Jim R
Lv 7
Jim R asked in SportsMartial Arts · 8 years ago

The purpose of gedan bari (downward sweeping parry)?

Gedan bari appears in many kinds of karate. It shows up in most of the kata.

What do you think this movement is supposed to do?


Some great answers here. As samuraiwarrior98 said, it is mis-named by quite a bit. That is why I prefer to call it gedan bari, that describes (at least in my mind) the movement much better. I never use it as a block and rarely a parry. I see much information here, some simple and some quite advanced. I've provoked some thought, and learned some good things. I will leave the question open until it expires, and let the voters pick. There are a couple "best answers" here already. Thanks!

11 Answers

  • possum
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    throw - like koshinage

    wrist lock - like nikkyo

    interruption of a kick


    downward stab with a knife or blunt weapon

    downward strike with a weapon like a stick or bat (or sword?)

    combined with a chamber, can be part of a kaitenage throw

    combined with a chamber, can be part of a jujinage throw

    downward pull of hair or clothing, to off-balance opponent

    hammer-fist to a vital area in that vicinity

    disarm of a weapon that was grabbed from near the head

    I wouldn't say the list is unlimited, but I would say there are many applications.

    But when I teach application, I am careful to not allow people to make a large list of things; rather, I prefer them to demonstrate what they mean. That way, when they do a quick turn and fast arm down, I might ask "don't you think that's too fast to be used for a throw?". And so on. So context is very important, just listing them is part of the challange. But defining how each of those listed items can be used is the another part of the challange.

    @jwbulldogs - One of the many reasons I like Aikido is because of so many things that suddenly become recognizable - in Taekwondo! I only regret that these things weren't pointed out long ago.

    @Jim R - you may find it interesting reading, the book "75 Down Blocks: Refining Karate Technique" by Rick Clark.

  • 8 years ago

    The "downward" language is misleading: the direction of gedan barai is actually to the side. E.g., if someone is attacking you with a mae geri, you don't want to stop the kicking shin with your arm (you'd get a fracture), you want to redirect the momentum of the kick away from you.

    This is clearly shown with an open-handed gedan barai by Higaonna in the bunkai for the Saifa kata (watch 0:14 - 0:21):


    Youtube thumbnail

  • 8 years ago

    I'm not going to name them all. I may not even know them all, but i mention just a couple.

    1. the obvious a low strike to the arm when someone is punching low

    2. A strike to the lower ribs after a the parry of a strike

    3. An arm lock

    4. Not so obvious a two finger lock from a shoulder or lapel grab. I like that those locks

    Great question by the way. Often this is taught as a low block or a leg block. But we all know or at least many of us know there are no blocks in karate. You also do not do 2 moves to block one moves. You will not have time.


    kajukat you are welcome. But I'm not sure why you are thanking me.

    JKD you are on to something with the shoulder grab comment. That is exactly what I was talking about with the finger locks. The attacker grabs the should, lapel or choke. You trap the hand while applying a finger lock( 2 fingers). Then the sweeping motions allows you to control them by pain and the threat of a break. This sets you up to strike any part of their body that you wish and also prevents them from striking you. From this point you can change to one of many joint locks and do some more strikes. It is important that you drill the variety of transitions. I recommend a minimum of 4 transitions when practicing the drills.


    1 finger lock to

    2. wrist lock (kote gaeshi) to

    3. pistol grip wrist lock to

    4. bent arm lock

    Then you repeat the series over at least 4 times. Of course you do this on both the right and left sides. It should flow and become natural.

    Also the hammer fist strikes are correct. Even though you do not display the parry, you parry first as you step out of range then comes the hammer fist to the floating ribs. That is the basic part of the bunkai application of the low block. Since the power comes from the hip that can be a very effective strike to set up your attack to aid in ending the threat. After the sweeping strike you follow up with a straight punch and then usually do a throw. This was also the kidney strike that kat is talking about.

    In our dojo practically every defense end with some type of throw/take down and limb destruction.

    Possum too bad you aren't close. Id love to work on some of those aikido applications. It amazes me how much aikido is in my karate but I never thought or were to taught to apply my techniques in the same manner even thought it is there. I think the aikido training helps me by making me rely more on technique vs strength. It improves my techniques that I once thought was okay.

    Source(s): Martial Arts since 1982
  • 8 years ago

    Liberal there really hit the nail on the head and it being called downward parry or downward block is a bit of a misnomer. The circular and downward action of your lower arm at the elbow is to build and generate power and speed to really meet techniques from the side and push them to the side that are coming in towards your groin and hara.

