Uke is the term given to the word “receive”. The blocking techniques in karate are referred to as uke. The technique of defending against attack and avoid the chances of being hit is that which is done in blocks. This being commonly performed with arms or hands, is preceded usually by a counter-attack. What make blocks significant and serious is that, they are meant to discourage the assailant from plotting further attacks by causing immense pain to the limb or in worst case destroy it. This happens when blocks are forcefully applied. Due to this reason, it is difficult for this to be implemented in training since the people involved are prone to getting hurt while getting trained in this.

Control is very essential while applying blocks. Karate is known to be a defensive martial art and thus blocks are considered to be of immense importance by many. Something to be noted is that, most of the strikes in karate can be used as blocks and many of the blocks can be used as strikes, though it is not listed in the blocking section.

Uke is further divided into 4 categories:

Basic Closed-Hand Blocks

The most common blocks are the basic blocks. The execution of them is with the swinging motion of the arm in up, down and either sides direction with closed fists. The point of contact is maintained usually closer to the wrist area, either the inner or outer forearm. The safety margin is way too greater comparatively as the entire length of the forearm can be used. Thus for a beginner, they are the safest blocks that can be used.

gedan barai

Gedan-barai - Lower Block


Age-uke - Upper block



Open-Hand Blocks

It is with the edge or back of the hand, and not the arm that open hand blocks are performed. These blocks are not common as the safety is level is comparatively low in these since the hand is much smaller. A form of grabbing with the blocking hand, pulling the opponent off balance, which is later followed by a counter-attack are those that open-hand blocks are followed by. These are rendered as attacks instead of blocks in many cases.

Advanced Blocks

This kind of blocks can be made into practiced with hand open or closed, and is often found in Kata. These blocks can be used in the most effective way when staying in a stationary position, or while moving forward to meet the attack of an opponent, and later taking of the opponent off his feet. These cannot be practiced by beginners but only by advanced practitioners as it requires great timing skills. Only the most commonly used in kata are listed, although these blocks appear in various shapes and sizes.

Double-Hand Blocks

It is only in kata that blocks using both hands are practiced. When more force is inevitable, a single hand block is supported by the other hand, and is often understood as double-hand blocks in many cases. In order to block two different opponents, two different hand blocks can be performed at the same time. The synergistic effect, which usually occurs in advanced bunkai, can be achieved by delivering two of the same blocks at the same time. A beginner or intermediate student can be ignorant about the special applications of double-hand blocks.

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