Bunkai discussion (no applications)

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chufeng

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RyuShiKan,

What you consider "basic" at this point in your martial arts journey could be called pearls to many folks...

The unfortunate truth is that most schools teach a very shallow level of martial arts (note I said most, not all)...

No one would ever expect the deepest levels to be posted in a public forum...those things you now consider pearls are diamonds to the rest of us.

:asian:
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chufeng, we've gotten a few complaints about the heat level in this thread starting to rise. No worries. :)


All:
This topic is pretty intense (and admitadly over my head), but I've seen some good information in here. Lets stick to the discussion proper, and leave the personal shots out of it, ok? Thanks!

:asian:
 
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Sensei Mike

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Chufeng:

Thank you for taking the time to come to RyuShiKan's defense. Why do you think he is so unwilling to clarify something he said. He has criticized this medium for not being nuanced enough, and when I ask him to give me a sentence or two of more nuance, there is just silence.
Your latest post is clearly antagonistic...

I think RyuShiKan has done the same thing throughout this and other threads...I don't think you are giving him a fair assessment. He doesn't OWE anybody here an explanation about anything... he is not your sensei so stop acting like he has to spoon feed you stuff...he stated his own students have to EARN what they learn. Why, then, does he owe you or anyone else MORE than his own students get.

You think I am not giving RyuShiKan a fair assessment? I wonder what some posters who have been at the other end of RyuShiKan's "fair assessments" will think of that statement.

There seems to be an implication in your statement above that I think RyuShiKan has something to offer me in terms of martial arts. Well, I didn't make myself clear. I would like to challenge a bizarre statement he made and was looking for more ammunition. He crafts his posts vague enough so that his darts reach their target , but when challenged he always has an opening. (I didn't mean that, you misunderstood me.) He is a fine wordsmith. Am I surprised he hasn't obliged me? Clearly no.

I began participation in this forum with a request to exchange Naihanchi bunkai. From the start RyuShiKan was a thorn in that discussion. (He has been accused of arrogance on another thread and drawn the moderators into the threads more than once. For such a "friendly discussion" site, it surprises me they have tolerated the complaints, of which I know there have been at least two to date.)

After once asking if he wanted to participate in the exchange, I have never repeated a request for technique. To imply that I am asking him for some "knowledge" he may have is, I believe, a misreading of my post. I have merely asked for a clarification. He knows what I am after, just a bit more information so I can tell him how misguided some of his statements are.

Let's review how this all started.

RyuShiKan stated: As my teacher has explained to many different martial arts people from various styles the kata are just like the alphabet. Just as ABCDEF......doesn't spell anything and has no meaning, kata too has no meaning if you think of the moves as merely ABCDEF or as I have stated above first A technique then B technique and so on.

This statement is beyond wrong. It is patently absurd. Before I point out the obvious to everyone, first let me clarify something that has been misrepresented. No one on this, or other threads have ever said that one MUST use sequential movements from the kata to have applications with meaning. And nowhere in any of the threads has there been an implication that the only approach to kata analysis is by using sequential movements. On the contrary, my immediate response to RyuShiKan's statement above was:

Sensei Mike stated: I am familiar with the alphabet soup approach to kata taught by Master Oyata. It is a fine approach. But it too is limiting. It is not the ONLY approach, it is but one approach.

But the statement from RyuShiKan, above, pretty clearly states that sequential movements HAVE NO MEANING. Here is the catch. They do. Plain and simple. So the RyuShiKan is incorrect. And if Master Oyata has been accurately quoted, he is too.

Now let's think about how truly bizarre this statement is. The great masters have created kata, but the techniques done, in the order that the appear in the kata, have no meaning. Now, we all know that the kata are designed to be done in massive repetition. It builds speed, power, and makes the execution of the movements reflexive, to be done without any thought: just stimulus and response.

But the kata movements, in the order they appear, simply don't work, because they have no meaning, at least according to Oyata. You have to pull out a technique from here and there and cobble together something that will work. So when you are practicing kata, you really aren't practicing useful combinations. You have to go pull that piece and this piece together. Now here is the catch. In order for any application to be truly reflexive, it has to be done thousands of times.

So according to RyuShiKan, and Oyata, it is up to us to pick and choose, craft new combinations and then I guess go and practice those sequences thousands of times. Sounds to me a lot like this means we are to make our own mini-kata out of the kata we have. Remember, we are talking about essentially unconscious reactions to attacks. The argument simply doesn't hold that if I practice this movement from over here and want to go to another piece of some other sequence from before or much later, that this skill comes simply through the practice of kata.

