The term 'guard' refers to the position in which the hands are held when fighting. There are many differing opinions on which is the 'correct' or 'best' guard position. So where should we hold our hands in order to effectively fight and defend ourselves? Should the hands be held high, as in boxing? Or should they be held lower, as in modern karate? Why all the variations? In this article I'd like to explore these questions, and in particular look at the use and evolution of the guard in karate.