In the way these things go, the subject of blocks has come up in a completely different way which I think is worth a separate thread.
Training tonight I found I had a difference of opinion with my sensei's regarding the preparation for heito, and outside Shuto. I should just preface my argument by saying I really respect these guys. They are a family of 3, the mum and dad have had over 20 years experience, training in goju and our current style, their 20 year old son is nidan and at a level of technical proficiency I can only dream of, they all cross train in jujitsu, are intelligent, thoughtful, and highly skilled. They are not at the levels of understanding as the likes of Iain, or Gavin Mulholland or similar, but nonetheless worthy of respect.
In my opinion, the preparation for heito, and outside Shuto, should be the same as for inside Shuto and Shuto Uke. The reason being that the same principle applies in all these cases; that the returning hand should be covering the face with the elbow pointed outward, to protect against an on rushing attacker, and/or to pull down the attackers arm and pin it to your side in hikite as the other arm is involved in the strike. I was persuaded of the importance of this by a drill we did with Rory Miller I discussed in the previous thread, that this kind of guard should be traine to reflex level and called upon instantly if you are being ambushed, or caught unprepared. The principle is that by exploding into that guard means anyone attacking is either going to wear your elbow in their face or pull back for a moment to avoid it, either way it buys you a split second in which you could regain the initiative.
The instructors believe that at the range these strikes are intended, the preparation is redundant, and you need only prepare at chest level and use the hikite as an aid to the mechanics of the strike. I think their principle objection is one of range. There is also the issue that having your elbow raised in that way, you are vulnerable if your elbow is pressed - you can be forced into a shoulder lock jujitsu style. I am not sure that that is a likely response from an attacker unless they were trained in MA - but it's a possibility I guess.
My feeling is that I want ingrain the guard, which is what kihon is for. I also see that getting your arm up to that position puts you in a strong position should you be tackled. Maybe the primary purpose is the strike at longer range, but surely any opportunity to practise a fundamental self defence technique is valuable?
In any case, they respect my view point, but don't agree - and the syllabus is as they view it. I would be interested to hear what others thought about this. How do you view the preparation of the returning hand on those 3 strikes?