Defining Bunkai

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Boy this has been quite exhausting!

My story on how I early on defeated the aggressive kickboxer type who fought with a more common competitive style. Well Tez and some others kinda dumped on it, called me for bragging.
Whatever. The important thing ... you won.

When really, it was a prime illustration of how kihon karate technique, powered by mental discipline, overcomes the superior athlete. It was an example of the achievement (mine) of skill sought in FIRST CAUSE training. Mind & body unity, with the mind driving every action consciously.
I would have to see it to comment.

It's not just that I moved-in physically, It's that I KIME'd in deliberately and KIME'd just enough force to deflect his Right Straight / Cross which had been aimed directly into my face. Kinda like that softer block you talked about in Goju (but really not so internally sophisticated I've sure). All techniques including the block were chambered according to kihon principles, not exactly kihon form. This is because we change the kihon training form to adapt the form to combat, yet keep the same principles of chambering. My next move caught the kickboxer completely off guard, just like the concept of your bunkai "word picture," mine a kihon follow-on taught to white belts. Of course, done with black-belt mental skills (including KIME, but more). Third, KIME'd 2nd Follow-on strike meant to end the fight KIME'd power strike) ,,, maybe not... then KIME on to next intelligent move as need be.
You see, I would say that this has very little to do with kime and the critical thing is that you say you didn't exactly use kihon form. That is what I have been saying all along. You said; "This is because we change the kihon training form to adapt the form to combat, yet keep the same principles of chambering."
That is using advanced technique, not kihon. Your combat form is based on the kihon but it is NOT kihon. As to the chambering bit ... that's an entirely different discussion but suffice to say chambering has nothing to do with sport based fighting. If you are striking from a chambered position I would say your defence is compromised.

Traditional karate and everything under it is a mental discipline. That's the over-riding theme in kihon kata meant to impart this FIRST CAUSE foundation. And every part of traditional karate training (as I define it) is meant to do the same....
Cool, whatever works for you.
 

ShotoNoob

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I'm happy with that answer. In Jesse's article he is making it black and white but even in English words have multiple meanings and normally it takes context to determine what is actually being said.
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The value in the Karate by Jesse article on KIME is that he puts the concept in simple, understandable and digestible terms. If if the definition is not complete or comprehensive, the author has moved everyone forward in understanding. These mental processes are intangible & complex in function & action. Getting a handle alone is tough.
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In Japanese it gets harder again, even for the Japanese. One of my friends hired a Japanese interpreter to translate at one of Masaji Taira's seminars and she had no understanding of the words used in the martial art context. A very close friend of mine, also Japanese, has had similar problems in understanding karate terms so really, I think we will have to just accept that even though kime might have a single dictionary meaning in the Japanese language, in martial arts it has been adapted to mean different things to different people.
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Yes, the Japanese are more "colorful" in their approach to language, TMU. It's a kind of a cultural sophistication, if you will, in expressing the human experience.
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And this is why I value the Shotokan karate style so highly, because of the founder's stress on fundamental concepts. KIME is stressed over & over & over by staunch Shotokan traditionalist's (Funakoshi style). Whether KIME is focus, attention to bio-mechanical movement, decision making, etc., the stress on the mental dimension is critically important.
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There is a very large martial art audience both inside & outside TMA that believes that live sparring & full contact, resisting opponent's is what make's one martial ability "come alive." On the contrary, it is the development of the mental abilities including that represented by KIME, that makes traditional martial arts "come alive."
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The fact that Shotokan is practiced in form as a sport (as I believe you have pointed out), it is really the practice of Shotokan as a sport, purely physical training, that causes Shotokan's miserable failures in application, MMA, etc. IMHO.
 

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There is a very large martial art audience both inside & outside TMA that believes that live sparring & full contact, resisting opponent's is what make's one martial ability "come alive." On the contrary, it is the development of the mental abilities including that represented by KIME, that makes traditional martial arts "come alive."
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The fact that Shotokan is practiced in form as a sport (as I believe you have pointed out), it is really the practice of Shotokan as a sport, purely physical training, that causes Shotokan's miserable failures in application, MMA, etc. IMHO.
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To quote myself, I will offer a simplified explanation, just like KARATE By Jesse style, of why the grappler cannot succeed in closing the distance on me for a takedown any more than the aggressive kickboxer can over power me with his assault. The concept of KIME applies to universally against any assault of any kind or nature. The 'bunkai,' if you will against a striker, will necessaryily change for when facing a grappler. But just as you say in your discussion of bunkai, we never know what exactly the opponent will do.
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Just to clarify, how are you using the term 'Kime'. Not saying you don't use the term correctly but many others mean many different things by kime so before starting to discuss that we probably should have clarification.

