Are There Layers To Bunkai?


Yellow Belt
Dec 14, 2023
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This is an attempt to redirect a thread that got sidetracked to just a hikite discussion. Although hikite is part of it, a lot more is involved in answering this question and worthy of a new thread. The answer I think is yes and no.

Perfectly well said.

It's interesting as the same phenomenon that originates the kata still happens all the time. When we know something and we want to explain it to someone, we often try to focus on and sketch the important bits, accompanying the sketching with explanation and drills. .

If we explain the same idea to different people, it's common to reuse the approach and after doing that a few times, we end up with a ready made, streamlined way to pass on the knowledge.

This is why teaching is often considered a great way of learning more - because while you clarify and simplify things for others, you clarify and simplify for yourself.

Once students becomes themselves masters and teach other people, they will often use the same form when explaining, because it makes sense, it's ready made and it's what helped them understand in the first place. They may change it a bit and refine it a bit because that helped them.

There's not layering at all, just a compact and common way to pass on knowledge. It happens in schools, workplaces, and even the internet every day.

Then obviously if someone removes the explanations and examples, and teaches only the sketches, all sorts of misunderstandings and funny interpretations arise.

But a good thing is that, if you have gained enough background, the original meaning often is relatively obvious, especially if you put yourself again in the same situation which gave birth to the explanation... in the case of karate, two people figuring out how best to deal with a certain situation. Things become very recognizable and concrete.