When punching, the face is a high value target - thus it's a good idea that the hands, when not used, be parked somewhere in front of it. However:

  • they obstruct vision
  • there are other high value targets e.g. solar plexus, hook to the ribs, any kick.

What other factors determine guard height in an "I need to kill those people, I wish I had at least a knife or a brick" context?

  • 3
    Boxers don't put their solar plexuses out in front, however. There's a slight lean forward you will notice when a boxer is in a high guard position. That takes the body out of the direct line of fire. Elbows are down to protect, also. And it's not just an defensive position. It's offensive, too. Also, the stance is sunken down. This effectively guards both the head and the body while allowing for changes of level and greater mobility and power (utilizing the loaded legs). Look at Mike Tyson's peek-a-boo style for an example. Observe his stance and his tactics. Nov 21, 2022 at 4:46
  • 2
    @SteveWeigand Please write an answer.
    – mattm
    Nov 21, 2022 at 15:15
  • 2
    See Pros and Cons of a High Guard. Nov 22, 2022 at 3:42

1 Answer 1


A high guard has pros and cons.

First off, the pros:

  • Protects your eyes
  • Protects most of your face

And now, the cons:

  • may obstruct vision
  • May not protect your mouth

There's more, but those are just some examples. Personally, I prefer to take a stance that allows me to block just below my eyes so I can see, but if I see them coming, I can quickly move my hands up. Unfortunately, there may not always be enough time to do so, and you may have to take a hit.

Me being only a white belt and being involved in martial arts for a full 3 weeks now, I don't have much experience, but I have sparred before, and this strategy has saved me from losing a few times.

But you don't have to listen to a noob like me if you don't want to :)

for future readers: look at the age of this post :)

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