For blocks to be most effective, they need to move the strike away from their strongest direction. A punch for example, is strong coming toward you, so you would not try and stop a strike directly – you would just redirect it sideways. The arm is strong extending, but weak side to side. The weakest direction is always 90 degrees from the way the attack is coming.
The punch has a lot of strength in the direction of travelling, so we don't try and stop this
The punch is weak side to side, so we will just re-direct it
The second aspect to understand is the way the body is built – the pectoral muscle in the chest is generally pretty strong and is designed to move the arm inward across the body, whereas the muscle used to move the arm outward is behind the shoulder and is not anywhere near as strong. The reason this is important is to know which way you can move their arm with them being able to counter you as easily. Blocking inward will mean you are using a large muscle and it will be harder for them to push back against you.
The chest muscle means you can pull your arm inwards hard.
Blocking upward and downward can be effective, but as the muscles used are not as big as in the chest, the block is not as strong.
How much to block?
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