Nami-ashi uke

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Nami-ashi uke is the sweeping-foot block; a simple and versatile low-level defense. We only refer to this technique by its Japanese name, to avoid confusion with sweeping blocks.

To perform a nami-ashi, tap the arch of your foot against the inside of your opposite-side thigh, just above the knee, then immediately snap back into a proper stance.

This simple move has a variety of applications:

  • Nami-ashi is the ultimate defense against leg sweeps and stomp kicks to the instep or shin. A quick nami-ashi denies the opponent their target, turning their attack into a shadow-boxing drill.
  • Nami-ashi can be used as a transition to quickly change your direction.
  • A nami-ashi's upstroke swats attacks to the inside with the ball of your foot, much like a pressing block does with attacks to your midsection.
  • A nami-ashi's downstroke uses your instep as a hook to swat attacks away to the outside.
  • Nami-ashi defensively covers (i.e., a “meat-shields”) your groin at the expense of your shin.
  • Nami-ashi can off-balance opponents in the clinch. If you and your opponent are pushing against each other, a nami-ashi can momentarily release the pressure without compromising your balance. The opponent continued push now supplies forward momentum, which can be used to augments your strikes or set up takedowns.
[Video of all of the applications of nami-ashi (see article)]