Taekwondo is a traditional Korean martial art that has been developed over 20 centuries. It has been evolved into a new Olympic sport. And yet the fundamental skills have changed very little. This article includes descriptions the fundamental traditional taekwondo blocks and some tips for performing them.
Single Arm, Closed Fist Blocks
Blocks are the most fundamental defensive skills in Taekwondo. Basic blocking zones are low, middle, and high section of the front of your body.
From ready stance, squat slightly to secure your leverage for the most optimal balance. Fix your eye sight to the front and relax your shoulders. Keep your elbow relaxed and close to your body. Each time you block, flex your knees slightly and twist your lower stomach so that you can create coiling force of the upper body.
When you bring your arm up or down to prepare for the execution of a particular technique, breathe in. Breathe out with the execution. Hold your breath abruptly at the moment of the impact.
Tips for Performing Single Arm Blocks
For low block, bring your arm up to your shoulder and block downward to the front of your leg, bending your elbow slightly.
For middle block, move your arm in a circular motion and stop your fist in front of your shoulder with your palm facing you and the elbows in 90-120 degree. Do not let your arms go out of the body line exposing the center line of your body.
For the outward middle block, make the middle block keeping the palm facing outward.
For high block, Bring the blocking arm under the elbow of the other arm and raise it across the body to the 2 to 3 inches above your forehead.
Tips for Double Arm Blocks
These techniques are more advanced and complicated than the previous techniques. Double arm blocks require good coordination of your left and right sides. Through the practice of these techniques, you can develop the ability to integrate physical and physiological processes into an efficient pattern of movement.
Before you do the techniques, think about each segment of a movement separately, and practice it slowly until you can do it comfortably well. Then perform it as a unit rather than separate pieces. Through repetition, every technique can be mastered. Because, by repeating a skill, you signal the brain to create a programmed response to the demand for that skill.
For the augmented double arm middle block, bring both arms to the side and move them toward the other side of the body line. The front arm positions at the same spot like the middle block and the other arm stops at the solar plexus.
The diamond block is usually done in back stance. Bring both hands to your side making the hinge block, then bring them up forward. The front arm makes an outward middle block and the rear arm makes side high block over your head. You can also change the front arm into a regular middle block by simply twisting the fist 180 degree.
Cross arm low block is done by putting your forearms together at 90 degrees. Bring the arms to your shoulder and block downward with the entire body being synchronized.
For the cross arm high block, bring the crossed forearm to your waist level, and push them upward above your head in about 60 degree angular way.
Open low block is done first by crossing your forearm in front of your chest. Then open them downward in 45 degree angle. Put the impact at the end of the blocking.
For open middle block, cross both forearms inward in front of your chest, then pop them outward toward the target area. It is like doing two middle blocks in front of you.
Open high block is to protect your face and neck. Cross your forearms in front of your chest and pop them upward to the front of your face.
Tips for Knife Hand Blocks
The knife hand has two major advantages compared to the closed hand. One is that the knife hand is a longer weapon. The other is that it is a sharper tool.
When you do the knife hand techniques, you should pay extra attention to the weapon so that you don't hurt your hand. It requires a significant amount of practice before you attempt to use it. Striking a sand bag or heavy bag is one way to strengthen the hand.
Always use other arm to cover your body while you are preparing for offense or defense techniques, and to create reaction force for the strike or block.
For low section knife hand block, bring the open hand to the shoulder. Keep the palm facing your face. Cover the center of your body with the other arm. Bring the knife hand along the other arm and twist it down to make a low section block.
Middle section knife hand block is done the same way as the outward middle block is. Bring the blocking hand to the side and block in a circular motion.
For the high section knife hand block, bring the blocking knife hand to the side and raise it across the body. Focus the force at the moment of the impact.
When you practice low, middle, and high section single knife hand blocks, always bring the weapon to the center line of the body and then release it to function as a weapon. Each time, plant your feet on the ground firmly but rotate your body with flexibility to generate a coiling and uncoiling force of the muscles.
For the open knife hand low section block, bring both knife hands in front of your chest with palms facing your face, twist them down to make an open block.
Open knife hand middle section block is done by crossing the arms inward in front of your chest, then popping out to the target area. The blocking part can be either knife hand or the ridge knife hand which is the other side of the knife hand.
Tips for Double Knife Hand Blocks
Double knife hand low section block is a combination of knife hand low block and an augmented hand. Raise both knife hands above your shoulders at 45 degrees and bring them down (keeping them parallel) to the low section. The front hand makes low block and the rear hand covers the solar plexus.
Double knife hand middle section block is a combination of a single knife hand middle block and an augmented hand.
Double knife hand high section block is done by raising the front hand over the forehead and positioning the other hand in the middle of the body augmenting the blocking arm and covering the vital point.
Below are the Korean terms for traditional blocks:
- AHRAE MAHKGI: LOW SECTION BLOCK
- MOMTONG AHN MAHKGI: MIDDLE SECTION INWARD BLOCK
- MOMTONG BAKAT MAHKGI: MIDDLE SECTION OUTWARD BLOCK
- ULGOOL MAHKGI: HIGH SECTION BLOCK
- YUP MAHKGI: SIDE BLOCK
- GAWI MAHKGI: SCISSORS BLOCK
- SANTUL MAHKGI: MOUNTAIN BLOCK
- OWE SANTUL MAHKGI: SINGLE MOUNTAIN BLOCK
- GEODURO MAHKGI: GUARDING BLOCK
- UTGURO MAHKGI: CROSS HAND BLOCK
- HWANGSO MAHKGI: BULL HORN BLOCK
- KEUMKANG MAHKGI: DIAMOND BLOCK
- HANSONNAL MAHKGI: SINGLE KNIFE HAND BLOCK
- YANG SONNAL MAHKGI: DOUBLE KNIFE HAND BLOCK
- BATANG SON NULLO MAHKGI: PALM MIDDLE SECTION PRESS BLOCK
- HECHEO MAHKGI: WEDGE BLOCK
- SONBADAK GEODORO MOMTONG MAHKGI: PALM AUGUMENTED MIDDLE BLOCK
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