Gedan Barai (Downward Block) Stepping

gedan baraiGedan Barai (Downward Block) Stepping

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.

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.

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.

Make sure the body and hips are in the hanmi (side facing) position on the completion of the block. When you step, at the half way point, the body and hips are in the shomen position.

When you drive off the back leg, make sure you perform a sharp body and hip rotation on completion of the block.

Remember to move relaxed, then kime on completion, then immediately relax and keep your form.

When moving at speed, be sure and start fast, try not to start slowly then speed up, be explosive from the start.

A good way to help with an explosive start is to move the blocking arm extremely fast at the start and use that speed to help bring the stepping leg up and visa versa.

Keep the same height throughout the step, do not move up and down as you step.

This karate move is practiced in many karate dojo, but there are many different variations, so check with your karate sensei before practicing this way.

Gedan Barai

Gedan Barai (Downward Block) Stepping Video

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