Here is a start ...
So in your words, the predetermined response changes for an attack by a grappler vs. striker. The dynamic of KIME, however, is a universal against grappler or striker. It is KIME that powers my response. The physical technique, the choice tactic, the selection of particular bunkai, is all done under the mental umbrella, including KIME.
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This is why I say the nature of the assault DETERMINES my response, or rather points to the alternatives (you say predetermined). Some of the difference is semantics. The correct application of KIME, to me, involves active decision making and adaptation of tactics, techniques, amount of force, degree of chambering, etc, etc, etc.
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I would conclude that I am not relying on the active training of bunkai to the extent you are by any means. I am relying on dynamic movement powered by KIME. The technique's effectiveness is primarily generated by mental disciplined application of the appropriate amount of speed & power & accuracy & positioning, targeting, chambering for effect & follow-on technique, etc.
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SIMPLIFIED EXAMPLE: Striker opponent throws a straight kick to my abdomen, I can apply KIME & counterkick & deflect that kick. Or, I can KIME shift and counter kick his abdomen, as his kick misses 'cause I've shifted.
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A Gracie protege ducks in and goes for my midsection to manhandle a takedown, I KIME kick to deflect his arms or body stalling his advance or knock him off course. Or, I KIME shift to his duck and kick or knee to his head as he ducks in.
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Although the physical form of the attack has differed (grappler vs. striker), the KIME process powering a kihon karate response is precisely the same operation.
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Notice that against the grappler posing a takedown, if I KIME to kick sooner, he is farther away on his closing the distance. If I KIME later, I use a knee because he is closer. Either, way, my KIME controls the situation, not the attacking grappler.
 
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|The fact that Shotokan is practiced in form as a sport (as I believe you have pointed out), it is really the practice of Shotokan as a sport, purely physical training, that causes Shotokan's miserable failures in application, MMA, etc. IMHO.
Interesting concept but I might suggest that in MMA where it may have failed it is more likely that the competitor hasn't achieved an appropriate level of complementary skills to compete with grapplers with stand up fighting skills. I'm sure the Shotokan karateka by even entering an MMA competition would have superior fighting skills to the average Shotokan practitioner.

However, I would like to keep the thread on bunkai if we can. Once we introduce sport into the discussion the thread will be hijacked.
 

Drose427

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Interesting concept but I might suggest that in MMA where it may have failed it is more likely that the competitor hasn't achieved an appropriate level of complementary skills to compete with grapplers with stand up fighting skills. I'm sure the karateka by even entering an MMA competition would have superior skills to the average
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The value in the Karate by Jesse article on KIME is that he puts the concept in simple, understandable and digestible terms. If if the definition is not complete or comprehensive, the author has moved everyone forward in understanding. These mental processes are intangible & complex in function & action. Getting a handle alone is tough.
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Yes, the Japanese are more "colorful" in their approach to language, TMU. It's a kind of a cultural sophistication, if you will, in expressing the human experience.
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And this is why I value the Shotokan karate style so highly, because of the founder's stress on fundamental concepts. KIME is stressed over & over & over by staunch Shotokan traditionalist's (Funakoshi style). Whether KIME is focus, attention to bio-mechanical movement, decision making, etc., the stress on the mental dimension is critically important.
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There is a very large martial art audience both inside & outside TMA that believes that live sparring & full contact, resisting opponent's is what make's one martial ability "come alive." On the contrary, it is the development of the mental abilities including that represented by KIME, that makes traditional martial arts "come alive."
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The fact that Shotokan is practiced in form as a sport (as I believe you have pointed out), it is really the practice of Shotokan as a sport, purely physical training, that causes Shotokan's miserable failures in application, MMA, etc. IMHO.

