My question: is there a way to train for this without getting constantly hit in the head? (I've read way too many scientific reports about the long term consequences of concussions and impact head trauma.)
  2. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Get good at moving your head?
  3. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    AussieGirl, the emphasis with a good self defence system is to take measures to avoid getting into situation where you are faced with a mugger.

    Take a look at this thread, which goes some way to explaining the difference between martial arts and self defence training.

    It's worth looking through the self defence forum for topics on de-escalation and awareness.

    If you can't find anything that helps let me know and I'll try and help.
  4. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    No, there really isn't a way to train without getting constantly hit in the head. However, there is a big difference between taking hits and taking a solid hit.

    It starts along the lines of making it appear that you are getting hit but really they are glancing blows, misses, or just hitting a bunch of nothing.

    Chadderz point about learning to move the head is good. I would say, "learn to be a hard to hit target". Moving just less than half the width of your body will evade the majority of attacks. Every time the opponent tries to "lock in" to hit, make them reacquire their target. Cause the opponent to hesitate and strike blindly.

    Good head movement comes from the legs. The appearance that you are leaning, but really you are within your frame of movement. On the contrary, if you actually get caught leaning into a punch, that is a good way to get yourself knocked out.

    Look, you might be getting my line of thinking that it is about appearances and deception... If so, you are getting what I'm saying. You don't actively seek to deceive. The deception comes with skill and experience. You move the minimum amount necessary at the last possible moment and it appears you are hit but it is a miss or glancing blow. The opponent hits with much less than it appears they are. They hit a bunch of nothing. If you are lucky or really good, it hurts them more than it hurts you.

    A friend of mine got mugged. He was a long time martial artist, could hold his own in a fight. The attacker ambushed him with punches. Got a good punch to the face and then just kept pounding on him. It wasn't so much the punches but the good solid punch followed by constant pressure.

    Anyone can get sucker punched, anyone can get ambushed.

    In boxing we work the standing eight count drills. When we take a good shot, feel that we are near getting knocked out. We take the standing eight count. If you don't hear the ref counting until 4 or 5 count, your brain effectively checked out. If you hear the count at 2-3, then you have recovered quickly.

    The are ways to strengthen and condition your body for a quicker recovery. This is important and there is really no way to do this without occasionally taking hits to the head and body. You also need to buy time to recover. Being a hard to hit target at the intuitive level buys time to recover.

    So it comes back to being a hard to hit target to buy time to recover and developing quick recovery as the basics.
  5. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    If you like to travel then I'd be less worried about taking a shot and more inclined to talk to hoteliers or motel owners about safe places to visit.

    Seek out local information, inform people of where you are and where you are going.

    Little things make a big difference and you should make them habits.

    Keep your phone charged, have emergency numbers as shortcuts, rather than having to enter the numbers fully, have change for a payphone, don't carry an unzipped bag and so on.

    Learn local customs, as a gesture or eye contact in one country may be read totally differently in another.
  6. Frodocious

    Frodocious She who MUST be obeyed! Moderator Supporter

    Another useful tip for travelling, particularly if you don't speak the language, is to write down the address you are going to/staying at. It is easier to show someone who doesn't speak your language a bit of paper than it is to try to pronounce foreign words to make yourself understood. Many hotels will have business cards and local maps - always pick up one so it is easier to find your way back.
  7. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Good advice and as female traveller I was hoping you'd add your expertise.
  8. Frodocious

    Frodocious She who MUST be obeyed! Moderator Supporter

    I kind of cheat when I travel - I pay a premium to a good travel company to keep me safe!

    However, when I do travel on my own I make sure I do my research beforehand, I get a good travel guide, check out internet travel fora for advice, make sure I google where I'm going to stay, make sure I know what to do/who to call in an emergency, email copies of my passport, visa and other travel documents to myself etc.

    A tip I got from a fellow traveller was to carry 2 wallets. Your main one and another one which only has a small amount of cash and an expired or low limit credit card in it. Then if you get mugged you can hand that over and not lose too much.

    It can be worth having a fake wedding ring to wear to help avoid unwanted attention.
  9. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Stolen and added to my SD syllabus. :D
  10. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Well if talking about travel safety, avoid high threat areas and never travel alone. Get a guide/body guard(s) familiar with the area.

    Stories from other martial artists I know. These are really good martial artists.
    1) In the Philippines, five or six men walking up with knives out. His guide was the daughter of the man he was staying with. Somehow she had concealed two machetes in her clothes. She pulled them out and said something about cutting things off if they touched him. The gang of men backed off and dispersed.

    2) Another martial artist (or maybe the same guy, I can't recall who it was) was traveling somewhere in Africa. His guide took him up to a group of people on the street. One man in particular he addressed. The guide turns to the "martial artist" and tells him to give the man something to show respect. The "martial artist" gives him his watch. He is not bothered by anyone while visiting.

    There is a lot of advice to be said. Are we missing something in the rush to provide advice to the general audience that could be more basic? How important is confidence and preparation of the self? Just the basic, the poop hit the fan, what comes next?

    If mugged, do you fight/run away or give up your wallet? Do you remain cool under pressure of a barrage of punches, for example, or panic?

    A little applicable experience beforehand is worth a lot in preparation and decision making. IMHO.
  11. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member


    Missed some of the thread because I was too busy typing away myself.
  12. Frodocious

    Frodocious She who MUST be obeyed! Moderator Supporter

    That'll cost you a packet of biscuits for the Mod tearoom! :)
  13. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Does shortbread count as a biscuit?

    For some reason, we have shortbread cookies here and they just aren't as satisfying as the thicker ones I think are called shortbread biscuits. I should have kept the box they came in so I can get more of them. I'm sure they were imported.
  14. Frodocious

    Frodocious She who MUST be obeyed! Moderator Supporter

    Shortbread counts as a biscuit in my world. That reminds me, I think I have some choc chip shortbread in my Christmas food stash in the conservatory :running:
  15. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Also have the phone number and address of your country's embassy wherever you travel and keep important numbers somewhere secure on paper as well, in case your phone runs out of battery or is lost/stolen.

    Back on topic:

    You have to weigh up your priorities. If you start sparring with hard contact to the head then you are running the risk of the very brain injures you were hoping to avoid in the unlikely event that you are hit in the head during an attack.

    There are other ways to gain the wherewithal to keep fighting through taking hits. Getting hit hard on the body will still give you the chance to practice continuing through pain. Even without taking hard hits you can practice being put under pressure and flummoxed with fairly light contact, as long as you try your best to keep it honest. You could also try things such as making yourself dizzy and then sparring with light contact.

    None of the above will work as well as taking hard hits to the head, but you have to prioritise your training. If you really want to feel what it is like, I honestly don't think it's something you have to do very often at all to be functional. In my opinion it is cultivating the intent to push through any pain, injury and disorientation that is the important part.
  16. AussieGirl

    AussieGirl Valued Member

    Great discussion, thanks everyone!!!

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