Arnis has three basic blocks which may be applied to all or some of the various angles of attack. Kenpo utilizes only the first of these three styles - single handed - as it is, for the most part, an empty handed martial art. The purpose of the block is to either stop the weapon, or to divert the weapon from its intended path.
Single Handed Block
The single handed block is the most flexible block, using only a single hand at the punyo end of the stick, but is the weakest of the three. In the photos below, the student responds to the opponent attacking with a #1 strike (for an explanation of the angles of attack, refer to the diagram below)with a similar strike (a #1).
In most, but not all, cases, this reaction will be sufficient. As an example of an insufficient response, imagine
the opponent using the #5 strike to the belly. Reacting with a #5 strike would not accomplish anything. In that case, using the stick in a
downward punching motion would be more effective or the traditional vertical block with the tip of the stick towards the ground crossing in
front of the body would also work. Note that the unused hand is kept behind the weapon at all times as the weapon may not be just a stick.
When the weapon is not a stick, but a sword, remember to turn the blade to its flat side to avoid stress fractures in the weapon or damage to the cutting edge.
The next type of block is the braced block where the other hand (the hand not holding the weapon) is placed behind the opposite end of the weapon
The braced block can absorb more force than the single handed block, but the second hand supporting the stick reduces the range of motion of the weapon. For example, you would not try to apply this block for the #8 and #9 strikes as they are below the waist and reaching with both hands would be problematic.
Two Handed Block
The final type of block is the two handed block where both hands hold the weapon, one at each end. This style of blocking can absorb the most force, but with both hands on the weapon, flexibility is reduced. In the photos below, the student is blocking a #10 strike directed at her forehead.
A good exercise for the student is to imagine the 10 angles of attack and to determine which of the 3 styles of blocking can and should be applied for each attack.