MMA Beginner Series: Punch Blocking and Parrying

After learning the basic punches, the next step is learning how to defend them. I go over the easiest defenses first, but just know these are not the best way to defend them.

Blocking for me is a last resort defense when you have failed to parry or slip a punch. Parrying is a better alternative, although it doesn’t give you a great window to counter attack with, it’s better than blocking.

When blocking, we shouldn’t just shell up like a turtle and expect to be safe behind our guard. Especially in MMA, a guard can easily be penetrated if it stays up for too long. Think of your guard like in a video guard that has a shield meter. It can only absorb a few hits before real damage starts to kick in. When using a block, ideally we would strike out of that block to put our opponent on the defensive.

Parrying is better, because you are not absorbing strikes, and there is an opportunity to counter strike. Like blocking, if all you are doing is parrying and not returning fire, eventually your opponent will sneak in a strike you didn’t read and put you in danger.

One important note about parrying – don’t reach for punches or paw them down too much. If you catch a jab but push it all the way down to your hip, you have now opened up your guard considerably, where a crafty opponent can strike again before you recover, or fake a strike to make you over commit to parrying. Likewise, if you are reaching for punches that are not going to hit you, they can set you up nicely.

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