My thoughts on Blocking

"The title is "Explosive Uechi-ryu" and the moderator is Arthur Rabesa. Art will be exploring the power contained in Uechi-ryu that is not appreciated by the average practitioner. Make no mistake - this forum is for the serious martial artist and I wholeheartedly recommend it for anyone who really wants to tap his or her explosive power potential.

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Re: My thoughts on Blocking

Postby Van Canna » Tue Oct 13, 2015 7:40 pm

Yes, I like Lee's concepts...good stuff.
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Re: My thoughts on Blocking

Postby Van Canna » Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:46 am

Here is a good example of what one can come up against. How's sanchin going to help here?

https://player.vimeo.com/video/11706478 ... autoplay=1
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Re: My thoughts on Blocking

Postby Art Rabesa » Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:45 pm

I guess blocking concepts depend on who you're talking to. A few schools of thought on this subject. Some like to keep a distance that allows for avoidance of the attack. Okay, staying away from things. Always the safest way to avoid being hit. However, the attacker has no worries of being hit either. Then there's the fighter that likes taking angles to stay in countering range. Those angles can be large or slight. Too large puts you away from the counter, and slight angles puts you in the line of fire. How about the fighter that wants to jam and smother everything. Moving forward constantly. Lots of contact here. Lots of strikes landing to arms and legs because of the constant smothering approach. The mind set of taking the strike to counter off it. After all, that attackers defense is weakest when attacking. Okay--how about attacking constantly to keep him from striking. After all, he can't attack if he's constantly defending against your attacks. Fighting viewpoints can be interesting and quite a good topic. Is there an answer here? That's the discussion I think. It might be as easy as this. It depends on what works for that fighter. The comfort level. What's comfortable for one would not work for another. I have seen all types of fighters with many different viewpoints. They are all good in their own way. Some frustrated me because I spent most of the match chasing them. Some others seemed rooted and only wanted to take my head off. We all pretty much had one thing in common about blocking. We just as soon not have to do any. My thought has always been the same concerning blocking. I knew I was going to have to block something during the match. I just didn't want him to have time to reload after his strike. I wanted to use his attack for my attack. I had lots of success this way most of the time. Not always - but most of the time. I didn't enjoy fighting my clone however. When fighters seem to have the same strategy, it can lead to trouble. "My thoughts on blocking?" I'd just as soon not have to. -----Happy Trails ---Art
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Re: My thoughts on Blocking

Postby Art Rabesa » Tue May 03, 2016 5:40 pm

Okay -- you know by now that I'd just as soon not have to block anything. That still holds true. However---I pulled an old school close blocking drill out of the cob webs in class. This is something I used quite a lot years ago. Face each other in a deep stance (horse stance). Reach out and get your fingers a few inches from your partners chest. Of course--- one may have a longer reach. I don't want to hear it. Now begin working your hands. Punches to the body only. Not really sinking them in unless you lean in as you punch. The one with the shortest reach will figure that out quickly. That one was always me. Can't actually make real clean blocks from this distance. What is figured out, is that you're able to deflect the majority of strikes. Also --the best time to snap your punch in is when you deflect that punch. That's the "Window" I keep harping on. This becomes a conditioning drill as well. The arms do take some hits. Delivering the punch is also brought out. The punch must come from the 10 and 2 set up. If not----you will miss the window. Lots learned from this old drill without much instruction. At times. you just have to let them go. They'll figure it out fast. Old school. ------Happy Trails------Art
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Re: My thoughts on Blocking

Postby Art Rabesa » Thu May 12, 2016 2:53 pm

When you are working any prearranged kumite, you know what's coming. This will lull you into bad habits. Since you know what is coming, why not hang in there and practice that block super close to your body? Yup, you may feel some degree of that strike, but you handle it and move on. Most strikes will not put you down if you take a percentage of the power off. You might get moved a little, and it might just smart some, but you're still cooking. Why do it this way? Very easy to figure out. Because this is probably what will happen out there in the real world. That is, if that bad guy can deliver kicks and punches like your dojo mate. Guess what? Many out there can. So here is what usually happens when you practice this method. You'll realize pretty quick, that carrying your hands a certain way enable you deflect those strikes. Because deflecting is about all you have time for. Carrying the hands around the sanchin 10 and 2 position will get the job done. It's also a comfortable, no nonsense set up. You'll realize quickly, that everything can be done from this set up. The fast, short, snapping blocks that deflect because of the arm angle. The double thrust movement into that snapping block, angles that hand or foot to the side. Lets be perfectly clear here, you're going to eat a few strikes along the way. In the beginning stages of doing it this way, not everything will get deflected. As you progress, the misses become less. Soon, you're deflecting everything coming at you. T -- for Training & Time. They go together. SO! blocking to me is deflection, not stopping that strike. To actually stop that strike, you must place your block in the direct path of the strike. Ya-- right. You're not long for this life doing it that way. This blocking topic has become longer than I anticipated. Is this it? Well --- maybe there's more. -----Happy Trails----Art
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Re: My thoughts on Blocking

