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Karate is only to be used in extreme situation where someone is in real danger of injury or death. For this reason, there is no first strike in karate. The opponent is always the belligerent party, so every karate exercise, drill, and form begins with a blocking technique.

The Japanese word for blocking techniques is uke (literally, “receiver”). This is also the rootword for the breakfall techniques (ukemi). Blocks are much like breakfalls; you don't block the opponent’s techniques per se, you receive them. An attack is just a gift of momentum -- a malicious gift -- but a gift. Accept the gift -- take that momentum -- and then take it somewhere else. We don’t really care where the opponent’s attack goes, or what it does, as long as it misses. This is why Goshin-Jutsu typically does not use the “hard blocks” of other karate styles; ours are blocks more like “aggressive parries.” We focus more on redirecting an attack and closing in, rather than standing our ground and bruising the attacking limb.

A plethora of techniques to block, parry, and ward off an opponent’s attacks are listed below. Please keep in mind that blocking techniques are most effective when they are combined with a simultaneous evasion. Evasions are defenses; blocks are insurance.