Gedan Barai (Down Block) And Using The Body, Hips and Legs

In this video and article we are going to talk about gedan barai (downward block) and how to utilize body Dynamics, with legs, hips and body, to help aid and enhance the quality of this Shotokan block.

In the video I first start to block with my right arm, so I prepare with my right arm across the body, but when i do this, it’s not just the arm moving,  I’m going to fire from the floor of the right side right leg through to the hip and then my hip moves forward, i’m going to use this forward hip movement to help lift the arm. It’s a very small movement, but very effective. I’m also utilizing the right side of my body to help fire the arm into the preparatory position. The left hikite arm also prepares by driving forward like a punch, then when I block, I’m going to pull my right hip back and drive my left hip forward and then at the exact moment the block lands, I’m going to snap the left hip back on completion.

So there’s quite a lot of hip moving in this basic shotokan down block, three defenite hip movements and I am also using the legs and body to help swing the arm across. Swing is probably not the best terminology, because people start swinging their arm out and around, try and keep your arm close to the body.

On completion of this gedan barai technique, the body and hips should finish square, so for now we’re not twisting the body and leaving it forward at the end of the block.

Try and moved in a relaxed way, using the hips and legs to maximum effect to help the blocking arm.

Try snapping the block so the arm snaps on completion. So here is a different way to perform the shotokan gedan barai.

If you haven’t downloaded our Shotokan Bites APP, please do, it’s free to download and it’s called Shotokan bites which is on the Apple Store and Google

Linden Huckle

About the author

Linden Huckle has been practicing and teaching karate for over 50 years and believes first and foremost, karateka should enjoy their karate. He says 'there is nothing better than seeing a person develop into a great person through their karate practice, while at the same time enjoying karate.'

Linden Huckle