Technique of the Week (November 7th, 2010)
Proper Distance for Blocking.
If assaulted on the street we can always duck or shift back or to the side, or run away (and I highly recommend all these options). Or we can preemptively knock our opponent out before he throws his first punch (which I don't recommend on moral/legal/tactical grounds). Or we can simply use the main blocking skill taught since white belt: Deal with it. Whether moving forward and blocking during basics, or stepping back to defend during pre-arranged fighting, or turning to defend in kata (with or without bunkai), 95% of the blocks in Ueshiro SRKUSA are designed to deflect or damage an incoming attack. Whether or not you practice this principle is up to you. In yaku-soku kumite, do you slide back out of range and block thin air, or do you "deal with it" by blocking his punch with your forearm?* Do you react to the count or do you "wait" and respond to your partner's attack? Heroes of martial arts movies often exhibit a telepathic ability to read an opponent before he even moves, magically appearing behind him or to the side as the attack is thrown. But until we reach that level of enlightenment, let's deal with reality, preparing for the worst case scenario where we're forced to stay within striking range, see where the attacking is headed, and perform an effective block. Not only will it strengthen your confidence in karate, but it will condition you for dealing head-on with any challenge that looms up to greet you.
Domo arigato gozaimasu, Hanshi, for bringing this lesson to every class.