X block

In some attempt to provide fresh and interesting grist for the class mill, I dug back in my memory to find something that might grab the classes attention.  After reviewing even more videos on one-step sparring I got a memory jog!  For a very limited time in the very distant past we were taught the X-block.  Basically making a scissors with your arms to stop an overhead strike or front snap kick. 

We haven’t practiced this block in years and it didn’t dawn upon me as to why until I was teaching the evolution.  I went from high blocks and low blocks to x blocks.  Here’s what I found was bad.  You block your line of sight, both hands are occupied and unless you are following up with a technique to take the wrist or heel it doesn’t leave you in a good spot to riposte. 

I’m definitely learning the critical lesson in teaching – deeper understanding of technique by teaching and demonstrating. 

I reviewed the lesson with Teacher and Beard after class, feeling that it went poorly.  Beard said that he really enjoys my lessons just because they are different than Teacher’s – not better or worse.  In my mind I thought I spent the whole time telling everyone what was wrong about the technique and why they shouldn’t do it. 


Mathieu said…
I always feel that the x block is better suited to block a weapon, or as a prelude to something else.
Potatoe Fist said…
Totally. When we practice the katas that have the x block in them it's always understood to immediately take the weapon away from someone. Somehow that didn't translate very well when I taught it.
Mathieu said…

Maybe it's a disguised throw? Then again, if you hit with your fist during the x block, it becomes interesting. Like a trap, see what I mean? If you time it right, that same useless block becomes a very good arm-capturing technique preluding a takedown or foot sweep. And once you're trapped, it becomes very hard to un-trap yourself. Then, the struggle to free yourself (first reaction, pull back) is the opportunity for the throw.

Try it!

Potatoe Fist said…
I'm not totally convinced it's used directly for a throw, but it could be moved in that direction. It's sort of a nice lead in for anything creative.

If I were quick enough I would be able to control a wrist or heel without problem, but my speed and timing would have to be dead on.
Mathieu said…
"If I were quick enough I would be able to control a wrist or heel without problem, but my speed and timing would have to be dead on."

I see that :) I agree too.

Say you're not being punched, but rather, someone grabs you. That X block could become a double inverted punch towards an arm. With your wrist, you could inflict pain and trap the arm. Hit the right spot and that becomes very painful. Then, the person is open.

I'll try and find a video. Surely, someone filmed it already...
Mathieu said…


not quite what I had in mind, but interesting.
Potatoe Fist said…
I watched the video, but by the time he got to the x the whole move/exercise seemed to have migrated quite a bit. I don't think I'm a traditionalist, but the few things that come out of the x-block seem to be sufficient although I like what the guy had to say - I just wouldn't associate it with the x-block.

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