Taking a punch is a personal thing and you'll know your opinion on it immediately after receiving your first one. A lot of it is mental but you'll have to deal with it however you can, especially if you want to compete.
Some people can not handle getting hit, it immediately induces panic and instincts of flight while other people can get hit by what seems like a truck, shake it off, well up with anger and present a flurry of hurt.
The truth of the matter is that with 16 oz gloves, headgear, and an ounce of skill there is little chance you are going to be seriously hurt. Full speed blows to the head are absorbed quite well while blows to the ribs will probably cause bruising. Again, it all depends on who is boxing, but that is the generality of it.
The best thing to do, is learn some defense, thus minimizing the number of punches you are going to have to deal with altogether. There are quite a few things you can do to either avoid being hit altogether or at least absorb some of the incoming power so they don't do as much damage.
Another thing you are going to have to deal with is flinching. Again a perfectly natural reaction, but if you end up closing your eyes, you lose contact with your opponent and that can't be good.
Keep your eyes on your opponent or how can you react to what he is doing? So what are your courses of action when that punch is coming in?
I strongly recommend you consider creating a FREE Silver Account or joining the Inner Ring to get video lessons and more detailed writeups on these punches. Ensuring you master the correct technique while you learn is extremely important to progress in the sport.
1. Your boxer's stance is your best defense: If you keep your hands up, elbows tucked into your sides and chin down, everything is protected, body, head, chin. This coupled with your constant motion or rhythm will keep you out of trouble 90% of the time. Never forget the basics.
2. Jab Catching: With this maneouvre you are still going to get hit, but the goal is to absorb the punch as much as possible, eliminating all of its power. To perform, as the jab arrives, put your right hand in front of your face and keep your chin down. Pivot your right foot, brace and catch the jab in your hand letting it bounce back off your forehead. (hence the reason for keeping your chin down) Catch them aggressively and immediately recover afterwards.
3. Parries: Stronger punches cannot be effectively caught so they need to be deflected. As the punch comes in, give it a quick tap with either hand, always to the inside which may throw your opponent off balance and give you an opening to take advantage of.
4. Parry body shots: Body shots can be parried as well by using a sweeping motion with your arm to the outside. Then pivot and slide in the opposite direction of the punch to set yourself up for counterstrikes.
5. Blocks: Here the goal is simply to take the punch, but with a part of the body which can absorb the power without sustaining damage. Generally that means bringing your head down slightly which raises your arms up, thus protecting your head and your elbows come in closer to your body to protect your body. The punch is absorbed by the forearms or shoulders. Roll with the blow to further lessen the impact.
6. Ducks: A duck is a flexing at the knees which lowers the torso. You then bend forward to lower your head more ducking the blow and then return to the guard. You move in a V pattern and get back into your stance as quickly as you can. By the way, never duck an uppercut...
7. Slips: These are kind of like ducks but they are initiated by your neck and head not your legs. They are quick side movements where you quickly dodge the incoming punch (usually a jab) and then return back to your stance. You can slip to either side, but remember if you slip to the outside, your opponent can not hit you because they are not in a position to throw an accurate punch. If you slip to the inside, you are still within the striking zone.
To see a master of slips, check out Mike Tyson in his earlier years.
So what can you do specifically for each punch?
Defense against the jab:
- If you are fighting a right handed fighter, slip the jab to your left, a southpaw to your right.
- Catch the jab, brace your right leg, right foot and catch the jab with your left hand, make sure you keep your chin down.
- Parry right or do an opposite arm parry (left hand). If you do the opposite arm parry, you must recover quickly or possibly throw a straight right over your opponent's jab because you leave your head exposed for a straight right.
Defense against the straight right:
- Slip the punch as you did for the jab.
- Parry Right or opposite arm parry, again watch this one.
- Right or left block - Bring the arms up, head down so all is protected, take the punch in the forearms and roll with it to absorb the impact.
- Rock - over flexed knees, rock back to avoid the punch by increasing the distance between you and your opponent. This is different from leaning. When you lean you have straight legs and are off balance, with a rock, you maintain your balance.
- Step back
- Shoulder block - turn your body and catch the punch with your shoulder.
Defense against left hooks:
- Right Block
- Step Back
Defense against uppercuts:
- Right uppercut - right glove block
- Left uppercut - left glove block
- Move out of the way
Defense against body shots:
- Parry right - jabs to the body, bring arm down in a sweeping motion then recover.
- Parry left - straight rights to the body, bring arm down in a sweeping motion then recover.
- Right forearm block - against left hooks to the body - lower your forearms by flexing your knees and turn into the blow.
- Left forearm block - against straight rights to the body (or jabs), same thing, flex knees thus lowering the forearms to catch the punch, turn into the blow.
That pretty much sums up your defensive game, remember:
- Always keep your eyes on your opponent, no flinching.
- Hands up, Chin Down, Keep Moving
- Use proper technique, don't overextend.
- Recover immediately
- Rock back, but don't lean back to avoid punches
- Nice if you have defense, but you need to be on the offensive to win
- Remain calm, calculated and make sure you aren't forecasting what you are about to do. If you're angry, you are making mistakes. You now have all the basics you need to start boxing and training. You know your offensive game, your defensive game and how to move. The next section will go over the equipment you need in order to box and then it is on to the training.