K-Mans is closer to the big reason,

THis is why in striking only mediums, i,e kickboxing, Karate, TKD, TSD, etc flourished. Many people even today still do with those styles as their base.

The biggest issue you see if you watch TMA guys transition to Kickboxing as their compeition of choice, is they stay pretty hell bent on fighting sparring like a point tournament, or whatever competitions they came from previously.

If one starts training for full contact bouts, like Benny the jet and superfoot did, theyll do fine. Training doesnt even have to be changed, full and semi contact do nearly all the same drills. Especially coming from a competition focused school

But you have to train with your competition in mind.

In MMA Kickboxing, Sport TKD, etc. many times the guys who regularly compete dont do forms and SD drills as much as other students. They;; still do them, but theyre back seated.

You cant do one hour of free sparring based drills, and 4 hours of forms and expect to be a sparring world champ..

Although youd probably have some damn fine forms!
 
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To quote myself, I will offer a simplified explanation, just like KARATE By Jesse style, of why the grappler cannot succeed in closing the distance on me for a takedown any more than the aggressive kickboxer can over power me with his assault.
Wow! That is a huge statement. I don't think there would be anyone else anywhere that would claim they are immune to a takedown by a skilled grappler or being overpowered by a top kick boxer. After that it comes down to a matter of degree.

The concept of KIME applies to universally against any assault of any kind or nature. The 'bunkai,' if you will against a striker, will necessaryily change for when facing a grappler. But just as you say in your discussion of bunkai, we never know what exactly the opponent will do.
This is fundamentally wrong. I think that regardless of what you really mean it is coming across that you view kime as some sort of shield that will protect you from any attack.

Now, the bunkai will not change at all. Whether you can utilise bunkai or not is what will change. If you are using bunkai you are in control of the situation. I don't believe you can use bunkai if you are not in total control. So against a striker or kick boxer etc, you cannot use bunkai until you engage and control. Bunkai is hands on. It doesn't work in a free sparring situation. It is the same against a grappler. Against an accomplished grappler I would suggest that you won't be using much bunkai and if he takes you to the ground there will be almost zero chance of using bunkai.

So in your words, the predetermined response changes for an attack by a grappler vs. striker. The dynamic of KIME, however, is a universal against grappler or striker. It is KIME that powers my response. The physical technique, the choice tactic, the selection of particular bunkai, is all done under the mental umbrella, including KIME.
You haven't understood what I am calling a predetermined response. If I have control of your left arm using a left hand hold and I strike with a forearm to the right side of your head with my right I will guarantee you will raise your right arm to protect. That is the predetermined response. If you prove me wrong you will be hit and I will continue to hit until you respond by lifting your arm or you fall down.

Predetermined response has precisely zero to do with kime. One way or the other kime is within you, not a physical manefestation.
 

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Just to clarify, how are you using the term 'Kime'. Not saying you don't use the term correctly but many others mean many different things by kime so before starting to discuss that we probably should have clarification.

Here is a start ....
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They may be other Shotokan terms (other karate style terminology) to describe the mental processes. Tang Soo Do talks about the 8 key concepts, and a raft of other principles. What's important in KIME is to also apply (decide) the requisite amount of power or force in order to have a disabling effect on your opponent overall... precisely as you advocated in your application of bunkai.
 
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In MMA Kickboxing, Sport TKD, etc. many times the guys who regularly compete dont do forms and SD drills as much as other students. They still do them, but they're back seated.

You cant do one hour of free sparring based drills, and 4 hours of forms and expect to be a sparring world champ..

Although you'd probably have some damn fine forms!
The guys who compete don't do much in the way of forms because forms have no real relevance to their style of fighting. Forms alone have little value apart from training kihon or basics. The value of the forms is in the applications within the forms that we train as bunkai. Bunkai has zero application in free sparring and it is not designed for competition against skilled opponents.

Can I just say again. You don't need to know forms or bunkai to fight. Bunkai is a specialised type of training that appeals to some of us and not to others. Because some people, with a vested interest in a different style of martial art, put bunkai down is testament to their ignorance, not the value of the bunkai.
 
