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Friday, April 18, 2014

The Purpose of Basic Blocks in Kenpo



Basic blocks are used as a foundation to more advanced blocks in Kenpo. All blocks are designed to protect the most vital parts of the body from injury. Vital areas include the body and head. A solid blow to one of these locations may immobilize a person quickly putting them at risk for further injury. Most of the blocking movements are swiping and deflection designed to provide maximum protection. Learning the basic blocks is often the very first actions to be learned in Kenpo as they are central to the philosophy.

Both swiping and deflection try to change the direction of a person’s attack while not necessarily stopping it. For example, a punch to the head may be countered with a vertical outward block. The opponent’s punch will still move forward but be directed to the side of the head. The opponent’s attacking momentum often leaves open their own vital areas thereby allowing for counter strikes. You will find in Kenpo that the opponent’s momentum is effectively used against them.

It should be remembered that the best defense of all is distance. When faced with an aggressive person the wisest choice is simply to remove oneself from the situation. Making every effort to remove oneself and deescalate the aggression protects one physically and morally from criticism. Even black belts in kenpo will miss blocking a few punches and kicks from time-to-time thereby enduring some risks of injury. 

Practice the movements over and over until they are internalized as a reaction.

Inward Block: Palm comes to ear facing head. Arm is nearly perpendicular. Swing the arm across the body to protect against straight punches. The fist should be facing your body and end near your opposite shoulder. 

Extended Outward Block: Bring hand to opposite ear and push outward and across to protect body. Palm should end up facing downward and slightly outward just beyond the same side as the connecting shoulder. 

Vertical Outward Block: Hand in fist moves to opposite side at waste height. Move upward and outward to cover the entire mid region and face. When finished the arm should be on the same side as connected shoulder and look like you are making a muscle. This move protects against punches and grabs. 

Downward Block: Bring fist up to opposite head height with palm facing opponent. Swing fist downward and to the opposite side to protect against kicks. 

Upward Block: Push hand upward with palm facing outward and just above and away from the head to protect against bashing.

Universal Block:  Combine inward block with downward block to protect the midsection from a range of attacks. 

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