For moves to work you have to practice the whole move thousands of times, some (like Yabu Kentsu) might say 10,000 minimum. And you have to practice it extensively with lots of partners. So if you craft combinations outside of the sequential movements of the kata, they too must be practiced, the same way that kata is practiced.

I am not denigrating in any way this approach by Oyata. For those that want to pursue it, wonderful. Many systems practice combinations without any kata. What I am taking issue with is RyuShiKan's approach to discussing ideas on this forum. When he disagrees, he lets you know you are wrong. And as noted above, he is a master wordsmith so that he can always plead that he was misunderstood, taken out of context. When asked for clarification, then silence.

I am not sure he could have been more creative than in this one barb to me:

RyuShiKan stated: Thinking techniques from the kata are sequential like the moves in the kata is not wrong.........in fact in some cases it is correct........but not in many cases. It depends on the kata and which move in the kata you are doing. Referring back to the Alphabet analogy from the other thread. Doing movements/techniques in sequential order is OK........example. ABCDEFGHIJ. Those are the basic building blocks for words. But why limit yourself to the Dick & Jane books like "See spot run." when you can expand on it to more advanced levels of thought and learning like "Against stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in vain" - Nietzsche.

Very clever. He can say he was just quoting Nietzche. However could I interpret this statement by Nietzsche as directed at me. Very clever indeed.

Let's review one last issue.
RyuShiKan stated: The 3 upper blocks of Pinan Nidan...........the last 2 are connected the first one is not.

For RyuShiKan, if he wants to consider them unconnected, that is fine. So for anyone else as well. This is a basic way of breaking down the kata, and is done in many karate systems with limited bunkai. Keeping sequences separate is the norm. But it is not the only way to break down kata, and RyuShiKan's implication (though he can deny it since he has declined to clarify and pin himself down) is that if he considers sequences separate, then they are, period.

This breaking up kata into separate sequences is a useful approach, but a basic one. A more thorough analysis of the Pinans and many other kata clearly reveals that EVERY movement throughout is connected to its previous and following movement in a seamless whole. I can verify this for kata I have analyzed including Pinans, Naihanchis, Bassai Dai, Kusanku Sho and Dai, Jutte, Seinchin, Seipei. For these kata, there is no place where one cannot link a movement with its predecessor. This steps beyond the basic approach of advocated by RyuShiKan.

RyuShiKan has never commented on my detailed explanations of the movements in Naihanchi. All he has to say is that if you use sequential movements, then that is basic. And if you show useful movements to your students you are spoonfeeding them. What is basic? It is techniques taught to beginners. My applications are basic as I teach them to beginners. They use them learn how to defend themselves with them. And they work. They are not my techniques, they are Itosu's, or some long-dead Chinese master's. They work.

There is has been much discussion by RyuShiKan of spoonfeeding. Let me go on record: if teaching my students how to defend themselves is spoonfeeding, if giving them movements that motivate them to appreciate the endless repetitions of kata we do in class, if all this motivates them to do kata on their own, for life, then guess what, I am spoonfeeding them. And you know what I need? More spoons.

I wonder what his response will be to this post. Much to be commented on, corrected and attacked. Will his comrade join the fray? Likely. Much to be written and criticized. But regarding my initial three requests for clarification from the ever voluble RyuShiKan, for just a brief sentence or two, there was but silence.
 
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RyuShiKan

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"student" Mike,



Originally posted by Sensei Mike

RyuShiKan stated: As my teacher has explained to many different martial arts people from various styles the kata are just like the alphabet. Just as ABCDEF......doesn't spell anything and has no meaning, kata too has no meaning if you think of the moves as merely ABCDEF or as I have stated above first A technique then B technique and so on.
---------------------------
This statement is beyond wrong. It is patently absurd. Before I point out the obvious to everyone, first let me clarify something that has been misrepresented. No one on this, or other threads have ever said that one MUST use sequential movements from the kata to have applications with meaning. And nowhere in any of the threads has there been an implication that the only approach to kata analysis is by using sequential movements. On the contrary, my immediate response to RyuShiKan's statement above was:
---------------------------
quote: Sensei Mike stated: I am familiar with the alphabet soup approach to kata taught by Master Oyata. It is a fine approach. But it too is limiting. It is not the ONLY approach, it is but one approach.
------------------------
But the statement from RyuShiKan, above, pretty clearly states that sequential movements HAVE NO MEANING. Here is the catch. They do. Plain and simple. So the RyuShiKan is incorrect. And if Master Oyata has been accurately quoted, he is too.


I recall reading the Alphabet soup theory, as you call it, being first mentioned in a book by Kenwa Mabuni. I guess he was "patently absurd" as well.


