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#400139 - 06/22/08 06:09 AM Why blocks DO work
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
While I'm sure this might generate some strong opposition, I invite you to consider my blog article on this subject:

http://dandjurdjevic.blogspot.com/2008/06/why-blocks-do-work.html.
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#400140 - 06/22/08 10:43 AM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: dandjurdjevic]
MattJ Offline
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Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Hi Dan. Interesting article.

I come from a POV that does not disagree with the concept of blocking. It has it's place in the defensive heirarchy, although it's at the bottom of my list. Evasion is at the top IMHO, owing to maximal efficiency. It allows for instantaneous defense AND offense.

Parries are next on my list. While they limit offensive options while you are doing them, they do afford control of the opponent's momentum, and thus his weapons.

Blocks are the last resort, as they give you very little control of the opponent's momentum/weapons. Neither do they allow for good offense.

Now, I am working from these definitions:

BLOCK - Force on force stopping of incoming strike on a +/- perpendicular angle.

PARRY - Redirection of opponent's striking momentum on a +/- parallel angle.

I note that many of your "blocks" are actually "parries" by my definitions.

I did like that you stressed blocking applications above the elbow joint. We were trained to do that in American Kenpo, as well. I think it does afford much better control of the opponent's arm and overall momentum.

I disagree with you about the usefulness of the MMA shell/helmet defense, but appreciate the effort made in the article. Well done.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#400141 - 06/22/08 01:10 PM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: dandjurdjevic]
JoshuaMonjin Offline
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Registered: 10/13/06
Posts: 427
Loc: Fallon, Nevada
Nice article, pretty much agreed with you. I feel that part of the problem is how they are taught for most of a persons training. Too slow, oversized, and way to much time between block and counter, which I think you mentioned. Some parallels between Blauer's SPEAR idea and what you are saying, that your arms can often move much faster then you "think" with proper training.
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#400142 - 06/22/08 01:36 PM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: JoshuaMonjin]
JKogas Offline
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Registered: 01/25/03
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I'm with Matt. Evasion is always my preferred tactic, followed by a slipping cover and immediate counter. Often the problem with blocking is that the elbow moves too far away from the body.

Anyone that blocks a jab like that is almost immediately vulnerable to a double leg. That's the problem with isolating things and then over-analyzing them.

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#400143 - 06/22/08 03:24 PM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: MattJ]
medulanet Offline
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Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
The thing about blocking techniques in karate is that they all contain evasion, covering, parrying, hard blocking, redirection, and striking.

As for the article, I don't quite agree with your application of karate's blocking techniques. I think that the initial parry/cover is being left out. This technique allows you to use the "block" to strike or at worst block the second incoming strike. I also believe that there must be more controlling of the striker's attacking limb and posture.
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#400144 - 06/22/08 06:14 PM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: dandjurdjevic]
Zach_Zinn Offline
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Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 1031
Loc: Olympia, WA
Nice article Dan, I didn't find much to disagree with peronsally. I liked your "how not to chudan uke" thing, we call that the windshield wiper.

A blocking technique should really be a seamless part of your attack.

Re: Jkogas comment about the jab, personally the way I see it you do not use the "harder" style blocking techniques against a jab, you use them against attacks which are made with more commitment, hopefully they acheive the following:

disrupting, evading (as Med said some kind of evasion or body movement is part of every -uke technique I ever learned), setting up your next shot, and making his next harder to land.

Also, (just my own experience) I have never once seen a school that teaches traditional blocks that move the elbow far away from the body, i'm sure they may exist but I know for a fact that in many styles of Karate you are encouraged to never move elbow too far from the body in these techniques.

I think people get confused by the concept because in beginner training it is seperated from everything else, also in beginner training alot of styles have applications where you block multiple times, while they are fine for learning techniques, too much of this instills a "defensive" mindset with these techniques which is the exact opposite of what you want.

