Kata bunkai for self defense

Discussion in 'Karate' started by Kong Soo Do, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    For quite a while now we've had a plethora of threads on sparring, kata and bunkai, as it pertains to self defense and sport. I figured that it would be interesting, and hopefully productive to have a thread where practitioners of kata, who feel kata has self defense value, to discuss which kata or which parts of a particular kata they feel is relative and why? This thread is open to practitioners who feel the movements of a kata should be taken at face value as well as those who feel a kata has alternate explanations for movements. Through such discussion, my hope is that we may glean from each others experience and perhaps learn something from each other.

    Thanks for participating :)

    I'll toss out a clip for discussion but feel free to toss any other kata or bunkai drill out for discussion as well.



    As noted, these are some of the opening movements to Pinan Shodan. I've seen him demonstrate the opening movements as a shoulder lock rather than the upper cut but I think this is one of the wonderful diversities of kata in that movements can demonstrate multiple applications effectively. Thus a kata is more than a one dimensional catalog. I also like how Abernethy Senei explains that the movements are a demonstration of what 'can' be done but they don't have to follow a specific sequence i.e. you can mix-n-match some of the punches. The knife hand drill I especially like as it is one that we use as well (knife hand and forearm strikes).
     
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  2. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    I think he does a good job of explaining applications in this video as well.

     
  3. Drose427

    Drose427 3rd Black Belt

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    The first bunkai I took from a former as a white belt was actually the knife hand from shodan to the guys neck. I prefer stepping back with it though and really yanking on the punch at the right time to really through my opponent off balance.

    To be fair, it took some practice. Improper timing and position resulted in a good bit of blood on my new belt, but after some effort I got it all down.

    I'm a big fan of the gi choke from odan, but I prefer it from by back bease it's simply easier to apply at such a close range.

    Another big common one we teach that all the head grab\elbows in forms can be applied really well if you slide in deep enough. I don't reach, opting for a boxing type block on the blocking arm, and use the slide to get deep enough that I don't have to reach for the head.

    Abernathy videos are great. Something we always see with the gold belts when we tell them to look at their forms is they think it needs to be done that exact way, and they dont!
     
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  4. Hanzou

    Hanzou Grandmaster

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    I'm sorry, but I just don't buy any of that. I've never personally seen anyone fight like that, and I have my doubts that fighting like that is possible. Even Loyoto Machida, a guy Karatekas like to prop up as an example of Karate in MMA doesn't fight like that.

    Show a karateka fight like this in MMA or even while performing full contact kumite, and you'll make a believer out of me. Until then.....
     
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  5. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    I'm normally for joint locks and throws, however, if I do strike it is either knife hand or elbows strikes to the side of the neck. Very effective even if against drunks, psychs or spicers. I like it because I'm usually in very close anyways. And it leads right into grapples, locks and take downs quite effectively.

    That's the approach I take to kata. They are a catalog of movements as a representation of what can be done, and what can be built upon. As he mentions, fighting is an ugly, chaotic mess and it certainly isn't going to look choreographed.
     
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  6. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    No one has asked you to buy anything. You have demonstrated that you aren't yet experienced enough to understand the value of kata. Thus this thread isn't for you, and that was clearly indicated in the OP:

    You do not qualify and thus your only reason to be in this thread is to cause problems. So if you continue in the same fashion as you've done in the past (disrupt threads) then I'll simply report your actions to the moderators and ask them to deal with it. Once again, your lack of experience and understanding means you can add nothing of value and don't need to be in this thread.
     
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  7. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    Hanzou for goodness sake, butt out. Can we please just have one thread where up you don't derail it? I would love to discuss bunkai with like minded people without your constant interjection? You don't like kata, you never learned bunkai, so go and blow your trumpet elsewhere.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015
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  8. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    I know it's just a training drill but in the first video, pinan shodan, I wonder how practical it is to be changing hands all the time to strike. He is changing hands and striking where if he had the position he can continue striking until his partner defends.

    These kata were developed to teach basic principles and in this particular one there may be a problem that the partners left arm is not being controlled. Not that it always has to as I teach that sometimes that fist just won't arrive. Without training it myself, I really don't know.

    BTW, I do have Iain's bunkai videos. Perhaps I should watch them again.
     
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  9. ShotoNoob

    ShotoNoob Master Black Belt

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    Well, I find myself kinda in the middle. I mean, karate applied is self defense, one certainly has to defend themselves against tough, aggressive opponents in MMA.
    |
    OTOH, I wouldn't use the MMA 'experience' as a generality to judge the applicability or validity of kata bunkai. I'm sure MMA fight analysts would agree, if they are serious & open minded that is.....
     
  10. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    This is exactly the response we expect from you. You've made your point well. Now go back to the kiddie table and let the adults have a discussion.
     
