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#432533 - 05/29/11 07:51 AM karate blocks...effective for self-defense?
gojuman59 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 224
Loc: Missouri
I was working on my blocks the other day in my GOJU class amd I was thinking ...would this work on the street? I was suprised when I inventoried my blocks. There was definitly a pattern into what seeemed effective and what didn't. To me it came down to: 1.Did the block redirect the force quickly? 2. Did the block allow me to stay in contact with me opponent in order to counter?
I found that the beginning blocks chambered and used with closed fists might stop techniques but they aren't great for remaining in contact after the block. I found that the open handed blocks transitioned smoother to other techniques. I realize that I'm approaching this question from a GOJU ryu perspective. I would like to know some other opinions on this matter.

Thanks, Mark

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#432535 - 05/29/11 11:22 AM Re: karate blocks...effective for self-defense? [Re: gojuman59]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
There was an article or thread in FA somewhere before where people discussed whether a block was actually a block or was it actually just a strike. For example, you weren't blocking a punch, you were striking a persons arm to stop them attacking you.

I will try and find it.
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#432539 - 05/29/11 03:23 PM Re: karate blocks...effective for self-defense? [Re: Prizewriter]
Kimo2007 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/31/07
Posts: 1057
Mark I had to let your question digest for awhile. I agree and think you are on the right path in terms of blocks.

My first reaction was most blocks are worthless, at least in the traditional form they are taught, but upon further reflection I realize I was going to far.

Most blocks are "cover" blocks and are really for when you can't create distance and have to protect yourself. Other effective blocks are bounce blocks where, as you mentioned, you maintain contact and use the block to exploit an opening and attack.

The hard block, or strike block...I think exists more in fantasy land then actual combat. In order me to use a strike block (imagine a down block on a kick for instance) I would have to be a much better fighter than my opponent. A. to see it coming and time such a block, and B. to be willing to lower my hands to block a kick at all. Something IMO you should never do, unless you like getting hit in the head.

So to circle back, for myself as I have gotten older, I block as little as possible, relying on movement and space to avoid an attack. In the case where I cannot do that, I use almost exclusively a cover block to protect myself.

Sometimes I might slip in a bounce block, like catching a jab and going inside, but rarely. Just not fast enough.
_________________________
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#432574 - 05/31/11 10:57 AM Re: karate blocks...effective for self-defense? [Re: Kimo2007]
gojuman59 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 224
Loc: Missouri
I agree about the traditional blocks are worthless on the street. They don't protect you against an attacker with any kind of boxing skills. Street fighters aren't going to attack like a robot. You know.. step right, throw obverse punch.. leave it out 3 seconds...
This isn't to say that blocks that allow you to slip to the side or redirect force aren't useful. Hiki-uke for mid level punches can allow you slip to their hip and strike with elbows..or take him down.
Blocking a kick to your junk isn't as wise as just keeping distance. Gedan-uke in the traditional way is a good way to get a broken arm. It also leaves ones head unprotected. I could see using harai-uke if I was close and wanted to close distance even further.
This is all fine and well unless you run into a fighter with quick hands and footwork. Then.. look out!

keep training, Mark

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#432590 - 05/31/11 06:04 PM Re: karate blocks...effective for self-defense? [Re: gojuman59]
Matakiant Offline
Member

Registered: 02/08/11
Posts: 121
Most traditionally taught blocks are exaggerated movements that are meant to be used as teaching tools.

Just like you start by punching from the hip chambered, so you could get a feeling for the mechanics involved mainly in the hip, but for some reason a great majority of Karate has become stuck on these ''school'' techniques and regard them as fully developed techniques.

The thing with blocks and reality is that the further a limb is from your body the weaker the force you can apply with it becomes which is why using your hands like anti missile batteries is a mechanically flawed thing to do, not to mention the other physics related factors involved.

Correct blocking is not a forceful action i.e chopping your forearm against a kick. A correct block is mostly done with your body and it's core you facilitate the movement according to whatever strike, kick, other technique you are blocking. Hands in blocking are above else meant to initiate a grappling technique or counterattack. The hands can be used to perform circular blocks or instead parry and counterattack.

At least that's my take on it :P

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#432592 - 05/31/11 09:06 PM Re: karate blocks...effective for self-defense? [Re: Matakiant]
Zach_Zinn Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 1031
Loc: Olympia, WA
Sigh..this has been done to death on here, so i'll throw out my two cents and leave it at that. Plenty of the guys on here are just gonna say 'ineffective' no matter what.

McKrotty and even much traditional Japanese and Okinawan Karate was heavily influenced by the spread of Karate to mainland Japan, and the sport ranges that came about from that, where a downward block gets used for stuff like blocking a kick or a ridiculously exaggerated lunge punch.

If you get to learn Karate that is even remotely connected to the old stuff, you get to see that gedan uke has a really simple application, such as pulling down someone's guard hand to hit them. It ends up looking pretty different from the McKrotty version, it's a much smaller movement.. but it is the same technique. There are still people out there who teach the more functional use of the 'basic' techniques.

The 'block' techniques in Karate aren't very different from what is many asian arts, and some older western ones. If you look at FMA's, Silat, or even old bareknuckle western boxing for instance much of what is done is very similar..but Karate is very popular, and as such alot of what you find is going teach the tradtional stuff like this as mostly window dressing, or just a way to break a sweat.


Edited by Zach_Zinn (05/31/11 09:18 PM)

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