Offense Over Defense

Offense Over Defense by Charles Sledge

When it comes to learning how to fight many overly concern themselves with defense. Don’t get me wrong defense is certainly important and something that you should learn but it should never get in the way of learning offense. Fights are only won on offense never on defense. So while you should certainly dedicate portions of your training to learning how to block, deflect, and dodge blows that training should never become more important that learning how to strike your opponent and put him on the ground.

It’s only natural with our strong desire for survival to want to focus on defense after all no one likes getting hit over and over again, I’m no exception. Yet for those who become defensive fighters they’ll never learn to let go and really start fighting. They’ll fight from a defensive mindset and that is guaranteed way to lose. Though of course having no defense is a guaranteed way to lose as well. You must have what Jack Dempsey called an “aggressive defense” meaning that you defended yourself but with the explicit purpose of attacking back right away. Another way of putting this is that you want a proactive defense and not a reactive defense.

Only Score Points On Offense

You should learn the basics of offense of moving, striking, and comboing before you start to learn defense. If you try to learn both at the same time you’ll get your mindset mixed up. Offense should be taught first to build that aggressive offense mindset then aggressive defense should be added in after. You don’t want a fighter holding back when he is throwing punches because he is too focused on defense and not getting it. Let him really open up with his punches first and then teach aggressive defense. Defense where every defensive move is immediately followed by an offensive move. Every block followed by a counter punch and so on and forth.

Aggression is incredibly important in a fight in the ring or in a bar or anywhere else. The answer to the question “Who wins in a bayonet fight?” is “Whoever is more aggressive” the same holds true with fighting (and many other things in life). The more aggressive fighter generally comes out on top. This aggressive mindset is a very important thing to cultivate. That and the desire to win. The desire to win and get out on top will win you many matches and may one day save your life. There can be no second guessing yourself.

Basics Of Defense

With that being said there are three basic moves to defense in boxing with each one being better than the one that is preceding it. The first is blocking. You’re placing your open hand firmly against an opponent’s strike to cushion (not stop) the blow. This is the least effective form of defense and should only be used as a last resort. However with that being said it still beats the shit out of getting clocked in the face at full force. You should start your defensive training with practicing blocking opponents blows and then retaliating with a counter punch. Every defensive move should be followed up with a counter punch.

Next we have the deflect which is far superior to the block. The deflect is exactly what it sounds like instead of simply cushioning your opponents blow and taking away some of its power like you did with the block you’re instead redirecting the blow. This is generally done with the forearms striking against the opponents arm sending the punch off where it was meant for. For example instead of hitting you straight in the jaw and potentially knocking you out instead it’s deflected to the side of your head. Sure still stings a little but is a lot better then getting knocked out.

The final defensive move that we have is the dodge and it is the best out of all of them. The dodge is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of cushioning the blow like with the block or redirecting the blow like with the deflect here we are completely dodging the blow taking away all its power. Since you’re not dealing with getting hit at all unlike with the other two this is what you want to aim for. This takes away all of the power of the opponents strike, throws him off, and allows you to retaliate full force. While blocking and deflecting are both better then getting hit you want to aim for dodging overall.


Defense is important but it is not more important than offense. Aggression is key to winning a fight of any kind anywhere. Of course even aggression doesn’t replace good training. Make sure you are not just practicing defense but aggressive defense. Meaning that every time you block, deflect, or dodge you are retaliating with a counter punch of some sort. Never take a hit without striking back with one of your own. Being the best blocker, deflector, or dodger doesn’t mean jack if you aren’t going to hit back. So make sure to hit back, every time.

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-Charles Sledge

Charles Sledge