The bottom line to me is that body positioning and movement combined with using arms for deflection is a perfectly useful way of addressing attacks.

I've seen it argued that most of this happens roughly in the beginning of a confrontation, and that uke-waza are designed for the initial stages of confrontation.

Not sure if I share that opinion or not but I have seen it put forth.

In regards to Med's comment about the the parrying hand or whatever, personally I was taught ways to use uke techniques that involve both the inside/parrying hand and the outside hand as control, and simply using the outside hand, I think they both have their place.

I'm guessing that also being a Goju guy (and one with many years on me lol) Dan has seen or done these plenty too, he puts them in a different context in the article though, as a "failsafe"...maybe you could elaborate more on the inside hand thing Dan?


Edited by Zach_Zinn (06/22/08 06:35 PM)

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#400145 - 06/22/08 09:55 PM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: JKogas]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
Quote:

I'm with Matt. Evasion is always my preferred tactic, followed by a slipping cover and immediate counter. Often the problem with blocking is that the elbow moves too far away from the body.




There are down sides to every tactic. The essence of "blocking" (see my caveat at the start of my article on my use of this term to cover a number of different things) is to return your elbow back quickly. As Zach mentioned, this is an essential part of the basic - as you'll see from the pictures below:



It is true that in the middle of the movement your elbow leaves the body - but this is also true of punching etc...

Quote:

Anyone that blocks a jab like that is almost immediately vulnerable to a double leg. That's the problem with isolating things and then over-analyzing them.




Yes John. The problem is indeed one of isolating and over-analyzing - in this case my video example! I don't agree that there is an insurmountable problem in deflecting jabs. I've done it successfully for years against all styles. One could pick apart the video and say "yes, but I could do this..." etc. however it takes the video out of context.

My purpose in the first part of that video was merely to demonstrate what many have claimed over the years as infallible logic - that it is impossible to deflect/block a jab. Would I stand there and keep blocking jabs in isolation as I demonstrate at the start of the video? Absolutely not. I'd be countering/closing the gap as I deflect - whether with a punch that follows the retraction of his jab (as I demonstrate further in the video) or with a kick, etc. - see below:



I'm well aware that the move "leaves an opening" as does any move. But where, when and how I use it (ie. the context and the follow up moves) seek to minimise this 'opening' in the same way that a boxer must use his techniques in the correct context. By way of example, a boxer's jab could, when viewed in isolation, be subjected to all manner of arguments such as: "But I'd just kick/punch him in the midriff" etc., but this ignores the context in which the boxer has trained to use his jab.

I've trained to use my deflections. If you tried to do this without the proper training and without a follow up you'd be as stuffed as a karate man pretending to box.

As far as I'm concerned this isn't theory: I apply it. It is a very different tactic - but not one that many use (even by traditional karateka - for reasons I have set out in my article). It is my "style" and I've offered reasons for why I prefer it. I appreciate that Matt, John and others have a different approach - with persuasive reasoning to back that up.

I lament the fact that many people train with karate techniques, yet never use them in fighting. We do. The argument is often raised that people don't because "they just don't work", but, as you will read in my article, I reject this completely. They don't use them because they require very specific tactics that are often completely misunderstood. When many do try to apply them, they do so poorly, resulting in failure, derision and dismissal.

At least I think I've moved the debate from "it's impossible" to "anyone who does this"... (ie. we are now debating the merits, rather than the impossibility of using these techniques).

My purpose in this article was not to denigrate boxing or MMA, but to present a view relating to karate and other TMA that is totally under-represented on the web or in the media. Traditional martial arts have very different tactics, and misunderstanding these tactics and not applying them correctly (or at all) has resulted in a very "lop-sided" argument in relation to skills that I have come to rely on. I highly respect other styles of fighting. But I hope to have at least impressed upon those who don't do TMA that a cogent methodology underpins it - not just some "archaic nonsense".


