The Ultimate Of Boxing Techniques – Cover Up!

by Fran on January 10, 2011

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The Double Arm Block

This defensive action is one of the most common boxing techniques that you see used during a boxing match.  There is of course a very simple reason for the regularity with which boxers use this defence -  it works. Boxers generally speaking don't like to complicate things 🙂

The double arm block, also known as 'covering-up', is more than a simple boxing defence.  It is actually a very effective tool for moving into range with relative safety and smashing home big shots.

Don't be fooled into believing that the double arm block or covering up is almost an act of surrender, nor should it be used as something to 'hide behind'.  When used alongside other boxing techniques, such as the defensive inside fighting blocks, and the full range of punches you can quite easily dominate any opponent no matter their strength or level of aggression.

If you want a really string and effective boxing defence, make sure that you understand how and why we use the double arm block.  It's not a passive, weak defence.  On the contrary, the double arm block is one of the core, reactive boxing techniques in any situation where you need to advance quickly and safely.

Enjoy the video, check out the common faults and as always leave your comments or questions.

 



The Mechanics of the Double Arm Block

The mechanics of the double arm block are very, very simple:

  1. From the boxing stance, on sight of an incoming shot, bring the arms together, turning the palms inwards towards your face and raising the fists to only about the level of the eyebrows.
  2. When the shot has been blocked, return the hands to the guard position.

 

Common Faults When Blocking Hooks

When performing this boxing technique, there are 4 main faults that fighters tend to fall foul of:

  1. Do not raise your arms too high.  The only effect of this will be to expose your body to attack, and against a skilled body puncher that could mean the end of the fight.
  2. Do not use 'weak arms'.  It is vital that when you block you 'tense' your arms to absorb the strength of the incoming shot.  Otherwise the punch will simply drive through your defence and smash into your head.
  3. Do not cover your head, close your eyes and/or look down at the ground.  This means that you cannot see your opponent and that is likely to lead you to getting a solid beating.  Having visibility of the threat is an absolute must!
  4. Make sure that you throw punches back.  If you block an opponent's shots then you are in range and can strike back.  Blocking punches and not firing back is a terrible waste of opportunity.

Hope this explanation and demonstration of the most effective of boxing techniques has been helpful.  Be sure to leave any questions or comments below.

Cheers

Fran

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Bharat Karena June 27, 2017 at 9:41 am

SIR, I FEEL PAIN DUE TO STRIKING MY OWN HANDS IN DOUBLE ARM BLOCK IN MY FORE HEAD

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Fran June 27, 2017 at 6:32 pm

Make sure you use strong arms Bharat so that your hands don’t hit your head.

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James February 21, 2016 at 12:32 am

Hey Fran, thanks for all this info it’s really useful! Though in sparring it usually all goes out of the window for me so I’m trying to add little bits at a time haha

When blocking a punch, would you recommend always rolling with it / against it? ie to load up for a counter punch?
I find that I can block head and body punches but when I go to throw back there is no power behind it because I am off balance and not loaded?

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Fran February 28, 2016 at 8:03 pm

Try to find opportunities where the defensive action contributes leverage to the offensive action. For example, the back hand block of the jab gives you additional leverage to throw your own, more powerful jab. Otherwise, just snap the shot out regardless. Don’t worry about power, worry about landing the shot. Hope this helps.

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Dave November 8, 2015 at 8:23 pm

Fran,
Great defense, I’ve been looking to incorporate this in my defense. What do you think of Winky Wright’s fighting style? This seems to work well for him, especially as a taller guy. Second question is when the hooks start coming, how do you defend from this? Do you just slide the knuckles back to the ear or is there some other preferred response?

Dave

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Fran November 10, 2015 at 9:47 pm

Hey Dave

Winky Wright was a bit of a defensive genius really wasn’t he 🙂 Pure class

Regarding defence to hooks, check these out.

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Dave November 10, 2015 at 10:38 pm

Perfect! You continue to complete my boxing education. Thank you sensei!

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Fran November 12, 2015 at 6:33 pm

😉

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Mike October 8, 2015 at 4:35 pm

From more of a self defense i.e. street fight type setting as opposed to competition how would you modify this or any of your other defenses if someone is throwing one of those wild out in left field hook type shots to either the head or body? Thanks

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Fran October 8, 2015 at 9:32 pm

Hey Mike

I’d tend to stick with head movement AND high hands for big wild hooks, but ideally I’d avoid the situation as best as I could because there are no trophies on offer on the street 🙂

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Mike October 9, 2015 at 1:26 am

Thanks a lot. Love your site.

