Maybe a bit of an odd one.
I was running through some practices with a partner that in involve blocking. It occured to me that there is a flaw with the concept of blocking an attack beyond "action beats reaction."
If we are scared or looking to protect ourselves we tend to shrink and compact ourselves. Usually with our hands round our head. This protective position can be seen commonly in boxing, MMA and various youtube examples of attacks.
However, in a lot of martial arts when we see blocks the opposite is happening. We are expanding and opening up. This motion, in my opinion, requires a completely different mindset and state of readiness than we would common have in a self defence situation.
I may be preaching to the coverted here but I think this strengthens the idea that the movements in the patterns are no blocks in the way they are commonly taught.
In my own investigation of the itf taekwondo patterns, I find the the crosshand position that precedes many 'blocks'to be a much more natural reaction and even puts us in a better position to grab attacking limbs and effect counter attacks. Although, I am lead to believe that this is more an coincidence than something that was planned in the application.
For reference I here is the position, often it is performed higher than the picture: CLICK HERE
Interested to hear others thoughts on this