Blocking techniques are something that almost all Karate practitioners learn and practise at some point. In weight of the evidence proving blocking to be ineffective in real fighting it remains a persistent myth with many followers still convinced of its practicality. Dynamic pre-arranged sparring drills can lead to a false sense of efficacy and the leap of faith from ordered dojo practise to a chaotic violent encounter is a big one.
The plethora of real fight footage readily available on the internet as well as full contact sporting combatives such as boxing and MMA demonstrate time and time again that it is not possible to predict what the attack will be. Without knowledge of the attack the visual and physical reaction time required to deliver one of the blocking techniques practised in karate is just not possible. Further breakdown occurs when faced with a skilled opponent who does not attack with a single blow and instead delivers vicious combinations which relegates keeping up with the attacks to the movies.
Many movements in the antique kata are interpreted as blocks, it is doubtful that the impracticality of blocking was unknown to the kata creators therefore the modern interpretation needs to be called into question and along with it the reactive mindset that accompanies blocking. It is also unlikely that the antique forms contained any reactive blocking techniques not only because of the impracticality but also how would it be possible to catalogue them in a kata?
If an attack cannot be predicted what would be the starting point in creating a reactive form? How would the problems discussed above be overcome? Is there any value in recording reactive techniques (especially blocks!!!) in kata?
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