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Fran October 12, 2015 at 7:51 pm

Cheers Mike

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vanda monaco March 28, 2015 at 10:30 am

Great Fran!
Thank you! Your video is useful clear and simple.
Vanda

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Fran March 29, 2015 at 8:19 pm

Thank you Vanda, I’m glad that you continue to find the site material helpful to your boxing quest!

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Johnny December 16, 2014 at 11:33 am

Great video Fran, thank you. One question please, does your gloves/fists actually touch your forehead when performing this action? If so, is there an issue with when the opponent’s punch lands on your gloves that your head still feels the force of the impact ? Thanks.

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Fran December 17, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Hello Johnny.

Yes I advise having the gloves touching your forehead. As long as you have strong arms there should be no issue, you will not feel the force of the impact – certainly not to ‘hurt’ you or indeed score a point in the judge’s eyes.

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Johnny December 23, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Many thanks Fran, that makes sense.
Incidentally watching a few pro fights recently I see quite a few pros blocking jabs with the sides of their gloves rather than the palm part or the reverse of the palm part of the glove which is a bit bizarre as surely it can’t be as effective as using the larger surface area parts of the glove to block shots.

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Fran December 27, 2014 at 9:08 pm

OK Johnny. That might be because using the back of the hand might protect against a left hook, especially if the upper body rotates in an anti-clockwise direction.

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Ramiro December 15, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Hi Fran, nice to see you again!

Your defensive technique is great. So simple and yet so difficult to do.

Thank you very much.

Ramiro.

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Fran December 15, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Thank you Ramiro, glad that the video helps.

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Will Abercrombie December 14, 2014 at 11:33 pm

the cover is the 1st defence I taught my kids, non fighters when under attack go into a fetus postion, to protect themselves, boxers have advanced this natural reaction into a much better defensive and offensive position, I think the cover has another huge advantage it draws hooks from your opponent when they realise their straights don’t get through and I like to roll under the hooks with a little step, to get on the blind side of the opponent and get myself a “free” shot typically countering with a hook.

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Fran December 15, 2014 at 9:22 pm

That’s it Will, building this in with other skills and tactics to get the result. Thanks for the comment Will, appreciated.

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Jung-ae December 14, 2014 at 10:28 pm

As you said it’s really simple. A lot of boxing techniques seem so simple yet to hard to execute in the heat of the moment. Common faults are exactly I do especially the third one. I need to wait for the right moment to come back. I either retaliate too soon resulting exposing myself to more punches or don’t come back at all.

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Fran December 15, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Excellent Jung-ae, Great that you are appreciating the simple things 🙂

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Leigh February 25, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Excellent, clearly explained. I’m a kickboxer and need to work on my hands. Just stumbled across your site and think it’s great. Thanks for the advice — keep it coming!

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Fran February 25, 2012 at 7:20 pm

You’re welcome Leigh. Thank you very much for taking the time to leave a comment and I’m glad that you are finding the site helpful.

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Dave November 21, 2011 at 3:51 am

Fran, I’ve read that the double-arm block can be ineffective in a more bare-knuckle style of fighting because your opponent isn’t wearing the gloves, which make the fists significantly larger and improve the chances of blocking. Do you have any thoughts on this matter?

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Andy August 26, 2011 at 9:32 am

Fran

Thank you for your comments. I will try adding in parrys and catches etc to supplement my defence.

all the best

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Andy August 26, 2011 at 8:12 am

Fran

Just to let you know i used the double arm block with great success in sparring last night.

with a standard guard i was able to get the block into place in a split second when i saw my opponents punch start, and bearly got caught with any straight shots. i was also still in position to counter attack and landed alot more punches than i did when i was trying to catch and parry incoming shots

I also found it qutie easy to switch it to hook blocks and body blocks, proactively switching between guard positions while slightly twisting my upper body i managed to defend reasonably well, although i did get smacked around quite a bit like this,

anyway, much, much more practice needed, but thanks for putting me on the right track!

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Fran August 26, 2011 at 8:26 am

Andy

Apologies for not responding to your initial comment, although I did read it. That’s great news. It’s always good when you have new stuff to try and it works. In terms of the lean forward question from the previous comment, always avoid this. A mixture of weight on the back leg and strong arms are key. Even more important than this is to ensure that you maintain visibility throughout the use of the double arm block, don’t block your vision with your arms and don’t look down. By maintaining your line of sight you can, as you say, make small adjustments to deflect incoming hooks.

Good stuff. By the way, keep working on your other blocks and parries (there’s versions on the site to look at). All of these defences come in useful at some point against some particular opponent.

Well done Andy, keep up the good work.

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Andy August 25, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Hey Fran

first of all great site, i had previously watched Title’s instructional video on you tube, and although it is good, your videos are better.

