Taekwondo Blocks Hard and Blocks Soft
I stopped him to explain what I really wanted.
The first up block is to be done with lots of good commitment - it is preemptive, aggressive, and is as much a strike as it is a defence against an attack from the opponent. This is the type of block that needs to be done before you see the technique coming at you! The second however is done because you've recognised that you've just 'missed' the oncoming strike. Probably your opponent changed striking angles or has just pulled a knife or weapon out. There is little time to wind up and power through the arm - you need to retract slightly, pull the arm down and very quickly deflect the oncoming strike. There is no need to destroy the arm - so long as you don't get poked in the ribs with some pen or knife. The second move is done quickly and requires your arm to be flexible - the fulcrum is no longer the shoulder (as you generate power from the body), but is closer to the elbow or forearm. This allows the move to retract quicker from full extension and still be deployed with good effect.
Try this at home - perform one block, hold it there and swing it into another block with the same hand. Put lots of power into the second technique and you'll never get enough speed to match a dedicated strike.
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