Gedan Barai Downward Block

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The Shotokan Karate Gedan-barai, or downward block is one of the most commonly used karate techniques, in the karate dojo.

This technique should be first practiced in shizentai (natural stance), with feet approximately shoulder width apart and toes facing forward.

Video tutorial at the bottom of this page

1. Extend the left arm down and out, so the back of the fist is pointing up and is positioned four to five fists distance in front of the left thigh.

2. The right arm or hikite arm, should be placed at the bottom of the ribs, palm up and elbow pulling down slightly, with both shoulders down and relaxed.

3. Lift the right fist to the left shoulder, keeping the right arm as close as possible to the body. The palm of the right fist should be facing the neck.

4. As you start to slide the right fist down the outside of the left arm, bring the left arm towards the centre of the body.

5. As the right fist reaches the left elbow, start to pull the the left hikite arm back to the left side of the body.

6. The back of the right forearm, is the part of the arm that blocks. Just before the right arm reaches full extension, rotate the right forearm strongly, so as the palm of the right fist faces down. At exactly the same time, the left hikite arm (pulling arm), also rotates and stops at left side of the body, at exactly the same time as the blocking arm.

Gedan Barai Top Tips

When you prepare to block, try and focus on bringing the elbow across the body strongly, then as you block, drive the elbow down and and across. Try and stay relaxed until the block lands, then kime! Breathe out sharply and tighten the muscles, as soon as you have tightened the muscles, relax the muscles, but keep your form.


If you are trying to learn karate online, take time, practice slowly and be sure and have the basic karate moves correct, before you try them at full speed.

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