How To Slip A Punch: Never Get Hit Again!

November 26, 2023

Head movement is an integral part of boxing. Applied both in offense and defense, head movement is used to evade punches instead of blocking or parrying them, and it’s among the most fascinating techniques in boxing.

There is something magical about watching a boxer smoothly dodge flurries of deadly punches just inches from their head. Just remember timeless moments like Muhammad Ali’s rope a dope.

While there are many head movement techniques like bobbing and weaving, rolling, ducking, and pulling, first and foremost, you must learn how to slip a punch. Slipping is extremely simple, but doing it against a real opponent is different.

Slipping a punch means moving your head to the outside (and sometimes to the inside) of an incoming punch, avoiding it slightly. This way, you don’t receive any damage, and both your hands can deliver a devastating counter punch.

Slipping a punch heavily depends on your reflexes and ability to predict incoming attacks. But before you move to practical use in the ring, you must drill into your muscles the correct technique that allows for the most efficient execution. And you can very well start and improve your boxing slips at home.

How To Slip A Punch

Let’s start with the proper technique of slipping to the left, which is used to avoid an incoming right straight or a right uppercut. The goal is to move your head off the center line when the attack is coming, but the movement does not come from the head but from the legs.

  • From a boxing stance, rotate your body to the left while bending your knees and slightly pivoting on your rear foot
  • Slightly move your head to the left. Don’t overdo it. The punch barely misses your head.
  • Return to your stance.

That’s it. As I said, the technique is dead easy to do on its own, but it’s tough to master and use effectively. 

The slip to the left is predominantly used to go to the outside of a right straight. It can also be utilized to slip inside a jab to land a strong counter, but it’s much more dangerous because you may slip right into an incoming cross.

You can do the slip without moving your feet or step your front foot forward and left simultaneously as you slip. This will position you in closer range to the opponent and open up an even better counterattack angle.

After a successful slip to the left, the best counter strike is either a left uppercut or a left hook to the head or body.

The liver shot, especially, is devastating and can shut down the body instantly. If you are quick enough, the opponent will have a tough time returning the right hand you slipped in time to protect his wide-open liver.

The slip to the right is done with the same technique but in reverse. Bend the knees, rotate your body to the right, and move your head off the center. 

The jab this slip is mainly used against is a quicker weapon than the cross, so it’s harder to pull off. After a right slip, return fire with a right uppercut or an overhand, and your opponent will think twice before throwing lazy shots at you.

Slipping is dangerous. There is a good chance you are not fast enough, and the shot lands. Be sure to keep your hands high when slipping. Your rear hand should always be glued to your face in these situations.

Slipping is used against straight punches and uppercuts. The slight lowering of the head may also help you doge a hook, but most of all, the slip is a defensive maneuver against jabs and crosses. Against hooks, we can apply other methods.

Boxing Slip vs. Roll

You go under an incoming punch instead of evading to the side, like during a successful slip or a roll, which is another type of defensive head movement. Rolling is most useful against looping hooks. 

Again, in the typical scenario, the goal is to position yourself to the outside of an incoming punch. For example, you roll left against an incoming right hook and vice versa. The roll requires more energy as you need to duck down.

The slip and roll combine very beautifully. The slip-slip-roll is commonly used to defend against the jab-cross-hook combination. Slip outside the jab, then outside the cross, and roll under the hook. The movements flow into each other organically.

How Do You Practice Slipping Punches At Home?

The best way to practice slipping is with a partner, but there are a couple of drills that you can do at home. First, you start training your head movement as a separate drill.

Start slow and make sure you are using the proper technique. An excellent way to be sure is to do it in front of a mirror or by filming yourself.

When you get comfortable with it, incorporate slipping in your shadowboxing routines—many fighters credit visualization as a critical part of their success.

Imagine an opponent in front of you when you shadowbox. Visualize him throwing punches at you and slip them. You will be surprised at the profound effect this will have on your slips against real punches.

The other powerful training method is the slip line. Simply tie something long, for example, a hand wrap, parallel to the ground at your head height.

Then, use the line and slip to either side of it. Keep your head close. As I said, there is no need for big movements- the punches should barely miss you.

The slip line will require you to duck to go under it, so the head movement will not be slipping alone, but it’s a great exercise and will make you do realistic evasions. 

Boxing Slip Drills

You can do a few drills by yourself to improve your boxing slips drastically. You can also do these at home with almost no equipment needed.

  1. On the slip line, move forward and alternate slipping between two sides. This simulates moving toward the opponent, who is firing back at you while moving backward. You can flip the drill and assume the role of the pressured fighter. Add a counter-strike after each slip when you feel you get the hang of it.
Slip Line Drill
  1. Tie your keys or a tennis ball on a hand wrap and tie the other end somewhere higher. The ball, keys (or whatever you tied to the wrap) should be at your head level. Swing the ball and practice slipping both sides.
  1. The third drill doesn’t require equipment and will teach you to slip after you punch to avoid incoming counters. Throw a jab-cross combo, then slip to the right. Throw a right cross left straight as you return and immediately slip left.

How To Slip Punches Faster

The key to a fast and efficient slipping is in small movements. While a wide slip or roll is also good and will evade a punch, it’s slower, spends more energy, and leaves more time for the opponent to recover after he misses.

Always bend from the legs, not the waist. Too often, boxers weave from the waist, but this leaves you out of balance, and it is slower.

Build up your leg strength and practice the technique tirelessly during shadowboxing. With the drills I outlined, your slips will become silky smooth.

These two are the most common mistakes people make when trying to slip a punch. Another point I want to stress is not to rely on pure reaction to slip punches.

While this is possible, and many high-level fighters do it, often slipping is done preemptively, meaning at moments where it’s common to receive a punch.

For example, when you throw a 1-2 combination, slip to the right because a counterattack with the left is common, regardless of whether the opponent throws it. The 3rd drill in the previous paragraph teaches exactly this useful habit.

Summary

It’s hard to think of a world-class boxer who doesn’t use head movement. Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather, Canelo Alvarez, and countless others mesmerize us with their seemingly superhuman ability to get out of the way of punches and deliver devastating counterattacks.

Your training priorities should involve learning how to slip a punch. Dedicate the time to master head movement and make your opponents crazy by being impossible to hit.

About the author 

Plamen Kostov

Plamen has been training for the last 14 years in karate and kickboxing, before settling in for MMA for the last 5 years. He has a few amateur kickboxing fights and currently trains with and helps a stable of professional and amateur MMA fighters.


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