Sunday, June 1, 2008

How to Do a Knife Hand Block in Soo Bahk Do

Soo Bahk Do is a form of martial arts developed by Master Hwang Kee in 1945. He combined fighting styles from his native Korea with Chinese Kung-Fu as well Confucian and Tao philosophies. The principals behind this Soo Bahk Do emphasize the importance of spiritual growth and the use of force only as form of discipline or in the defense of oneself or others. Soo Bahk Do is broken down into a series of forms or postures which provide the artist with a series of possible attacks or defenses to choose from. One simply moves from form to form, reliant on reacting to an opponent’s stance and movement to attack. Though this technique is taught with the stern mindset that it is only be used to protect, it also ascribes to the philosophy that in order to effectively defend oneself or others it is sometimes necessary to take the initiative and actively remove a potential threat. For this reason the majority of the attacks in Soo Bahk Do are made up of powerful long range kicks, accompanied with close quarters locks and holds. Footwork is considered essential as the majority of the defensive moves rely on moving around an opponent's attacks rather than directly blocking them. Should getting around an opponent's strike not be an option, the hands are kept free for this very reason. This guide will provide the steps how to block an opponent's strike using the knife hand technique.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Things You’ll Need:
Yourself Opponent or Sparring Partner
How To Perform A Knife Hand Block In Soo Bahk Do
Step 1:
Begin in what's called the "Open Position". Stand with knees bent, you should be sidelong to your opponent, as if you were batting at the plate in baseball. Your weight should be on the foot closer to your opponent; your hip should be twisted, slightly pushed out in your opponent's direction.
Step 2:
Keep your hands away from your opponent. The closer of the two arms should down to cover your ribs, and bent so that your forearm lies across your belly, forearm horizontal with the ground. Your other arm should be angled back and away from your body. keep the elbow out and your lower arm and fingers pointed at the ground.
Step 3:
When your opponent begins to strike you must perform a number of actions simultaneously. You should twist your hip inward into what's called the "closed position". This means you rock your body’s weight onto your back foot and push your hips away from your opponent. This has the effect of giving torque to your upper body. Use the twist motion to swing your shoulders, arms, and upper body toward your opponent. The point of all this is to bring your arms around in an arc, hands flat like blades, and lower arms roughly horizontal with the ground. Your arms should reach the ending point of their arc slightly after impact with your opponent's fist or foot. Congratulations! If done correctly your opponent is probably nursing a much bruised limb right now.

Tips & Warnings
The power behind this block comes from the shifting of the hips and body weight; if you don't pop your hips when you swing around your arms will simply be knocked aside by your opponent's strike. It may seem like a small movement but this block carries the full weight of your body and the build up of your body's momentum behind it to such a degree that some people find it an effective form of attack.
Don't try to block an incoming weapon strike; you'll just end up with a broken forearm. Sufficient force used in this blocking move can break bones in the attacker's hand or foot.

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