    Your down block and the circle it makes in the beginning should never be higher than your eyes as then it will take to much time to travel through its arc and intersect with the attack before that attack reaches your lower body. You can also shorten this circle and arc based on the closeness of your attacker to make sure it intersects with the attack in time and by meeting the attack from the side your block does not have to be as strong as that attack. You are not meeting the power of it head-on then which also helps protect your arm from injury like when blocking strong kicks.

    There are also a number of techniques that work off of this including a downward block trap and if you continue the motion upward after pushing it to the side you then trap the attacking arm or leg in the crook of your arm between your lower arm just below the elbow and your bicep and can then execute things like arm bars, throws, reaps, and sweeps depending on if it is a leg or arm that you are trapping.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • K_JKD
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    as an outsider looking in I see-

    1. a parry to most strikes at high and mid level that could lead into a throw, lock or break.

    2. hammerfists or "shuto chops" if the hands are open

    3. a weird hammerfist/punch hybrid type blow to the groin

    4. pulling someone forwards and a weird hammerfist/punch hybrid type blow to the groin

    5. an arm grab

    6. an over the shoulder pull kinda like the kung fu move "old man carries fish on back" or "old man makes tiger defenseless"??? (I cant remember the name for the life of me!!!)

    7. pulling someones hand off your shoulder and simultaneously cocking back your other hand for a punch to the face or wherever

    8. where the arms cross as one goes forward and the other goes back it can be a collar choke/neck crank if someones seated in front of you.

    I bet there's a hundred more at least from karateka let alone what would be interpreted from someone from a different style that could still be effective.

    Source(s): martial arts training since 1997 working on my bunkai & oyo a lot lately
  • 8 years ago

    I can only name a few because Kajukenbo is not really set up as a kata/bunkai type of martial art. Our equivalent to other martial arts' kata/bunkai is the technique sequences where you hit your opponent 20 times like someone else asked about on Yahoo Answers. ( I'm exagerating about hitting your opponent 20 times, but that was the number the Asker used. )

    1. Blocking a front kick.

    2.Limb destruction against a straight in knife thrust against your abdomen.

    3. Hammerfist to groin.

    4. Hammerfist to inner thigh.

    5. Hammerfist to kidneys.

    There are probably other applications, but I probably can't recall them right now.

    @jwbulldogs: The second move in the Kajukenbo Pinan 1 is a downward block. And it probably is an armbar. Thanks, jwbulldogs.

    @jwbulldogs: I am thanking you because Kajukenbo is not a bunkai oriented martial art. Since the Top Contibutors have been discussing bunkai for the past few months, I am starting to look more into what are hidden in the katas.

    Source(s): Arnis, Kajukenbo
  • Kokoro
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    i spend entire classes just on this one concept. it has endless applications.

    the most basic is the low parry

    in different styles the fold (cover) or perform the technique differently, shotokan applications can be different then some other style applications.

    i love to use the cover as the higher hand does the perry for a mid to high strike and the lower hand strikes the same time, followed by the completion of the technique as a strike and bring my opponent back

    the technique can also be used as a throw. a break for a wrist lock, and arm bar, a double strike, it can be use to block almost any attack, from high to mid level to low even hay-makers, etc.

    as i said its and endless concept i'm sure others can add a ton of other technique to this small list

    Source(s): 30yrs ma
  • 8 years ago

    Possum pretty much covered most of what I know about Aikido applications of Gedan Barai.

  • 8 years ago


    Scoop - Sukui Otoshi

    Elbow pressure for a kagi lock

    Redirection of an opponents punch/grab

    Kuzushi waza

    Hammer fist to the side of someone's head( after I've put them down

    Fading into an attack preparing for redirection( still kuzushi waza...)

    Groin strike


    It depends on the context and the practitioners understanding.

    This list is paltry, but best sums up the enormous possibilities.

  • 8 years ago

    1) to block a low punch or kick

    2) to parry a low kick by sweeping it away while counterattacking while they lose their balance

    but for the gedan barai to be at it's most effective, you'll need a lot of conditioning to your forearms so it won't hurt you more than it hurts them. When you have these 'forearms of steel', blocking one of their strikes will be like doing a strike of your own. It will make them think twice about their next attack.

    Source(s): - training in Karate - extensive research
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.