As for this statement: "But the statement from RyuShiKan, above, pretty clearly states that sequential movements HAVE NO MEANING. "

See below.

RyuShiKan stated: Thinking techniques from the kata are sequential like the moves in the kata is not wrong.........in fact in some cases it is correct........but not in many cases. It depends on the kata and which move in the kata you are doing. Referring back to the Alphabet analogy from the other thread. Doing movements/techniques in sequential order is OK........

Try and read what I write more carefully before you make your knee jerk replies.

Originally posted by Sensei Mike


quote: RyuShiKan stated: Thinking techniques from the kata are sequential like the moves in the kata is not wrong.........in fact in some cases it is correct........but not in many cases. It depends on the kata and which move in the kata you are doing. Referring back to the Alphabet analogy from the other thread. Doing movements/techniques in sequential order is OK........example. ABCDEFGHIJ. Those are the basic building blocks for words. But why limit yourself to the Dick & Jane books like "See spot run." when you can expand on it to more advanced levels of thought and learning like "Against stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in vain" - Nietzsche.

Very clever. He can say he was just quoting Nietzche. However could I interpret this statement by Nietzsche as directed at me. Very clever indeed.


Sounds like someone is a little paranoid............or at the very least a little upset.
That statement was not in any way directed at you.
It is one of several quotes that I sometimes sign email with.
Just like this one:

"Tell me, Brother Baldrick, what exactly did God do to the Sodomites?"
"I dunno, but I can't imagine it was worse than what they used to do to each other."
- E.Blackadder & Baldrick, "Blackadder's Christmas Carol"

and this one:

"If my answers frighten you then you should cease asking scary questions."
- Samuel L. Jackson as "Jules Winnfield" in Pulp Fiction.



Originally posted by Sensei Mike

Let's review one last issue.

quote: RyuShiKan stated: The 3 upper blocks of Pinan Nidan...........the last 2 are connected the first one is not.


I never said it was the "only" way they could be arranged..............this was merely an example of a possible scenario.
I have often said there is no concrete way to think/analyze of kata bunkai/application since it is not etched in stone.

Originally posted by Sensei Mike


A more thorough analysis of the Pinans and many other kata clearly reveals that EVERY movement throughout is connected to its previous and following movement in a seamless whole.

Do you really think so?

If I could only get my attackers to line up like the techniques in the kata then I would be all set.

Originally posted by Sensei Mike


RyuShiKan has never commented on my detailed explanations of the movements in Naihanchi.

That's probably due to the fact that I am not really interested in doing so, and due to the fact that most of what you claim to have 'discovered" I have seen in various martial arts publications over the years...................but most of all I don't care for your bad attitude.

I don't ask that anyone agree with me.........but your rudeness pretty much puts me off and makes any meaningful discussion with you impossible.



Originally posted by Sensei Mike

They are not my techniques, they are Itosu's, or some long-dead Chinese master's.


Kewl!
Did he show you these techniques himself?.......... because I have yet to see one thing ever printed that showed and verified any of Itosu's techniques.



Originally posted by Sensei Mike

I wonder what his response will be to this post. Much to be commented on, corrected and attacked. Will his comrade join the fray? Likely. Much to be written and criticized. But regarding my initial three requests for clarification from the ever voluble RyuShiKan, for just a brief sentence or two, there was but silence.

I can't imagine that you think we can have serious meaningful discussion after your temper tantrum and whining.

Basically you are doing this because you got your pride bruised by something I wrote so you have gone on this rampage about a trivial question that if answered will give you no real benefit.
Let me put it another way.........you got the answer you deserve.
Too bad, I would think your time would be better spent doing something more constructive.
 

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There's been a lot of useful discussion here but there's also been a lot of arguing about arguing. Please, keep the discussion polite, respectful, and focused on the martial arts, not the personalities of martial artists.

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chufeng

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Mike,

If honesty bothers you...I am sorry.
I call them like I see them...

You can carry on your personal war with RyuShiKan if you want, but YOU started this thread with MY quote...if I were to ignore everything said here, I would be like a host ignoring his guests.

Since everything I typed fell on deaf eyes, I really see no point in trying to help you understand a very simple but important concept...you seem more focused on keeping the argument going than learning anything...again, I call them like I see them...and I didn't come to anybody's defense...I simply pointed out MY observation of a written exchange...

I hope you find what you're looking for...Glory, Fame, being known as THE expert on such matters...whatever...

I don't believe in experts...
I don't think anyone truly masters anything, and when they think they have, they wallow in the quagmire of their own delusion.

But, just one last time, let me try and clear one thing up for you.
RyuShiKan has stated more than once that HE does NOT intend to answer your querstion because HE does NOT like your attitude.

