Shotokan Karate Soto Ude Uke Outside Forearm Block

Stepping Forwards And Backwards

In this video and article we are going to be talking about and working on, stepping forward and backwards, soto ude uke or outside forearm block, also known as just soto uke or outside block.

From the shizentai yoi position we’re going to step forward as we did with the other basics in to gedan barai in zenkutsu dachi. Try and get this movement smooth and try and work on your fundamentals as you’re going into this block, even though it’s a preparation before we actually start practicing the main technique, on landing rotate into the hanmi (side facing) position.

As we mention in many other kihon videos, there is just a little movement forward, with the front knee, you’re not putting any pressure because as soon as it starts to go everything goes, but that initial movement will stop you turning the toes out pulling the front foot back before you step.

As that front knee goes forward the front arm stretches forward, as that happens the back arm lifts and you start to step to the halfway position, with the knees bent and back straight.

Now you can bring the blocking arm to the side like I do in the video, or you can open the chest and stretch right back to give that stretch, both are fine, to the side or right back. I practice both.

On the high blocking arm, the palm is facing out because when the block completes, you need to rotate the forearm sharply.
The elbow is straight out from the shoulder, the arm stretching froward can be a fist or open hand with fingers stretching forward.

What makes the second part of soto ude uke difficult, is the fact we have linear and Circular movements going on at the same time. We have the hikite (pulling arm) coming straight back and then we have the blocking arm coming forward and around.

We have a soto ude uke video that shows three different variations of outside Block, in this video we are coming almost like a diagonal straight line, imagine skimming a stone on the water, that feeling as the blocking arm comes from high to completion.

So from the halfway position, again keep the knees bent. Drive off the left leg and drive the right side of the body forward. As you drive forward, you pull the left hikite arm sharply, whilst at the same time you throw the right arm forward, then all together block soto ude uke in a good zenkutsu dachi with the body and hips in the hanmi (side facing position).

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