The Difference Between Blocks And Parries in Kung Fu

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Kung Fu, a traditional Chinese martial art, is known for its diverse range of defensive techniques that enable practitioners to protect themselves effectively. Among the various defensive maneuvers, blocks and parries play a vital role in redirecting and neutralizing incoming attacks. While blocks and parries may seem similar at first glance, they have distinct characteristics and applications. In this article, we will delve into the nuances of blocks and parries in Kung Fu, highlighting their differences, techniques, and when to employ each in combat scenarios.


What are Blocks in Kung Fu?

Blocks in Kung Fu refer to defensive techniques used to stop or hinder incoming strikes from an opponent. A block is typically executed by using various parts of the body, such as the arms, legs, or torso, to intercept an attack. The primary goal of blocking is to protect oneself from direct impact, thereby reducing the risk of injury. This section will explore different types of blocks commonly used in Kung Fu, including low blocks, high blocks, and centerline blocks. Techniques such as bone blocks, muscle blocks, and joint locks will also be discussed.


What are Parries in Kung Fu?

Parries in Kung Fu involve redirecting or deflecting an opponent’s attack away from the intended target. Unlike blocks, which aim to absorb the force of an attack, parries focus on using minimal force to redirect the incoming strike. By manipulating the opponent’s energy and momentum, parries enable the defender to create openings for counterattacks. This section will explore parrying techniques such as deflections, slaps, and circular parries, along with their applications in different Kung Fu styles.


Differences Between Blocks and Parries

In the context of combat or martial arts, both blocks and parries are defensive techniques used to deflect or neutralize incoming attacks. While they serve similar purposes, there are some differences between blocks and parries. Here’s a breakdown of their characteristics:


  1. Definition: A block involves using a part of your body or an object to intercept or stop an incoming attack.
  2. Technique: Blocks are typically executed by placing a barrier (such as a forearm, leg, or shield) between yourself and the incoming attack.
  3. Purpose: Blocks are primarily used to absorb or redirect the force of the incoming attack, preventing it from directly hitting the target.
  4. Force absorption: Blocks tend to absorb the force of the attack, dispersing it through the blocking object or body part.
  5. Energy expenditure: Blocking often requires a significant amount of strength and stability to withstand the impact of the attack.
  6. Opportunities for counterattacks: Depending on the style or martial art, blocks may be followed by immediate counterattacks or used as a setup for subsequent offensive moves.


  1. Definition: A parry involves using a controlled movement or action to redirect an incoming attack away from its intended target.
  2. Technique: Parries typically involve deflecting the attacking weapon or limb using precise timing, positioning, and minimal movements.
  3. Purpose: Parries aim to redirect the opponent’s attack to create openings for counterattacks while minimizing the use of force.
  4. Force redirection: Parries focus on redirecting the force of the attack away from the target rather than absorbing it.
  5. Energy expenditure: Parries often require less physical strength than blocks, as they rely more on timing, agility, and skillful maneuvering.
  6. Opportunities for counterattacks: Parries are often followed by immediate counterattacks, as they create openings or vulnerabilities in the opponent’s defense.


Techniques for Effective Blocking

Executing blocks with precision and efficiency requires proper technique and training. This section will provide detailed instructions on essential blocking techniques, including footwork, hand positioning, and body alignment. It will also discuss the importance of timing and anticipation in successful blocking and provide tips to enhance one’s blocking skills in Kung Fu training.


Techniques for Skillful Parrying

Parrying in Kung Fu demands agility, sensitivity, and the ability to read an opponent’s movements. This section will explore various parrying techniques, such as sticking hands, deflection with redirection, and using minimal contact to redirect an attack. Additionally, it will cover the importance of maintaining relaxed muscles, balance, and fluidity while executing parrying techniques.


When to Use Blocks or Parries in Kung Fu

Knowing when to utilize blocks or parries is crucial for effective defense in combat situations. This section will discuss the strategic considerations and factors that determine whether to employ blocks or parries. It will cover scenarios where blocks are more suitable, such as strong, direct attacks, as well as situations where parries are advantageous, such as countering fast, flowing strikes.



Blocks and parries are essential defensive techniques in Kung Fu, each with its unique characteristics and applications. While blocks focus on intercepting and absorbing incoming attacks, parries emphasize redirecting and neutralizing strikes. Mastering both blocks and parries enables practitioners to develop a well-rounded defense and counteroffensive repertoire. By understanding the differences between blocks and parries and knowing when to apply them, martial artists can enhance their combat skills and become more adept at defending themselves in Kung Fu encounters.

Maxim Tzfenko

Maxim Tzfenko

"I live and breath Martial Arts"

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