Postby Art Rabesa » Wed May 25, 2016 4:59 pm

YUP there's more. I have a list of lessons that I want to do for my "Art's Lesson" thread. One of these lessons will be these short crisp deflection blocks I speak of. I just use a couple of deflection moves. I never wanted to get bogged down with various blocks. In my competitive fighting years, I just used 3 blocks. I'll show them on the lesson video. I see strikes coming at me in thirds. Meaning low, middle, and high. Carrying your hands at 10 and 2 will allow this. The lower strikes are usually handled with your legs. The middle strikes tend to get the fast twitch elbows and ulna from the 10 and 2 set up. High strikes still involve the elbow and ulna with a fast snap of the palm out. Coordinating your head to move in the opposite direction of the block on high strikes. Easier said than done though.Lots of muscle memory needed here. Which means lots of practice. Back in the day - in the sixties, we would wade into kicks and punches in the dojo. One would load up and fire strikes at you. You would handle them and not strike back. Just keep blocking. Resulted in quite a conditioning drill also. We had quite a group of top quality fighters back then. Our fighting sessions became something everyone wanted to view. This is where I became aware of just two or three simple deflection blocks. When you had guys like Van Canna and Bob Campbell firing bombs at you, you'd better learn quick. I learned to keep it simple. Just get the job done and keep moving. -------Happy Trails-----Art
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Re: My thoughts on Blocking

Postby Van Canna » Wed May 25, 2016 9:30 pm

For anyone who truly understands Uechi Ryu, it is easy to see how correct Art Rabesa is in his analysis of the use of Uechi blocks.

So why the performance of the blocks in the traditional method and traditional kata?
Such traditional, mainstream execution achieves the objective of creating the critical neural pathways to the brain until the neurons communicate with the muscles automatically.

You’re developing the ability for muscles to record patterns and lines of direction and soft/hard force so you can do them without thought at the angle the incoming stimulus is calling for by reaching out for that ‘one piece of the pie’ _

And you do this by moving out of the traditional form into the ‘operant conditioning’ aspect of training…to wit
Back in the day - in the sixties, we would wade into kicks and punches in the dojo. One would load up and fire strikes at you. You would handle them and not strike back. Just keep blocking.
Resulted in quite a conditioning drill also. We had quite a group of top quality fighters back then. Our fighting sessions became something everyone wanted to view. This is where I became aware of just two or three simple deflection blocks.
Art Rabesa

So it was in the ‘protective applications’ of the ‘pre-conditioned’ neural pathways …against full force punching and kicking attacks by very capable tournament champion fighters in our Boston dojo,[operant conditioning] that you would develop and refine the kind of ‘blocking/intercepting/ redirecting’ skills Art is talking about that allowed so many of our fighters to win open tournaments.

This is the most important reason why one must follow the original, time proven, kata patterns of practice of the particular system, because the student will encode concepts unique to those ancient moves, with his body moving and responding in accordance with those templates , that will populate his neural pathways _and allow the particular style’s techniques to encrypt via operant conditioning_ drills, scenarios and free fighting against other styles, as we did.
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Re: My thoughts on Blocking

