Learn How to Box – Defensive Actions

Defensive actions on the MyBoxingCoach website are ‘blocks’ or ‘parries’ that are performed using the hands or the arms. Blocking a punch is the process of stopping it on it’s line of attack. Parrying a punch is the process of deflecting an incoming shot from it’s line of attack.

For every shot thrown there is an effective block or parry that can be used as a counter measure.

Blocks and parries are reactive defenses, that is they are used in response to seeing an opponent’s shot coming. Blocks and parries are economical and simple to learn. When used correctly they can lead to a brilliantly effective defence. Let’s work in reality here, no one likes to take shots. From day 1 of learning how to box, it is important that appropriate care is given over to not getting hit. Sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how often the opposite is true.

Below are links to each of the ‘defensive actions’ video articles:

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Loren Picker July 29, 2016 at 4:31 am

So glad I have found this site!


Mark October 26, 2015 at 3:43 pm

Hi Fran,

May I ask how you deal with body punches? Do you like deflect/block them the same way as the head punches but you do so while you’re in a crouched position?




Fran October 30, 2015 at 6:17 pm

Hello Mark

Have a look at this. These blocks are for hooks. Dealing with straight shots to the body is a little different, usually dealt with by doing a push away.

Hope this helps.


Erick April 10, 2014 at 1:37 am

Fran how could you stop multiple punches with out backing up pivots are not working and just getting in a shell is not what could I do?


Fran April 12, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Fighting retreat Erick or fighting from cover (cover up AND fire shots). Backing up is not a problem, as long as you fire hard shots as you go, then look to get back on the front foot again.


Joshua W July 18, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Thanks again Fran. I just thought that, since it was something you worked on you may object to having someone copy them..


Fran July 21, 2013 at 8:31 pm

As long as it’s for personal use Josh and you aren’t distributing it then there’s not an issue.


Joshua W July 17, 2013 at 1:37 am

Thanks for the reply Fran. That does help. So for the Defensive inside fighting block, sans gloves or with small gloves, tucking my chin deep is vital to protecting my jaw/cheek. How far do I have to tuck my chin to fully protect my cheek/jaw from hooks/haymakers in mma gloves or with out gloves?

Off topic, I notice that I can pay to become a lifetime member. Is there a forum for members were they can talk directly to you? If so id likely join.

Some day I need to hop the pond and spend some time training with you.


Joshua May 20, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Sorry typo, you mention not to use much arm movement..


Fran May 28, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Yep, efficiency is a vital ingredient.


Joshua May 20, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Hi Fran. I did boxing for 6 months, and moved on to mma. I do mma for self defense and fitness only. My question is for the defensive inside fighting and haymakers. Ok I know that evasion is the first thing I should do against a long range haymaker. But failing that what is the preferred block? Would the defensive inside fighting block work there?

Secondly regarding the defensive inside fighting block, lets say Im in a street self defense altercation.(pub fight, pissed off dad in a parking lot, ect ect ect) Im up close and the bad guy throws a hook. Can the defensive inside fighting block work here? I noticed on your video, you mention to use much arm movement during the block. This is ok with gloves on, but what about times with no gloves, or small mma gloves??

The guys on the mma forum say to do the block just like you showed but to bring my first up to my temples to defend my face, then back down to the guard. From there I can use it as shown on your video to block body hooks. I was hoping for your input on that, as moving my hands up to my temples seams to be wrong, but what other choice do I have. At that range I have few other options.

The other option is the hand behind the head, elbow out block against haymakers and hooks, as seen in Muay Thai, but I don’t like it. Body way to open.

Thanks for your input. I really enjoy your videos and have used the inside parry and the lead hand/rear hand blocks to good success.


Fran May 28, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Hi Josh

Sorry for the delay in responding. In short, the defensive inside block can work whatever range you are at and you need not necessarily move the fist down if you like. As an example you could cover the right-side of your torso with your chin tucked in and this could work against an incoming left hook to your body or head. Simple and clean.

As for street fights (not that I’m a specialist), my choice would be to not get close enough to need an inside block. Arm’s length would be my preferred option as I’m sure it would for most boxers. In an up close pub fight anything can happen!

Not sure on the hand behing the head thing, but the double arm block is always good.

Thanks for the slightly ‘left-field’ question Josh, hope that my response helps.


Jason April 24, 2014 at 12:00 am

Regarding above, the palm would be behind the head at the base, and the forearm pressed against the head. It works well in protecting the head, but certainly leaves the ribs wide open at the same time. Thanks, Fran , for an excellent resource.


Fran April 27, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Thanks for the comment Jason.


Mike April 16, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Hi Fran,

Do you always recommend parrying or blocking shots with an open hand or is it ok to parry with your fist clenched inside the glove?

Would you also recommend keeping your hands open and relaxed in general apart from when actually throwing a punch? I keep getting different opinions on this.




Fran April 17, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Thanks for the question Mike. For me, the hand should only ‘clench’ into a fist within the glove just before/on impact. Relaxation is vital and tension in the arms doesn’t help this. So for blocks and parries, the palm should definitely be on.

Hope this helps, or it might just be another opinion to confuse :-\


Mike April 20, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Thanks Fran, that clears it up for me. Great site by the way.


Fran April 23, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Cheers Mike and you’re welcome


Hamed March 17, 2013 at 10:33 am

Any boxing tips for beginners , from lacing up the boxing gear to point the punches in an act of defense. would be of great help!!


Fran March 20, 2013 at 9:43 am

Hi Hamed

For gloves, go with the velcro option, much easier 🙂

As for technique stuff, start with the stance, movement in and out and straight shots. Sign up for the free mobility drills on the home page, these will really help.


davin June 22, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Hi Fran, any tips on rolling with the punches?


Fran June 23, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Hey Davin. Thank’s for the question.

You seen this post:


Worth a look I think. Any questions just let me know.



Isaac Fisch December 14, 2011 at 4:17 am

how to block a hook punch as always thanks


Fran December 15, 2011 at 7:49 am

Hey Isaac

Check out the article on defensive inside fighting, this is a good place to start.


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