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#400159 - 06/23/08 07:48 PM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: dandjurdjevic]
Zach_Zinn Offline
Veteran

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


These terms are highly relative, but what I perceive to be the common view is that karate contains "blocks" that oppose force with force, instead of having some element of "deflection" or "parrying". What MattJ calls a "block" is to me virtually non-existent in karate since every block can be used to to deflect/parry etc. The only reason I use "block" as a term is because I am translating the term "uke" (and out of habit).






Hmmm, IMO there is no such thing as "force on force" in this context,or if there is that's not what we should be doing.

However I have felt people use 'harder' blocking motions in sparring (and done it a bit myself) that didn't so much "deflect" as shock, as a motion that moves into you instead of simply redirecting your force.

Not sure how else to phrase it, other than to say that to me "hard" does not constitute force on force, but use of posture and movement to go through rather than around someone elses body and force.

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#400160 - 06/23/08 08:14 PM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: Zach_Zinn]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
I'm talking about design. The 'blocks' in goju are all designed so as to be capable of deflecting using minimal force. However you can, of course, use force tactically if you need/wish to.

In my article I attempt to illustrate this using what I call the primary part of the block. I've now received multiple queries about the secondary part of the block. Rest assured - this is 'old news' to me. The purpose of my article was to demonstrate use of the first part (very simply too). I find this is very poorly applied in many schools (McDojo etc,), never mind other parts of the block.
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#400161 - 06/23/08 08:50 PM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: dandjurdjevic]
Zach_Zinn Offline
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Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 1031
Loc: Olympia, WA
Quote:

I'm talking about design. The 'blocks' in goju are all designed so as to be capable of deflecting using minimal force. However you can, of course, use force tactically if you need/wish to.

In my article I attempt to illustrate this using what I call the primary part of the block. I've now received multiple queries about the secondary part of the block. Rest assured - this is 'old news' to me. The purpose of my article was to demonstrate use of the first part (very simply too). I find this is very poorly applied in many schools (McDojo etc,), never mind other parts of the block.




Yeah, blocks, kata, etc. all of it is lumped into the category of antiquated things that "don't work" by a lot of people, some knowledgable in MA, some not.

Personally I think that lack of understanding of how to use and train kihon has ended up with alot of people who've "trained the Karate out of their Karate". I know my training during the 80's falls into this category. Once the gloves were on what we doing didn't look much like Karate as sloppy kickboxing with some sweeps lol. I'm guessing that at this time I probably thought about the same thing about alot of traditional technique, that it was obsolete etc...it took having a teacher that could actually utilize it and show me how to convince me.

I don't expect any of what you've posted to sway the usual naysaying of TMA staples, despite the fact that it is fairly persuasive and well argued, people who don't learn this stuff or learn it poorly in their Karate dojo's will likely patch on some other stuff, be it boxing style defense or whatever. Or they will just turn them into finger locks or wrist locks or something...not that the two are mutually exclusive neccessarily.

I do think you're article managed to take the conversation from "can't work" to how it works, as you mentioned. Good job!


Edited by Zach_Zinn (06/23/08 08:53 PM)

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#400162 - 06/23/08 09:06 PM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: Zach_Zinn]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
Ta Zach. The kind words are greatly appreciated.

I know I'm talking here mostly with martial artists who know the usefulness of TMA 'blocking' (incl. parrying etc.) - whether they prefer different tactics as for the primary defence is another matter.

I know that some naysayers will just scoff, but that's okay. I guess I'm trying to balance the debate a little on the net / in wider media.

It might be 'p*ssing in the wind' as we say here in Oz, but 'I've had my fun and that's all that matters'.
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#400163 - 06/24/08 02:57 AM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: Zach_Zinn]
Shonuff Offline
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Registered: 11/03/04
Posts: 603
Loc: London, UK
Quote:


Hmmm, IMO there is no such thing as "force on force" in this context,or if there is that's not what we should be doing.






Finally, someone noticed.

The only way to block a straght punch using force on force would be to punch straight into it.

Forces at right angles don't affect each other so all blocks are deflections.

The closest I've seen to a force vs force block is either
a) as the blocking arm makes contact, driving the body forward to trap the punching arm.
or
b) actually striking the attacking limb. Neither option is useless or pointless at all.
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#400164 - 06/24/08 03:42 AM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: Shonuff]
CVV Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Belgium
Blocks are hard and soft. Goju emphesizes the soft round techniques in blocking however this does not mean that every block deflects or parries. The hard on hard feel can also be realized by transferring energy on point of contact, a sort of hitting and deflecting, like an uchi technique.

Furthermore, the body is strengtenth to be able to absorbe blows on the musceled parts of the body, this means also the limbs. People who are not trained to absorb these will feel the impact of their own attack.

There is a saying on Okinawa : He (she) has developed a strong arm. It means that he can block (uke) in a way that he hurts the attacking limb. It is achieved by continuing an energy transfert upon the attacking limb at point of contact.

Also in figthing, nothing goes perfect. Being trained to absorb on the muscled parts of the body is a necesity. Blocking an incoming high kick with your forearms might not be ideal but sometimes is the only option. In Muy Thai or K1 you see a lot of those situations.

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#400165 - 06/24/08 03:47 AM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: Shonuff]
dandjurdjevic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
I was expressing a philosophical point of difference with my reference to "force on force". Clearly even the hardest use of blocks would not fall fully within this category.

My point was however about design - in my view all karate "blocks" are designed as capable of being used to deflect with minimum force.

Put another way, no block is so designed as to be only capable of being used to simply stop or strike an attacking limb. They all utilise a circle to "slide" or "deflect" - whether it is in the arc of the block, the twist of the forearm or both.

