Defense Against Straight Punch (Covering)

Krav Maga Video
Defense Against Straight Punch

A common complaint from Krav Maga students when they first start sparring is they have trouble making their inside defenses work against their sparring partner’s straight punches. This video explains why inside defenses don’t always work when you’re sparring. It shows examples of when and when not to use this defense. When inside defenses don’t work we suggest switching to covering defenses. This video demonstrates and explains in detail how to perform covering defenses from the front. Finally, the video states if you want us to make a video to help you with any aspect of your Krav Maga training you should contact us!

“Hello everyone. This is Randall and Glenda with KravMagaTraining.com. In this video I’m going to show you guys how to do covering defenses from the front.

And this is the reason why I like to teach this technique. Here’s the scenario. Glenda and I are sparring and I’m relatively new to sparring. The general rule is that when you see straight punches coming at your face we use our inside defenses. Which is a Krav Maga staple. So I’ll, we’ll just do a quick review of that. Inside defenses. Yeah, and don’t get me wrong. Those work great. But, a common complaint from beginners, especially when they’re first getting into sparring, is they constantly tell me “I’m having trouble making my inside defenses work when I’m sparring”. So Glenda and I are sparring. She’s throwing these. I’m having trouble reading them and, especially if your sparring partner is very quick and you’re new to this, it’s very hard to make your inside defenses work. So what I would suggest is switching to covering defenses when this scenario happens.

Now before I actually get into the covering defenses, let me explain a few reasons why you might be having trouble making your inside defenses work on, when you’re sparring.

Here’s the first one is… when we’re sparring, Glenda’s relatively close to me. She barely has to take an advance step to be able to punch me. At this range, I don’t like to do inside defenses because she barely has to move forward and the punch is already close to my face and I don’t have time to do the inside defense.

My preference is when I do inside defenses, I want to be a little bit farther away. I want to be at least this far away so if Glenda has to take a big step forward it’s a lot easier to see it coming. So don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I don’t ever do inside defenses when I spar. A matter of fact, I would prefer to do inside defenses because it makes your counterstriking ability a lot better. However, I only do it at that range. When the person is really far away. Part of the problem is beginners, they let their sparring partner get a little too close like this and at this range I don’t have time to see it coming. It’s happening too quick. Also, if your sparring partner is very quick or they fake a lot, you’re not really sure which, if it’s going to be the left or right hand coming, it’s just very difficult.

So what I suggest when you’re this close and your sparring partner is very quick and you’re having trouble reading them, you switch to covering defenses. And this is what it looks like. Now, in our Krav Maga curriculum we do have a covering defense from the side like this, which works really well if the person is throwing the hook punch. But I like to expand upon that and I also suggest that, to my students, especially when they are first getting into sparring, also learn how to do covering defenses to defend straight punches from the front. And how you do it is you take the heel of your palm and you basically put it on the top of your head or your forehead. Tuck your chin down. Crunch your abs. Kind of hunch down. And notice how I’m rotating my body like this. And this entire arm and hand basically creates a shield for me to hide behind and I let the fist bounce off of that. If the punch is coming on the other side I just reverse it like this.

Now, I prefer to do one or the other at a time because it puts your other hand available for counter striking, which we won’t get into in this video. But when you get into sparring it will become useful. Maybe in a future video I’ll cover that. But, this would be better. But if you’re not really sure if your partner is throwing lefts or rights, you can cover with both hands like this and just cover up. This isn’t ideal because you can’t counterstrike as well. But if you’re not sure if it’s left or right punches coming, this works. Just make sure that there’s a space between your two arms so you can see. See I can see what’s going on at the camera. It’s not like this where I’m blinding myself. It’s like this. So, I can do it one way. The other. Those are my preferences. Where if I’m not really sure what’s going on, or if I’m getting beat up, I’m getting overwhelmed, like this.

And that’s another reason why I like covering defenses because if you get rocked in a fight. Like if you see boxers, they get dazed because they’re getting hit with a hard shot, or any fighters, what do they do? They cover up. They do that to regain their senses and once they get their senses back and then they can go back and do regular defenses.

So anyways. When Glenda throws the straight punch at me. This is what it looks like. I see that punch coming. Like that. I rotate my body. If she’s throwing the left punch, I cover with my right hand and I try to mirror her like that. If she throws the other one, it’s like that.

Now the beauty of these covering defenses is, even if you mess up and you use the wrong arm it, a lot of times it will still work. So for example, Glenda throws the left straight, I’m supposed to cover with my mirror arm, which is my right arm. So here comes the left straight, I cover. But, if she throws the same hand and I mess up and use the wrong hand, look at that. A lot of times it still works. So that’s another reason why I like covering defenses is because you don’t have to necessarily read which hand is flying at you. You can actually do this with either hand or both and you’ll probably still be okay. And that’s the beauty of it. It keeps the system a little bit simpler if you’re having trouble reading your sparring partner.

Just remember though when you do this. It’s not just like this with your arms. It’s also rotating your body. So you can see when I rotate my body it also protects my face a lot better. If I don’t, I’m still leaving one side of my head open like this or now I’m leaving the side open. When you rotate with it, it covers you better. And also it takes some of the steam off the punch. Instead of just taking it straight on, if you kind of roll with it. A lot of times instead of taking it straight on, it will ricochet because you’re kind of rolling with the punch, so to speak.

And one last thing that I think is really important. This is the biggest mistake that beginners make when they do learn this defense. They do this. Their hands are too far away like this. So when the punch comes, it kind of bounces back into your own head. Or even worse, they have it too low. When she punches it comes back and hits you in your own face.

That’s fine if you’re wearing big gloves but I want these techniques to also work in an actual fight. Where you’re not wearing big gloves. Boxers, they have these big pillows to hide behind so they can cover up like this. We can’t get away with that. If I get hit, my own hand and my knuckles are getting driven into my own face. That’s why you got to take your palm and you got to glue it to your head and make your arm and your head one unit. Not like this where it comes back and bounces in your head. Like this. So when she throws that punch, I’m bracing myself. I’m tucking my chin down and I’m absorbing it like that. When she recoils it back, of course, I’m back to my fighting stance. So not far away. Physically glue your palm to your, the top of your head where you can absorb more damage. Not too low, and definitely not on your face because, just like I said, that works fine for boxers. But in a fight we’re not going to be wearing these. So I want these training habits to not just work in sparring but to carry over where you can actually use it in a real fight. A fist fight as well.

So that’s my suggestions. If you’re having trouble making your inside defenses work when you spar, especially when you’re relatively new at it, switch to these covering defenses from the front. And you’ll be surprised. Once you get comfortable learning those, it makes everything so much easier. You’re not getting popped in the face, getting your head snapped back. And that’s one of the first techniques I teach beginners is just to learn how to cover. Because nothing more frustrating when sparring then getting hit constantly and not reading your partner. You learn to cover up properly, it’s going to take that problem away and it’s going to make your sparring a lot more enjoyable.

So that’s my suggestion for how to defend straight punches if you’re having trouble making your inside defenses work. Switch to your \

“The subject of this video was requested by one of our viewers (thanks Glenn from Vermont)! If you want us to make a video to help you with any aspect of your Krav Maga training, contact us!”