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They may be other Shotokan terms (other karate style terminology) to describe the mental processes. Tang Soo Do talks about the 8 key concepts, and a raft of other principles. What's important in KIME is to also apply (decide) the requisite amount of power or force in order to have a disabling effect on your opponent overall... precisely as you advocated in your application of bunkai.
Again, that is totally at odds with my understanding of kime. Kime to me is a state of mind. In Aikido, two or even three of Koichi Tohei's four principles would be encompassed in kime. Maintain centre, relax completely and extend Ki are those three.

Determining the amount of force required has absolutely nothing to do with kime and really it is not what I was saying at all. If I am going to use a knife hand strike it will be with full power, not variable power. You are confusing that with selection of technique. If I don't need to hit someone I will choose a restraining technique. I won't hit softly. Applied to bunkai the only variability there would be, do I maintain a lock or do I destroy the joint? Nothing to do with kime.
 

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The guys who compete don't do much in the way of forms because forms have no real relevance to their style of fighting. Forms alone have little value apart from training kihon or basics. The value of the forms is in the applications within the forms that we train as bunkai. Bunkai has zero application in free sparring and it is not designed for competition against skilled opponents.

Can I just say again. You don't need to know forms or bunkai to fight. Bunkai is a specialised type of training that appeals to some of us and not to others. Because some people, with a vested interest in a different style of martial art, put bunkai down is testament to their ignorance, not the value of the bunkai.

I agree, I've always explained that as a supplement.

Personally, I understand why some people have issues with Kata + Bunkai training.

While I saw a move in pinan Odan and saw it was the exact movement as a common collar choke, not everyone will.

Not everyone sees our trip from our most basic form,

Some people need to be shown exactly how to do things and forms and bunkai training dont always do that.

Others, can see a kata and certain moves click and they know what they need to do and can start live drilling immediately!

As you said, they are necessary. There have been successful professional fighters who train them, and many who dont.

Personally, while I practics the applications I've picked out and worked one whenever I have a partner, my favorite part of forms is the mental focus it helps give you and the sheer physical conditioning!

Going through 9 forms equating to over 200 movements isnt easy whatsoever, regardless of what youre competing in.

That said, IMO, if you're going to do forms you NEED to be practicing/learning/going through Bunkai.

In the words of one of my instructors," I can teach a dog these forms! *Smack*"

But, he cant teach a dog how to apply them.....well....maybe if he smacks it hard enough
 

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Wow! That is a huge statement. I don't think there would be anyone else anywhere that would claim they are immune to a takedown by a skilled grappler or being overpowered by a top kick boxer. After that it comes down to a matter of degree.
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Well it's a rhetorical statement on the internet. However, the power is in the principle.

This is fundamentally wrong. I think that regardless of what you really mean it is coming across that you view kime as some sort of shield that will protect you from any attack.
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Here's our fundamental difference. The strength in the mental dimension. And to be precise, KIME is central but it is a menu of mental abilities that have been spoken to here @ MT, very well spelled out in the Shotokan karate curriculum, with scant & general definitions, Yet they are there.

Now, the bunkai will not change at all. Whether you can utilise bunkai or not is what will change. If you are using bunkai you are in control of the situation. I don't believe you can use bunkai if you are not in total control. So against a striker or kick boxer etc, you cannot use bunkai until you engage and control. Bunkai is hands on. It doesn't work in a free sparring situation. It is the same against a grappler. Against an accomplished grappler I would suggest that you won't be using much bunkai and if he takes you to the ground there will be almost zero chance of using bunkai
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Thanks to your very well detailed posts, really a well written karate manual, or chapters of one, I understand exactly what you are saying. As I have mentioned, you are more a conventional traditionalist in strictly adhering to technicals for effect. I am adhere more to concepts & principles for effect.
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Let's put your precisely traditional definition of bunkai aside for a moment. SCENARIO: Gracie grappler closes the distance for a takedown.
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aLT 1: I sense the coming takedown immediately, and KIME at once. I use a kihon karate kick (to the torso?) once he reaches kicking range.
Alt 2: I don't see his closing immediately but recognize it early on. I KIME use a kihon straight punch (to the head?) within the hand striking range.
Alt 3: He catches me by surprise during an exchange of punches and closes & reaches me. I KIME a kihon elbow to the (side of head?) @ infighting range.
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What do we have by my definition of traditional karate? Certainly the focused application of power under a series of conscious decisions. KIME.
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At infighting range, I could switch to one of your predetermined bunkai, or use the kihon elbow strike. An exercise in KIME, either way, ONLY the physical form of the actual technique & tactic has changed.

