Ideally, the way to take a punch is AT SOMETHING. If this fails and you're trying to do it the other way:

a) see if you can get outside the range of the punch. This often leads to midpunch attempts to lengthen its range which is good for getting the puncher off balance, counterattacks, etc.

b) see if you can get inside the destructive range of the punch, in other words, clinch. It's much more difficult to deliver a hard punch to someone very close to your body.

c) see if you can deflect the punch, ideally by pushing the punching arm perpendicular to the direction of travel. This can also lead to good binds and counterpunches.

d) see if you can block the punch, ideally with a foreign object such a a two-by-four which will make the puncher feel regret and remorse and the extreme unwisdom of having tried to punch such a clever being as yourself...but your arm will do in a pinch. Ideally block with some opposing force so you don't just, e.g., elbow thyself instead.

e) FINALLY, if all else has failed and you are damn well gonna take the punch, do your best to move with it (in the direction the hand is moving)...move your feet, don't just lean. The impact will be lessened by your movement, and the follow through will work like a shove, so that if you're caught leaning off-balance you may fall.

(See also judo, How to fight and not get your ass kicked, or your local sensei).

A nodeshell challenge by antonylewis