How To Do A Downward Block Kung Fu

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Kung fu is a traditional Chinese martial art that emphasizes strikes, kicks, and grappling techniques. One of the most common techniques in kung fu is the downward block, also known as “descending block” or “pu bu.” This technique is used to block attacks from above, such as punches or kicks, and redirect the force of the attack downwards.

In this article, we will discuss how to do a downward block in kung fu, the various factors that can influence its effectiveness, and how to incorporate it into your training routines.

Let’s get started.


What is the proper form for a downward block in kung fu?

The downward block in kung fu is typically performed with one hand, although some styles may use both hands or alternate hands. Here are the steps to perform a basic downward block:

1. Start in a ready stance or fighting stance, with your feet shoulder-width apart and your weight evenly distributed.
2. Raise your arm to shoulder height, with your elbow bent and your forearm pointing upwards.
3. Pivot on your front foot and step forward with your back foot, turning your body to the side.
4. As you step forward, swing your arm downwards in a diagonal motion, rotating your wrist so that your palm faces downwards.
5. The palm of your blocking hand should make contact with the attacker’s arm or leg, redirecting the force of the attack downwards.

It’s important to keep your body low and grounded when performing a downward block, as this will help you absorb the impact of the attack and maintain your balance. Your non-blocking hand should be positioned near your face or chest, ready to respond to any follow-up attacks.


What are some common mistakes to avoid when performing a downward block?

While the downward block is a simple technique, there are several common mistakes that beginners often make. Here are a few to watch out for:

– Allowing your elbow to drop too low: This can weaken the block and expose your torso to the attack. Keep your elbow level with your shoulder or slightly above it.
– Failing to pivot on your foot: If you don’t pivot on your foot to turn your body, you will be off-balance and may not be able to execute the block effectively.
– Overreaching with your arm: Your arm should only move as far as necessary to block the attack. Overextending can leave you vulnerable to counterattacks.
– Stiffening your wrist: Your wrist should be relaxed and flexible, allowing you to redirect the force of the attack smoothly. If your wrist is stiff, you may injure your wrist or forearm.


How can you improve the effectiveness of your downward block?

Like any martial arts technique, the downward block requires practice and refinement to be effective. Here are some tips to help you improve your downward block:

– Focus on your footwork: Your footwork is crucial to setting up the downward block properly. Practice pivoting on your front foot and stepping forward with your back foot to get the timing and distance right.
– Use your body weight: When executing the downward block, shift your weight forward into the block to add power and momentum to your movement.
– Practice with a partner: Have a training partner simulate attacks from different angles and speeds so you can practice your timing and precision.
– Strengthen your wrists and forearms: Exercises like wrist curls and forearm curls can help you build the strength and endurance needed for effective blocking.


When should you use a downward block in self-defense situations?

The downward block can be used to defend against a wide range of attacks, including punches, kicks, and even knife strikes. However, it’s important to remember that the best defense is often to avoid or de-escalate a potentially violent situation. If you must defend yourself, try to use the minimum amount of force necessary to escape and seek help.

In general, the downward block can be effective against attacks that are coming from above, such as an overhead punch or a downward knife strike. However, in some cases, it may be more effective to use a different technique, such as a sidestep or a joint lock. Your choice of technique will depend on the specific situation and your training and experience.


How can you incorporate downward blocking into your kung fu training?

The downward block is a fundamental technique in many styles of kung fu, so most training routines will incorporate it in some way. Here are some exercises and drills to help you develop your downward blocking skills:

– Shadowboxing: Shadowboxing is a great way to practice your footwork and technique without a partner. Focus on executing the downward block with proper form and speed.
– Partner drills: Practicing with a partner can provide more realistic feedback and help you develop your timing and distancing. Try having your partner throw punches or kicks from different angles and practice blocking and countering.
– Bag work: Hitting a heavy bag can help you build power and endurance in your blocking and striking techniques. Use the bag to practice executing the downward block with different levels of force and speed.
– Forms: Many kung fu styles include forms or “kata” that incorporate downward blocking techniques. Practice these forms to develop your flow, rhythm, and precision.


What are some advanced techniques and variations of the downward block in kung fu?

The downward block is a versatile technique that can be adapted in many ways to suit different situations. Here are some advanced techniques and variations of the downward block in kung fu:

– Double downward block: This technique uses both hands to execute a downward block, providing more coverage and stability. Be sure to keep your elbows close to your body to maintain balance.
– Reverse downward block: In this technique, you use the back of your hand to block the attack instead of the palm. This can be effective against attackers who are grabbing or holding onto you.
– Follow-up strikes: Once you have successfully blocked an attack with a downward block, you can follow up with counterattacks of your own. For example, you might execute a punch or a low kick to the attacker’s legs.
– Sprawl and block: This technique combines a downward block with a sprawl, which is a wrestling move that involves dropping your hips and sprawling your legs back to avoid a takedown. This can be effective against attackers who are trying to grab or tackle you.



In conclusion, the downward block is a basic but essential technique for any student of kung fu. By practicing proper form, avoiding common mistakes, and incorporating the downward block into your training routines, you can develop your blocking skills and improve your overall martial arts proficiency. Remember to always approach self-defense situations with caution and use your training wisely.

Maxim Tzfenko

Maxim Tzfenko

"I live and breath Martial Arts"

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