Kiai at the moment you are hit; it help you focus your attention on absorbing the strike. If you are hit in the abdominal area, the kiai, when done correctly, expels air and tenses the abdominal muscles. This helps keep you from having the “wind knocked out of you,” and helps protect internal organs. If hit in the abdominal area, do not bend forward and expose the back of your neck; a downward elbow strike to back of your neck could be deadly for you. Even after being hit hard, maintain your slow, deep, controlled breathing. Avoid getting hit at your breathing transition points, the points in time just before starting to inhale and just before starting to exhale. The body is at the moist vulnerable at these points.
If a taking a strike to the head is inevitable, shift your head so the punch hits your forehead or skull rather than your face, throat, or chin. The skull is able to absorb more force without damage than other parts of the head, and the attacker may injury their body part that strikes the hard skull. Keep your chin tucked to prevent presenting a clear target to a punch that could cause a knockout. Keep your mouth shut, but not clinched, with your tongue well inside the teeth. If you do not do this, the jaw may be broken, teeth may be knocked out, or the tongue may be severed. If punched to the side of the face, try to keep the head from twisting too much; if it does, it may injure the neck, lead to a knockout, or at least stun you. Since the head area has a high blood flow, due to the brain’s great need for oxygen, a cut to the face will bleed profusely. While a cut may not be serious enough to be life threatening, it still could be enough to scare you or it could allow blood to get into the eyes and impair your vision.