Shutō-uke (literally: “hand-blade block”) refers to all of the various defensive applications of the “karate chop,” made famous by movies and television. Shutō blocks are effective because opens hands make it easier to project one’s true strength, via the Unbendable Arm technique. It is also easier to grab an opponent following an open-hand block compared to blocking with a closed fist. Shutō blocks contact the opponent with the shutō, the knife edge of the hand, which is the side of the hand between the wrist and the little finger. Shutō blocks are a very diverse move, which can be executed in a number of directions.
Outside knife-hand block
The outside knife-hand block is the most commonly-used shutō block, since it’s the perfect setup for grabs. To execute an outside shutō block, pull the blocking hand up to the opposite-side ear, with the palm facing inside. Cover your floating ribs on your blocking-hand side with the opposite-side hand. (This is the same position that downward-fist blocks are executed from.) Remember, everything must come in before it can go out.
Then, pull the blocking hand across the chest, until it is in front of the same-side shoulder, with the palm facing down. At the same time, chamber the opposite-side hand by pulling it across your waist to its hip, setting up a counterattack.
[Video of an outside shutō block, slow and fast, from the front and side]
A good way to practice outside shutō blocks in your daily life is to use it to catch doors before they close.
[video of shuto-ing a door as it closes]
Inside knife-hand block
Inside knife-hand blocks are similar to a tate shutō uchi or ude-uke. Pull the blocking hand up to the same-side ear, with the palm facing towards inside. Then, pull your elbow across your chest, until your blocking hand is in front of your face, so you can see your own palm. Your shutō will swat your opponent’s attacks away.
[Video of an inside shutō block, slow and fast, from the front and side]
Rising knife-hand block
Rising knife-hand blocks are just rising blocks which connect with the shutō, instead of the forearm.
[Video of a rising shutō block, slow and fast, from the front and side]
Downward knife-hand block
Downward knife-hand blocks are just downward-fist blocks performed with an open hand.
[Video of a downward shutō block, slow and fast, from the front and side]