Kakiwake uke (literally: “dividing-apart block”) is commonly referred to as a wedge block by most English-speaking karateka. However, we will refrain from doing so, to avoid confusion with the wedge technique. (Additionally, “kakiwake” is just fun to say.)
Kakiwake uke is a specialized move for breaking free from front chokes or lapel grabs. To perform a kakiwake uke:
- Start with your hands on your hips.
- Next, pull your elbows forward, to raise your hands up along your centerline to head level. This is just like throwing a double uppercut.
- Finally, turn your wrists so that your hands point up and to the outside, at 45° angle. Pull both of your hands down and to the outside at a 45° angle, so that your hands will hook the opponent’s wrists.
When done correctly, a kakiwake uke will trace an invisible up-arrow in the air (↑), and finish with your hands directly in front of your shoulders. Kakiwake uke can be performed using either closed fists or the shutō as the point-of-contact.
For best results, take a small step or shift your weight backwards when performing a kakiwake uke, to force the opponent to overextend themselves and compromise their balance.
[video of a kakiwake uke, fast and slow, from the front and side]