Block (uke) versus Sweep (barai/harai) in Karate

by Doug Cobb :: General Articles

Recently, my wife and I had the great pleasure to attend a seminar taught by three well-versed master level instructors in the art of Isshin-Ryu Karate. The sharing of ideas and interpretations of numerous kihon and kata movements was outstanding.

I did have a difference of opinion with a presenter’s interpretation of this movement regarding what is commonly referred to in the karate world as a block (uke) versus a sweep or brush off (barai/harai).

First, many karate practitioners fall victim to the use and application of a karate movement based on the common translation and not its literal meaning. Second, in attempting to make his point, the contributor himself modified the movement in order to show it works his way.

The Japanese word