How practical is it to dodge punches by leaning back table top like similar to how Neo did in the first matrix movie during a boxing match and also counter from that position. It has always been one of my favorite scenes in media and I have seen it being used in fictional boxing media of watch and read such Hajime no Ippo and the Boxer. I know that trying to copy moves you seen in fantasy is generally looked down upon and can be unsafe and generally not realistic. But it seems at least somewhat possible so I'd to see to what degree just for the sake of my curiosity.

  • An interesting question from a tactical standpoint may be "If I end up in this position, how can I fight from it?" It's not a smart position to seek out, but you may end up falling or being pushed backwards onto a surface and having to fight from there to regain position. Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 8:57

2 Answers 2


You can dodge punches but doing so by leaning backwards is usually a really bad idea.

I believe I have seen some boxers do it when against the ropes, but only really to show off.

The issue is that you risk taking a punch to the stomach that you can't easily see. Also you are obviously off balance because physics will apply to you in a way it doesn't in the matrix movie.

It's bad structurally and it's bad for your view of the opponent. There is no payoff other than looking cool (and you won't look cool when you get hit).

  • This answer would be improved by explaining the idea of structure: what it is and why breaking it is bad.
    – PipperChip
    Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 14:17
  • 1
    @PipperChip I agree but I'm not going to spend more time on this question. Feel free to write a better answer and get fake internet points.
    – Huw Evans
    Commented Jul 27, 2022 at 12:02

I can give you an example where leaning back is used in actual sparring, although it is a slight lean, not even close to what you see in The Matrix:

In modern Taekwondo Olympic sparring, athletes are taught to keep a slight lean back stance.

When defending, this helps against high kicks, where leaning back a bit further will be enough to avoid being hit. When attacking it helps avoiding high counter kicks, such as the spinning hook kick, that used to be responsible for most KOs

This leaves the arms available to protect the torso, with minimal arm move.

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