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I’ve seen Kung fu (and other) fighting movies and one move that seems to be a staple is countering a punch by either slamming their forearm, hand, or shin area into the attacking opponent’s arm and pushing it outward. The more I think about it though, that seems extremely painful and would be the same as countering the opponent’s punch by punching your fist into theirs and grinding your knuckles together. Especially if you could just dodge. Am I wrong? Is this actually a real move that works?

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  • Punching an "arm" is not like punching a "fist"; most of the arm is soft, relatively speaking. The angle of the block also matters--punching a fist head-on may hurt, but deflecting an arm at an angle doesn't. Jan 3 at 13:03

4 Answers 4

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It works, but there are some things to consider

It is a question of conditioning and hitting with the right parts into the right parts, ie. for example hard parts (where bones are close to the surface) into soft tissue. To actually block 'bone on bone', you need years and years of painful conditioning, but it is a legit possibility and practiced in martial arts.

The alternative is receiving hits executed with bony parts with a relaxed ("soft") hand and relaxed elbow and shoulder. This takes a lot of the force out of the hits so that you can even block kicks. But 'softer' parries should always be coupled with an evasion move to both get out of harms way should anything go wrong and take even more momentum out of the hit.

Hard block into soft tissue

If you look e.g. at this video, you can see the idea behind a block with a hard part into soft tissue and that they actually do hurt a lot.

One major problem though: to hit the right spot in actual fights, where you don't just mess around with single punches you know where they are supposed to hit or have choreographed fights, you need to be extremely skilled. It's not something you pick up in some random lessons and it is really hard against fast punches. There is a reason why we don't see that happen in MMA bouts.

Bone on bone

On the other hand, if you look at e.g. kyokushin fighters, who are really well-conditioned (ie. trained their bones to be more dense by repeatedly blocking bone against bone for years and years with increasing intensity), you see blocks of kicks and punches bone on bone as well, like e.g. here. This is trained mostly in full contact karate styles (goju ryu, kyokushin) and krav maga as far as I am aware.

Low-kicks

As of blocking low-kicks, this warrants an answer of its own. Only that much here: ideally, you do not block with the shin but the muscle at the outer side of the shin or the thick upper end of the tibia bone. And you receive the kick with your lower leg being apart from your thigh so that there is some suspension effect as your lower leg gets pushed into the thigh.

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The idea is to dodge first and then just cover to ensure that the punch is not redirected. However this only works against straight attacks. Curved attacks are much harder to dodge.

You can block a curved attack more easily than a straight attack because it's easier to 'read' the attack before it happens. You still have to have good timing but it's easier.

As for blocking an attack without any form of footwork at all and just using the hand... Well it's usually not possible.

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Yes, blocks are a real thing but one should block and attack, simultaneously.

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They are real, but it can cause pain/injury.

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