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scohen0300
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 09 Feb 2016
Posts: 121
Location: It varies
Styles: Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu, Matayoshi Ryu Kobudo

PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2020 10:34 am    Post subject: I have a problem with bunkai... Reply with quote

My problem is, of course, that most people practice kata and have no clue what theyíre actually practicing or sometimes even why. In my home style of Matsubayashi, I donít believe kata is practiced for applications, but rather for tradition and preserving the art. Thatís great, if thatís what you want to practice.

Iíve found myself picking up kata from different styles and even practicing my own kata in a very different way as Iíve grown to learn what the movements are, or what Iíve interpreted them to be. Particularly in Goju Ryu, Iíve heard that ďany applications you wantĒ just isnít correct. I do and donít agree with this.

HERE WE GO:
I believe that your applications can be anything you want them to be, but I donít think they should always be changing or even travel too far away from the kata. If youíre too open to multiple different applications, how can you get particularly good at any of them?

Iím speaking from what I consider to be a practical approach. If you want to get better at pushups, do more pushups. If you want to be proficient in your kata applications, you should practice your kata with those specific applications in mind.
Sure, occasionally changing it up and testing out your options is great. Maybe alternating every few weeks or months on ideas of what your kata and itís applications mean to you.
HERES WHY:
I had a few months of training in Krav Maga awhile back, and the techniques were really cool. However, the techniques that we practiced were different every single day. I couldnít remember most of them and therefor I didnít feel confident that Iíd be able to use what I was learning if I needed to. Eventually I started feeling the same way about my karate practice. Why am I practicing these movements? Part of it is because I love it and itís fun. But another part is because I want to be able to use these techniques if I need to.

What are your thoughts on this? Please let me know if you agree or disagree and why!


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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14817
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2020 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Solid OP, scohen0300!!

Thoughts on this topic will vary just like the wind; here and there, to and fro. Knowledge and experience pay a great amount within the topic at hand. I believe that there are core Bunkai to be for sure, however, that core must be effective as well as understood by that practitioner.

Kata without ant Bunkai is no more than a meaningless dance, but what's worse, is ineffective Bunkai which defines the difference between life and death.

Beyond core Bunkai should be encouraged because there's always another way to skin a cat. One way, or being dependent to one core Bunkai, can be quite limiting in a world of uncertainties.

Oyo Bunkai is that key to another door that still hasn't been discovered, nor has it been experienced, as of yet. Oyo Bunkai is the Shu Ha Ri of Kata Bunkai; experiencing the discovered effectiveness/ineffectiveness of another path. Oyo introduces a technique that's qualified from said Kata; a interpretation that doesn't always correlate to ones core Bunkai. Depending on the situation, Oyo awakens techniques that can be for any given condition. Oyo Bunkai searches for that which is effective, and Bunkai searches for that which is examined.

Nonetheless, the human body twists and turns and bends and moves only so many different effective way(s), therefore, if one's not careful, that which is ineffective leads to training ineffective across the board, and not just within any Kata aspect; bad habits take roots.

Embrace the core Bunkai, yet, don't allow ones core Bunkai limit ones Oyo; discard that which is ineffective.

Imho!!



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Melau
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 02 Jan 2014
Posts: 62
Location: Netherlands
Styles: Wado-Ryu, Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just like just following a recipe doesn't make you a competent cook, just doing the movements in a kata doesn't make you a karateka.

There is meaning in kata, and more often than not has been badly interpreted. While we do see a change in this mentality nowadays, there is still a lot of misinformation and misinterpretation I think. If the interpretation of a kata, its bunkai, cannot be used in a situation where you have an 'unwilling' participant (so in a actual defensive situation), it's kinda missing the point isn't it?

Which brings me to a next point. I truly believe there are good interpretations of the applications for the movements in the kata. But there is never 1 truth, for every situation is different. Attacker / defender will always differ in skill, size, competence, thus creating different situations. There are best practices, good explanations by teachers, and these should be trained until second nature. But having the excuse during a self-defense situation "But this isn't how we trained it in the Dojo, that is why it didn't work" is useless.

Just like a cook has a lot of standard techniques and well-honed skills by which he/she creates a fine meal, so does a karateka need to apply his skills in bunkai.

