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Tae Kwon Do - high block


Taekwon-Do Lesson 7 Knife-Hand Side Strike-0

The High Block (also called Upward Block, Rising Block, Face Block, ollyeo makgi or olgul makgi) is intended to deflect an attack that comes from above, such as a downward strike.



  • The blocking arm is chambered so that the fist is down at the opposite waist. For example, if performing a Left High Block the left fist would first be chambered down at the right side of the waist. The fist should be palm-up when chambered so that the fist can rotate during the block.
  • The off-arm, the non-blocking arm, should be chambered to the opposite shoulder, with the thumb of the fist facing the chest, so that it too can rotate as it is brought down to the waist during the block.
High block chamber

The Block:

  • The blocking arm is brought upward to above forehead height with the wrist centered on the forehead. The forearm should be sloping downward so that deflected blows are deflected at an angle. The idea is that a 90-degree deflection would injure your forearm and fail to deflect the blow. The fist should be rotated during the block so that at the conclusion of the block the palm of the fist is facing upward.
  • Simultaneously, the non-blocking arm should be brought down from the shoulder so that it finishes by your side at the waist, palm-side up. One principle of taekwondo is the principle of action and reaction where if one arm is moving forward, the other arm should be moving back. The off-arm is providing the reaction for this block by moving downward and to the waist.


Variant: Face Block[]

When sparring, a block similar to the High Block (called a Face Block) is sometimes used: the blocking arm is kept more straight, without much of a bend at the elbow. The idea is that this block is still being used to block an attack that's coming nearly-downward at about face-height. For example, this would block a face-height Inward Crescent Kick using the upper-arm as the blocking surface.

ITF Style: Rising Block[]


An ITF-style Rising Block

In ITF-style taekwondo, this block is called a Rising Block.

The main purpose of this technique is to block the opponent's hand, foot or weapon directed towards the head, although it is frequently used against a punch or side piercing kick directed against the bridge of the nose and area above. Always maintain a full facing posture towards the opponent at the moment of block, when utilising a walking, sitting, parallel, close, one-leg, diagonal or x-stance.

Basic Principles:

  • The blocking tool must stay at the centre of the defenders forehead or face at the moment of block.
  • The fist should be slightly higher than the elbow.
  • The distance between the inner forearm and forehead is about seven centimetres with the elbow bent at a 45-degree angle.
  • The inner forearm reaches the same level as the forehead.