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Wrist block (ko uke, shotei uke)

Ko Uke and Shotei Uke are blocking techniques that are performed in succession to block subsequent strikes to upper and middle or lower target areas.

Ko Uke is an upper level block that is performed using the top of the wrist, with the thumb pressing on the middle finger. Ko Uke is considered a more advanced block than Jodan Uke (a forearm block), as it requires greater skill to block incoming strikes when only the width of the wrist is available. Ko Uke is known as crane block, and has been popularised in The Karate Kid movie.

Shotei Uke is a block performed with the palm heel that can be used to block both strikes and kicks. Similarly, it requires greater skill to be used effectively than the closed-handed blocks Gedan Barai or Chudan Uke, which make use of the forearm.

Both the upward and the downward block should occur in a snapping motion, with power generated in the wrist.

How to perform a wrist block

The video clip shows Sensei Terry Lyon (5th Dan) performing wrist block.

  1. Begin with your hands in the completed Ko uke Shotei Uke position as shown in the video, with your right Ko Uke wrist just above your head, about 3 fist lengths away from your face. Your left open hand is one fist away from your stomach, protecting your middle area.
  2. Rise your left wrist up and forwards to meet the incoming punch to your face with the Ko Uke wrist block. Try to hit the soft underneath of your attackers wrist with the hard bone of your wrist. Simultaneously, bring your right hand back to the center of your body.
  3. To perform the downward Shotei Uke to block another incoming punch (to your middle or lower area), bring your left palm heel downward as fast and powerful as possible, striking your attackers wrist.
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Wrist Block: Points to remember

  • The snapping movement of the wrist should generate the speed and power for both blocks.
  • With open hand blocks that directly intercept incoming punches, it is important to keep the thumb tucked at all times to prevent injury.

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