Always be aware of the 'willing vs unwilling opponent' when training things. If the explanation of the kata's movements only ever will work on a 'willing opponent' it's a good exercise, but not applicable outside of that situation. Don't confuse those 2 approaches.
When a teacher will tell you 'This will work in real-live situations' but your opponent must move / behave / attack in a very orchestrated way, be humble, train as instructed, but always think for yourself. There are too many students who think they know how to defend themselves by having been made to believe that bunkai like that actually is effective, which is actually a dangerous thing to believe!
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P.A.L
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 26 May 2004
Posts: 1257
Location: Texas
Styles: Shorin-ryu

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:39 am    Post subject: Re: I have a problem with bunkai... Reply with quote

scohen0300 wrote:
My problem is, of course, that most people practice kata and have no clue what theyíre actually practicing or sometimes even why. In my home style of Matsubayashi, I donít believe kata is practiced for applications, but rather for tradition and preserving the art. Thatís great, if thatís what you want to practice.

Iíve found myself picking up kata from different styles and even practicing my own kata in a very different way as Iíve grown to learn what the movements are, or what Iíve interpreted them to be. Particularly in Goju Ryu, Iíve heard that ďany applications you wantĒ just isnít correct. I do and donít agree with this.

HERE WE GO:
I believe that your applications can be anything you want them to be, but I donít think they should always be changing or even travel too far away from the kata. If youíre too open to multiple different applications, how can you get particularly good at any of them?

Iím speaking from what I consider to be a practical approach. If you want to get better at pushups, do more pushups. If you want to be proficient in your kata applications, you should practice your kata with those specific applications in mind.
Sure, occasionally changing it up and testing out your options is great. Maybe alternating every few weeks or months on ideas of what your kata and itís applications mean to you.
HERES WHY:
I had a few months of training in Krav Maga awhile back, and the techniques were really cool. However, the techniques that we practiced were different every single day. I couldnít remember most of them and therefor I didnít feel confident that Iíd be able to use what I was learning if I needed to. Eventually I started feeling the same way about my karate practice. Why am I practicing these movements? Part of it is because I love it and itís fun. But another part is because I want to be able to use these techniques if I need to.

What are your thoughts on this? Please let me know if you agree or disagree and why!




first of all, I need to say that I love the relaxed execution of Matsubayashi Ryu kata(s). Sensei Nagamine was a great teacher and his letter to JKA is legendary. since you are tired of block/punch karate I would recommend that you focus on not more than 3 katas for self-defense. for example Naihanchi Sandan for the clinch and Tomari Passai for close range. I have seen Matsubayashi-Ryu simple bunkai and never been impressed with them but you can look at them like a karate-jutsu practitioner, look at people like Oyata, Kise,Masaji or Hokama and use the same principle in your bunkai and you would see the Krav maga techniques in there. I do 14 shorin-kan kata plus 12 Goju-ryu kata. I only work on Goju-Seisan to the point of using it in a real conflict that I hope never comes.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28085
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are in a style that practices bunkai, then I say you are lucky. Being in TKD for most of my MA career, first in the ATA and now my current style, there have never been applications worked out along with the forms. Over my time as a martial artist, I've read and collected various books on the subject, and have learned how to start delving into this on my own, but without a partner, it's a bit empty.

The main thing I've been learning the more I've researched this kind of thing is that the bunkai should be intuitive in regards to what you are doing in the form; either a single technique or a series of techniques, the explanation should be pretty straightforward, and not overly convoluted. That's been my takeaway so far.
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aurik
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 08 Nov 2016
Posts: 88
Location: Denver, CO
Styles: Shuri-Ryu, Uechi-Ryu

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In our school, every kata has a formal bunkai, except for the first (sanchin) and the last (sanseiryu). There is no formal bubkai for sanchin, because it is our foundation kata. Everything we learn is rooted in Sanchin. We do not have a formal bunkai for Sanseiryu because by the time a student is learning sanseiryu (3rd dan) they should be able to see lots of applications for each sequence.

In addition to the formal bunkai, our CI periodically takes part of a class to teach self-defenses derived from the katas. He tends to rotate through these every couple of months, and each time these come up, i get new insights to both the kata and applications.
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