What Are The 5 Basic Blocks In Taekwondo – Explained

Taekwondo is known for being a self defense martial art, but that doesn’t mean that blocks can’t be used in an offensive manner. 

Speed and power are key to a block. If your block is fast enough and your arm is tense then it can feel like a strike to your opponent.

What Are The 5 Basic Blocks In Taekwondo - Explained

You may find in a taekwondo match that keeping on the defensive is the best strategy, as you can wear your opponent out and search for any weak points where you can strike.

Due to this, it is not only important to learn how to block, but also how to do so safely. Blocks are to protect your body but if performed wrong you could end up with more injury than if you just took the hit.

For example if you’re blocking your face but aren’t prepared for such a hard hit you could hit yourself in the face on impact.

Or in an extreme case if you are blocking and your elbow is in an awkward position you may end up with a broken arm.

Every block begins in a chamber position, these vary across blocks. Typically the standard hand (the one not doing the blocking) is out in a straight line in a fist and then the other fist is in a varying position to best perform the block.

So if your teacher says “down block chamber position” you know exactly what position to get into. After the chamber position the standard hand is brought down to the belt whereas the other hand performs the block.

Here are 5 basic closed fist blocks for any beginner students who are either looking to start up taekwondo, or want to revise before their first belt promotion test. 

Down Block

How To Perform

Chamber – The standard hand out in punch form. The other hand in a fist is placed above the other shoulder. The thumb should be on top of the fist.

The standard hand is brought down to the belt.

The fist over the shoulder is brought down across the body straightening until in a solid line. The arm should be at about a 45 degree angle from your leg to protect the lower area of your body.

When To Perform

This block is for attacks from down low. Such as low kicks or any other attack aiming for below the belt.

High Block

How To Perform

Chamber – The standard hand out in punch form. The other hand under your shoulder with your palm facing your elbow.

The standard hand is brought down to the belt.

The fist under the shoulder is brought above your head to a 45 degree angle making sure your palm is facing out towards the opponent.

This is so any attacks slide off the arm rather than landing straight on. Don’t have your arm too close to your head as it may recoil into your forehead when hit.

When To Perform

As implied from the name a high block is for blocking attacks that are aimed at your head such as axe kicks.

This is why the 45 degree angle is important, while the kick will still hurt when blocked it will hurt a lot less when your arm is not taking the full force.

Outside Block

Outside Block

How To Perform

Chamber – The standard hand out in punch form. The other fist is in the same position as the high block but fist pointing away from the elbow.

The standard hand is brought down to the belt.

Sweep your arm across the body until your fist in line with your shoulder. Have your elbow at a 90 degree angle. Snap your hand into position at the last second with your palm facing up.

When To Perform

An outside block is used when being attacked from the side. This style of block is ideally used against kicks.

Inside Block

How To Perform

Chamber – The standard hand out in punch form. The other fist up to the side of the head next to the ear with your palm facing towards your opponent. Your elbow should be pointed out to the side of your body.

The standard hand is brought down to the belt.

Sweep your hand across your body to meet where your previous hand was. Your palm should now be facing you. Snap your hand into position at the last possible second.

When To Perform

Great for blocking frontal attacks. This move has a sweeping action in it so you can move your opponent’s hand out of the way while you block, this leaves them open to attack.

Outside Forearm Block

How To Perform

Chamber – The standard hand out in punch form. Similar to the down block, the other fist is placed over the shoulder with your palm facing your neck and thumb pointing up.

The standard hand is brought down to the belt.

Sweep your arm across the body similar to the outside block. Have your elbow bent to a 90 degree angle. Remember to snap your hand into position at the last second with your palm facing towards your opponent.

When To Perform

This block is a variation of the outside block so it can be used to block most of the same attacks. This variation is popular in the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF)-style of taekwondo.

Tips When Blocking

  • Always remember to stretch before doing blocking drills. Constantly tensing your muscles can get sore after a while.
  • If you’re prone to bruises either wear extra padding when practicing blocks with a partner, or properly care for your arms when you get home with ice packs.
  • Remember to use the proper footwork when blocking, it’s all well and good blocking a punch or kick but if you lose your balance that’s match over.
Christopher Anderson