The Importance of Blocking in the Martial Arts
When I was doing the Kang Duk Won
we had a blocking drill called
The Eight Step Blocking Exercise.
I never minded the 8 step blocker no matter how much it hurt,
but that was because I never questioned anything I was doing.
you get further when you don’t question,
than when you do.
When you take classes,
or teach classes,
where the students are not allowed to ask questions,
you really learn the art faster.
Think about it,
asking a question is a form of expressing doubt.
it is supposed to be a quest for information,
but it doesn’t always work that way.
doing the forms in silence
answers all questions.
I would do this eight step blocking exercise,
a simple thing,
low blocks both ways,
the middle blocks both ways,
and the pain would start.
you just bash your forearms,
again and again and again and…
I developed these bone bruises all up the length of my forearms.
You can still feel the bumps on the bones.
Nowadays people don’t like to block.
They either attack the concept of blocking as unworkable in a fight.
And they are pretty right.
Blocking isn’t for a fight.
If you are blocking,
then it is too late.
So we come to the question…
what is the real purpose behind blocking.
I realized the real purpose one day
many years after the Kang Duk Won.
I used to ‘run the line.’
I would line up everybody in my school,
last part of the class
and I would do the eight step blocking exercise with each person.
And suddenly I realized that pain was in my mind.
If I didn’t believe it hurt,
then it didn’t.
I looked through old books I had written,
and I saw that realization written down before.
So how many times do I have to go through the pain
until it finally sticks.
I had to go through it until it finally
‘wrote itself on my bones.’
using this realization
I never broke anybody’s bones,
like others in my school did.
But I did dislocate a student’s wrist.
and then I started going softer,
I didn’t like hurting my students,
but that didn’t do much good.
Once I had that realization
something changed in me.
The softer I went,
the more my blocks and strikes hurt.
I ended up doing my techniques like a whisper,
watching my partners carefully.
I went through a period where I became intensely aware
of what the other person was doing,
trying to make my focus at the exact right time
and in the right manner
that I didn’t hurt anybody.
I gave up focus.
I still use it in solo practice,
but when I practice with people
I rarely focus,
I just let them hit my unfocused arms.
Even that is enough to cause pain,
but at least it doesn’t dislocate their bones,
or break them.
if you want to get that power
there are two places to look.
If you want it in striking,
then The Punch is good.
is Matrixing Chi.
It’s a sloppy book.
not like my usual stuff.
I wanted it to be more stream of consciousness.
I wanted it to be like I was actually talking,
giving instruction on the mat.
With matrixing chi you get the power
in a more thorough manner,
without all the bashing.
You get it through form,
and you learn how a form actually generates power,
and how to move the body so that it swirls and condenses chi power.
you may have to read it a few times,
like I say,
it is a little sloppy,
but the gold is there.
I worked really hard on that book,
because I knew there weren’t any others like it.
No other books that actually instruct in actual chi power.
the ones that try are all mystical,
and just misunderstood.
Here’s the URL for Matrixing Chi…
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