Last Man Standing are articles intended to help the average guy prepare for some of life’s oddest events. It’s just advice. It’s better than being clueless.

Sometimes you just can’t help yourself. You’ve got a big mouth, and it’s often getting you into trouble. Like that time you were ogling the girl in the bar, you know, the one built like Jessica Rabbit. Unfortunately for you, her insanely jealous boyfriend was 6’5, 300 pounds and made of solid granite. Genius that you are, you decided to ignore his ‘Die Fighting’ t-shirt and went on ahead and blurted out, “Nice rack” when his soul mate was bent over, setting up the pool table.

And now you’re about to get punched in the face.

It’s going to hurt, there’s no denying it, but there are a few things you can do to lessen the damage, and survive the blow. Of course, it’s always better to get the hell out of there if you can, but sometimes you just can’t find the exits in time. Here are a few defensive techniques that just might save the day:

Close the Gap (Body Blows and Jabs)

You might have heard of this strategy before. When someone is trying to hit you, you step into to the attacker in order to to reduce the force behind the punch, and catch the other person off guard. While this works with body blows, never attempt it with a cross directed at your face or the side of your head. Jaw, teeth and nose are far too vulnerable.

Tuck in Your Chin, Expose Your Forehead and Step Foreword (Jabs and Straight Shots)

When a jab is aimed at your face, the best thing for you to do is tuck in your chin, raise your shoulders, and present your forehead. A blow to the forehead will hurt, but it might damage your opponent’s fist as well. There’s an awful lot of hard skull there, much better for absorbing impact than your jaw or nose.

If you have time, you can step into a straight jab (but not a roundhouse punch) before the other man’s arm is fully extended. Only do this if you’ve already positioned your forehead to take the hit. By stepping into the jab, you’re reducing the power behind his extension, redirecting the hit away from your face (eyes, nose, mouth), and possibly jamming your opponent’s arm. Don’t believe the people who said your head wasn’t good for anything.

Roll With the Punch (Crosses and Roundhouses)

This expression is in common usage for good reason. If someone’s fist connects with your face, roll your head in the same direction as the blow, to lessen the trauma of the impact. This works especially well with crosses and roundhouse punches.

Watch some boxing videos, and note how the professionals let the blows ‘slide off’ their heads. What you’re doing, in effect, is lessening the resistance the striking hand encounters. It’s the difference between punching a brick wall, and hitting a silk sheet hanging from a clothesline.

Keep Your Mouth Shut, Tongue In and Jaw Clenched

A shut mouth will help protect your teeth. Resist the urge to taunt the guy once he starts pounding you. This isn’t Fight Club. If he catches you with your tongue out, you might bite through it, and then your motor-mouthing days are over. A clenched jaw is the best defense against a roundhouse punch. If it’s loose and open, it might break, or clamp down and sever off your tongue.

Strengthen Your Neck Muscles

If you find that people are often punching you in the face, it might be a good idea to strengthen your neck muscles. This will keep your head from bouncing around during a bout, and you’ll be able to withstand more blows. You can strengthen your neck with a strap and weights, but it’s risky if you don’t know the proper technique. Your best bet is to join a boxing or martial arts gym, and practice all of the methods listed above.

If you don’t have the time to train every week and transform yourself into a kick-ass action hero, you might want to stop provoking people every chance you get. At the very least, always be aware of your surroundings, know where the nearest exits are, and be prepared to run for your life. If that’s too much too ask, then we hope you can master a few basic defensive techniques, and that you don’t have a glass jaw.

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