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The Best Defense with Henri Hooft

The Best Defense with Henri Hooft


Have you ever been watching a fight and just begin to wonder why people are not protecting their head and are constantly taking huge shots? Is it that they are caught up in the adrenaline of the moment, have they not properly trained defensive techniques? Do they think they are invincible? At the end of the day, it really does not matter how good of a striker you are if you do not have proper defense. 

In this video, Henri Hooft describes a series of defensive techniques that he uses and trains his fighters with. Check it out below!


If you are reading this, chances are you have heard about Henri Hooft before. Henri started his martial arts career at age 15 in full contact karate, but quickly discovered his passion for kickboxing.

He began competing only months after he started training, and quickly began winning competitions in higher and higher levels. During this time he caught the attention of Rob Kaman, a world renowned kickboxer, who invited him to continue his training in Thailand. This is when he found Thai boxing.

Over years of training in various forms of martial arts, Hooft created his own system by combining all of his knowledge, and is now considered one of the most sought after kickboxing and Thai boxing coaches in the world.

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Hooft has an impressive list of MMA fighters who have trained and fought under him and is currently teaching at two different gyms in Florida. Needless to say, his years of experience have given him quite the eye for perfecting defensive strategies.

The two most well known defensive movements in combat striking are the slip and the parry. To briefly explain, a slip is a timed head movement to get out of the way of a punch, and a parry is essentially knocking the hand of your opponent away while they are in mid-punch. Both techniques are extremely useful when practiced, but don’t always do the trick.

In this video, Henri goes over some defensive alternatives to use when the slip and parry are not necessarily accessible. He refers to these as the shield and the roof.

Henri explains that when using the shield you are using your left forearm as your main item of defense, while also keeping your right hand hidden. The proper use of the left forearm is not to keep it low to protect your chin, but to keep it high, just above eye level to protect your whole head while also giving you the ability to see everything. 

Keeping your arm high and not tucked under your chin makes it more versatile, so you have a better ability to block punches from all directions. Keeping your right hand back is partially to keep it from obstructing your site, but it also keeps it loaded to fire back with a cross if possible.

Slipping punches is typically easier when your opponent is closer to you, so the shield is a great method to use when there is a bit more distance involved. The next technique Henri explains is what he calls the roof.

The roof is suggested by Henri when maybe the punches coming toward you start getting a little wild or wide and slipping is not really an option. The roof is simply ducking your head down slightly while raising both of your hands just above your eyes, creating the shape of a roof. This sends your elbows out wide and allows you to make full use of the length of your arms for blocking punches.

Notice in his description of both of these techniques, the hands are always slightly above your eyes so you can see. Henri states, “everything you see coming is not as dangerous at the stuff you don’t see coming”. This is probably one of the most important facts to understand while fighting.

If you are being bombarded by punches from every direction and you close your eyes or obstruct your view with your arms, you might as well consider the fight over. This is much easier said than done of course. Remaining calm in these situations and keeping yourself in a position to be able to see what is coming could absolutely assist you in getting out of a terrible position. 

There is a huge difference between understanding a concept and being able to actively apply it in a high stress situation. This is why it is so important to both understand the techniques that Henri is showing, as well as drill them as much as possible. If these concepts were as easy to apply as they were to just understand, you would see everyone using them.

However this is not the case. If you are going to take defensive techniques from anyone, take them from someone like Henri who has shown their effectiveness in over 100 fights.

H Kick Boxing Fundamentals by Henri Hooft

This instruction covers every major aspect of mixed martial arts combat, and it is not something you are going to want to miss. Check it out here!