As a white belt, you will be regularly practicing five basic blocks.
- Rising Head Level Block (Jodan Age Uke)
- Inside Hooking Block (Uchi Uke)
- Outside Block (Soto Uke)
- Downward Block (Gedan Barai)
- Groin Sweeping Block (Gedan Uke)
These blocks will be your focus through to 7th Kyu Orange belt, where you are then introduced to more advanced blocks, including open-handed blocks.
As with the White Belt Strikes, students predominantly practises their blocks from a ‘Ready Stance’ (Heiko dachi). By standing in a comfortable stance, without stepping, a student can focus purely on coordinating their upper body for each block. Once you have a basic grip on these blocks, your instructor may have you practise them from other stances, while stepping. Blocks are developed and practised at a slow comfortable pace before moving up in speed.
From a fitness perspective, the variety of blocks provide an excellent workout for your core muscles, chest muscles, back muscles and all the muscles in the arms. Once a student integrates their strikes with moving in stances, they then incorporate every muscle in the body.
From a self-defence perspective, these blocks serve to protect your head, torso and groin area. They serve to:
- To deflect incoming strikes rather than absorb them (an essential quality considering a potential attacker will likely be larger in size and weight).
- To turn a disadvantaged position into an advantageous one as the blocks focus on deflecting a strike in a way that it also exposes a vulnerable area of an opponent.
- To break free of a potential attacker’s grip.
- For the advanced student, they also serve as strikes, to destabilise the balance or centre of gravity of an attacker, and as joint locks or arresting techniques.