|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.