The Low Block (also called a Downward Block, Hansonal arae makgi 아래 막기, or Outer Forearm Low Block) is one of the most basic taekwondo blocks. The idea of this block is that it is blocking incoming low kicks.
- The blocking arm is chambered to the opposite collar with the muscled base of the fist facing toward the chest (i.e., the palm of the fist is facing your chin). In other words, if one is doing a Left Low Block, the left fist is chambered to the right collar at the outset of the block. It's important that the palm be facing the chin at the outset because you're going to want to "twist" this fist downward as you block.
- The non-blocking arm is aimed straight out in front of you, fist facing palm-down.
- As the arm is snapping downward, the fist is rotated so that the palm (still in a fist) is facing downward at the conclusion of the block. Or to put it another way, at the outset of the block your palm is facing your chin; at the conclusion of the block your palm is facing your knee. There may be a temptation to rotate the fist at the start of the downward movement, but this would be a mistake. Most of the rotation should occur near the end of the blocking motion, that way there's plenty of "twist" at the end of the block. This is what gives the block is distinctive "snap."
- The non-blocking arm, i.e., the off-arm, is simultaneously pulled back to the side at the waist, rotating the fist so that it finishes with the palm of the fist facing upward. 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 backward and to the waist as the blocking arm is moving forward and down.
The blocking arm and the off-arm should finish their movements at the same time. If you find your blocking arm doesn't have enough "snap" sometimes it's helpful to focus on the off-arm instead; pulling it back faster can instinctively help you get more snap in the blocking arm.
The blocking arm is chambered in front of the body, the back of the fist facing away from your head, at about chin-height. The non-blocking arm is likewise chambered the same way, just inside the blocking arm. In other words, both fists are in front of your chin, with the back of the fists facing away from you.
As with Kukkiwon/WTF-style (above), the blocking arm should be snapped downward, the fist rotated so that the palm (still in a fist) is facing downward at the conclusion of the block. The non-blocking arm, i.e., the off-arm, is simultaneously pulled down to the side at the waist, so that it finishes with the palm of the fist facing upward.
Variation: Knifehand Low Block
A Knifehand Low Block is a Low Block where the blocking arm is held as a knifehand. As with most knifehand blocks, the knifehand is chambered already in the knifehand position at the outset of the block, with the base of the hand (the pinky side of the hand) againt the collar. The Knifehand Low Block appears, for example, in the form Jitae.
Variation: Low Side Block
A Low Side Block is a Low Block that is performed to the side of the body. The head is usually turned in the direction of the block. The Low Side Block appears, for example, in the form Jitae.