Edited by dandjurdjevic (06/22/08 10:37 PM)

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#400146 - 06/22/08 10:05 PM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: medulanet]
dandjurdjevic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
Quote:

The thing about blocking techniques in karate is that they all contain evasion, covering, parrying, hard blocking, redirection, and striking.




I agree Marcel.

Quote:

As for the article, I don't quite agree with your application of karate's blocking techniques. I think that the initial parry/cover is being left out. This technique allows you to use the "block" to strike or at worst block the second incoming strike.




This is what I refer to, albeit fleetingly and perhaps inaccurately, as a "backup block". I say inaccurately because I often use this as the primary block while the main "block" is used offensively or for a further deflection. Indeed, this is my brother's preferred tactic. I plan to cover this issue another time. Suffice it to say, I've only scratched the surface of this topic. What I have demonstrated are very basic blocking tactics.

Quote:

I also believe that there must be more controlling of the striker's attacking limb and posture.




Again, I haven't even started to address this issue. It is one of my areas of emphasis. In the article I concentrated simply on the deflection aspect. The control, pulling (hikite), trapping etc. is all part of TMA using the deflection as a foundation or entry.

In short, I can't say everything I would like to say in one short article, so forgive me if it appears to present a "complete" approach. It doesn't. It's just the very beginning.
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#400147 - 06/22/08 10:08 PM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: dandjurdjevic]
Zach_Zinn Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 1031
Loc: Olympia, WA
Quote:



I've trained to use my deflections. If you tried to do this without the proper follow up you'd be as stuffed as a karate man pretending to box.

As far as I'm concerned this isn't theory: I apply it in sparring. It is a very different tactic - but not one that many use (even by traditional karateka - for reasons I have set out in my article). It is my "style" and I've offered reasons for why I prefer it. I appreciate that Matt, John and others have a different approach - with persuasive reasoning to back that up.





As has been mentioned elsewhere by you and others, alot of Dojo's sparring is structured in such a manner that they never use these techniques, Marc Macyoung has an article here that touches on some of the same stuff...i.e. patching boxing defense onto Karate sparring.

http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/mushymovement.htm

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#400148 - 06/23/08 04:20 AM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: Zach_Zinn]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
really interesting article Dan, and nice presentation with the video etc etc.

for the most part I agree with you,

heres my short view to consider -

1. karate blocks don't work for real, because

a. many systems work them in kihon fasion only and try to apply them in the same manner against karate attacks only

b. when doing so they do not work them in a realistic range, often to far out

c. often the tempo is 'set', so when off tempo application is required the blocks fail

d. often a natural, hands in front kamete is not used, hence the block is to reactionary and slow

e. often a required level of conditioning is not present, hence peoples issues with blocking



2. why blocks do work -

a. use a functional kamate, hands in front and not to low

b. use a flinch response, putting 'fixed form' to one side

c. use a cover hand when not grabbing/pulling (hikite), or a simultaneous counter with the block



In simplistic terms I see 'uke', in realtion to the hands in three ways -


1. Hard, direct, damaging blocking (we use double bone method in the main)

2. soft, deflection based methods (we use single bone, palms, forearms in the main)

3. combinations of 1 and 2


Hard blocking MUST come first (IMO), it is the least skilled, and when a situation is not 'perfect' (ie your off balance, have fear going on, didn't see it, or was surprised) it is what will save you when under real pressure from commited non karate like attacks, but they do lead on to the softer method, and then both, when appropiate.

I have used Jodan Uke (against a high round punch) and gedan Uke (against a round rib shot) in real life and found them very effective.

Of course that is just the 'blocking' aspect of Uke (to recieve), all core karate techniques have multiple uses, inc locking, striking etc etc.

And yes, Tai Sabaki has a major part in all Uke methods, it is often shown again in Kihon but rarely shows itself in sparring - this is due to the nature of sparring a skilled opponent, no time to get the footwork, body change going on as it needs to, in the main anyhow.
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Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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