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  11. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm not a karate guy and I'm not familiar with the karate kata. However, I am a kung fu guy who believes in forms as a valuable training tool and comes from a tradition that has a lot of forms in the curriculum and tends to use forms training a lot. An interesting thing that I've noticed is that when Sifu discusses and demonstrates application, very often it is distilled down to a small number of simple techniques. A movement in a form may seem complex and abstract, but when he shows the application it is usually clean and obvious and straight forward without any fancy nonsense. It's the kind of thing that I mentally kick myself over afterward, for having not seen it myself. And usually the application is very similar to an application derived from a different portion of the form. It's a lesson to me: fighting is straight forward and simple and not fancy. That is what works. If you get complicated and fancy, likely it won't work.

    More importantly to me, I find the forms to be an excellent way to practice our fundamental principles of rooting and power generation thru rotation, within a moving and changing context. On a basic level, we practice these fundamental principles in a fairly static position by training our basic techniques, or with simple movements. The forms elevate this to a more complex and challenging level, with greater movement. Learning to maintain our root and still generate power thru full body rotation even while moving more extensively is much more difficult. To me, this is more important than the translation and application of technique because, as I stated above, application should be simple and straight forward.

    Of course, this is a progression in the training methodology. After this is some form of application drills and/or sparring. But returning to the basics and the forms is critical to maintain the foundational skills and principles. If the fundamental practices and the forms practice is abandoned, those skills will deteriorate. Sparring alone can encourage the deterioration of these foundational skills, because it disrupts them. Sparring and application drills are best if used in tandem with ongoing practice of basics, including forms. They need to be used to constantly reinforce each other. It's not a question of one or the other, but rather giving each of them the appropriate amount of time and energy.

    Of course nobody needs to do forms. If you don't like them, don't do them. But there needs to be some way to return to the basics and train and reinforce those foundational skills. Sparring alone is likely to undermine the technical skills if that is all, or mostly, what one does.
     
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  12. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    If this application involves the attacker throwing a punch at you then I'd say this particular response is not practical at all. The punch, the fight, the movement of both the defender and the attacker is far too wild to do all this switching around. No economy of motion. From a close in grapple though I could see some practical application. The upper cut for example is applicable, depending of course upon each persons positioning if you can slip under the attackers outreached limb. If you connect with a decent uppercut you can at least expect it to momentarily kick them back to the beginning of their OODA loop which would give you the opportunity to clear one of their limbs off of you as demonstrated. I think what follows in his drill is what 'could' be done but not necessarily what should be done. What I mean by this is that a kata, if in a competition needs to be done to very exacting standards. If used as a combative drill you really need to adapt it to the student as an individual. This is our approach. A students strengths and weaknesses need to be taken into account as well as any disability or injury. For example, if someone has had say rotator cuff surgery and doesn't have full range of motion in one arm then the bunkai shown in the video can be adapted. The drill, in my opinion shows avenues that can be taken rather than specific roads you 'have' to travel.
     
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  13. ShotoNoob

    ShotoNoob Master Black Belt

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    You sounded like a "kung fu prophet," until you got here. Although it has been said in both karate & kung fu, ">>> that basics are everything." In any event, I think any bona-fide martial artist, TMA. MMA, boxer, etc, should respect your viewpoint. I_M_O.

    P.S. There is an aged Master at my school who blasts the tournament-junkies according to your last sentence....
     
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  14. tshadowchaser

    tshadowchaser Sr. Grandmaster

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    In many if not all kata there is a simple downward block. The hand may be open or closed but usually starts in the general area of the shoulder and then moves down the body covering the side of the body (maybe not) , going across the groin area ( maybe to the outside of the front leg,maybe not). For the sake of keeping in mind what the OP asks lets start with discussing what applications this move may involve
    I believe it is usually considered a block for a kick to the midsection of the body or groin but can we have some differing opinions of possible use age and how this simple move can be applied maybe in combination with the next move to become something completely different.
    Not trying to derail but I think this may be what the OP was looking for
     
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  15. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    There are tons of applications for this move.
    How about a strike to the groin, femoral nerve, or common peroneal nerve? Any of these could be done with a hammer fist, and both the groin and femoral nerve attacks could be done with the knife hand.
    Or a variation on the usual kick block... rotate the hand before/as contact is made with the kick, deflecting it to the outside and then trapping it in the crook of the arm.
     
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  16. tshadowchaser

    tshadowchaser Sr. Grandmaster

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    I give one. When the hand come up to the shoulder it could very easily be a grasping or locking of the opponents hand to your body. Which in turn might lead to the opponents hand being pulled downward so instead of blocking you are unbalancing your opponent
     
  17. Drose427

    Drose427 3rd Black Belt

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    These are the biggest 2 points that need to be remembered about forms.