You haven't understood what I am calling a predetermined response. If I have control of your left arm using a left hand hold and I strike with a forearm to the right side of your head with my right I will guarantee you will raise your right arm to protect. That is the predetermined response. If you prove me wrong you will be hit and I will continue to hit until you respond by lifting your arm or you fall down.
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Got it. Thanks. You seek to achieve a predetermined response on the part of the opponent which you will then exploit when he responds in the predetermined way. I seek to actively take away the ability of the opponent to respond by the dynamic application of technique powered by KIME. I go in and like my example against the senior belt kickboxer--it's block-bang-bang--it's over. He doesn't have time to react, let alone think, let alone respond.
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Predetermined response has precisely zero to do with kime. One way or the other kime is within you, not a physical manefestation.
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Your description of predetermined response is tactical on the part of the opponent. Got it. My physical response, however, is always a manifestation of kime ( combined with the rest of the mental dimension abilities). IMO, that's what makes karate karate.
 
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Again, that is totally at odds with my understanding of kime. Kime to me is a state of mind. In Aikido, two or even three of Koichi Tohei's four principles would be encompassed in kime. Maintain centre, relax completely and extend Ki are those three.
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And that's a valid definition by that Master's interpretation of traditional martial arts. I would agree that KIME is a state of mind. What specifically that entails is how we differ, again in interpretation.
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Shotokan is problably on the opposite end of the spectrum when one talks about the use of Ki versus physical strength. Yet the principles you relate to Aikido are spoken of in Funakoshi's Shotokan. Again, my understanding.

Determining the amount of force required has absolutely nothing to do with kime and really it is not what I was saying at all. If I am going to use a knife hand strike it will be with full power, not variable power. You are confusing that with selection of technique. If I don't need to hit someone I will choose a restraining technique. I won't hit softly. Applied to bunkai the only variability there would be, do I maintain a lock or do I destroy the joint? Nothing to do with kime.
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You say that you don't hit softly or vary the amount of force. Yet that is a decision. A definition of KIME. not yours, ok. My definition(s) call upon the mental faculties to determine the physical actions. The decision about technique & degree of force, that actual act of calling upon that physical strength entails the en-action of KIME. To me, my definition.
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If we want to come up with a separate term for what you are deciding, my point is I'm not sure there is one spelled out in the Shotokan curriculum.
To me, KIME directs relaxation (physical, mental both?), however, KIME primarily directs contraction, KIME involves choices. KIME is integrated with action.
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I guess to summarize, mind body unity is key. Though the definition of mind & body are literally different, the traditional karate definitions of mind and body must recognize both the roles of each and their integration into one another....
 
