Kumite Block & Counter Strategies

The following drills are suitable for advanced students who wish to take their learned basics to the next level for effective application in sparring.

Step back from gyaku-zuki, front leg mawashi-geri jodan

Objective: Step back out of reach of the gyaku-zuki attack and front leg mawashi-geri counter

Step back whilst blocking a gyaku-zuki attack.  Before the rest of the combination or attack comes, swivel on the back leg immediately for a front leg mawashi-geri jodan.  Don't waste time by stepping in or resetting the back leg before kicking.

Step back from double punch, front leg ura-mawashi-geri jodan

Objective: Step back out of reach blocking a double punch attack and front leg ushiro-mawashi-geri counter

Step back whilst blocking a double punch attack with either just the front hand or using both.  Ensure you land your back leg already in position to enable a quick front leg ushiro-mawashi-geri jodan.  So the step back should be setting up your back foot  and angle ready to kick.

Gyaku-zuki, block, gyaku-zuki

Objective: Attack twice with gyaku-zuki by countering the opponent's counter.

Shuffle in with gyaku-zuki and block a counter jab to the face.  Counter immediately with another gyaku-zuki to the body.  Switch legs straight after to be ready to attack again.

Its important to shuffle switch changing legs keeping the body level and not jump in the air for quicker action.

Blocking a mae-geri attack, punch counter

Objective: Blocking a mae-geri with minimal movement and countering.

Invite a mae-geri by leaving a gap in your guard to your mid-section.  Move your back leg back enough to prevent the kick contacting.  Whilst doing so block their leg inward so that they are turned and you are on their outside to be able to give a counter punch.  For the block keep your fingers fisted with knuckles pointing outwards and just glance the kick off enough for clearance rather than scooping.

Blocking a mae-geri, mawashi-geri counter

Objective: Defending against a mae-geri with a mawashi-geri counter

As the kick attack comes in, step back sideways so you are side on.  At the same time you block with your forearm that becomes your leading arm.  Immediately fire off a mawashi geri counter with the leading leg

Blocking ura-mawashi-geri jodan

Objective: Defending against a high ura-mawashi-geri (hook kick) effectively.

As the kick attack comes in, the leading blocking arm must be extended with the elbow raised to distance the kick as much as possible.  If the block is too close to your head, this kick will wrap around your block may still hit you.

Blocking a mawashi-geri jodan attack

​Objective: Defending against a high mawashi-geri (roundhouse kick) effectively.

As soon as the attacker's knee starts to raise, you should move inside the kick.  Block with a "triangle" of your arms to block your face on the kicking side.

Blocking a mawashi-geri jodan attack with inside punch counter

​Objective: Defending against a high mawashi-geri enabling an angled punch counter.

As soon as the attacker's knee starts to raise, you should move inside the kick.  Block with a "triangle" of your arms to block your face on the kicking side.  This will also allow a punch to the attacker whilst they are still in the process of kicking.  Move your back leg sideways behind your front leg to angle in for the punch (this is called a flowing punch).

Exerpts from:

Kumite techniques seminar 2001 by the Japan National Team Coach, Seiji Nishimura

Advanced karate by Tatsuya Naka

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