June 27, 2018
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by TheBoxingGear

The weight of the human head is about 10 pounds, and our skull is very solid because it is structured to protect the brain.

Many professional boxers use head butts to blow-off their opponents. In this article, we’ll talk about how to head butt in boxing plus more intriguing information.

Headbutting a Punch

A headbutt is an intentional attack with the head which typically involves the use of the strong parts of the cranium of the head butter as the foundation of impact.

The effective head butts target the most sensitive parts of the opponent like the nose by the use of the frontal bone in the forehead or the parietal bone at the back of the skull.

Head butts are mostly used to strike the opponent’s nose, but they can also be used to counter the opponent’s punch.

To do a proper head butt to a punch, you must tuck your chin the moment you head butt so that you can protect your neck from the punch as you strike it.

Headbutting is an illegal attack in any forms of martial arts, but it could be a really effective technique.

Most professional boxers use head butt in blowing off their opponents, but they do this carefully so that it will look unintentional.

boxing girl punches aadversary

However, head butting a punch seems quite acceptable in boxing. When the opponent throws a punch for offense, you will head butt the punch for defense. 

Headbutt is very effective especially when used against bare knuckles because of the strong bones in the head. It will hurt your opponent’s hands big time.

The head butting technique is very much effective on bare-knuckle boxing.

When you head butt a punch, you must head butt it using the top of your head because using your forehead causes a lot of pain.

On the opponent’s perspective, receiving a head butt for a punch is like hitting the walls with a fist which can injure the fist.

It would be best for the opponent to move his hand out than punch a head butt.

Most people also use the head butting punch technique when sparring with your sparring partner who is very quick but does not hit very hard punches.

Blocking a punch with a head butt is better than taking the hit in the nose which is very painful, considering the small and sensitive bones in the nose.

Head butting a punch does give some kind of an instilling effect especially when you back it up with a hard full body punch, and the most effective head butts use the top of the head because it is the hardest part of the body.

If you can’t avoid your opponent’s punch, you will have to move your head into your opponent’s fist and while the opponent is so much occupied with the pain caused by the head butt, double your opponent in the chest.

The head is very ideal to receive punches because our head is structured for rough impacts because it needs to protect our brain.

According to myths, getting hit on the forehead will give you an instant knock out. This is just a myth.

You can’t easily be knocked out just because you have taken a hit on your forehead.

The only way to get knocked out with being hit by a punch in the head in an instant is taking a roundhouse shot to the temple or to the jaw.

To avoid this, a lot of mixed martial artists and boxers defend their jaws by bringing up their lead shoulder and using both their hands to clock off other strikes.

Targeting and striking the most sensitive parts is a good offense.

You can take a lot of strikes on the face and on the forehead, but just because you can take the hit does not mean it won’t hurt, so it is better to be careful when taking hits.

You have to make sure that you clench your jaw when taking a punch and breathe out because it will help.

Also Read: Best boxing headgear

The Approved Head Butt Technique

boxer throwing a hook

The cranium is a solid bone and is probably one of the strongest structures in the body.

The human face is a body part full of stuff and no one will want to be hit and smashed with a cranium in the face. 

The face also contains the most sensitive and crucial parts in our body. When the face is hit, expect to feel a very excruciating pain.

The jaw is also problematic because it involves the teeth and you will want the punch to stay away from your teeth.

Our teeth tend to break and will cause a great amount of pain if your opponent throws very hard punches.

So here are the approved head butting techniques:

  • You have to gain some kind of control on the head of your opponent, which is usually through a grip on your opponent’s ears.
  • You have to pull back firmly and immediately on your opponent’s head in order make your opponent present his face.
  • You will have to bend your neck which will present the top of your head directly to the face of your opponent.
  • The next thing to do is to pull forward on your opponent’s head while you strike your head forward, which will cause an impact between the top of your head and your opponent’s face.
  • Repeat the step for as many as necessary until you ensure your win.

The front and top of our forehead is very hard and dense, and the point of using a head butt may be a common opener to intimidate your opponent or a surprise last trump card attack that has to be backed up with strong chest punches, and you should always go for the vulnerable spots like the nose.

The Disadvantageous Side of Head Butting

According to a book from Marinubo Itoman in 1934, the forehead is used in striking an opponent close to you or when your opponent has grabbed your arm.

boxers trading punches

Head butting can be used to hit your opponent’s face which includes the nose, ears, mouth, and even chest or neck.

Though it is much preferable to use our hands and feet for defending and attacking, head butts are very helpful especially when you are unable to use your hands and feet.

It will surely create an opening especially when the opponent locks you down.

However, no matter how popular and effective head butts are, they are not practiced and implemented as much as the other striking blows and techniques. This is probably because of the two main reasons:

  • Many people consider head butts as violent and uncouth.
  • Head butts are not approved in many combat sports like karate, mainstream mixed martial arts, and boxing.

One of the things that you need to consider with head butts is that the legal system and the general public deems it violent.

While this is clearly down to false assumptions and ideas about head butts, it is still something that has to be considered when getting the likely views and opinions of jurors, judges, and spectators when using head butts in boxing.

On the other hand, head butts have an unavoidable fact that it is weaker than that of a punch because even if you head butt your opponents and blow them off, you will also feel the pain and the impact.

Head butts are mostly used when it is impossible to strike or see an opening in any way.

Interesting read: Boxing vs MMA Comparison Analysis

How to Head Butt Without Hurting Yourself So Much

boxers having a sparring session

Using a head butt is probably a big NO in the sports world, but if you have no other choice, then you must do it.

When head butting, you have to hit using the hardest part of your head, and you should not bend in any way at the neck as this will surely cause you to snap back your neck and will probably create a great deal of pain.

You should do your best not to pull back your neck once you charge forward to your opponent.

So here are some guidelines on how to use head butts without hurting yourself:

  • Keep your chin in a tucked position.
  • Strike indirectly and don’t rock back your head first.
  • Hit using the top of your head.
  • Target the soft parts of your opponent’s face like the nose and eyes.
  • Back it up with more head butts, claws, and punches.

How Dangerous Head Butting Can Be

Head butting can be really dangerous especially in sports. It can inflict danger to your opponent and to yourself if you don’t know how to do it.

Head butting won’t kill your opponent, but in many cases, it caused lot of lethal injuries.

Click here to learn about which boxing equipment you should get to stay safe.


As already mentioned above, head butting can be a very helpful and effective technique. There are steps on how to head butt in boxing and how dangerous it can be.

Using the head butting technique is okay if you will be very careful in using it because one wrong move can cause a serious injury.

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