UKE (Blocking techniques)

Master Egami comments emphatically that if a blow is not effective it really is not necessary to block it, actually due to his research he determined that the karate blows he had learnt till that moment in time were not effective, no karate blows were effective, even though they looked strong. Thanks to Okuyama, one of his students he saw and experienced a truly effective blow. He learnt it and developed it and as a result of this basic change all the rest of the technique changed with it. This invariably affected the blocking methods, they had to be effective to block effective blows.

Blocking techniques in Shotokai must be such that defense and attack become one, that is what Master Egami would say. Thus even defensive techniques include the element of attack and can change from unharming to harming (yin-yang).

Quoting Master Egami:

It is necessary to study btoh form and movement. In this respect, it is advisable to remember a key point with regard to striking: It is only when there is no feeling of power or resistance that the blow is effective. One may feel dissatisfaction with this, but since Karate is a martial art, true technique does not require power.”

Master Funakoshi writes in Karate-do Kyohan that “Karate-do can be practiced by children, old people, women and sick people”, this is due to the aspect Master Egami emphasizes, real technique does not require strength, and never brute muscular force.

It’s very important that you relax, try to move naturally, no matter what our preconceptions and prejudice may tell us, don’t worry about what looks strong, what is correct, if we follow these preconceptions we will be led astray as Master Egami was in his early years, taking many years to notice the mistake and many more to return to the right path again, if ever. Another negative side is the possibility of hurting ourselves or becoming sick by practicing inadecuately. There should be no tensions neither at the hips nor the abdomen, so the body can move in unison and blocking techniques are done with the whole of the body, not merely the arm or the leg. Master Egami insists that in this aspect the modern technique is based as opposed to the older form.

Many elements and important aspects must be considered to block effectively and advance to a new level. It is first necessary that you discover the opponents intentions, you will have to study the general body posture, the breathing, the legs, feet, hips, hands and mind. Other elements included in the block are the timing, rhythm and breathing. Do not consider techniques that are found in books as static and inmutable (though some make that mistake and end up stagnating). These are shown with the sole intention of helping the teaching process, for educational purposes.

Actually, Master Shigeru Egami strongly modified the basic techniques based on the research and discoveries he attained through the study of the effective tsuki. A very perceptive and high level is necessary to have discovered this and furthermore do something to obtain a truly effective technique, it would have been easier to leave things alone and just start the technical clonation of trainees.

The blocks can arbitrarily be subdivided, for teaching convenience, depending on the objective, upper region (yodan), medium height (chudan) and lower region (gedan).