man training to box

How do you improve your reflexes to improve your fighting skills? You need to train your muscles to be relaxed when punching and then contract at the exact moment you make contact on the target.

I know that sounds way too hard to learn.

I was able to do it with training but you need to do what we tell you below to start seeing results. There are also some other training you can do to speed up reflexes.

Fighting is all about knowing what to do next. It is fast-paced where reflexes really come in handy.

Quick reflexes really improve your fighting skills, so it is important to work on reacting quicker.

Just like any sport or hobby, you have to practice to quicken your reflexes. Having quick reflexes forms a good base for fighting and learning martial art techniques.

Don’t worry there are many simple ways that you can do this. You can work on your reflexes anywhere with no need for a partner.

Every little bit of training and preparation helps.

What is a Reflex?

Before you start fighting and preparing to fight, it important to understand what a reflex actually is.

It is basically any reaction.

If you touch something hot, whether you scream or jump, that is a reflex. Some other examples of reflexes could be punching, flinching, panicking, etc.

The reflexes that you have now are just normal reflexes, what you want to work on is called your trained reflexes.

In fighting, this would be defensive moves, offensive, and counter moves.

You want your fighting reflexes to occur just as quickly as your current burn reflexes.

If you can practice enough your body will start automatically react to punches, kicks, and fight scenarios.

To fully prepare yourself with the correct reflexes, you need to make sure you are prepared for any fighting technique thrown at you.

The secret to good reflex training for fighting is to focus not simply on the reaction but also on the stimuli.

Here are some good ways to improve your reflexes specifically for fighting.


If you are a beginner, sparring is training in real-life situations. It can involve striking and grappling between two or more people.

It is a technique but if done at a slower pace to help improve your reflexes.

Practicing slower speeds when sparring is said to speed up you are fighting skills. When you practice it slowly, it gives you the time to think of new responses which in the end helps your reflexes.

Obviously, you should still practice sparring at a realistic pace.

You will also need to practice at half speed to allow your mind to memorize techniques.

Slow sparring also allows you to pay close attention to how your opponent might fight.

Reflexes in fighting are all about preparing for what is coming next and paying attention to how your opponent moves and reacts.

Simply noticing something small about your partner can help you win in the end.

  • You can pay attention to where their power is coming from
  • What tendencies do they have
  • Do they telegraph punches or movement
  • Do they load up punches or kicks

Telegraphing strikes

They may telegraph a punch or kick so this warns you what is coming before it happens.

Many fighters will look for an opponent to telegraph what they are doing. Maybe they drop their shoulder before a punch.

Knowing your opponent’s tendencies can give you the advantage in a fight because your reflexes react just a tiny bit quicker.

You want to be able to sense what is coming next. The best fighters win because they are prepared for what is coming next.

You study your opponent any type of movement that they may be telegraphing.

Real fighters don’t need to think during a fight, what they are doing is coming naturally. This is because of the time and preparation they had put in to train.

They don’t have to think about what comes next, their body just moves to counter a strike, hit the opponent, or dodge a punch.

Focus Mitt Training

Focus mitt training is where a partner will hold up the mitts and call out punches.

You throw the punches called out. Then when you get good enough at combos the trainer will then start throwing punches for you to slip, dodge or weave.

This will keep your body aware that a punch could come at any time. Doing this increases punch defense reflex skills.

Another thing you can do is at full blast punch for a few minutes until you are completely tired. If you do this, you are helping yourself to improve your reflexes.

You can also work on slipping punches. You throw punches then slip a punch from your partner.

Doing these drills you will get faster. You will just parry a punch or throw a 1 / 2 combo to hit your opponent. The reaction is quick and fluid.

Punching combinations to work on in video below:

You want to create natural responses or habits to what you are experiencing.

The brain treats these as natural reflexes that you can use when you are actually fighting. You want to train your brain and body to be a fighter and not just go through the motions.

We recommend some different focus mitts in our review section.

Punching Bag

This will not be as effective as having a partner who would actually be able to throw punches and give you knew situations to encounter, but it is still very good for working on your reflexes.

Using a punching bag means that you still have to respond and react to a moving target even if that target isn’t a person.

Doing this once a day or at least a few times a week can really improve your reflexes.

When training we always tried to make everything we do seem like it was real.

We wanted our training to seem like we were really in a fight so we slip, duck, throw a punch, dodge, weave, throw a kick then a punch, and so on.

Having a heavy bag does help. If you do not have a heavy bag then as long as you can get your form and technique down you will grow in skill,

Training like it is a real fight will ingrain that movement into your muscle memory. This makes your reflexes quicker.

Look into investing in a double end bag because it will help your reflexes in the end.

Thinking too much on next fight move

The main concept of working on your reflexes when it comes to fighting is that you want to actually create new neural connections.

If you spend too much time thinking during an actual fight, you will give your partner just enough time to find an opening.

Think during practice so that your body naturally knows what to do when it comes down to it.

You don’t have to think about shivering when it is cold or jumping when a car horn beep.

This is exactly how you want your body to eventually react when someone throws a punch.

The best fighters do not even have to think about what they are doing. Thinking about moves to do in a fight and strategizing how to beat an opponent in a fight is different.

Overthinking is the best way to lose in a fight.

This is different from other sports and hobbies because you have to actually program new reflexes into your body.

Let your body do the work that you have been preparing for mentally and physically when you are actually fighting.

Don’t stress because your body will do the work for you as long as you prepared enough.

Your mind can do wonderful things, and this is one of them.


Overall there are many things that you can do to work on your reflexes for fighting. Whether you are at home, with a partner, or with an instructor, you can always help your mind and body learn new and useful reflexes for fighting.

If you don’t have a partner you can always practice with on a punching bag or double-end striking bag. If you don’t have a punching bag you can always shadow box.

No matter what there is always an opportunity to enhance your reflexes and fighting skills. Every little bit of practice helps in the end.

You can check out our free online training program to learn self-defense.

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