Defense Against a Straight Punch
Straight line attacks are very effective and fast. There is a video that I cannot seem to find and if you find it feel free to send it to me via email. In the video, a guy has a timer on the speed of straight punches on the street. The general conclusion I took from it was two things: 1. without your hands being up it is almost impossible to get your hands on theirs for a redirection. And the 2nd, the punches were all less than 0.5 seconds long, easily. I can’t remember the exact time but I know that it was very quick. That is the point. That is the bad news. The good new is this: You do not have to move that much to get out of the way of a straight line attack. Shift your head a matter of inches and you can slip out of the way. If their fist is a train, and the line between your face and their hand is the tracks, simply get off the tracks and the train goes by.
Starting position is either a semi-passive stance with your hands up at least throat height. Your feet in this position can be under the hips. Or, you can be in a fighting stance. The thing that is necessary for both is that the hands are up. Note: if your hands have a lot of space between them then it will be easy to punch between them, also, if they are close to your face you can see how the margin of error is so small that if you are late with your defense even a micro second you will get hit.
In Krav Maga, we have what is called 200% defense. This means you are defending 100% with your hands, and you are defending 100% with your body. Both hands and body are moving equalling the 200% defense. You will be redirecting with your hands, and moving your head and shoulder out of the way.
There are many outcomes for this. If you are surprised you can move backward like a flinch. If you are prepared you may be able to move forward. It has been my personal experience, probably because I am a smaller guy, that a counter attack with a punch is only truly there if I am moving diagonally forward after I redirect their punch. Short arms perhaps? Regardless I have not only experience this but witnessed it hundreds of times. If you move backward and then try to lunge in for a punch you will certainly run into their 2nd and 3rd punches. If you move back instead of trying to burst back in just throw a kick, or don’t counter. You redirected their punch and that is good. If the counter attack wasn’t safe to make then just wait for the next opportunity. Do not try to “force a square peg into a round hole.” Maybe you are special or something, but I have rarely seen this work out in their favor.
Redirect, counter attack, move, and scan. This is a surprisingly easy defense to do. Another thing I have experienced and seen is people ACCIDENTLY redirect someone’s straight punch simply because their starting position was good. In other words, their hands were up and out away from their face. Because of this, they were able to flinch and jam up the other person’s strike. A good starting position makes the world of difference.