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.

Basics

Direction

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 in combination.

Striking Surface

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 one opponent.

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.

Korean Date

The date today is,

4349 년 12 월 25 일 (4349, Month 12 Day 25) (20 February 2017 CE)

This is the date according to the traditional lunisolar calendar of Korea. (Note that this is not an authoritative calculation; I’m still working on the details.) The years count back to the legendary founding of Korea by 단군 왕검 (Dan-gun Wanggeom).