Why blocking?

Kung Fu Wang

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I don't like the term "block".

When your oponent uses straight punch at you, you use hook punch to attack him. You use the inside of your arm (the sharp bone) to cut into his punching arm.

Your opponent attacks you. You attack him. You don't play defense. You play 100% offense.

What's your opinion on this?
 

isshinryuronin

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Using a block to defend a punch is only the most basic, elementary application of the move as the opponent is still free to launch a second and third attack, maintaining the initiative. A block that only blocks is a lost opportunity. The block should be seen as an offensive move to simultaneously accomplish one or more of the following:

1. Hurt the opponent's attacking limb causing physical and/or mental disruption to momentarily freeze him.

2. Move the opponent out of position for additional attack while putting you in position for a counter, usually aided by some tai sabaki.

3. Set up a grab with the blocking hand to gain control of the attacking limb.

4. Allow the blocking motion to extend or redirect into a strike with the same hand in a continuous motion.

In all these cases the "block" is used as a preliminary move in an offensive sequence and gains you the initiative. In essence, there is no defense - only offensive moves that may serve a defensive function as you close to the target. One must be intent on striking the opponent (to paraphrase Musashi) and all things should be executed towards this end.

IMO, realization of this concept and basic demonstration of it is a good criterion to judge a beginning black belt. Being able to consistently execute it is a mark of a mid-level black belt. I think this is the main, fundamental concept of karate combat and most all training after the first couple of years should be geared to its eventual achievement.
 

jks9199

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"Block" is the result of poor translation of words that mean things more like "intercept." Every art I've examined has something that can be labeled as "blocking" -- and most of them are much more than simply stopping an attack, especially once you look beyond the surface. So there must be something to the broad concept..
 

JowGaWolf

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I don't like the term "block".

When your oponent uses straight punch at you, you use hook punch to attack him. You use the inside of your arm (the sharp bone) to cut into his punching arm.

Your opponent attacks you. You attack him. You don't play defense. You play 100% offense.

What's your opinion on this?
I don't see anything wrong with blocking. Using a block will keep you from being knocked out.
 

skribs

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Your opponent attacks you. You attack him. You don't play defense. You play 100% offense.
In my BJJ class the other day, the purple belt was teaching me a mount escape. He explained that if my opponent is just holding mount, I can use this technique. But if they're isolating my arms or going for a choke, I have to defend that first, and then try to escape.

In striking, it's very common to bait your opponent into counterattacking, so you can actually counter them. You use a feint or a quick strike to draw your opponent, and then capitalize on what they leave you. If you only go 100% offense, you will be very easy to catch in one of these traps.

The idea that you should 100% do one thing often leads you into a position where you have artificially and unnecessarily cut off a lot of your options.

Using a block to defend a punch is only the most basic, elementary application of the move as the opponent is still free to launch a second and third attack, maintaining the initiative. A block that only blocks is a lost opportunity.
In my experience, blocks take less energy than the strikes that were going out. Sometimes it's the second or third block that lets you set something up, because you're in the right spot. It can also be frustrating to your opponent when they can't land a strike. There also may be times (for example, an angry teenager) where you want to not get hit, but don't want to hit them back.
 

JowGaWolf

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A block that only blocks is a lost opportunity.
I do something that I call "Sitting in the storm." When I'm doing this, I'm covering, and blocking 100% defense. But this gives me the opportunity and time to find an opening while receiving a chaotic attacking. As long as the strikes are landing on my cover or being blocked, then I can calmly sit in my defense and analyze the attack. While I lose the opportunity to attack, I gain the opportunity to regroup and time my counter.
 

drop bear

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Ok. So you just don't have time to deal with everything that is coming at you. And you take a risk when your hands leave your head.

What you are doing is predictably taking that risk every time someone feeds you something. Instead of only taking that risk when the opportunity is there to do damage with it.

Even without being gamed you are more of a target because round punches are slightly less efficient than straight ones.
 

Jared Traveler

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I don't like the term "block".

When your oponent uses straight punch at you, you use hook punch to attack him. You use the inside of your arm (the sharp bone) to cut into his punching arm.

