Be Your Own Bodyguard ... and Walk Away Alive



The Shield is an arm block that looks like a triangular shield that is resting against a warrior in sword combat. It is a term given to a simple, basic block that uses the entire arm to protect the upper body and even the head.

Throughout history, warriors fought with weapons that were extensions of their arm. The earliest and still simplest of these is a club or stick. A long stick became a weapon and eventually a stone tip added to it and it became a spear. In time metal was used a sword was born. To protect against these weapons a shield was developed and its primary purpose was to absorb the impact of an oncoming weapon. Its secondary purpose was to deflect the oncoming weapon however, this requires great skillso it was not used as often and this holds true today.

In open hand combat, or even when the defender is open handed and the attacker has a stick of sorts, the shield is created by using the entire arm. The arm is bent like a triangle and almost pressed against the body so as to protect the defender. The triangle gives the arms strength and appears like a shield, giving its appropriate name.

This block is used whenever a punch is attacking at an angle to the outside of the body. It is used for any stance. In a right front lead the shield is used primarily with the rear arm which is the left and here the right arm is still used. In a left lead the shield is used primarily with the right read to protect the rear body parts with the left defending the left lead. When in a neutral stance the shield is used equally to defend against an attack coming from an outside angle.

This block is very useful against a hook punch to the head. For this attack the shield fully absorbs the blow, though.

A kidney punch is similar to a hook punch or a hook punch that is blended with an upper cut punch. This punch is targeted to a kidney and the shield is a great block against this, too. On this block the forearms can twist inwards with the body to help deflect the punch away, somewhat similar to a Tan Sao/Forearm Roll In.

The Shield is also very effective against a backhand, spinning or regular. It is used against any chop that comes from the outside, too. 

Any kick that comes toward the body from the outside is blocked by the Shield, too. A Muay Thai, Roundhouse, Spinning heel or Side Kick that comes toward the upper body will be blocked very effectively by the Shield.


The arm is bent with the elbow pointing straight down. 

The forearm is pointing straight up. 

The hand is slightly open with fingers and thumb bent inwards.

The hand is resting against the ear-with the slightly bent fingers doing the contact/resting.

The entire arm - upper and lower - is 1 to 2 inches away from the body.

This provides the ultimate block.

When used to block kidney punches the body and shield twist inward to deflect some of the blow, taking away some of the power from the attack.

*NOTE:  this is the very best position to use. Many and probably most fighters will let the entire arm be positioned completely against the body and ear. When this happens an attack can be felt almost with its complete power as it drives through the arm and hand but when the arm is a small distance away and the fingers are slightly bent, the Shield absorbs most of the blow before it hits the body. This works like a shock absorber to some degree and in full combat you want to take advantage of every possibility that you can. Therefore this method is highly preferred! 






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...Sifu Mike