Over the weekend, my good friend Rob participated in a free style tournament, the same one that I entered in his place earlier this year. He fought commendably, and Leo, his opponent, was a very tough dude. Leo had an unrelenting approach, had a knack for catching legs, and was exceptionally good at preventing Rob from taking him down (which was one of Rob’s main strategies when we were training for it). But Rob handled himself well, using some very impressive flying knees, strong counter punches and a few expertly done throws. Rob’s smile never faltered, even when he was exhausted and in pain, and both of them were gentlemen, repeatedly touching gloves before engaging and giving each other deep bows and big hugs after the match.
While I was helping Rob train for the fight, I lamented that I never used any full blocks during my previous bout. Rob disagreed and said one of the first things I did was a classic gedan uke (low block). We ended up watching the video, and I noticed a few instances where I executed traditional blocks (though they were abbreviated for efficacy). Our teacher, Shihan Dan later went through the video of Rob’s fight and took screengrabs of many of the instances where he applied taiji principles or classic karate techniques. Without wanting to take away anything from his recent victory, I was inspired to go through my own video and do the same.
It is very heartening to me to see that, on some level, I have learned appropriate ways of defending myself when attacked in a variety of ways. So here are some screenshots from my fight of when I applied “blocks” successfully.