Originally Posted by Iloveshamrock
Take a punch better... hmm let me think about that. How about not getting punch in the first place.
I take it you don't do much stand-up.
Don't listen to this guy. Getting punched is inevitable. I came into MMA from a Traditional Martial Art and Reality-Based Self Defense background. The people who teach those styles have this way of making you believe you're invincible, and that you can avoid being hit while dishing out punishment. When I started Muay Thai and Kickboxing sparring, I was in for a rude awakening about my invincibility.
There's a few ways I can advise you. First, you need to protect your jaw at all costs. You are going to get hit, but it is possible to go without being hit in the jaw. ALWAYS keep your chin DOWN. And, make sure you're clenching your jaw.
When you're defending, make sure to counterattack. That was one problem I had when I started sparring. I wanted to get so good at the defense, because being hit was a big shock to me. I would just sit there and try to defend every strike that was thrown at me, while ignoring all these great counterattack opportunities. Drill it into your head to take the opportunity when you see an opening for a counterattack. Defend, and then realize that your defense has done its job, and it's time to switch to offense.
Get rid of your ego before you step into the ring or wherever you're sparring. Realize before you step in that you are going to get hit no matter what happens, but as long as you keep your chin protected, you'll be okay. You can take an absolute battering to the forehead, believe me. It's when you start to get hit in the nose and jaw that you run into trouble.
Now, you say other fighters are good at remaining standing after they get hit. Are they taking clean shots to the face, or are they taking it on their forehead? You need to realize that the location of a punch on the face makes all the difference in the world.
Remember to stay calm when you're under attack. This took me many a sparring session to do, but I'm really getting good at it. Be confident enough in yourself that you can ride a storm of punches on the forehead (because believe me, you can). When you start to panic and clam up when someone's throwing punches at you, you tend to make yourself a much easier target than when you just relax, protect your chin, and fight your way out of it.
I'm guessing your problem is one of or both of these problems:
-You're getting hit in the nose or jaw, while the other fighters are getting hit in the forehead. That's why they're able to stay standing.
-You're not relaxing during sparring, and thinking of every strike that you didn't defend as a failure. If a punch or kick gets through your defense, relax. You need to learn to let the past go, and by past, I mean milliseconds. You need to always be focusing on the present and the very near future. Don't worry about a punch that hit you, and don't get cocky when you land a punch on him.
If you're getting wobbled, you're taking shots on the chin. If you're just finding yourself under a storm of punches, and in a very vulnerable, unbalanced position, you're not relaxing.
Strengthening your neck muscles will help. But I really don't believe that's your problem.
Just think about what I said, ask for help from your coaches, check your form, and RELAX! Sparring used to be this big test for me. I wanted to spar to get better, but at the same time I loathed having to get hit by guys who were bigger and better than me. After a while though, I really started to have fun sparring. Getting hit is really no big deal, as long as you're not taking it on the jaw. Sparring is an absolute blast once you learn to throw caution to the wind and not worry about getting hit anymore.