Chudan-Uke as a Strike 2

Chudan-uke, as used in Shotokan sanbon kumite (three-step sparring)

All karateka are familiar with some form of chudan-uke, although it has many names, depending on the style. Some call it soto-uke (“outside receiver,” referring to it’s movement to the outside of the body), some call it uchi-uke (“inside receiver,” referring to the part of the arm being used), and some just call it ude-uke (“forearm receiver”). This technique shows up frequently in kata, but people often argue about its purpose. There are two particularly vocal groups in these arguments–the “blocks are blocks” group, which believes that what you see is what you get, and the “no such thing as blocks” group, which believes that all of the movements we call “blocks” are actually something else (usually strikes). In reality, I believe that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I do think that uke-waza (receiving techniques) are often locks, limb control techniques, or strikes, but sometimes, a “block” is just a block–or at least some form of deflection.

One of the arguments that I see from the “blocks are blocks” crowd the most is that chudan-uke can’t be a strike because it’s too weak. This is the argument that I sought to address in the video, above. I didn’t feel the need to defend the use of chudan-uke as a block, as people with more experience than I have already done that for me. If you’re looking for information on that, I recommend checking out Dan Djurdjevic’s blog, The Way of Least Resistance. For the video, above, I only discuss the use of chudan-uke as a strike. This was not to discount any other applications, but simply to point out that it can, indeed, be used as a strike.

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About Noah

I began training in karate (Shuri-Ryu) in the Summer of 2006. Subsequently, I started training in judo, kobudo, and iaijutsu within the next 6 months. During my training there, I earned the rank of Sankyu (3rd Degree Brown Belt) in Shuri-Ryu, Gokyu (Green Belt) in judo, a certification in the use of the bo, and passed proficiency tests for the four tachigata of Shinkage-Ryu iaijutsu. I moved to Arizona in the Summer of 2008, and continued training and researching karate at home. I continued regular training in judo at a local club until 2010, when I was able to start training in Shorin-Ryu with Sensei Richard Poage. I have been training with him ever since, and currently hold the rank of Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt) in Shorin-Ryu under him. In addition, I began studying KishimotoDi under Sensei Ulf Karlsson in 2014.

2 thoughts on “Chudan-Uke as a Strike

  • Dan Djurdjevic

    Sterling job Noah! You certainly show that chudan uchi uke (not the circular version of goju) can be used as a strike. I would agree that practically every movement in karate can be used as a strike. My perspective is however a reaction to the trend that says “all blocks are actually strikes”. I believe you are correct that the truth is always somewhere in the middle, however the polemicist in me has to take one side (the side I feel is presently being overridden) and defend that.

    Having said the above, I would still not use a chudan uke as a strike out of any preference. It is still too weak for me. For the neck I would use a seiyruto which turns over and hits the carotid far more accurately (see or, if you want to stay on a “chudan uke like movement”, xingyi’s heng quan (which is much more powerful than chudan uke – it is chudan uch uke on roids; turned into a curving powerhouse punch (see But those are preferences. You’ve definitely made a great video here highlighting the fact that one needn’t confine oneself to the arm movement in chudan uke as a strike (something others haven’t gone into). You make an excellent point. Bravo!

    • Noah

      Thank you! I’ve actually always hated confrontation (which makes it a wonder that I ever got into martial arts in the first place), and I feel that aversion actually causes me to try to understand all sides of an argument before discussing the topic at hand. Personally, I’m just fine standing in the middle and not taking sides! 😛

      Everyone certainly has preferences that influence their use of techniques, of course. I mention in the video that striking with this technique isn’t my preferred application for it–given the choice, I would use a different strike–but there have been cases in training where it has been the most expedient method of delivering a blow, so I used it. The technique you show in the heng quan video is actually one we use for Naihanchi and Passai, which I do like better :). As you say, though, I really just wanted to point out that it doesn’t “have to be” one or the other in this video/post.

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