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Perhaps a subject many so-called tough guys wouldn’t touch with a barge pole. After all, fighting is a very emotional experience. And when you are talking about situations where you may be training or even competing in a sport where toughness is paramount. How do you take a punch without crying?
When it comes to taking a punch without crying, there are a number of things to take into consideration. Firstly you need to learn to keep your emotions in check, don’t take it personally. Also normalising the sensation by sparring much more often.
Truth be known not all tough guys are as tough as they would like you to think. As when you peel back the facade which many fighters carry. Underneath is still that twelve-year-old kid who ran to his mother crying when he got hit by the neighbourhood bully.
There was a UFC fighter, who it was I cannot remember right now. But this was a really well-known guy who was asked how do you take the punishment?
I believe he made the comment about the actual competition being his job. And that in order to do his job he had to be in a certain frame of mind.
But more so had to do with the moment itself and the scale of the event. Where he was able to put emotions to one side and do his job. Admitting that he will cry when he stumps his toe at home.
So it’s that ability to be able to put things into perspective. And yourself in a certain frame of mind to deal with what is in front of you at that time. In the same way, the military can handle combat situations. All be it a far more extreme situation.
But my point is that they are trained to deal with that situation. Almost going into a state of autopilot as their brain navigates the chaos.
Do Punches Hurt
Do punches actually hurt? Well, as always there are a few ways to answer this question, as it depends. And the main reason I say this is because it does depend on who is hitting you and where you are being hit.
On top of that, was this during training or was it an actual fight? As it’s not just about the physical act of being hit. But also whether or not your body was warmed up and where you were mentally.
And I can tell you from personal experience that being hit when you are dry and especially when you are not expecting it does hurt. With two specific instances from my own experiences, sticking out in my mind.
When one coach decided to use me as an example. Hitting me square in the face with a lot of power when I wasn’t really prepared for it. As he was demonstrating to others how to throw the punch, but never explained that he would be punching and not just demonstrating.
I can still remember the shock on the other student’s faces. As they no doubt thought they would be next and that did not seem all that appealing. But truth be known he was not a good person. One of those bully coaches you hear about should avoid at all costs.
That was with boxing gloves, but another time in another gym just as we began sparring with 6 oz MMA gloves. And the guy I was working with hit me flush on the nose way too hard.
As we didn’t use protective headgear and really shouldn’t be throwing punches with too much heat. But he was pretty cocky and caught me sleeping, even giving a little smirk.
So there will be times where a punch can catch you when you least expect it. In my case leaving me somewhat embarrassed and I will admit a little bit teary-eyed and I will explain why.
What Does Getting Punched In The Face Feel Like
So if you get caught, say on the nose, getting punched in the face can be painful. This is especially the case if you are still dry, not warmed up with a good sweat on and the adrenaline is not yet flowing.
As fighting is an emotional experience and many fighters are often emotional people. Many, regardless of the calm exterior carry some extra aggression that the average person does not. So fighting allows them to release much of the energy which otherwise may find another outlet.
But getting punched in the face with gloves when you are in the flow of things does not generally hurt a whole lot. It’s more a question of dealing with the impact and it can literally make your brain reset.
And by that I mean it feels like you lose an instant in time. As though the clock stopped for a millisecond and then continued. But if your adrenaline of flowing and you are in the zone. It can actually feel, should I say enjoyable?
It may sound a bit weird, but honestly, in my own opinion. I quite like the sensation of taking a punch during some hard sparring. Mind you, you have to be well into the session and in the right state of mind. As if you are not, that is when it can be not so enjoyable.
And what is critical to understand is that you don’t take it personally. When being punched by someone with whom you are training. I have made the mistake of taking it to heart and that is not what training and learning are all about.
With that being said, I have personally witnessed several instances in gyms where fighters and even coaches have laid into their training partners. Because when someone does not know how to train correctly or simply goes too hard. It can lead to emotions getting the better of you and losing your cool.