Postby Art Rabesa » Thu Jun 09, 2016 1:15 pm

Keeping in mind the simple rule of alignment. The path of any strike is directed at your body. I know it sounds matter of fact, but lets carry it out further. If you develop a pattern of body mechanics to allow for easier deflective blocks, the less you'll receive a direct blow. It will take more than just turning your body to allow strikes to deflect. Incoming attacks must be handled with fast twitch mechanics. Not many strikes will be picked up early, allowing you to set up your block. To work on "Fast Twitch" deflection blocks, an understanding of its pathway is essential. Meaning that your hands and body must move in one fast twitch. Like a sneeze. Watch someone when they sneeze. Their entire body explodes on the sneeze. Weird how I see things but think about it. This is how you must react to deflect strikes that are about to land. Hands have no time to go out and intercept that attack. Elbows are tight to your body with the hands close to the chest. Snapping, fast twitch, movements of elbows and hands come into play here. The body coordinates with the elbows and hands. The body snaps along with the hands. Can not keep the body ridged when deflecting strikes. The sharp, sneeze like movements of the body and hands working together, is needed. Tough to really paint the picture of my meaning in a post. I am planning to do a quick lesson video on this. Hopefully, that will make my meaning clearer. The main idea of this deflective movement, is to eliminate being hit full force. Taking the majority of the stopping power off any attack is the objective. I'm not saying you'll never be hit with this method. You simply do not want to take that strike full bore. If you stay on your feet, you'll have a greater chance of survival. Stay tuned. -----Happy Trails----Art
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Re: My thoughts on Blocking

Postby Van Canna » Thu Jun 09, 2016 3:28 pm

The main idea of this deflective movement, is to eliminate being hit full force. Taking the majority of the stopping power off any attack is the objective. I'm not saying you'll never be hit with this method. You simply do not want to take that strike full bore. If you stay on your feet, you'll have a greater chance of survival. Stay tuned. -----Happy Trails----Art


Really all in a nutshell here_

'Blocks' really don't work too well...unless you move off line of incoming force...
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Re: My thoughts on Blocking

Postby Art Rabesa » Thu Jun 09, 2016 4:03 pm

Yup. Get out of the way. That's the most important thing. Very basic concept. At times, easier said than done. However, that is the starting point.
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Re: My thoughts on Blocking

Postby Van Canna » Thu Jun 09, 2016 4:35 pm

Master Toyama's teachings were that: Steps
in kata do not teach the practitioner to step forward, they are merely
exercises in shifting the body center. Can be forward, backward,
sideways, 90-degree step-offs with blocks that trap and lock joints.
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Re: My thoughts on Blocking

Postby Art Rabesa » Thu Jun 09, 2016 6:23 pm

That's very interesting Van because the 8 form can bring all that out. You can do what ever you want to accomplish with the 8 form. You can move in any direction and do any number of strikes or blocks. 8 form is rather simple in it's make up, but it can be molded into anything you want to work on. Blocking mechanics can be worked like a kata. I'm in Toyama Sensei's camp on this one.
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Re: My thoughts on Blocking

Postby Art Rabesa » Fri Jun 10, 2016 6:47 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv-6aGLNcuM
Many times, the block is nothing more than giving you a little room to get that strike in. Carrying your hands at the 10 and 2 set up is the best way to get this done. When you have this set up, you can fire that strike almost as your blocking hand hits. It is very fast. That's why I like to carry both hands into what ever I'm doing. I do not like the one and two method. Meaning that the block comes first followed by the strike. I practice doing the block and strike almost at the same time. It's just a matter of how you carry your hands into the attack --or the block. Have a look. -----Happy Trails----Art
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Re: My thoughts on Blocking

Postby Art Rabesa » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:36 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NkoV-R ... e=youtu.be
Off line with this crisp short arcing block is one very effective blocking method. It's not a complicated move to perfect. The angle of your body comes along with this block. The important objective here, is to coordinate this block with the body turn. The block and the sharp turn are done together. Watch it in this video. It is not a bone shattering block. It is a deflective block. I like where I end up after the block. It puts me in a great striking position to stop him from reloading. From much experience, I found that keeping him from reloading becomes the key. To be in that good countering set up puts him in a bad position. You can see that this is really not a difficult blocking procedure. It works on everything that is coming at you. ALSO ---- it doesn't tie you up making a blocking decision. No decision here. You only use one blocking method. The only other block I use is the leg jam block for kicks. You can work the leg jam along with this arcing block at the same time. It keeps things simple and will do the job.------Happy Trails ----Art
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Re: My thoughts on Blocking

Postby Art Rabesa » Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:54 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTFq45YO3GA
This drill ties in with the post above. Just another aspect of the crisp arcing block. More of a timing / speed drill than an actual blocking drill. I prefer moving off line slightly when blocking this way. Many strikes can be delivered off this arcing block. Experiment with this and see what you come up with. I teach lots of things coming from this block. I could do a very long video lesson on just the strikes exploding off this block. Because they do not come in the same way. Attacks come from many areas, and you must adapt to that. That is why this is my favorite block. It can be used for anything. Combined with a slight off line movement, this tight arcing block will get the job done. No matter where you finish, you can deliver a strong strike off this block. Play with it and see what you come up with. ---------Happy Trails -------Art
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