In this short article I will look at a way in which we use Gedan Barai in our school. There are plenty of applications for this technique. Some use it as a block/parry or, as in our case, as an attack. There is no right or wrong way to use Gedan Barai, just whichever works best for you.
Let’s go through the movements of this technique and their uses. At the start of the sequence we place one arm in front of us with a fist whilst the other arm travels up to the opposite ear . This second arm then sweeps downwards, clearing anything in the way .
This way of executing the technique is the way it is performed in kihon and is just a movement at this point. The technique is transformed when you imagine the function of every part of the movement and then test this vision on a partner that is first willing to cooperate with us and is then resisting.
For this demonstration we will be working on a defence from a double grab<figure 1>. For this application the first move is transformed into a punch to the abdomen. Depending on which arm is used this punch will be either to the spleen or liver <figure 2>. The second arm that travels upwards will then be used as a strike to the head (with the hand opened or closed). This strike is targeted at the ear, temple or vital points on the jaw <figure 3>. Note that when a technique causes us to touch a part of our own body this often indicates where we should attack our opponent.
When our strike connects with the head of our attacker our elbow proceeds to come close to our body, trapping the arms of our opponent. The arm then continues to travel down to unbalance our attacker and open him up to our counter attack <figures 4 and 5>
Defender left side view.
Defender right side view.
In reality the first and second arm movements are done simultaneously.
I hope that this description demonstrates our way of thinking about kihon and how it is used. You can find the whole sequence in the video below.