List of Martial Arts Blocks with Instructions

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List of Martial Arts Blocks with Instructions

Here is a variety of martial arts blocks that are used in self-defense, sparring and many katas & forms. Blocks are used as a defensive tool in order to stop an opponent's attack. Martial artists can use their arms, hands and legs to block an opponent's strike.

Blocking "philosophies" can vary between martial arts styles. In "hard" styles such as Shotokan Karate, you see blocks which have a lot of power. These blocks are used for defense but also to potentially injure the opponent with the power of the block. In order to put up with the impact created by such powerful blocks, practitioners of some hard styles (i.e. Kyokushin) will often take part in conditioning exercises to toughen up their bodies. In contrast, "soft" styles such as Aikido, Wado-Ryu Karate and Japanese Jujutsu tend to focus on staying relaxed during a fight and tend to redirect or avoid their opponent's energy as opposed to directly clashing with it. This means that the blocks themselves only use enough energy to avoid injury from an attacker. In theory, this allows the soft-style practitioner to retain their energy for later in the fight.

Traditional Martial Arts Blocking Techniques - The segments below contain written and/or video instructions.

Basic Blocks - Many of these basic blocks can be done with an open hand or a closed fist.

Leg Blocks

Advanced Arm & Hand Blocks

Blocking Techniques for Sparring

Related-Defensive Techniques

  • Bob and Weave - A boxing technique used by many martial arts styles in order to avoid a punch versus block a punch.
  • Covering Up - This boxing & martial arts technique is used to block strikes to the head and upper body.
  • Rope A Dope - A boxing technique used to tire out an opponent before launching an aggressive counter attack.
  • Slipping - A boxing technique where a martial artist moves the head to avoid a punch.
  • Shoulder Roll - This boxing defensive technique that uses a shoulder to deflect an incoming punch.

Trapping - Techniques that block & trap an opponent's attack.

Martial Arts Blocks by Martial Arts Style

Basic Karate Blocking Techniques

Basic Taekwondo Blocks


  1. Taekwondo Animals, Taekwondo Blocks,, Added - 12/13/13
  2. Blocking "philosophy" information kindly provided by Bryce,, Added - 06/02/16

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