Do Shotokan blocks work?

Discussion in 'Karate' started by homer_simps1, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. homer_simps1

    homer_simps1 King Procrastinator

    How linear are the movements and would they compliment Judo? I really would like to take one form of Karate (Muay Thai is too trendy) and I also like a traditional setting. Would Shotokan suit my needs?

    Thank you for your help!
  2. AAAhmed46

    AAAhmed46 Valued Member

    Those 'blocks' arn't really blocks. They 'lower' block(i dont know the japanese name) has been demonstrated to me as a strike and a throw.

    For instance, if i approche you from the left, grab your wrist with my right hand, and at the same time do the lower 'block' on your neck and follow through, you should be in pain and off your feet.

    The 'middle' 'block' is essentially, striking somone in the bicep if they throw haymakers. Doesn't really work against someone who is a decent boxer or puncher. BUUUT if you reach out with your left hand, grab an arm or a shirt and then chamber with that hand and 'block' with the other, you are hammerfisting the guy in the side of the face while pulling him to you.

    Offcoarse, it sounds hot in theory, but i think it's pretty hard to apply. But it works better then trying to 'block' punches coming at you.

    This was demonstrated to me by a progressive shotokan guy who visited my school for a while. He now does BJJ and used to box. He isn't....old school.
    Maybe you guys dont use these like this, maybe im wrong and this is his personal interpretations.

    But im sure that shotokan 'blocks' dont stop punches or kicks.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2006
  3. kitsune

    kitsune New Member

    I think that's a little unfair on our shotokan friends. It's a bit like saying shotokan punches couldn't couldn't knock someone out. I think any technique is only as good as the person who performs it. Most traditional karate blocks are performed in ippon kumite form and against traditional karate punches (or kicks). With good tai sabaki complementing these blocks they are very effective against a multitude of modern, varied, unpredicatable attacks ( I know cause I've had to use them). Just my £2's worth. :)
  4. AAAhmed46

    AAAhmed46 Valued Member

    You dont understand what im saying, im saying the blocks are not blocks.
  5. bassai

    bassai onwards and upwards ! Moderator Supporter

    Shotokan blocks work very well as long as you get past the notion that it is a linear style.
    The way we teach at a beginners level is fairly unrealistic , but , once you start learning the ippon sylabus you start to see that tai sabaki (as has alredy been pointed out) becomes very important , uchi uke (under arm block) is the perfect example , completly useless in a straight line ,but, by stepping off line becomes quite usefull :)
  6. ShorinRoots

    ShorinRoots New Member

    Aaahmed isn't really saying that shotokan blocks can't be useful in preventing you from taking a blow, but he's saying that they shouldn't really be classified as blocks.

    If I understood him correctly, he was saying that shotokan blocks are really more like counterattacks or strikes, and that the term "block" may be misleading.
  7. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    they work for my sensei - I cant lay one on him and I've tried bloody hard to
  8. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    No, first and foremost they are blocks, if you choose to use alternative applications then fine, but their primary use is as a block
  9. Moosey

    Moosey invariably, a moose Supporter

    Don't be fooled into thinking shotokan is all about 'prepare at the shoulder, chamber the fist, step back into a long stance' etc etc

    The blocks evolve as you get better. e.g. with gedan barai (low level sweeping block) - what starts as a solid thumping downward motion with a solid fist often becomes a flowing sweeping motion that flows into a counter punch in one continuous movement. As these guys have said, you learn to dodge and weave, the blocks and counters flow together and you have something a lot more fluid than what you see beginners doing as they march along the hall. When you first start, most of what you do in most karate styles are strengthening exercises, focus exercises, timing and distancing exercises and not "fighting" - it's sometimes disguised as fighting to keep the modern low-attention-span population interested, but most of it is conditioning your body and mind and learning the building block skills. This does pay off in the end, but karate is a slow burner of a martial art on the whole - there's less of a "get yer gloves on and get in the ring, noobie" approach and more of a "learn to play the scales before attmpting the symphonies"

    In answer to your other questions:

    Shotokan is very linear in comparison to some other styles. But what some people call linear, I call "no messing about". There's very little "floweriness" about shotokan and lots of good solid hitting.

    And, last but not least, yes judo is an utterly great companion to any style of karate. Quite a few shoto combos involve dumping your opponent on their ass on the floor - so judo is ideal in that it helps you know what to do with them once you've dropped them, and it'll give you an advantage in the elements of judo that are incorporated in karate.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2006
  10. Nomadwanders

    Nomadwanders Valued Member

    As one of our Sensei recently told a class, blocks in karate are strikes. Their goal is to punish the person trying to hit you, by striking the arms and hitting some very effective nerve bundles and/or breaking the opponent's arm. If all you want is not to get hit, it's a lot easier to dodge/move out of the way of the technique.

    Many of the blocks can also be used as strikes to other parts of the body (eg. down block can be groin strike) as mentioned previously.

    Treating a block as an attack (mentally) also tends to make the block much stronger than it might otherwise be.
  11. AAAhmed46

    AAAhmed46 Valued Member

    Yeah pretty much what i was saying, not exactly but very very close.

    Also the 'lower block'( i wish i knew the proper name) inst just a strike, you can thow with it.