However, as I said to Zach, karate blocks can, clearly, be used with force if this is desireable or necessary for tactical reasons. That said, I have found this to be overstated in terms of its usefulness. I rarely have to use that tactic in recent years.

What concerns me is that many people use "smashing" in blocks where a subtle deflection would be more efficient and effective (and less painful to the defender). In other words, I see a lot of people using their blocks in a hard way when the situation calls for a "softer" move (ie. more "parrying" in nature). In the case of McDojo types I see they are often completely unaware of the softer/parrying nature of a particular block. The chudan uke "windscreen wiper" Zach referred to is a classic case of misuse of "hardness".

I don't see 'hard' blocks as useless or pointless, nor have I ever said as much. However I have seen this 'hardness' overdone to the point that I have built up a bit of an aversion to it. And having done my fair share of goju ude tanren it's not as if I'm not up to a bit of 'hardness' either.

My impression is no doubt influenced by my study of the internal martial arts of xingyi, bagua and taiji. I am, increasingly, a "softer" martial artist. I see more and more the parallels and I'm finding the softer approach much more effective - but that is my impression and I don't expect everyone to share it.

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#400166 - 06/28/08 09:24 AM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: dandjurdjevic]
Triddle Offline
Member

Registered: 01/30/06
Posts: 129
Loc: Australia
I wasn't able to read the article in it's entirety just yet, but I believe that I can see most of what what you're trying to say. Forgive me if I've missed anything.

I've trained in a few different styles involving blocking, aswell as boxing and grappling, so I think I have a reasonable overall view of the issue at hand, having had a look at both sides of the story. Even though I've become very much a boxing style fighter overall, I do still use blocking when sparring outside of boxing rules (read, without big gloves). I find them useful, though I am not nearly as passionate about their use as yourself, weather that can be attributed to your higher level of ability in the area or not I cannot say.

Blocking is now and will remain in the forseeable future a secondary defense for me, I find slipping, bobbing and weaving/evading in general to be a more effective method of not getting hit, aswell as countering. As far as I see it, keeping your limbs free to attack more vital areas (liver, chin, etc) when the oponent is attacking is advantageous. Also I find that blocking doesn't do as good of a job of ruining an oponent's rhythm. Ducking under someone's arm moves you out of his field of vision and put's you right by his now exposed torso, whereas blocking an attack leaves you face to face with your oponent, additionally, I feel that blocking has an overall worse outcome when it comes to falling for a feint.

With regards to shielding, I believe that you have failed to fully understand the application of the helmet/turtle. You don't actually use your hands as a shield on the target area, You attatch your hands to a solid surface (the head) and allow the protruding forarms to act as a wall around one's face. The strength of your shoulders and elbows can reliably soak up the blows, your hands use the strength of your head and neck so hold position, such that your arms aren't simply knocked away from the face. The idea, as such, is not to use your hands to cushion the blow, but instead to block with the forearms. At least, that's how I do it.

This is all just my personal experience, I'm not going to say that blocking is more or less effective, just that for myself, it's definately not my first line of defense.

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#400167 - 06/28/08 10:05 AM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: Triddle]
dandjurdjevic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
Hi Triddle

Yes, it is a matter of fighting style.

I wasn't trying to denigrate other methods of fighting - merely posing the arguments in favour of blocking. I disagree with you, but respect your arguments.

As to the shield/turtle, if you see my articles about sokumen awase uke in my blog (which is, in effect, the same concept as the one to which you refer), you'll see that I do understand the role of the elbows in deflecting blows. The sokumen awase uke is karate's equivalent. However as with any karate block it is more proactive - it goes out to intercept the opponent's attack more than the boxing/MMA equivalent.

The point I was making about the shield/turtle in the blocking article was probably unclear in some respects. I meant to say that to the extent the shield/turtle is used to cushion blows (and I accept that this is not its major use), I think it not as ineffective as intercepting the attack earlier (which is the barrier you spoke of). As I said, the karate equivalent goes further with this concept.

As to keeping your hands free for striking etc., we'll have to agree to disagree. Something I didn't touch on in the article or videos was the extent to which blocks and strikes occur simultaneously in karate. This is a whole other subject. My point was to make - possibly for the first time (I haven't seen it argued elsewhere) - a comprehensive case for the blocking approach.

As I said earlier, at least we're now talking about the merits of blocking, where in the past I've been confronted with "blocks simply don't work".

My article and videos were simply an introduction to the principle - intended to counter what I consider to be a fallacy that is all too easily accepted by many karateka/tkd/other tma. It was not a comprehensive treatise on the art of blocking or how blocks are used.

I hope to deal with the mechanics of blocking in further articles. Suffice it to say, if I were an MMA/boxer I'd probably not be interested in the subject any further. But we karateka don't do MMA or boxing, so we shouldn't be ignoring the skills we purport to rely on.
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#400168 - 06/28/08 05:42 PM Re: Why blocks DO work [Re: dandjurdjevic]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
often how we write is not what we actually think, it's a singular point of view, particulary on forums as they don't creat a whole picture easily, and different people focus on different elements of our posts.

and often get the worng idea, this is aimed at no one by the way

IMO karate blocks start hard, they are there for when you didn't moved, arn't particualry skilled, just didn't react so well, lost your footing a little, are full of fear etc etc lots of reasons,

based on flinch, driven from a hands in front position (relaxed) with a conditioned limb they simply stop you getting hit off the bat. Hit the right spot and they will off balance and damage whatevers coming in as well, but thats a bonus.

clearly as we progress more subtle, skillful methods, or simply methods that make more sense come to play, hence deflections/parries and of course evasion, and combinations of all those things.

I work simply and teach along the following to shodan -

1. hard methods
2. soft methods
3. combinations of 1,2
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Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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