Cross-body block

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Morote-uke (literally: “pair-of-hands block”), or cross-body block, is the basic defense maneuver in Goshin-Jutsu. This technique takes any attack above the solar plexus or diaphragm, and safely redirects it aside.

To set up a cross-body block, cross your forearms horizontally in front of your chest, at breast level. The blocking arm should be on the bottom, with the top arm pushing down on it. Likewise, the bottom arm pushes up on the top arm. This way, when the technique is finally thrown, it springs into position, rather than being set in place.

To actually throw the technique, pull the top hand to the same-side hip, to set up a counterattack. As mentioned earlier, the bottom hand springs out, snapping into position. For additional speed, do not swing the fist out; pull the elbow in to snap the technique. When all is finished, the upper arm should be parallel to the floor, and at a 90° angle with respect to the chest. The forearm should be vertical, with the hand clenched in a fist. The forearm makes a 90° angle to both your chest and the floor. The block contacts the opponent with the meaty part of the forearm, since it is nicely padded. The video will demonstrate the correct form:

[video of morote uke, from the front and from the side, fast and slow]

When done correctly, cross-body blocks will slightly turn your opponents, compromising their balance, stance, and position. This will leave them open to counterattacks.

A common mistake when performing cross-body blocks is to swing the blocking arm too far out to the side, like in the photo below:

[photo of overextended cross body blocks from the front and side]

Remember, the block should always be directly in front of the shoulder, not outside the shoulder. Overextending blocks in this manner makes them structurally weaker. Even worse, this mistake makes the block over-travel, resulting in a slower technique that requires more time and energy to recover from. A clever or skilled opponent could capitalize on this awkward position to set up a joint manipulation (like americana) or takedown (like shihō-nage).

To prevent this, never block attacks; block yourself from attacks. Overextending a block is invariably the result of trying to make contact with attacks which have already been successfully evaded or diverted to the side. A block does not have to make contact to be successful -- it doesn’t matter where the opponent’s attacks go, as long as they don’t miss. Blocks are just insurance policies.