    Chambering can be used to bring the guy close to you, or to grab and make him walk into your punches or 'blocks'

    Treating a block as an attack (mentally) also tends to make the block much stronger than it might otherwise be.

    I agree completely, it's hard to fight properly with a defensive mindset.
    It's KIND OF like pre-emptive strike! Hit him before he hits you!

    But though this would work against an 'average' punch, i really dont prefer to stop a blow like that.

    Fast hard jabs and what not; are difficult to target with blocks. But thats my personal belief.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2006
  12. AAAhmed46

    AAAhmed46 Valued Member

    How exactly are you punching? Do you chamber then punch or do you jab and retract?
    Do you combo the punches?
    WHen punching do you stop as soon as you throw it and wait for a response or do you keep attacking with combinations?
    Do you use hooks and uppercuts?
    Do you keep your hands up?

    Do you have boxing experience? Has you master had boxing experience?

    When you kick, are you kicking with the top of your foot or the shin?

    If kicking with the shin, do you follow through?
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2006
  13. homer_simps1

    homer_simps1 King Procrastinator

    Does Shotokan incorporate elbows and knees like Muay Thai? I've been doing some research and Shotokan looks badazz. There is one close where I live and I'll have to check it out.
  14. AAAhmed46

    AAAhmed46 Valued Member

    The STYLE uses elbows and knees.

    But it's rarely ever PRACTICED with elbows and knees in sparring., even full contact shotkan schools dont use them in sparring.

    That said, if you run into a teacher who is a renegade in his beliefs, maybe he will use the elbows and knees.
  15. Moosey

    Moosey invariably, a moose Supporter

    As Aaahmed says - yes, elbows and knees are taught but they're often outlawed in competitions. You'll generally train them a fair bit in basics, but if you're doing competition-style sparring they'll probably be ignored in favour of "competition-winning" moves.
  16. Chris J.

    Chris J. Valued Member

    There are 2 old concepts that might illuminate this discussion. Go, and Ju, Yin and Yang, however you say them it means Hard and Soft, forceful and yielding. These two concepts are cornerstones of the older martial arts. One can meet extreme force with relaxation and timing, and one can meet weakness with hard strength and in either case be effective.
    The older arts use both concepts which are related even as the symbol of Yin and Yang suggest. One leads to the other inevitably, and this can be predicted in advance. It is how we find the weakness in a stronger opponent through timing and precision.
    Shoto-Kan lost this. Ot is all GO-Go-GO. Hard, hard , hard. It makes you strong, yes. But it is a tremendous waste of energy and no matter how strong you get, multible opponents can always beat this strength. It is only through relaxation that you can outlast many opponents, use their strength toward their demise. This was lost in most modern styles.
    The blocks were once alegory representing other types of techniques. They are simplified in the same way that Chinese charaqcters were once pictures that are now simplified, and a person with the right view can see the meaning of these simple representations. It is not so easy for the western mind to envision these things. Our mindset tends toward the concrete, while in the east it tends to be much more figurative and artistic. To understand their arts you must understand this.
    If you want exercise, Shoto-Kan is excellent for this. TKD is great for competition. If you want to learn to survive a real fight, learn the arts that were actually used for this in their true older form. It just depends what you want.

    -Chris A. Johnston
  17. Moosey

    Moosey invariably, a moose Supporter

    That was a nicely written post, but I've got to disagree with the content. It was full of the standard misconceptions about shotokan karate.

    The idea that a strong, direct style of karate is a negative feature seems ridiculous to me. The "no nonsense" style of shotokan is one of the things that I find most attractive about it. Instead of learning nice slow graceful moves, you learn hard and powerful techniques. The idea that shotokan is static and lacks evasive maneuvres is a conclusion people often reach after watching a class of beginners (I'm not suggesting this is the case with you as you seem to have a lot of experience in karate) - anyone who's seen experienced shotokan karateka in action can see that they quite readily combine the "go" with good defensive posture.

    If you follow the lineage of eastern martial arts back far enough you always get back to sweeping circular motions called "the dragon chases the fleeing buddha", the fact that modern martial arts have replaced this with functional blocks and strikes and abandoned a few "bent-wrist block while in cat stance" features is not, IMHO, a bad thing.

    Whenever I've seen Go Ju Ryu competitiors in kumite, they fight much like shotokan fighters anyway - there's no cat stance and circular sweeping blocks - they use palm heel blocks and linear punches just like shoto people.
  18. Evil Betty

    Evil Betty Birdy, birdy birdy

    Shotokan wasn't developed out of thin air. Gichin studied other styles first, then developed Shotokan. Shotokan can easily be as effective as Goju and other older styles. Same with Taekwondo.

    All styles of Karate require relaxation to be performed correctly. Why do you assume Shotokan experts don't know this?
  19. Moosey

    Moosey invariably, a moose Supporter

    Additionally - Goju isn't actually any older than Shotokan is it? It was formed by Miyagi in about 1933 from his experiences in CMA and okinawan karate in much the same way Funakoshi formed his karate from shuri-te and naha-te at roughly the same time.
  20. Evil Betty

    Evil Betty Birdy, birdy birdy

    Correct, they're roughly the same age.

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