Stylistic Differences of High Blocks

Discussion in 'Karate' started by RidiculousName, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. RidiculousName

    RidiculousName Valued Member

    My sensei always tell me to high block, age-uke, with the ulna facing outwards. This makes sense to me because your arm is stronger in this position, and a bladed weapon would have more trouble cutting you.

    My confusion is because I keep seeing photos of karatekas online who block with the palm facing outwards, and the fleshy part of your arm exposed. I understand different styles have different methods but I'm curious what benefits this would provide. Does anyone know?
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015
  2. bassai

    bassai onwards and upwards ! Moderator Supporter

    Not sure what style you practice but , in Shotokan we're taught to block with the "fleshy" part of the arm first (palm down) , and then twist so that the ulna is facing upwards (palm forwards) at point of contact as the rotation assists the block , kind of a similar principle to soto uke.
  3. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    I think your ulna will have more problems with a bladed weapon than you think.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015
  4. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    rotation is an active element during contact, so the final position is more or less irrelevant. and stay the hell away from bladed weapons.
  5. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    I remember years ago discussing somewhere about why age-uke is different. Let's see if I can remember some of it. Here goes:

    Some karate styles do not use age-uke but instead use a different block that is more vertical. This block actually has a different name and is more effective than age-uke as a block. This is the block that OP might be using. It is used to deflect a strike much like "threading the needle".

    Some karate styles use a more "flat" (parallel to the ground) block that is closer to a boxer's parallel block and is more for shielding using the forearm and elbow.

    The regular age-uke (rising block) is a multifunctional/generic movement. When used to block, you actually block/strike and then MOVE UNDER it like moving under a roof that protect you. It is important to block/strike and then move under the block in application (with a partner) rather than just move the arm above the head.
  6. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Roof block against a blade is just dumb no matter how you rotate comes second only to x-block in the "do not do this" department

    Yet more evidence for the "martial arts is NOT self defense" pile
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015
  7. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Some discussion on the different versions of age-uke in this video:

    [ame=""]Mawashi uke - goju's "rising block"? - YouTube[/ame]

    x-block has principles for incorporating speed into technique to acquire a two-on-one grab. Wrists together is faster than wrists separated. It isn't the x-block that is necessarily flawed but whether or not in a context would it be practical to go for a two-on-one grab. If the answer is no, then x-block should not be used. If the answer is yes, then x-block training can help to make the two-on-one come more naturally and quickly.

    Roof block has principles of incorporating lateral movement with rising power. Imagine stepping in with an uppercut with your other hand with it. Makes more sense if you have their arm grabbed than to try to use it against a punch or knife thrust/slash.
  8. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Both are dumb choices - Teaching either as a viable knife defense shows that the person has zero idea about the subject

  9. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    i am 100% with hannibal on this one.
  10. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Not disagreeing with what you say. I'm disagreeing with the way these techniques are taught for the mainstream.
  11. RidiculousName

    RidiculousName Valued Member

    Sorry, I wasn't clear about this. I shouldn't have said bladed weapon. My instructors are not teaching bladed weapon defense with any sort of age-uke or anything like it. I just meant your ulna is tougher than the underside of your upper arm. The part that turns in whatever direction your palm turns.

    The style of karate I use is Ryu Te. It is Okinawan but rare. Our own blocks are like high punches. Instead of moving with just the shoulder you punch high and take a glancing impact on your ulna. Something like a counter punch, although you don't have to hit anything but what you're blocking. You can though:hat:

    I think my question has been somewhat answered already but to summarize, age-uke as it's taught in Shotokan is designed for a karateka to open up a guard while getting in close.

    Wado thank you for your useful comments. Your video was very interesting but I didn't see our particular style of high block there. It may be a style-centric thing in which case I shouldn't give much detail as the founder of our style only wanted it to be shown in person, not over the web or in video.

    Hannibal, I'm sorry for saying sharp weapon. I'm not sure where you got "knife fight" out of what I said. I was just thinking of anything that could slice or chop. I imagine there would be better moves for countering those things though. I was just thinking of how soft the underside of someone's arm is.