    Especially by those who choose not to train them
     
  18. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    ATTENTION ALL USERS:

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  19. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    As I've said many times, I don't believe any 'blocks' are actually blocks. Certainly the all contain a form of parry but they don't stop the attack. In this way the attacker doesn't realise his attack has failed and he gets hit before he can react and launch a follow up strike.

    Within a kata there cannot be blocks because to have a block in the middle of a fighting system implies a strike coming in at a particular time. That is choreography.

    So to get to the downward 'block'. In the kihon the hand passes across the lower part of the face before moving down in the arc. I teach several applications for this technique. Firstly against a strike to the head it can be a parry from the outside in followed by a hammer fist to the groin. Following the parry the other hand is either protecting against another strike or grabbing the punching arm and pulling down to carriage. (That works better if the first attack is reaching for a grab.) Normally gedan barai is practised in the lower stance and dropping into lower stance here facilitates the groin strike.Another similar application is where the first move is an attack to the head followed by the hammer fist.

    Next is a technique to control where there is a cupped palm strike to the ear and the motion is continued across and down, rotating the palm on the crown of the head pulling your attacker down and across. Think of it as an open hand technique right through. The follow up here is a strike to the back of the head, descending elbow to the spine or knee to the face.

    Then we have choking applications. Here the initial upward move is coming across the face as you drop into lower stance behind your attacker. As you drop you apply the choke. Pulling him back makes escape difficult. Similar application exists if due to your relative position you need to step in front.

    Take down application is similar to the preceding and pretty much the same as Aikido's Iriminage. Another version is if you are in front.

    Clinching application is exactly as Hanzou showed for GJJ self defence. (Absolute classic that one. :D) Step in and to the side grab around the chest and pull the arm back to lock in. From here you have numerous options to transfer to the rear or a couple of takedowns.

    Perhaps arm bars are your speciality? From gripping the wrist with one hand (same side grip) extend his arm as you push his arm down with you arm on his upper arm. Secure by moving your arm down to his neck or just take him straight to the ground. There are several variations of this and I have seen Iain Abernethy do a couple as well.

    Did I mention that some people might use it to deflect a kick?

    Edit .. I forgot the neck break, but I won't describe it here.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015
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  20. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    Hey! Where do you think karate kata came from? All our early karate masters were Kung fu masters. In fact, in Okinawa, Kanbun Uechi taught his style of Kung fu exactly as he learned in in China. Mate, were all together in kata.

    [QUOTE="Flying Crane, post: 1692920, member: 7260"An interesting thing that I've noticed is that when Sifu discusses and demonstrates application, very often it is distilled down to a small number of simple techniques. A movement in a form may seem complex and abstract, but when he shows the application it is usually clean and obvious and straight forward without any fancy nonsense. It's the kind of thing that I mentally kick myself over afterward, for having not seen it myself. And usually the application is very similar to an application derived from a different portion of the form. It's a lesson to me: fighting is straight forward and simple and not fancy. That is what works. If you get complicated and fancy, likely it won't work.[/QUOTE]Once the fine motor skills close down you need simple moves. Any one who suggests a move in kata involves standing on one leg while scratching you **** while you pick your nose, is pulling your leg. :smuggrin:

    [QUOTE="Flying Crane, post: 1692920, member: 7260"More importantly to me, I find the forms to be an excellent way to practice our fundamental principles of rooting and power generation thru rotation, within a moving and changing context. On a basic level, we practice these fundamental principles in a fairly static position by training our basic techniques, or with simple movements. The forms elevate this to a more complex and challenging level, with greater movement. Learning to maintain our root and still generate power thru full body rotation even while moving more extensively is much more difficult. To me, this is more important than the translation and application of technique because, as I stated above, application should be simple and straight forward. [/QUOTE]Interesting points. I believe karate is also an internal martial art. Two of our kata are very much about developing Ki and maintaining your centre. Moving from your centre is also a critical part of karate.

    [QUOTE="Flying Crane, post: 1692920, member: 7260"Of course, this is a progression in the training methodology. After this is some form of application drills and/or sparring. But returning to the basics and the forms is critical to maintain the foundational skills and principles. If the fundamental practices and the forms practice is abandoned, those skills will deteriorate. Sparring alone can encourage the deterioration of these foundational skills, because it disrupts them. Sparring and application drills are best if used in tandem with ongoing practice of basics, including forms. They need to be used to constantly reinforce each other. It's not a question of one or the other, but rather giving each of them the appropriate amount of time and energy.[/QUOTE]Agree with all but the sparring. Bunkai is grappling. Depending on what you call sparring, in the accepted sense we don't spar.

    [QUOTE="Flying Crane, post: 1692920, member: 7260"Of course nobody needs to do forms. If you don't like them, don't do them. But there needs to be some way to return to the basics and train and reinforce those foundational skills. Sparring alone is likely to undermine the technical skills if that is all, or mostly, what one does.[/QUOTE]From a karate perspective, if you don't have kata you don't have karate.123
     

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