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Counterpunching with the Block!
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Counterpunching with the Block!

by Fran on September 29, 2010

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About Blocking the Jab

The skill described in this article is the ultimate defensive 'reactive' skill and opens up the world of counterpunching.

If you have checked out the articles on slipping punches, bobbing and weaving or ducking then you will know that those skills when used in defense setting are not in response to an incoming shot but more as an evasive action to avoid being hit.  They are proactive defenses.

Blocking a punch however is a reactive defense.  It is a direct response to a specific action by the opponent, in this case an incoming jab.

This is a key difference that must be understood and is why blocking an opponent's jab is such a fundamental aspect of successful counterpunching.

So why is blocking an opponent's jab such a good platform for counterpunching?

Here's a few reasons:

  • It's an extremely efficient defensive action using little energy.
  • It's an assertive defense, providing the dominant position to go 'on the attack.'
  • Having blocked an opponent's jab, it stands to reason that you are in range to respond successfully with your own shot.

In short, if you want to be a counterpunching genius, then learning to successfully block an opponent's jab is an absolute must.

Watch the video, then leave a comment below.

The Mechanics of Blocking the Jab

The description here assumes an orthodox versus an orthodox.  It is the back hand (right hand) that blocks the incoming jab.

The mechanics of blocking an incoming jab are:

  1. The first move is a push from the back foot.  This push from the back foot provides the drive to rotate the hips and upper body in a counter-clockwise direction.
  2. The back hand (right hand) moves between 3 and 5 inches and at the same time the wrist rotates 90 degrees in a clockwise direction.
  3. The palm opens to 'catch' the incoming jab.
  4. After blocking the shot, the hand returns instantly to the 'home' position.

Common Faults When Blocking the Jab

The key faults that occur when a boxer attempts to block an opponent's jab are:

  1. Don't 'reach' for the incoming shot.  Ensure that the hand moves no more than 3 to 5 inches away from the 'home' position otherwise a large gap will be left in your own defense.
  2. Don't let the block become an 'arm only' action.  If the initial drive is not provided by the back foot pushing (thereby rotating the upper body), then it is highly likely that the arm will not be strong enough to keep out the jab.  Basically, the opponent's jab will pile through your defense and straight into your face, adding insult to injury.
  3. This block is a platform for counterpunching, so make sure you punch back!   A BIG mistake is to successfully block the punch but not take advantage by throwing your own shot.  This is an opportunity wasted and against a high standard of opponent opportunities don't come along that often.
  4. Don't be slow throwing your counterpunch, it must be instant.  Your own jab should land whilst your opponent's jab is still in the palm of your hand...yes, really that fast.  The opening created when the opponent punches is very brief so fire instantly.

Enjoy using this skill.  Successfully blocking an opponent's punch really does open the door for top class counterpunching.

As always, leave a comment below.

Cheers

Fran

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Tommy G February 18, 2015 at 1:38 pm

Great video Fran. I’ve been practicing this with the aid of the double end bag to simulate the oncoming jab and to then counterpunch, it works great. You can also use it for the lead hand block and double arm block too. Some people reckon you can use the double end bag to practice parries too but I’ve never worked out so far how that is possible. If anyone knows please let me know! Thanks once again Fran

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ermanno December 30, 2014 at 10:52 am

Ciao Fran,
here’s Ermanno from Venezia!
ans what about if i’m southpaw and i have an ortodox opponent?
thanks
Ps .
You do a great job might pass by in your gym…

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Fran January 1, 2015 at 7:42 pm

Hi Ermanno. There is a free report available when you sign up on the home page – that tells you lots about southpaws and orthodox 🙂

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Deroe 1996 December 27, 2014 at 3:20 am

Hi great video fran 3 actions built into one defence, attack, evading always keep busy all the best for 2015 keep the videos coming mate regards dero

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Fran December 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Cheers Deroe. You take care 🙂

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txtboyz December 25, 2014 at 8:04 am

gr8 vid m8. but me is gotta dissagree with me main man fran sands. blockin punchs is 4 batty boyz. to get respect in da ghetto u gotta take the punch on de chin + then give da mother f**ker the big welliy back

ps fran. 1 of me best bitches Shantay has seen the vid an luvs the look of big daddy fran, so txt me ur details bruv an ill arrange a meet.

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Fran December 27, 2014 at 9:15 pm

Shantay sounds delightful. I hope you aren’t working her too hard.

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pug December 25, 2014 at 3:48 am

Reference a couple of the questions, ie. Andy: what if your opponent double jabs? Do you block twice? Hmmm, I thought you explained that in the video. Block, counter, DUCK! Or, slip/rock back/backstep/sidestep, and COUNTER again!
GAZ: …”I’m starting out coaching, and use Kenny Weldon and Russ Anber for tutoring.” I’m curious to know, do you have a real coach and whether being “tutored” by videos is the extent of your boxing experience? Are you coaching amateur boxing or a boxing-fitness class? Don’t mean to sound cynical but there are too many people calling themselves coaches these days with no actual background in boxing and/or with no accredited coaching certifications which, in Canada, are offered through the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP). You might want to look into that. Best of luck.

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Azz December 24, 2014 at 3:10 pm

Keep up the good work. have a great Xmas and all the best for 2015

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Fran December 27, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Thanks Azz, same to you and yours.