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I'm sorry but I cannot find anything in this post relating to Bunkai so I will approach it as a discussion of kime.
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You covered an immense amount of ground, here, which I really do think is necessary.
What I think you have encapsulated here is the difference between Japanese and Okinawan styles. We don't do that at all and her in lies a lot of the confusion others have when they say we don't fight as we train. Okinawan karateka, at least the ones I am familiar with do fight as they train but because it is not like the karate people see elsewhere they claim it is fighting like a (...insert whatever style you want, here...) fighter.
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I think we are in much closer agreement than what can be accomplished over the internet. That's my feeling....
I'm sorry but I cannot find anything in this post relating to Bunkai so I will approach it as a discussion of kime.The opposite is also true. Very few karate guys would fight like the training you are describing and that is why karate is taking a bashing on this forum from some of the MMA guys.
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Very few karateka in my local fight like me. Because they're not really tapping into the mental side. My global comment about traditional karate is that it is a mental discipline. I took out a lot of your quote concerning the Chinese martial arts--funny, it is the kung fu stylists in my area that more readily embrace my discussions....
Being stuck in a rigid deep stance is not the way we fight. I come from a Japanese Goju background and our training was very similar to Shotokan. We never even sparred the way we trained the kihon, let alone tried it in a tournament.
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I use the same white belt to black-belt level curriculum of training when I engage in sparring. And I almost always win. Imagine that. I use the same Kihon Principles, the same Ippon Kumite principles, the same Kata principles in my competitive kumite. I don't use the monkey-see-monkey do boxing, kickboxing, sport Shotokan point fighting form, etc, etc, when I spar and never did.
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The "being stuck in a rigid, deep stance when fighting" is incompetent Shotokan, or any other style of Japanese karate (or any of the Korean offshoots, IMO). The lesson of line training, fighting combos, Ippon Kumite, and even the FIRST CAUSE kihon kata is that training is one thing and application is another. The same lesson in the curriculum is that training is than one transitions from one stance to another. Constantly as needed, Continuously as demanded.
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One uses a low stance in fighting when a low stance achieves a tactical fighting objective. One uses a low stance in training to build strength and mental discipline. The Chinese kung fu schools in my local all set to get this automatically. Never seen any disagreement about this.
Again we will have to disagree. I teach to use minimal strength to develop maximum power.
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My conclusion here is that your Okinawan Goju Ryu is a more sophisticated & stronger karate than Shotokan or my personal karate style. This is no doubt partially due to better cultivation of internal energy. Shotokan karate, in seeking to achieve some of it's goals of understanding & training, relies too much on physical aggression & strength, physical mechanical force. That's my appraisal.
 
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Here's our fundamental difference. The strength in the mental dimension. And to be precise, KIME is central but it is a menu of mental abilities that have been spoken to here @ MT, very well spelled out in the Shotokan karate curriculum, with scant & general definitions, Yet they are there.
I have no idea of the Shotokan curriculum and it certainly in not in the curriculum of any Goju style I have seen. Certainly kime is there, but not in the form you describe.

Let's put your precisely traditional definition of bunkai aside for a moment. SCENARIO: Gracie grappler closes the distance for a takedown.

aLT 1: I sense the coming takedown immediately, and KIME at once. I use a kihon karate kick (to the torso?) once he reaches kicking range.
Alt 2: I don't see his closing immediately but recognize it early on. I KIME use a kihon straight punch (to the head?) within the hand striking range.
Alt 3: He catches me by surprise during an exchange of punches and closes & reaches me. I KIME a kihon elbow to the (side of head?) @ infighting range.
I am tempted to use the Hanzou approach here. Shotokan is a sport based style and you are saying kime gives you the ability to take out the Gracie grappler. Why isn't straight traditional Shotokan starring in the UFC or MMA?

What do we have by my definition of traditional karate? Certainly the focused application of power under a series of conscious decisions. KIME.
And I would totally disagree. If you are relying on conscious decisions you are basically stuffed. You fight by using instinctive decisions derived from your training.

At infighting range, I could switch to one of your predetermined bunkai, or use the kihon elbow strike. An exercise in KIME, either way, ONLY the physical form of the actual technique & tactic has changed.
Not at all,mind to think that you can use bunkai in every situation is totally wrong. Plus, the bunkai is not predetermined. The bunkai depends entirely on the situation you find yourself in. Then it is the response that is predetermined, not the bunkai. You can change the bunkai at any time to suit the circumstance.

Got it. Thanks. You seek to achieve a predetermined response on the part of the opponent which you will then exploit when he responds in the predetermined way.
Exactly.

I seek to actively take away the ability of the opponent to respond by the dynamic application of technique powered by KIME. I go in and like my example against the senior belt kickboxer--it's block-bang-bang--it's over. He doesn't have time to react, let alone think, let alone respond.
OK, cool. But is that going to work against everyone?

Your description of predetermined response is tactical on the part of the opponent. Got it. My physical response, however, is always a manifestation of kime ( combined with the rest of the mental dimension abilities). IMO, that's what makes karate karate.
And that's why we will have to agree to disagree on certain things.
 
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And that's a valid definition by that Master's interpretation of traditional martial arts. I would agree that KIME is a state of mind. What specifically that entails is how we differ, again in interpretation.
Cool. It wasn't that Master's interpretation of traditional martial arts. It was that master's teaching in relation to Aikido.

