Stylistic Differences of High Blocks

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

  1. Renegade80

    Renegade80 Valued Member

    The way knife defence was incorporated into my Shotokan training was more and extention of the basic 1-step kumite i.e. the big lunge attacks are archetypal. People don't attack like that but reducing any attack to it's basic elements allows you to train core elements like footwork and timing study what is effective and what isn't.

    The key is simply to gradually reintroduce the complications of reality. Doing so will let you learn not just what works but also why.

    When we wanted to go beyond the reductionist training drills we picked up practice knives and tried to murder each other. We stopped when we were forced or when we knew we'd been tagged well enough by the blade.

    There's no comparison between the two methods when taken in isolation but as parts of a progression they work well together.
  2. RidiculousName

    RidiculousName Valued Member

    I have only practiced for two years and am not that knowledgable about our style. That said, relatively few of the blocks we practice have specific ways you move the other hand. It's entirely up to you.

    I haven't seen much of any other karate styles but from what I'm hearing I guess a lot of dojos will teach specific bunkai. My sensei tell me to try and interpret the kata myself. They'll take a little time to show me a few possible bunkai for movements in the katas but only for a short time.

    My sensei tell me our founder, Taika Oyata, was very particular about teaching concepts over specific techniques. He'd teach techniques to teach concepts. The point was to understand the basic concepts behind the techniques, beyond that you were free to form your own.
  3. SCA

    SCA Former Instructor

    A new student more interested in doubting rather than learning once asked, what if someone is swinging a baseball bat. The master said he hoped none of his students were stupid enough to block a baseball bat with their arm. :D
  4. raaeoh

    raaeoh never tell me the odds

    I am of the opinion unless you have a tunfa or gauntlets. All high blocks are a bad choice. Club defense is likely to get you a broken arm. Knife defense using this is a joke. Even razor sharp blades hurt when they cut. No matter what hold your forearm.
  5. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    I have a friend who is 4ft nothing, for her high blocks are not always a mater of choice. Even for myself (at 6ft) if I have gone for a low level technique, I may want to use a rising contact as I shift back to mid or high level.
  6. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    It is worth noticing that the word block is very problematical. It implies a purely defensive / reactive passive response to an incoming strike.

    The word block is actually banned in my hall. Instead we say deflect or counter. The idea is to emphasise the importance of proactive actions rather than reactive. This is demonstrated in the videos above where the "block" is the entry/first step in a technique. There are times when it all goes horribly wrong. Sometimes called "oh dear! situations". At this time we do use reactive rather than proactive movements. but again we try not to talk about blocking, rather we talk about covering up and working to regain a platform to fight from. So even when forced into a totally reactive situation we constantly working forward to improve our position.

    The reason I think this is worth mentioning is that the original post asks about the conventional / stylistic way of doing a high block, age-uke. Convention/style/form is important in kata / forms. Kata / forms are important because they provide a common starting/reference point for learning and understanding, but situation and intent govern how things are actually done in application.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
  7. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    In western boxing "blocks" are when you have to take a strike on the arm.The arm basically is a shield in this context.

    Therefore the proper term (in English) for the basic defensive motions such as the rising "block" in karate etc is "parries". Doesn't matter how much or little power is put into them,as deflections they're not "blocks". (Even if they're attacks!)

    It's all about the angles of execution.
  8. Mike Flanagan

    Mike Flanagan Valued Member

    Reading the above posts, clearly there are different variations on 'rising' block. I will use my ulna, the outer muscle, or the outer muscle rolling to the ulna, just depending on the application and the circumstances.

    The ulna I'd tend to use if I was, say, 'blocking' the attacker's head. That said, I have successfully blocked a stick with my ulna before now. I was sat down in an armchair when someone tried to bring the fat end of a pool cue down onto my head. Evasion, blending? These weren't options. The stick broke (it cracked along its centreline rather than breaking in two), my arm didn't:) The assailant made a sharp exit.

    Generally if forced to 'block' a stick I'd be aiming at meeting the attacker's hands or the stick very close to the hands with my outer forearm muscle, moving in to wrap their arms up. It might not look much like age-uke but it would rely on the mechanics of the basic age-uke movement.

    If given no choice (to evade or slip) I suppose I'd have to do the same with a knife but obviously I'd be looking to check their arm, not the knife. But that's a pretty bad day, I don't fancy anyone's chances of not being cut in that situation. Far better to perceive the knife before it gets to that stage and prevent the attack from coming.

  9. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    also worth considering that the movements in kata / forms can be performed in different situations that might make them very different as application.

    There are plenty of practical applications that work if the defender first grips the opponents attacking limb with one hand then executes a rising or x "block" with the other. Similarly Medieval fight books are full of techniques where x and rising blocks are used by a defender holding a knife.
  10. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    In CMA, the upward block is like to raise a curtain, you then walk under through. The important part is the "walk under through" and not the "raise a curtain". In other words, the punch is more important than the block, To "raise a curtain" should take no effort at all.

    In sword fight, there is a skill that your sword touch on your opponent's sword, your step in while your sword still remain static. It's similar principle.

Share This Page