So it is extremely important that you temper your own emotions. And very much treat and sparring as a learning experience. Not letting someone antagonise you unless of course, you have both agreed to let it all hang out.
What Does It Feel Like Getting Punched In The Stomach
There are several parts of the torso that I would consider being punched in the stomach. Like the gut, the solar plexus and even the liver. As these are all parts that fighters will target when going for body shots.
So it is essential that you not only try to protect these sensitive areas. But also condition them so that you can make an impact.
Because being punched in say the liver is not a fun feeling. Now I have never been put down by a liver shot. Probably because it just never landed fully.
But I have put a few people down and by the grimace on their face. And an inability to continue at 100%, it by all accounts seems like a pretty devastating punch.
And people who have been dropped will tell you that it has the effect of numbing the legs. Causing you to drop the floor often with a feeling of being breathless.
But I have been hit in the solar plexus one too many times and that for me is just the worst. With a feeling not only of pain but also a complete inability to breathe.
As the punch drives the air from your lungs, in a sensation that leads to you not being able to inhale. It’s pretty scary and can last for several minutes. And I am sure you have seen plenty of fights that have been stopped using this tactic.
Conditioning For Taking Punches
Apart from the emotional state of mind. It is also key that you condition the body so that you can take a punch better. And it makes sense because if the body is stronger, then the shock from an impact won’t have as much of an effect.
And that is why you see fighters doing all kinds of extreme training on their necks as well as their body. Making those areas better able to deal with the force from a punch.
Strengthening your neck is a key element to taking a punch. So if you can condition it so that the shock of a punch is not as intense and does not do as much damage. This will of course give you huge benefits both physically and psychologically.
And there is a range of ways in which you can do it. From using the traditional neck harness you see many fighters using. A great way to build those supporting trapezius and sternocleidomastoid muscles.
You can also do some floor exercises using body weight and your head as a pivot to work the neck area. Those are referred to as bridging exercises and a commonly used, not just by MMA fighters and boxers. But also by grapplers for whom their neck can sometimes be put under great strain.
When it comes to the lower body there are just tonnes of exercises that can be done. With everything from the traditional situps which work for the oblique and abdominal muscle groups.
Fighters work on these areas a lot using a wide array of techniques. And if you are a fan of any combat sports, I think you will have seen several of them being done in the pre-fight buildup.
The great thing about much of this conditioning is that it can be done alone. So you don’t need another person to hold the bar or count for you. Simply get yourself a quality medicine ball, find a good location and get to work.
So when you learn how to take a body punch, this, of course, will help you deal with other emotions. As your body will be better conditioning to take punishment, so too will the mind.
Boiling it down to some essential key points. If you follow what I have said and trust in yourself. I have no doubt that within no time at all you will be punching and getting punched with a smile on your face. So here are those key points to remember;
- Keep your emotions in check
- Don’t take it personally
- Condition your mind and body
- More sparring equals normalisation.
Some Final Thoughts
So learning how to take a punch without crying is definitely more difficult for some than others. As first and foremost, it has a lot to do with your own personality. How do you deal with the emotions and often the pain involved.
I have laid out for you how over the years I personally dealt with it. And it’s a learning curve as when you start out the very act of getting punched will come as a shock to the system.
But over time as you get deeper into your training, becoming stronger mentally and physically along the way. Eventually in the right environment, being punched won’t seem like such a big deal. And I might go so far as to say you may even enjoy it!
So don’t worry too much and just jump in. Find a good local gym with a great reputation and hopefully settle into a fruitful time in combat sports. You will learn a lot about yourself and life in general. Making those hard knocks seem not so hard after all.
Hi, I’m Ross, at 40 years plus, I have been involved in the Martial arts for most of my life. Along with my first pet Collie dog named Tyson, RIP. My journey in the world of Martial Arts is something I want to share. So that others too can learn from my experiences.