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Tim December 24, 2014 at 11:14 am

Thanks for the video Fran, Merry Xmas and all the best for 2015 keep up the good work mate.

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Fran December 27, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Cheers Tim, you enjoy the festive period too pal.

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Ramiro December 24, 2014 at 10:54 am

Thanks for the video is great!

Merry Xmas and Happy new 2015 coach!

Go on with you superb work.

From South America,
Ramiro.

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Fran December 27, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Thank you Ramiro. Feliz Navidad.

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Gary December 24, 2014 at 5:15 am

Hi Fran

Another great demonstration with practical reasoning to help us understand why and when to perform this skill.
All the best to you and your family for Christmas and the New Year Fran.

Cheers

Gary

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Fran December 27, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Thanks Gary. Hope you had a great christmas mate and a happy and healthy New Year.

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Saleh Bitar April 16, 2014 at 8:32 am

Well what I always do and I concentrate on ist to find out the best and quickest form to block my oponent, to the extent that I move back and back to make a glimpsy, sniping picture of all what is going on, then scan this to the brain then let my reflex work and act to block him, but never face to face, it is the danger itself, but on the sides, around him, underneeth. So if you can do that, block him then hit him, just when you are in your best positition to hit him very quickly and effectively.

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Jason T. February 7, 2014 at 1:28 am

Brilliant! This was very easy to understand and was straight to the point. This answered my question about “how to block” exactly.

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Fran February 10, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Thanks Jason, glad it helped.

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markzima July 8, 2013 at 9:55 am

Good video, Fran! Comparing this video with your parry videos, I had a thought and wonder if there is any merit to that thought: Can one catch the opponent’s glove with the block and then also move it aside like a parry rather than only block with one’s catch? And if so, can one gain practical advantage by doing so (such as by creating a greater opening for one’s counterpunch or by adversely affecting the opponent’s balance)?

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eric May 11, 2013 at 10:05 pm

One of the best videos so far…What am I saying? They are all great….Thanks .

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Fran May 14, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Cheers Eric.

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Joe January 13, 2013 at 12:13 am

Hi Fran ,
When might you choose to use a rear hand block to an opponents jab , instead of a rear hand parry to their jab ?
Always great to be involved with your very informative site .
Thanks
Joe

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Fran January 13, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Hey Joe

Getting a little smart, using the parry can be followed with your own right cross. Ali used to do that quite a bit, but it has risks and the cross (or long range right hook) is a scoring shot rather than power as the parry took up the initial rotation. Hope this makes sense mate.

Thanks Joe

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robert August 26, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I have enjoyed your information. However I seem to be having problem viewing the videios.

Robert

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Fran August 29, 2012 at 9:54 am

Hey Robert. Do you have a problem with your connection as the vids are currently working fine?

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Andy October 30, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Hi Fran,

Thanks for repling so quick! Yes this helps. I think i overthink somtimes :). i will start to throw shots after i use this block when shadow boxing. I am training on my own at the moment, i will be doing some sparring in a few weeks so trying to get sharp!!

Cheers

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Andy October 29, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Hi Fran,
First of all i would like to thank you for all this amazing knowledge that you are sharing with us, i am learning so much its just incredible. You are a great coach! You break it all down so well!
My question is what do you do if your oppenent doubles up the jab? do you use the same block twice very quickly? or if they throw a right hand in combination with the jab?

Cheers
Andy

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Fran October 29, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Hey Andy

Thank you mate, very kind words and it’s great that you feel that you are learning and improving. After all, life’s about getting better at stuff!

On the doubling up thing. Don’t think too much. You’ve blocked the first punch, it matter’s not what else your opponent tries to throw, because as you’ve blocked your automatic reaction has been to fire back at least a jab. By blocking his shot, you have created a situation where you’ve given yourself the best possible chance of your shots being the most effective of the exchange and that is all that matters. Everything else, as they say, is “just gravy”.

Hope this helps mate, Thanks again.

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Gaz August 29, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Fran, excellent videos. You do a proper job with explanation. I like the 3 different angles shown. I am starting out coaching and use Kenny Weldon, and Russ Anber for tutoring. They are great. I am going to hopefully use some of your videos to breakdown form and technique. Are you located in U.k.? Liverpool?
I am in Toronto. Thank-you
Gary

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Fran August 30, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Hey Gaz

Well done for spotting the Liverpool accent. Many mistake it for an Irish, a Birmingham and in one memorable case an eastern European accent. 🙂

Good luck with the coaching mate and I’m glad that you’ve picked up some demonstration tips, may you have many years of enjoyable experiences from the sport. We never stop learning on the way as well, so it’s all good.

Cheers

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Dave August 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Hey, Fran. Me posting again.

Looks like you could practice this with a slip bag, and tie it into a slip bag routine that works slipping, ducking, laying back and the like.

I love the slip bag; it’s more or less what made Tyson so hard to hit!

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Fran August 9, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Dave

Good to hear from you again. The slip bag is top drawer, always remembered seeing Tyson work it, something quite special. Practice a block with a slip bag? Maybe, although the key when blocking a punch is speed of reflex (some say around 16 milliseconds!) Would a slip help on this? I don’t know. This said, it would most certainly help with the efficiency of the block itself.

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Patrick Pellacani December 23, 2014 at 11:15 pm

Hey guys. you can practice this on a double end bag. but there no substitute for a partner!

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Fran December 23, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Very true Patrick 🙂

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