Martial Arts Training Drills – Part Eight

The ability to block (e.g. stop, redirect) an opponent’s attack is vital to your health and safety. That’s why we emphasize blocking (uke waza) in Yon Ch’uan. You will learn to block attacks to the head, body, and legs from all directions. Think of Karate blocking as building a defensive shield around your body. Each individual block (e.g. high, middle, low, inside, outside) can protect you in any direction by simply moving your body in different directions to face an attacker.

The last part of our series looked at drills for low blocks (gedan uke) and high blocks (judan age uke). We move now to middle blocks (chudan uke).

Karate Drills for Blocking

Your Yon Ch’uan will teach you how to perform each of the blocks before teaching the drills. Drilling correctly is the objective. Pay close attention as you practice all of the basic blocks and practice as much as you can on your own. Once your instructor sees that you understand blocking, he or she will move you on to drilling blocks.

Here are some blocking drills you may find helpful and fun to do. You can do these as solo or class drills.

Middle Block Drills

Middle blocks (chudan uke) are done inside to outside (yoko), and outside to inside (soto). Middle blocks are based on center-line defense, so an outside block protects from the center of your chest to the outer edge of your shoulder. An inside block protects from the outer edge of your shoulder to the inside of your chest. You can protect attacks to the middle of your body from different directions by moving your body toward your attacker.

Here are some drills that will help you develop the skills needed to defend yourself from attacks to your mid-section.

Middle Outside

Begin in ready position (yoi). Step backward with your right foot and execute an outside middle block (chudan yoko uke) with your left arm. Step back into ready position and repeat the defensive low block 20 times.

Begin in ready position (yoi). Step backward with your left foot and execute an outside middle block with your right arm. Step back into ready position and repeat the defensive low block 20 times.

Begin in ready position (yoi). Step forward with your right foot and execute an outside middle block with your right arm. Step back into ready position and repeat the defensive low block 20 times.

Begin in ready position (yoi). Step forward with your left foot and execute an outside middle block with your left arm. Step back into ready position and repeat the defensive low block 20 times.

Begin in ready position (yoi). Step 90 degrees to your left with your left foot forward and execute an outside middle block with your left arm. Step back into ready position and repeat the defensive low block 20 times.

Begin in ready position (yoi). Step 90 degrees to your right with your right foot forward and execute an outside middle block with your right arm. Step back into ready position and repeat the defensive low block 20 times.

Begin in ready position (yoi). Step backward with your right foot and execute an outside middle block with your left arm, then step forward with your right foot and execute an outside middle block with your right arm, then turn 90 degrees to your left with your left foot forward and execute an outside middle block with your left arm, then turn 180 degrees to the right with your right foot forward and execute an outside middle block with your right arm. Step back into ready position and repeat the defensive low block series 20 times.

Begin in ready position (yoi). Step backward with your right foot and execute an outside middle block with your left arm, then step backward with your left foot and execute an outside middle block with your right arm .. continue stepping backward while executing the proper block (depending on which leg is forward) .. step and block backward a total of ten times .. then step forward ten times while executing the proper block (depending on which leg is forward) .. Step back into ready position and repeat the defensive low block backward and forward ten times.

[Your instructor can change the movements to the corners or other directions to change the drills. They also can use a padded stick that you can block to feel blocking something rather than air.]

Team Drills

Divide the class into teams with several students on each team .. when the instructor says hajime, the first student in each team steps forward with outside middle blocks as fast as they can .. when they complete ten forward outside blocks, they immediately reverse and go backwards with ten outside middle blocks .. when they return to where they began, they tag out with the second student who does the same thing .. the team that is first to have all their students complete the forward/backward stepping outside middle blocks is the winner .. teams repeat the drill until one of the teams gets a total or two or three wins

Another way to practice team drills is with partners .. student #1 faces student #2 on same team .. student #1 punches at partner’s chest .. student #2 backs up and blocks punch with outside middle block .. partners continue until they’ve punched/blocked ten times .. partners immediate reverse direction so that student #2 punches at partner’s chest .. student #1 backs up and blocks punch .. partners continue until they’ve punched/blocked ten times .. when they return to where they began, they tag out with the second two students who do the same thing .. the team that is first to have all their students complete the forward/backward stepping middle punches and blocks is the winner .. teams repeat the drill until one of the teams gets a total or two or three wins

Middle Inside

Begin in ready position (yoi). Step backward with your right foot and execute an inside middle block (chudan soto uke) with your left arm. Step back into ready position and repeat the defensive low block 20 times.

Begin in ready position (yoi). Step backward with your left foot and execute an inside middle block with your right arm. Step back into ready position and repeat the defensive low block 20 times.

Begin in ready position (yoi). Step forward with your right foot and execute an inside middle block with your right arm. Step back into ready position and repeat the defensive low block 20 times.

Begin in ready position (yoi). Step forward with your left foot and execute an inside middle block with your left arm. Step back into ready position and repeat the defensive low block 20 times.

Begin in ready position (yoi). Step 90 degrees to your left with your left foot forward and execute an inside middle block with your left arm. Step back into ready position and repeat the defensive low block 20 times.

Begin in ready position (yoi). Step 90 degrees to your right with your right foot forward and execute an inside middle block with your right arm. Step back into ready position and repeat the defensive low block 20 times.

Begin in ready position (yoi). Step backward with your right foot and execute an inside middle block with your left arm, then step forward with your right foot and execute an inside middle block with your right arm, then turn 90 degrees to your left with your left foot forward and execute an inside middle block with your left arm, then turn 180 degrees to the right with your right foot forward and execute an inside middle block with your right arm. Step back into ready position and repeat the defensive low block series 20 times.

Begin in ready position (yoi). Step backward with your right foot and execute an inside middle block with your left arm, then step backward with your left foot and execute an inside middle block with your right arm .. continue stepping backward while executing the proper block (depending on which leg is forward) .. step and block backward a total of ten times .. then step forward ten times while executing the proper block (depending on which leg is forward) .. Step back into ready position and repeat the defensive low block backward and forward ten times.

[Your instructor can change the movements to the corners or other directions to change the drills.]

Team Drills

Divide the class into teams with several students on each team .. when the instructor says hajime, the first student in each team steps forward with inside middle blocks as fast as they can .. when they complete ten forward inside blocks, they immediately reverse and go backwards with ten inside middle blocks .. when they return to where they began, they tag out with the second student who does the same thing .. the team that is first to have all their students complete the forward/backward stepping inside middle blocks is the winner .. teams repeat the drill until one of the teams gets a total or two or three wins

Another way to practice team drills is with partners .. student #1 faces student #2 on same team .. student #1 punches at partner’s chest .. student #2 backs up and blocks punch with inside middle block .. partners continue until they’ve punched/blocked ten times .. partners immediately reverse direction so that student #2 punches at partner’s chest .. student #1 backs up and blocks punch .. partners continue until they’ve punched/blocked ten times .. when they return to where they began, they tag out with the second two students who do the same thing .. the team that is first to have all their students complete the forward/backward stepping middle punches and inside blocks is the winner .. teams repeat the drill until one of the teams gets a total or two or three wins

[Your instructor may also want to use kicking attacks to the middle of the body in addition to punching attacks as your training advances. You can practice with both outside and inside blocking against kicks to see how they work at a variety of distances.]

Next Time

We will look at Star Blocking in the next part of our special series.

Enjoy!

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© Grace Martial Arts 1990 – 2022

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