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BASIC BLOCKS AND THEIR APPLICATIONS

By
Dr. Ed Hudson (6
th
Dan)
he Chidokan System uses a variety of blocks encompassing all of the typical
blocks taught, practiced and applied in most shotokan dojos.
The intention is not to describe in detail how these blocks should be performed. It is
intended however, to describe their practical application. There are a number of good
reference books, which describe how these should be executed.
Of course there is no substitute to receiving professional instruction from a qualified
instructor.
This section will deal with the practical application of selected blocks and how they are
applied. The practical applications presented here are not necessarily the only
applications for these blocks
Before we can apply the basic 5 blocks in real life applications, we need to first
understand what these are used for. These basic 5 blocks can be used as:
a) Blocks against attacks
b) Counter Strikes against attacks
c) Block Counter combinations
d) Throws
e) Arm Bars
f) Joint Locks
Sensei Funakoshi stated that you should directly attack your attackers limbs first
before executing your own counter attack. A similar statement has been made by Sensei
Nakayama that blocks can be used as an attack
1
. I can remember Kyoshi Clutterbuck
telling me the same thing, blocks are techniques in themselves when used in the
appropriate way.
Sensei Nishiyama states that the true art of karate begins and ends with blocking
2
.
Many of Funakoshis students did not like training with him, even though he was an old
man, because his use of blocks would really hurt (ie he would strike kyusho-jutsu
points).

1
Dynamic Karate M. Nakayama Kodansha International 1986 p175 & p192
2
Karate The Art of Empty Hand Fighting H. Nishiyama & R C Brown Charles E Tuttle & Company
1993 p99.
T
Edward Hudson
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Choki Motobu states that karate ka should use blocks to break off an opponents
attack
3
. Old photographs of various masters including Funakoshi and Motobu, show
these masters using blocks as strikes.
Funakoshi himself states that even blocking with the sword hand (shuto uke), the
opposite hand held in front of the chest is in essence a retracted pulling hand
4
.
The objective of a block is often to inflict such pain on the opponents attacking arm
or leg that he is discouraged from attacking again
5
. Combining these two requirements
ie grasping with the retracting hand and striking with the other to achieve maximum pain,
is the essential principle associated with all karate blocks.
Gedan Barai
This is an extremely versatile block in terms of its effective application against a range
of attacks. Some examples of its use are illustrated below;
Reversing a wrist grip (detail):

Against a Cross Arm Wrist Grip:


3
Okinawan Kempo Choki Motobu Masters Publication 1995 p37.
4
Karate-Do Nyumon Gichin Funakoshi Kodansha International 1994 p9.
5
Karate The Art of empty Hand Fighting H. Nishiyama & R C Green Charles E Tuttle & Company
p99.
Edward Hudson
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As a Choke:

As a Throw:

As an Arm Break:

Edward Hudson
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Age Uke
Against Single Lapel Grab:


As an Arm Bar:

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As an Arm/Wrist Lock Punch Counter:

Uchi Uke
Against a Single Lapel Grip:

Against a Wrist Grip:
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Alternative Application # 2:

As an Arm/Wrist Lock:

Soto Uke
Against a Wrist Grab:
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Against a Lapel Grab/Punch Combination:

Soto Uke as a Throw

Against a Rear Shoulder Grab:
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Against a Bear Hug From Behind:

Shuto Uke
Shuto Uke as a Block/Strike Combination

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Blocking on the Outside:

Shuto Uke as a Throw

Against a Left Lapel grab:

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The basic 5 blocks are effective counters against a range of attacks. All possible
applications are not shown here. The examples given here are but a small portion of how
blocks can be effectively used in real-life self defense situations.
COMPARATIVE BLOCKING TECHNIQUES
There are many more blocks practiced in the Chidokan systems than that contained
here. These appear in many of the shotokan kata.
The following blocks have been compared to other styles which use similar blocking
techniques:
Tate Shuto Uke

Shotokan Version The Bubushi
6
Taiji Version
7
Shuto Uke

Shotokan Version Taiji Version
8

6
The Bible of Karate Bubushi Patrick McCarthyCharles E Tuttle Company 1996 p170
7
Ultimate Dim-Mak Erle Montaigue Paladin Press1996 p190
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Shotokan Version The Bubishi
9
Maewashi Uke

Shotokan Version Ryuku Kempo Version
10
Stage 1 Stage 1

Bubishi Version
11
Taiji Version
12
Stage 2 of Maewashi Uke Stage 1

8
Ultimate Dim-Mak IBID p195
9
The Bible of Karate Bubishi p183
10
The Dillman Method of Pressure Point Fighting George Dillman with Chris Thomas1993 p263
11
The Bible of Karate Bubishi Patrick McCarthy Charles E Tuttle Company 1996 p179
12
Advanced Dim-Mak The Finer Points of Death-Point Striking Erle MontaiguePaladin Press1994
p149
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Tate Teisho Uke/Sukei Uke

Shotokan Version Bubishi Version
13
Taiji Version
14
Kosae Uke

Shotokan Version Bubishi Version
15
Taiji Version
16
Counter Attacks
There are an enormous number of counter attacks that could be used when executing
these blocking techniques. The one eventually used by a karate ka will depend upon;
Period of time training and grade obtained
What techniques have been taught be the instructor
What techniques are natural
The last point is the most important. A karate ka should only do those techniques that
he/she feels natural. Do not force yourself into doing something that is un-natural. Stick
to the counter attacks you know best. No matter how hard you try on the day you
will only be able to do what you have trained to do.

13
The Bible of Karate Bubishi Patrick MCCarthy Charles E Tuttle 1996 p182
14
Advanced Dim-Mak Erle Montaigue Paladin Press 1994 p148
15
The Bible of Karate Bubishi Patrick MCCarthy Charles E Tuttle 1996 p183
16
Advanced Dim-Mak Erle Montaigue Paladin Press 1994 p167
Edward Hudson
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Simultaneous Blocking and Countering
The Chidokan system also has a range of simultaneous block/punch and
block/punch/kick exercises. These are extremely effective and fast when compared to the
traditional shotokan sequence of one, two, three.
Once these "blocking" sequences and exercises are understood and practiced in kihon and
two person drills (kumite) their applications and variations in various katas become
obvious.
A thorough understanding of these basic Blocks and their applications will prepare
the student to be more fully aware and understand the bunkai jitsu of shotokan kata.
NOTE: The bunkai jitsu described in this publication for the various blocks, are
not the only explanations/interpretations. There are a number of alternative
applications associated with these blocks.