Your opponent attacks you. You attack him. You don't play defense. You play 100% offense.

What's your opinion on this?
I prefer the term "shielding" when I'm talking about blocking. To make it clear that using that method is consciously absorbing the blows on my arms or legs. Which is not ideal, but still better than absorbing the strike on a more vulnerable part of the body.
 

Jared Traveler

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Incidentally while I'm hitting the pads, sometimes my Thai trainers sneak in a quick jab to my stomach. They use the Thai pad to jab me in the gut. It's always so quick and timed when I'm vulnerable. Typically right after I extend my arm to punch.

I ask, "How do I block that?" They smile and say, "Don't worry. It's okay." It took me a while for me to realize they are trying to teach me that it's okay to get hit. It's a part of it. It doesn't mean you necessarily did anything wrong.
 

JowGaWolf

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Typically right after I extend my arm to punch.
This is the idea time to strike as the body cannot tighten up to prepare for impact. One of my favorite strategies this works on anyone no matter how strong they are. The downside is that it really good timing. One has to time the earliest part of a strike.
 

wab25

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"Block" is the result of poor translation of words that mean things more like "intercept." Every art I've examined has something that can be labeled as "blocking" -- and most of them are much more than simply stopping an attack, especially once you look beyond the surface. So there must be something to the broad concept..
In karate the term is Uke Te. That Uke there, is the same Uke that is used in Judo / Jujitsu for the one being thrown. The one being thrown is not blocking the throw, nor attempting to. The one being thrown is doing Uke Mi... same Uke again.... In this case it means receiving body... Uke Mi = receiving body.... When being thrown, Uke is receiving the throw.... Remember the Te in karate means hand.... Uke Te then means receiving hand. Block is a very bad english mistranslation. Funakoshi described Uke Te as parrying, blending, trapping, pressing, pulling and striking the opponent in a vulnerable target (he even gave an anatomy chart to show the different targets) Knocking aside an incoming attack, was a secondary and alternate definition... with all of the above being much better.
 

wab25

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Intercept can mean redirect, yield, water flow around rock, ... It's different from using metal to cut through wood.
Correct.... it can mean different things.... but it different is not always less effective. I don't have to stop your punch or cut through you punch for my intercept to work. I can blend with your punch, causing you to lose balance and fall into a throw or cause you to fall straight into my counter strike. There are more ways to use a receiving technique, than to simply absorb and stop or over power and cut through.
 

jks9199

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Intercept can mean redirect, yield, water flow around rock, ... It's different from using metal to cut through wood.
And there is much more to blocking than simply stopping an attacking weapon. A "block" might stop the attack dead -- or it might disrupt the attacker's position and flow -- or destroy that weapon.

Take a look at the recent thread in the Boxing forum about the rising block...

Parrying is yet another skill, as is trapping...
 

Bill Mattocks

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I don't like the term "block".

When your oponent uses straight punch at you, you use hook punch to attack him. You use the inside of your arm (the sharp bone) to cut into his punching arm.

Your opponent attacks you. You attack him. You don't play defense. You play 100% offense.

What's your opinion on this?
Rule #1 of karate: don't get hit.

If you can not get hit by blocking, then block.

Blocking can also be strategic, if it is intended to cause a specific reaction from the opponent, one which you want them to take.
 

skribs

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And there is much more to blocking than simply stopping an attacking weapon. A "block" might stop the attack dead -- or it might disrupt the attacker's position and flow -- or destroy that weapon.

Take a look at the recent thread in the Boxing forum about the rising block...

Parrying is yet another skill, as is trapping...
And all of these words might mean different things in different arts, schools, or even to different practitioners.
 

jayoliver00

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I don't like the term "block".

When your oponent uses straight punch at you, you use hook punch to attack him. You use the inside of your arm (the sharp bone) to cut into his punching arm.

Your opponent attacks you. You attack him. You don't play defense. You play 100% offense.

What's your opinion on this?

That's countering; up to being a counterfighter (ie. Mayweather Jr.).

Blocking then striking back = a return.
 

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