Deconstructing Taekwon-Do

How To: Outer Forearm High Side Block

Taekwon-do outer forearm high side block (side view)

Although the outer forearm high side block is a new technique for students learning Do-San, its concepts should be familiar by now. Almost everything we’re doing is just a progression of techniques we’ve done before.

Let’s start with the blocking tool. We covered that when we looked at the outer forearm low block. In that same article, we also covered the concept of a side block—you finish half-facing (or possibly side-facing) to your opponent and your blocking tool lines up vertically with the centre of your shoulder.


The preparations for the outer forearm high side block and outer forearm low block are also similar: cross with the backs of your wrists together and give your arms plenty of space to move. The difference is that for the high block, you’ll want to prepare high, with your wrists just a little below your eye level. This is because we want our arm to travel in a completely horizontal plane.

Taekwon-do outer forearm high side block

Cross your wrists just below eye level

Remember: start high, finish high.

Finishing the block

Continuing to build on other techniques, you can almost think of the finishing position of the block like the inner forearm middle block. Except it’s higher (surprise!). And your fist faces the other way.

Here’s an easy way to remember it: for an inner forearm block, you should be able to open your fist and wave inward (toward yourself). For an outer forearm block, you can wave outward (away from yourself).

When you finish your block, the top of your fist should be level with your eyes. Theoretically, this should put your blocking tool (your forearm) at the height of your opponent’s attack. Your arm should be bent about 90 degrees. And in walking stance and L-stance, the top of your fist should more or less make a vertical line with your toes.

Taekwon-do outer forearm high side block diagram

Your fist should finish at eye level and there should be a 90-degree bend in your elbow

Finally—here’s the new part for this block—your forearm should be tilted a little. While your blocking tool finishes on a vertical line with the centre of your shoulder, your elbow should be slightly outside shoulder line. And ideally, your blocking tool should cover your face (because who wants to get hit in the face?).

Taekwon-do outer forearm high side block (front view)

Your outer forearm is in line with the centre of your shoulder, your elbow is outside shoulder line and your fist is in front of your face

In Do-San we perform this block in a walking stance, but there’s really no reason you can’t perform it in just about any stance.

Things to look out for

One of the biggest mistakes I see with this block is people finishing with the block too low. Except to them it feels like their fist is at eye level. So what’s going on? They’re looking slightly downward. So even though it feels like the block is at eye height, it’s really much lower. For (nearly) all your techniques, make sure your head is up and you’re looking straight ahead. It just makes your patterns look so much better.

See? Easy, right? We’ve pretty much done all the pieces before; all we had to do was put them together.