I tried to help you with the concepts he was putting out, but your desire to "show him who's who" has led to a complete breakdown in any real communication...

and I am not a RyuShiKan puppy, puppet, or student...I don't say this because I think he needs to be defended...I say this because YOU keep pushing the issue...what part of NO confuses you?

I hope future exchanges can be on a more REAL level.

No, you don't have to respond to this...

Good training

:asian:
chufeng
 
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Sensei Mike

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Beginner Bob (aka RyuShiKan),

RyuShiKan stated: most of what you claim to have 'discovered" I have seen in various martial arts publications over the years

I have described a mere four detailed descriptions of applications in Naihanchi Shodan, but none of perhaps 200 other combinations I have, all with takedowns directly from the sequential movements from kata. So it is interesting that most of what you say "I have claimed to have discovered" you have seen in various martial arts publications. These four combinations make up a scant 2% of the 200 I have, but of course you know the 98% you haven't seen. Tell me, just how you do that. Is this clairvoyance something Oyata teaches?

Of course you "claim" to have seen the Naihanchi interpretations in various martial arts publications over the years. But would you be able to substantiate this claim? Of course not. And you have an easy out. You can always claim the dog ate your magazine. Go ahead, find just one example of the four combinations I have described? (Yes, yes, you probably don't have the space for the old rag sheets, we understand your any convenient excuse that prevent you from substantiating your claims.)

You may have access to publications in Japan that I have not seen, where there is a heavy emphasis on bunkai, but I doubt it. In Japan Bunkai is pretty much too taboo a topic to be extensively photographed and put in magazines. Though I have not been west of CA, I have many karate peers that have studied in Okinawa and Japan for many years. Not just in the military either, but fully fluent former English teachers and the like. We have discussed the lack of emphasis in Japan on bunkai. It is near universal.

And I have been subscribing and reading US martial arts magazines since they began publication in the late 60s and early 70s. Bunkai is very rare. Comparative techniques are very common, but Japanese and Okinawan Bunkai, is just plain not there. That what why Oyata's article in the winter '94 issue of Budo-Dojo was so special. Finally, bunkai (Naihanchi no less) in a magazine. Perhaps you will make the case that these few images of him represent the complexity of the 4 techniques I have shown. There are just 3 images of him with a partner and none of them are included in anything I have described. But go ahead and say they do anyway. Just like you did in saying all his web videos corresponded to the initial movements to the right of the kata, when that was a pure fabrication, for all to see.

I would be interested if you could come up just with 10 examples of magazine articles of Shorin Ryu bunkai as long as mine, from any kata, let alone all from the same kata. What is the probability that the actual combinations I have shown will be these magazines that so rarely show bunkai. They are nill. You have told another fish story.

This lack of sharing of bunkai is pretty widespread and you are such a good example of this. You choose not to share your bunkai over the Internet. Might get into the wrong hands.

I call your bluff. You don't have these magazines, and never did. Go ahead and respond with more silence.

There is something interesting here. I never claimed that what I have done is out of the ordinary. I just look at kata do a lot of what ifs, apply basic commonsense principles, and the techniques flow. What is so magical is everyone can do it. But so few do. These techniques aren't mine, they are Itosu's or some long dead Okinawan or Chinese master. I am merely the transmitter of some of this knowledge to those with open minds who want to see what new combinations they might benefit from.

Moreover, people with open minds may see a small part of a larger technique they hadn't considered before and then apply it to their combinations. Amazing what some sharing information (aka spoonfeeding) can accomplish. Not cookie cut martial artists, but those who expand their foundations and apply new ideas to their repertoire where possible.

You know you could do it too. The sequential movements do work. Try it sometime. Don't be a slave to Oyata's ideas of this mixed with that over there mixed with this over here. Try opening your mind to this radical concept passed down by Itosu. Great applications, all with takedowns, from the direct sequential movements from the kata. They work brilliantly.

Hey, what's the harm.
 

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Enough folks..... Enough.

Pick up any of the 'content' from this thread in a new one, preferably without the 'attitudes'...this ones locked.

Its quite obvious that y'all have a 'difference of opinions' going on... I'll be blunt...at this point in time, you wont resolve anything. So, either take it to email/PM, agree to disagree, or take it somewhere else.

You all have valid points from various perspectives...from mine, you're going in so many circles that I'm getting dizzy, and I'm not the only one.

There is an incredible richness to be found in the arts...everyone has their own opinions, experiences and perspectives. Take a step back and maybe you'll see that everyones right and wrong...from a certain perspective.

As to the content of this thread, please, by all means feel free to pick it up again...but leave the personal shot out of it.

Good day.
 
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