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Block the Root

It is difficult to defend against a flurry of fists and feet. They come toward us so fast. That is why it is important to block the root rather than the branches, so to speak.

To control the fist, block the area of the upper arm/shoulder. To block the foot, block the hip/thigh.

When we block the fist, the technique can easily be flipped into an uraken (backfist) or hiji ate (elbow strike). When we block the foot, a mae geri (front kick) can be flipped into a mawashi geri (roundhoulse kick).

But when we block the root, it is difficult for the attacker to flip or change the technique.

There is another important reason to block the root: it allows us to quickly counterattack because we are already so close to the attacker. A open hand technique to jam the shoulder, for example, can easily transition into an age shotei ate (rising palm heel strike), almost in a ricochet manner. The jamming block and palm heel strike can almost be thrown as a single technique.

Another way to view this is a follows: when you cut down a branch, you also cut off all the stems. This means that a block to the root precludes many techniques, not just one.

Here is an example. You need to pick oranges. There are hundred on the the tree. You could pick each orange one at a time, or cut off a branch with dozens of oranges on it. This might not make too much sense with oranges, but it does with attacks.

All of this gets back to the basic principle of defending your sechusen (vertical centerline) and attacking the opponent's sechusen. The attacker's sechusen is the root of his movement.


Charles C. Goodin