    Everyone, I apologize for the mistaken "sharp weapon" reference. The last thing I want to do is portray Ryu Te as using incorrect techniques for certain situations Nobody told me our high block would be for that purpose. Please regard that as a slip of the tongue due to my own inexperience. I love my style, and my instructors would give me a long and boring lecture if they ever found out I said such a thing.

    One thing they taught me about knife fighting is that there's two kinds. The "monkey dance" where they dance around with the knife out and you should just give them whatever they want and run away, and the more assassination style technique where they try to get close to you without you noticing and just shank you in the side continuosly until you're either dead or in desperate need of a hospital. Obviously the age-uke is useful for neither.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
  12. melbgoju

    melbgoju Valued Member

    With the age-uke, which of the two hands involved is doing the initial interception in your style?
  13. RidiculousName

    RidiculousName Valued Member

    It's a one armed block. I'm not sure what you're talking about.
  14. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    someday, karateka will not argue about which hand one blocks with. that day, i will be a happy man :p
  15. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Hannibal was probably more addressing my posts than yours. I'm the guy who tested out two dozen or so knife counters taught to me and only got three of them to work more than once in training. So you got to wonder why I was taught the other 21 techniques :confused:

    The usefulness of all techniques is to have a good context for the movements to apply properly to principles. Age uke is a basic/generic movement that is a fundamental in many karate systems.

    I'll see if I can find a video that shows better context on how the movement applies. Basically, it applies to slipping an opponent's arm directly upwards (over your head). This can be for many reasons, but what follows afterward is the actual technique.

    Most all basic karate blocks use both hands because they are really striking motions. Even if one hand is just a parry or checking hand. One hand versions, or the quick versions, of these "blocks" are generally used against grabs rather than strikes, IME.

    Edit, one handed versions are also used for limb destruction.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
  16. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Okay here is first application for age uke against bear hug from behind. Use it to pin an elbow between your shoulder and side of head. Elbow to the rear. Follow with some technique (in video a hip/shoulder throw).

    [ame=""]Self Defense Technique - Bear hug over the arms from the rear high /hip throw - Hiscoe Jiu-Jitsu - YouTube[/ame]
  17. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Two more applications of age uke that both use the circular motion. One into an elbow, the other into a rolling arm lock. Unfortunately, I don't like these movements personally. IMHO, these movements are easier to counter.

    [ame=""]Jodan age uke - YouTube[/ame]

    [ame=""]Karate blocks - Shuto uke- kake uke training-practical application/arm bar - YouTube[/ame]
  18. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    I had to look for this application of age uke for a while. This is one that goes into a throw and I searched unsuccessfully through Judo videos for it. I happened to find a few variations in the following video from 6:05 - 6:25. Other good stuff in this video too:

    [ame=""]Gichin Funakoshi - Historical Video Series - YouTube[/ame]

    I really like this application.

    OMG... knife counters at 6:50+. Some of them look okay...LOL.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
  19. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Just thought I would add in two ways to train age uke. Not to say do this different than what your instructor says, but just to share some technique.

    1) First start with right hand in the age uke finish position, your left hand is in the finish position of an uppercut. Circle your hands in front of you as if holding a steering wheel (or rolling a ball). Age uke with the left hand and uppercut with your right hand. You can repeat each time as if holding on to a steering wheel. This is very similar to the circling motion in tora guchi.

    2) The second way is to chamber your right hand (as if elbowing behind you) and age uke with your left hand. At the same time, front snap kick with your right leg. Repeat for other side.

    Both these methods feed into various applications.
  20. melbgoju

    melbgoju Valued Member

    I'm talking about it not actually being a one-armed block. You use two hands to do it. The hand that ultimately retracts to the waist first goes in front of the face and can (in some traditions - including mine) be the one that initially engages the attack. The hand that goes to the final position can be thought of as either clearing/redirecting the attack, attacking the attack or striking.

    Or, it can also be the block in its own right. There's a good article on the concept here and a related one here. We do some things with a slightly different emphasis, but I agree with him on the essentials.

    Having said that, in goju we rely more on mawashi uke and haiwan nagashi uke to protect the head. Age uke is really only in gekisai and not a major emphasis of the style (back when I did shotokan, however, it was a big part of every training, and it was done as a one-handed block).

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