Shotokan is problably on the opposite end of the spectrum when one talks about the use of Ki versus physical strength. Yet the principles you relate to Aikido are spoken of in Funakoshi's Shotokan. Again, my understanding.
Not at all. To my understanding there is hard Ki and soft Ki. Japanese Goju and Shotokan both use hard Ki. Mind and body together as you have previously stated. Funakoshi's Shotokan is different to modern Shotokan. Okinawan Goju is genuinely hard and soft. Just I didn't understand the soft until I started to train in Aikido.

When it comes to opposing physical strength, soft is better. Otherwise the biggest and strongest will normally prevail.

You say that you don't hit softly or vary the amount of force. Yet that is a decision. A definition of KIME. not yours, ok. My definition(s) call upon the mental faculties to determine the physical actions. The decision about technique & degree of force, that actual act of calling upon that physical strength entails the en-action of KIME. To me, my definition.
OK, but to me it makes no sense. If I'm going to hit someone I am going to hit them as hard as I can. That isn't a decision. The decision was to hit in the first place.

If we want to come up with a separate term for what you are deciding, my point is I'm not sure there is one spelled out in the Shotokan curriculum.
To me, KIME directs relaxation (physical, mental both?), however, KIME primarily directs contraction, KIME involves choices. KIME is integrated with action.
Whatever works for you. As we said earlier. It is all about interpretation.

I guess to summarize, mind body unity is key. Though the definition of mind & body are literally different, the traditional karate definitions of mind and body must recognize both the roles of each and their integration into one another....
And the opposite is mind and body separation. That is where Goju is so good. It trains both ends of the spectrum.
 
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K-man

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I think we are in much closer agreement than what can be accomplished over the internet. That's my feeling....
I don't disagree. If I did we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Very few karateka in my local fight like me. Because they're not really tapping into the mental side. My global comment about traditional karate is that it is a mental discipline. I took out a lot of your quote concerning the Chinese martial arts--funny, it is the kung fu stylists in my area that more readily embrace my discussions....
And very few karateka would fight like me. My style of training is heavily influenced by Kung fu.

I use the same white belt to black-belt level curriculum of training when I engage in sparring. And I almost always win. Imagine that. I use the same Kihon Principles, the same Ippon Kumite principles, the same Kata principles in my competitive kumite. I don't use the monkey-see-monkey do boxing, kickboxing, sport Shotokan point fighting form, etc, etc, when I spar and never did.
Hmm, well I don't do any of that any more.

The "being stuck in a rigid, deep stance when fighting" is incompetent Shotokan, or any other style of Japanese karate (or any of the Korean offshoots, IMO). The lesson of line training, fighting combos, Ippon Kumite, and even the FIRST CAUSE kihon kata is that training is one thing and application is another. The same lesson in the curriculum is that training is than one transitions from one stance to another. Constantly as needed, Continuously as demanded.
And that is what I have been saying all along. You train the kihon but you don't fight using kihon. That just doesn't make sense. In reference to the stances, you mention the deep stance which is what Hanzou was saying when he said we don't fight as we train. I don't know about Shotokan but in Goju we have Moto dachi (fighting stance) which is pretty much the same as a boxers stance. Of course we are not going to fight from a deep stance because the deep stance was never meant to be used that way.

One uses a low stance in fighting when a low stance achieves a tactical fighting objective. One uses a low stance in training to build strength and mental discipline. The Chinese kung fu schools in my local all set to get this automatically. Never seen any disagreement about this.
Sorry to be the exception. We do very little work in low stances apart from the application which is in the grappling, nothing to do with building strength. If you are using it that way, fine, but there are plenty of better ways to build strength.

My conclusion here is that your Okinawan Goju Ryu is a more sophisticated & stronger karate than Shotokan or my personal karate style. This is no doubt partially due to better cultivation of internal energy. Shotokan karate, in seeking to achieve some of it's goals of understanding & training, relies too much on physical aggression & strength, physical mechanical force. That's my appraisal.
I like the sentiment but I still think Shotokan is a great style and many of the guys studying it have gone back to the original principles that Funakoshi would have brought to Japan. In principle all karate has the same roots so it should have the same attributes. Just that sometimes you have to go looking by yourself.
 

