Blocks, 막기 (makgi)
Blocking techniques, like many different types of technique, can be divided into
two groups. Many blocks can be described in terms of variations on basic motions,
but some can only be described individually as specific motions.
Blocking includes more than just the techniques specifically designed to block.
There are many kicking and striking techniques which can be used to block, and similarly
there are some blocks which can be used to attack.
The direction of motion of blocking techniques is more significant than that of
strikes. This is because for any particular attack, the direction of the block will
determine what counter-attack opportunities are formed, and it will determine how
effectively your opponent can recover from the block to perform their next move.
There are four basic directions in blocking.
Inward Block, 안으로 막기 (aneuro makgi)
Any inward technique moves the striking surface towards the centre line. Inward
blocks are less common than outward blocks, and are often used to form an attack
opportunity to the front of the opponent.
Outward Block, 바끄로 막기 (bakkeuro makgi)
Any outer technique moves the striking surface away from the centre line. Outward
blocks are very common because they move the opponents attack furthest away from
you, and are so the most effective defensive motion. They can also work more effectively
with reaction techniques than inward blocks, making them more powerful.
Upward Block, 올려 막기 (ollyeo makgi)
Upward blocks can be used to form attack opportunities in the middle and low sections
of the opponent, because it moves the opponents attack upwards. Because upward blocks
don’t move the attack out of the way, they are often used in combination.
The rising block, 추켜 막기 (chukyeo makgi), is sometimes
considered a separate type of block and not describable in terms of basic components
(this is because the block makes contact above the head, which is technically above
high-section), however it is completely possible to consider a rising block to be
a high-section upward outer-forearm block.
Downward Block, 내려 막기 (naeryeo makgi)
Conversely to upward blocks, downward blocks can be used to form attack opportunities
to the opponent’s high section and sometimes middle section. Like upward blocks,
downward blocks don’t move the attack out of the way, so they are often used
Another important aspect to blocking techniques is the striking surface used. Blocks
can be performed with practically any striking surface, though some are more common
than others, and generally the striking surface should be chosen based on the surfaces
used in the other techniques in the combination, if it is part of one.
Forearm Block, 팔목 막기 (palmok makgi)
The forearm has both an inner and outer side (note that this is different from whether
the block itself moves inwards or outwards), and so there are two variations of
the forearm block.
One of the problems that numerous students seem to have with forearm blocks is that
they don’t block with the forearm, but instead block with the wrist. Blocking
with the wrist is not only considerably painful, which means you’re likely
to block less powerfully to avoid this and so not develop your blocking skills fully,
but it can shatter the wrist joint. The problem seems to be that many students don’t
know where the forearm is. The forearm is much closer to the elbow than it is to
the hand, and the wrist extends quite far back.
Blade Hand Block, 손칼 막기 (sonkal makgi)
Palm Block, 손바닥 막기 (sonbadak makgi)
The palm is one of the toughest striking surfaces on the body, and is highly resistant
to impact pain. It is also extremely dexterous. This makes it a fast and effective
block for most techniques, though it is underused in sparring. It’s main disadvantage
is that it relies on the wrist joint for much of its power and the block generally
moves forward from the wrist. Because of this, it is of limited strength. The forearm
blocks are much stronger and should be used to deflect stronger attacks.
Arc Hand Block / Crescent Hand Block, 반달손 막기 (bandalson makgi)
The arc hand block is generally used in combination with grabbing techniques, because
it leaves the hand perfectly well placed to do so. Though a common misconception
is that arc hand blocks are themselves grabbing techniques, which is not true. It
is possible to perform an arc hand block without the subsequent grab.
One or Two Hands
There are several variations of two-handed blocks.
Double Block, 두 막기 (du makgi)
Double blocks use two hands to deflect the same attack. The two hands generally
follow the same motion in the movement, but sometimes only one will make contact.
Double blocks increase the momentum imparted on contact, and so tend to be stronger.
Twin Block, 쌍 막기 (ssang makgi)
Twin blocks use two hands to deflect two different attacks simultaneously. The two
hands will follow different motions and both will make contact. Twin blocks are
performed in many forms because forms often simulate fighting against more than
Guarding Block, 대비 막기 (daebi makgi)
Guarding blocks consist of one ordinary block, generally on the forward hand (which
is not necessarily the obverse hand), and one assisting block. It is the assisting
hand which makes the technique a guarding block. The second hand will generally
be protecting some section of the body.
Guarding blocks are used very frequently throughout line-work, forms and sparring,
and they are often considered to be the default positions.