I recently started sparring and tried to use the defensive techniques shown in the Title videos. They didnt even cover the double arm block, and just showed catches and parrys. Needless to say as a inexperienced boxer (literally just started a few weeks ago) i got my head knocked off by not been fast enough to defend myself with those defence techniques.

im back tonight and will be using the double arm block as my main line of defence. Also from shadow boxing, it seems like a fast one two counter would be effective from the double arm block just after the opponent has landed. what do you think?

just two questions, would you be better leaning into the shots of the opponent with this block, creating a solid wall, or would it be better to lean back to try absorb the shot, or just remain neutral?
and secondly, would you put your gloves against your forehead to brace for the impact, or keep your hands a few inches away and risk punching yourself in the head if the shots are heavy?

any advice would be great, and the rest of the site is very helpfull!!

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Dav June 24, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Thanks for this and the other videos, really good and clear explanations! It would be great if you had somebody to demonstrate with, to identify the weaknesses and strengths of the defensive tactics, I.e hooks sneaking around a loose double arm guard.

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Fran June 26, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Great point Dav. I do plan to enlist the help of some of the boxers on future projects, but for all of these early videos it was a conscious decision not to. Why? Well, when I work with a boxer on a technical pad session for instance, I focus on them without pulling in another person. I wanted to be sure that my videos made a direct link with you, the viewer, and that any questions or clarifications could be submitted via the site afterwards. Your suggestion is definitely going to be taken up though, thanks for the pointer!

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Keith January 20, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Hi Fran
Your video inspired me to use the double arm block in sparring tonight and no punches got through! The only time I was hit was when my arms adopted the regular stance form. I’ll have to use this a lot more in the future.
I think the double arm also helps you to relax more, enabling you to see more of what’s going on.
Thanks again
Keith

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Fran January 20, 2011 at 11:00 pm

That’s great Keith. It’s a good, simple and effective defence. I’m glad it’s been of help.

Cheers

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Karl-Heinz January 16, 2011 at 9:11 pm

A very experienced boxer in our gym has a great double arm block. He actually uses it to rest and to tire out the less experienced opponents. Once he’s in his armadillo like defense I can’t find any targets at all. Very frustrating! At first, I just hammered away at his block – hoping something would get through. Not very good since this only tired me out while he continued to rest.

Coach suggests that when someone tends to stay in that defensive guard you can take the opportunity to throw heavy bombs into his arms and shoulders. If you’re a heavy hitter these will add up and his arms may begin to feel like limp noodles as the rounds go on – making his block less and less effective.

Another thing I noticed is that you have to be aware of the glove sizes. If you practice with big 14oz sparring gloves you will find it difficult to get a punch in between the forearms. However, the smaller gloves you use in competition will sneak through more easily. We have to be aware of this, both as punchers and as blockers.

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Fran January 17, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Hey Karl

Great to hear from you, hope you are well.

Interesting on the ‘punching the arms’ approach. This was a tactic that Rocky Marciano used. Joe Louis after his fight with Marciano said that he could not lift his arms up for a whole week. Marciano simply smashed his arms to pieces! My own view is that if you can land a first shot, then as long as follow up shots are instant they have a reasonably high chance of landing. For example, when at short range and the opponent is ‘holed-up’ behind a double arm block, you can use ‘feel’ to create your opening. By this I mean that you can (with the left hand) ‘tap’ the front of the guard (toward the body) with an uppercut. This might have the effect of momentarily bringing the guard forward. The instant after the tap, whack a short left hook into the side followed by an instant right uppercut into the solar plexus area. All of this takes place in a split second. The initial tap is in effect a ‘contact feint’, as when up close ‘feel’ is important in judging what shot an opponent might throw (e.g. how the opponent ‘leans’ on you and adjusts to throw shots.) The left hook to the side then brings the guard back, leaving an opening for the right uppercut. There are some ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’, but if that final right uppercut lands, that will cause damage and once an opponent is badly hurt to the body then receiving punches into the arms causes reverberations through the torso..ouch!

Good point also on the gloves.

Great contribution Karl, thanks.

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Keith January 14, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Thanks for posting this one Fran. Even though this one’ s relatively simple to implement I haven’t seen it covered elsewhere on the web. I only picked up the block by watching more experienced fighters in my club. It’s good to get a detailed explanation from you.
The website is growing from strength to strength, please keep up the good work, I regularly come back to re-view your videos an always pick up something new.

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Fran January 15, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Hey Keith

Good to hear from you again. You’re right this is a very common move, but often taken for granted. It’s well worth understanding the mechanics if only to ensure that you can effectively fire back counters out of the defence.

Keep watching the guys at the boxing club, this is a very underrated way of learning. ‘Peer to Peer’ learning accounts for a great deal, this is why successful boxing gyms remain successful; success breeds success!

Take it easy Keith.

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