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Blocking Incidental to Striking

A little bit about blocking...

When I block, my intention is to strike.

Let me repeat this. When I block, my intention is to strike. Blocking, stopping or diverting a punch is incidental to my own counterattack. I am blocking so that I can strike, not simply to block.

There is a simple example of why this is so. Imagine that someone punches you. If you only block, he can punch again, and again, and again. Blocking by itself is not enough.

I know that some readers might suggest that a block can be enough if it breaks the attacking limb and this is true. However, it is pretty hard to break someone's arm (or a bone in the arm) with a block. It is possible, but not all that reliable. I do not know too many people who can say with confidence that they can break an attacker's arm with a block 100% of the time. It is a good intention, but not one that can be relied upon generally. If a boxer was punching at you fast, could you break his arm with a block? Could you?

That is why the counterattack is so important. If a punch is blocked, the best way to prevent the attacker from punching again is to strike him hard, very hard. A good punch to the face, for example, should give the attacker something to think about, especially if it is followed by another punch, a kick to the groin, a knee to the face, pulling hair, poking the eyes, and a take down (with stomping, etc.).

And a strike to the face will almost certainly do more damage than an equally strong block or strike to the arm. If you had a choice, would you prefer to be hit on the arm or in the face?

So when I block, I am thinking about striking (counterattacking). The block and counterattack are part of one thing. They are not separate. For example, the block might continue forward and become a strike to the face. The block and strike are really one movement, not two.

Karate techniques should only be used as a last resort. Once that point is reached, Karate is one of the most terrible things imaginable. It is self defense in a life and death situation, and the techniques reflect this.

So blocking is really blocking/striking. The intention is to strike.


Charles C. Goodin