Teaching Blocks

Uke Waza – Blocking Technique.  (Literally: Receiving Technique.)

Blocks are arguably the most difficult part of Kihon to learn.  They are taught first for two reasons.  (1) Karate is a defensive art: it is more important to not get hit than to hit someone else.  (2) Because of the structure of the Beginner Program, students who complete it will have had the most repetition on the most difficult material.

When viewing the video on teaching blocks, watch for the following strategies:

  1. Breaking the technique down into pieces, then putting pieces together in a step-by-step fashion.  For example, Age Uge is taught in four steps, then three, then two, then one.
  2. Doing several repetitions, then pausing for explanation, then doing a few more repetitions.  (Exposure to the physical movement, followed by explanation to help the student mentally digest the movement, followed by physical practice with greater understanding.)
  3. Doing technique with the student, followed by asking the student to watch themselves in the mirror, followed by the student doing technique alone (instructor counting), followed by student blocking a slow attack (by instructor).

Instructional Sequence

Age Uke

  • Relaxed stance
  • 4 steps: down, over, up, back
  • 3 steps: down, over, up/back
    • Demo: show need for touching the elbow.
  • 2 steps: down/over, up/back
  • 1 step: count in Japanese

Yoko Uke

  • Start in relaxed stance.
  • 4 steps: over, under, up to side, back
  • Same 4 to 1 sequence as Age Uke
  • Explain “double block” concept.
  • Once the block is solid, teach Migi Sanchin Dachi. Then, review Yoko Uke.
  • Teach noalte.
  • Finish class by breaking out into Migi Sanchin Dachi, one set each of Age Uke and Yoko Uke, then noalte.

Joge Uke

  • Start from Yoko Uke position, then put chambered hand down.
  • Put bottom hand “away” (behind back), just work right hand.
  • Switch hands.
  • Bring both hands out. Two counts: top hand down, bottom hand up. (Only a couple reps.)
  • Whole block, count in Japanese.
  • Add detail: The hand going down passes on the inside.

Gedan Barai

  • Wide relaxed stance.
  • 4 steps: Over, up to shoulder, down (brush off sleeve), back to chamber.
  • 4-to-1 step sequence.
  • Visual aid: imagine having eaten a plate of cookies, then brush off your sleeve.
  • Once block is solid, teach Migi Shiko Dachi – See notes for Joge Uke.

Haraiotoshi Uke

  • Compare to Gedan Barai (show and tell).
  • 4 steps: up, over, around, back.
  • 4-to-1 step sequence.


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