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Interesting concept but I might suggest that in MMA where it may have failed it is more likely that the competitor hasn't achieved an appropriate level of complementary skills to compete with grapplers with stand up fighting skills. I'm sure the Shotokan karateka by even entering an MMA competition would have superior fighting skills to the average Shotokan practitioner.

However, I would like to keep the thread on bunkai if we can. Once we introduce sport into the discussion the thread will be hijacked.
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Thanks for the reply. Please realize your posts are covering the universe of traditional Okinawan karate re Goju ryu. I view this as a positive, not a negative, and the correct format for contextualizing bunkai.
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On MMA re grappler, of course complimentary skills are a part of that. My perspective is that striking skills under KIME will wipe out the ploys of Gracei BJJ. This is because of I can think, focus & make decisions very fast & correctly; hence implement kihon karate and disable them with a blow or blows. The concept is tactically simple, mentally--highly sophisticated compared to sport fighting mentality..... This is the essence of traditional karate in action, my definition.
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In terms of defining the average Shotokan fighter, there is too much reliance on physical ability. That is the failing. KIME along with other mental qualities is absent or lacking. Shotokan practiced absent the mental dimension can be an absolute disaster.... Moreover as I believe you have pointed out, the simplified kihon and particular bunkai of Shotokan per se, is not as applicable or effective in practice compared to your practice of Okinawan Goju ryu.
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When I talk about Shotokan, I am not talking about averages or how it is conventionally practiced as recreation, sport, a club, typical sport competitions. I am talking about practicing Shotokan to the potential originally designed by Gichin Funakoshi, and then how all the traditions and conventions rise to that potential.
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Shotokan--to me--in MMA or anywhere else is an exercise in KIME as opposed to knowing grappling specific manuevers, bunkai, tricky combos, whatever.
My thesis is the kihon karate of Shotokan powered by KIME will wipe out MMA fighters (conventional ones) as they train today. The Anderson Silvas, the Matt Hughes, the Royce Gracies, The Jose Aldos, the Matt Browns, the Dan Hendersons, etc.
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For sure, your Goju ryu training for close quarter encounters, including the grappling aspect of that, is going to provide technical expertise to thwart the MMA grappler's approach. The emphasis of the Shotokan syllabus is not on grappling or very close infighting. MT has covered this in other T's.
 

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I like the sentiment but I still think Shotokan is a great style and many of the guys studying it have gone back to the original principles that Funakoshi would have brought to Japan. In principle all karate has the same roots so it should have the same attributes. Just that sometimes you have to go looking by yourself.
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I think we are on the same plane here, generally. That said, my conclusion stands that Okinawan Goju ryu is a superior style to Shotokan. That is my opinion. If one practices Shotokan correctly and is not blinded by 'conventions' or 'averages,' then Shotokan is very good and very effective. Is it then necessary to go the extra mile and switch to a more sophisticated karate style? IMO, for most people, NO....
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Sorry to be the exception. We do very little work in low stances apart from the application which is in the grappling, nothing to do with building strength. If you are using it that way, fine, but there are plenty of better ways to build strength
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Right, and this is one of the many differences among what is it, the thirty or forty or whatever number of karate styles under the main styles in both Okinawa and Japan. To me, you have made a personal choice and one that certainly works.
And that is what I have been saying all along. You train the kihon but you don't fight using kihon. That just doesn't make sense. In reference to the stances, you mention the deep stance which is what Hanzou was saying when he said we don't fight as we train. I don't know about Shotokan but in Goju we have Moto dachi (fighting stance) which is pretty much the same as a boxers stance. Of course we are not going to fight from a deep stance because the deep stance was never meant to be used that way.
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I think my point is getting lost in typing text over the internet. I am saying what you are saying yet saying more, presenting a broader context. I do fight with kihon technique. Is my fighting application of kihon always exactly the training form? NO. Can I actually fight with the kihon training form__YES! Do I fight with exact kihon training form--sometimes. I always fight with kihon training principles. And to me, one of the huge kihon training principles is KIME which is embodied in all kihon technique. This would be cleared up quickly by in person demonstration and discussion. The first objective that would accomplish would to get the semantics and confusion over definitions out of the way.
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You veiw kihon techniques as limited. My view is kihon technique + kime = unlimited.
 
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