Nagashi Uke — Wado’s Characteristic ‘Block’ Explained

what is nagashi uke?

A quick breakdown of the Kanji of Nagashi Uke will till you a lot straight way: 

  • 流 Nagashi (Nagasu) = current, flow
  • 受 Uke = Receive

Nagashi Uke is a flowing way to receive aka 'block' an attack.

Generally in Karate though...

...Nagashi translates into parry when it's about 'blocking' movement.

So it's not blocking in 90 degree angle, and definately not head-on.  

For convenience, you can say Nagashi Uke is 'blocking' in a 45 degree angle. Between you and me though — that HARDLY scratches the surface of "Nagashi Uke".

Instead of thinking in agles, mind this:

  • Brushing instead of bashing.
  • Circular and rotational instead of straight (so it's not a straight move coming from a 45 angle).
  • Guiding hand movement that matches absorbing, avoiding and rotational body movement — think Aikido-like. Instead of arm movement.


When doing any kind of Nagashi Uke, don't 'Nagashi' too much. 

Don't follow the opponents attack more than necessary, because you'll risk a second attack that has a high successrate.

And even if your opponent doesn't follow up right away...

...YOU are unable to follow up fast either.

So how does Nagashi Uke exactly work? 

You'll find out soon throught these 2 videos ⬇️

everything you need to know about nagashi uke

ishikawa kumite examples (bulgaria seminar 2007)

Contents from this PAGE are PART OF THE ONLINE COURSE:


Thanks to Ultimate Uke Waza you'll know how to block, use your blocks as attacks and control your opponent. All the way from fundamental key points to self-defense applications.

Discover in-depth knowledge, actionable key points, methods, drills and pairwork on...

✅ 6 Core Techniques like Uchi and Soto Uke

✅ 7 Principle Uke Waza such as Suikomi and Harai Uke

✅ 7 Variations like Kake, Hirate and Sukui Uke

✅ 30 Sanbon Kumite

✅ 26 Ippon Kumite... and much more!

how to turn a basic block into nagashi uke

Here's some easy math:

Uke + Nagashi = Nagashi Uke.

The idea is simple, but the effect is HUGE.

Let's analyse Uchi and Soto Uke to understand this more...


Although Uchi Uke has a regular version that can be turned into Nagashi Uchi Uke, you can take it one step further. 

Look at the Uchi Uke picture and compare it to the Nagashi Shuto Uchi Uke picture. 

The regular version has emphasis and focus on movement of the elbow. Although the elbow is still a key feature of the movement, focus shifts to the hand that you use to parry the attack.

You can argue that the open hand version is more practical for these 3 reasons:

  1. Elbow is lower, so the body is more protected
  2. The movement is smaller, so counter attack is easier
  3. You can intercept him earlier and guide him longer
The Digi Dojo - Uke Waza - Uchi Uke
The Digi Dojo - Sanbon Kumite Jodan Uke 9 - Uchi Uke 2
The Digi Dojo - Uke Waza - Nagashi Uke
The Digi Dojo - Ohyo Kumite 1 -2


More or less similar to Uchi Uke with 1 BIG difference: the change of direction.

In Soto Uke, the direction is pretty much to the side. When doing Nagashi Soto Uke, the direction changes to diagonally backwards.

This difference is present in Uchi Uke as well, but not as much as in Soto Uke.

The Digi Dojo - Uke Waza - Soto Uke
The Digi Dojo - Sanbon Kumite Jodan Uke 10 - Soto Uke 3
The Digi Dojo - Uke Waza - Nagashi Soto Uke
The Digi Dojo - Uke Waza - Application of Soto Uke1

add this secret to your nagashi uke to get faster and avoid suki

The fastes way is the shortest route: a staight line.

Or is it? 

Let's just say roundabouts where designed and implemented in traffic for a reason...

Create your 'roundabout movement' by adding this secret to your Nagashi Uke that I teach in this video.

A valuable trainingmethod is inside too >>

nagashi uke kumite examples

how to flow into striking

The advantage of this Ippon Kumite is the use of Neko Ashi Dachi.

Naturally, your front foot will follow the twisting movement of your upper body which makes it easier for practise. It allows you to rotate your body really well. This is especially effective if you want to use your body more instead of just moving your arm.

The Digi Dojo - Uke Waza - Application of Nagashi Uke

1: Gyaku Nagashi Uke

When your opponent attacks with Jodanzuki, slide slightly diagonally to the right. At the same time, rotate to the left and execute Nagashi Uke.

Aim to do this one and the next in ONE movement. To pull this off, connect the left side of the body and pull it as one WITHOUT stopping to take this stance. 

The Digi Dojo - Uke Waza - Application of Nagashi Uke - Empi

2: Yoko Empi

So: Keep pulling your body as you grab the opponents wrist and position your left foot. Continously, drop your body weight as you take Shiko Dachi and execute Empi.

After Nagashi Uke, you can add Meotode by doing another Otoshi with the same hand. Doing it that way is as if handing your opponents wrist to your left hand.

✅ PRO TIP: Instead grabbing and Empi, drop into Shiko Dachi and execute Uraken (so you can focus on rotation and pulling your front foot. The rotation assists you big time: It'll turn into Nagashi Uke with your body.

nagashi uke to tsukamite — how to grab

Hidari Kamae
Nagashi Soto Uke
Jodan Mawashigeri

Want more? Get Ultimate Uke Waza.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    Related articles you might like