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Recently I started fighting with a group of people every weekend, it's been a few months.

I learned a lot and my pain tolerance and flexibility but more importantly speed increased immensely.

But what I don't get is how to defend when someone taller/heavier kicks you, and I'm not talking about low kicks.. there are quite a few guys, heavy too and they are quick and flexible, Most times they kick me on the shoulders/neck and I parry the block... some times they kicked me in the head, but what hurts the most is kicks to the side of the torso.

Every time they kick, my serratus anterior and lats hurt incredibly for days, this is the third time and the worst one, the last two lasted for 1 or 2 days at most but this one hasn't gone for almost the entire week.

So how and what techniques can one use to better defend the side of the torso area without leaving open new vulnerable spots, specially against kicks?

migrated from fitness.stackexchange.com Nov 23 '18 at 14:33

This question came from our site for physical fitness professionals, athletes, trainers, and those providing health-related needs.

  • I could be mistaken, but there seems to be some error in translation here. The English term, “chest” refers almost exclusively to the pectoral muscles - there is no such thing as “chest sides” or “sides of the chest”. You did mention the serratus anterior and lats though, this leads me to believe you are referring to the sides of your “torso”. Let me know if this is correct. – JustSnilloc Nov 23 '18 at 13:00
  • corrected the post. – user29173 Nov 23 '18 at 13:05
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    This is a better fit on martial arts, but the answers will most likely be "you're being dumb. Go get training and stop yard fighting." – JohnP Nov 23 '18 at 14:33
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You're being dumb. Go get training and stop yard fighting. -- JohnP.

stop and think sign

STOP … JUST STOP!

There is nothing good down the road you are travelling.

You are going to hurt yourself physically and mentally. You are going to hurt others and not just the one your beat up. You are opening yourself to horrendous legal consequences. Fight Club is a great movie but it is fiction. Living the life of thugs has very negative consequences.

First, go see a doctor about your pains. Hopefully, you did minor damage that will heal with no long term effects. Hopefully…

Second, ditch those friends. They are toxic.

Finally, go and join a martial art class: boxing, MMA, BJJ, whatever… It does not matter. Go train a few times at each clubs around where you live and pick the one you had most fun with: teacher matters more than style. There you (should) get proper tuition in a save environment with professionals looking after you. If you then want to fight in the ring, they will be able to let you do so safely.

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    this doesn't actually answer the question – user9713 Nov 23 '18 at 21:45
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    @Gorman - What the OP needs is a qualified instructor, and this answer suggests exactly that. Thus, the question is properly answered. – Andrew Jennings Nov 23 '18 at 23:18
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    @gorman It does answer the question :stop doing stupid things is the answer. – Sardathrion Nov 24 '18 at 16:02
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    @Gorman - I think it answers the question quite nicely in the spirit of the site. – JohnP Nov 26 '18 at 15:25
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I agree with the other answer and commentary; but to directly answer your question, the way you protect your chest is to spar under the tutelage of a qualified instructor, who will no doubt teach you mechanics first, then have you try them on an opponent.

You mentioned blocking, but there is so much to blocking that it's not possible to help you troubleshoot. Your stance, your eyeline, your speed, your power, your aim, your technique, your hips, your hands... all of that contributes to what your opponents are taking advantage of if you do them improperly, and if any one of them is wrong, you end up with where you are at now.

Then you mention fighting taller/heavier, and getting injured for days. Well, in sport fighting, that would suggest you're fighting outside your weight and skill class. Don't do this - there's no advantage for you or for your opponent. Again, a good instructor will help.

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    "Your stance, your eyeline, ..." all true, and another - even simpler? - one for the list: breathing. I had a beginner holding pads at Muay Thai training a week or so back, and they wanted to stop despite me going gently - turned out that they didn't intuitively know even to breath out and tense when struck. Such an obvious thing that often isn't even taught, as students pick it up from watching their seniors and peers holding pads long before they start sparring. Anyone not training with any experienced peers around misses out on all that knowledge transfer. – Tony D Nov 24 '18 at 11:51
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All the cautions above are good. I'd also recommend using some sort of shield (protective vest) when sparring, as well. These come in various thicknesses, coverages, etc. If you're taking real hits as a beginner, this should actually be mandatory.

Of course, I'd also be extremely cautious about participating in an environment where beginners (unproven students) are taking actual hits, with or without protective gear. That's not an "if" someone is going to get seriously hurt, but "when".

  • Completely disagree. Chest protectors are strictly for drilling technique (in real combat sports). Wearing one in sparring would hinder your ability to duck, roll, and otherwise avoid strikes. It would also build bad habits of leaving your body open as the strikes wouldn't hurt like they should. – coinbird Dec 5 '18 at 16:22
  • I work with a lot of kids and women, so my perspective probably tilts towards safety first. I'd still recommend something for protection, most of the time. For lower belts/beginners, I think it should still be mandatory. Big boys and girls can do as they please, and I'd prefer lighter/thinner/less coverage for the reasons you state. Mostly, I want to protect my floating ribs and solar plexus. – jeremyb Dec 6 '18 at 17:11
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Well firstly to prevent injury during sparring I would use a head guard, mouth shield, body pad and shin guards , as well as a groin guard if your a male.

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Now in terms of techniques to block kicks, this depends on the martial art being used.

For example,

in Muay Thai to block a low kick you could take a step back, or could block with the outside of your shin but ensure that you point your toes down when you do this as your opponent can sweep you from underneath.

For mid body kicks again you could take a step back or you could block with your shin but this time raising your leg higher. Also, you could side step and catch your opponents leg taking making them lose there balance and sweep them or simply catch the leg and throw it to the side allowing you to react with a low leg kick

For front kicks to the torso or teep (in Muay Thai) the only way really to block this is to use your arms to push the kick to the side.

For head kicks, make sure your guard is always up so that your gloves take the impact of the kick rather than your face. Also, again here you could take a step back and avoid the kick altogether. Also make sure your guard is tight otherwise when a kick hits your hand and your guard is loose then the kick will simply follow through and cause your fist to hit your own face.

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  1. Distance.

To reduce your chances of getting kicked in the head, stay close. Everytime their knee rises up, a quick forward motion with your whole body, with hands up at chest level should throw them off balance.

For torso kicks, there's no need for fancy blocking, pivot down your guard at the elbow and any kicks will be cushioned by your hand. Disclaimer: you must not be static when you deflect or block any kicks with your hands. They might get broken.

Fortify your arsenal of close range striking techniques like hooks and uppercuts, and heel kick.

  1. Rhythm

I assume you are fighting the same group of people. So learn their rhythm. Everybody has a tell before starting a technique. The guy who always kicks the side of your body? It's probably the same dominant leg. So switch your stance to the other side. Or when that kick comes, step in, instead of stepping out.

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