The layered bunkai theory is stupid

Gyakuto

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As for iai's techniques being initiated from uncomfortable sitting positions, I guess back in the day sharing tea with another Samurai was a dangerous activity.
Long swords would always be placed on a stand (kake) when entering a room so the mononofu would, at best, have a short sword and/or tanto. Thus Iai kata, which are all performed with a long sword, must be about toho rather than jokyo.

Also, sitting in seiza (sitting on ones folded legs) only became ubiquitous in the Edo period (before it was only adopted to apologise for a misdemeanour) and people would sit cross legged, but Ive never seen an iai kata, even from the oldest schools, performed from a cross legged position.

This strongly points to my hypothesis that Iai kata are about sword handling rather than rehearsing fighting scenarios.
Interesting to note that karate in the early 1900's also taught self-defense techniques from a sitting position.
Yes, we were taught these in Wado Ryu Karate as idori and they were from seiza. They were fun!
Another difference between the two arts' form being meaningful is that by the latter 1800's the need for sword fighting skills was largely diminished and such related skills were used for spiritual development and historical value. Unarmed combat was still needed and employed, even to this day, so karate's "preoccupation" with form is not unwarranted.
In Japan, at least, people still carried bladed weapons well into the 20th century although they were ones that could be easily hidden about ones person but the carrier may not have have been terribly skilled with their use. Personally, I wouldnt fancy my chances against even an unskilled person with a shape knife!

Im convinced Karate kata are about toho and that intricate bunkai is essentially navel gazing for the accomplished!
 

isshinryuronin

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intricate bunkai is essentially navel gazing for the accomplished!
If a karate bunkai is intricate, it's being done wrong. It should be direct, economical and effective.

I have seen clips of convoluted bunkai that require the kata to be substantially changed so the bunkai fits. While they might be clever, and even effective against a compliant opponent, most will not be practical. I very much dislike someone changing a kata for the benefit of their pet bunkai.
 

JowGaWolf

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Unless the "pulling" is pulling the hand back. You're working the semantics from a translation - most languages don't translate very well literally - especially languages that are quite different (like English and Japanese).
Term "Comb Hair" in Kung Fu.. I'm not actually combing my hair. I don't need a comb in my hand to do the same motion. When kung fu says "comb hair" it describes the motion and the position the arm should be when trying to protect their head. If this gets translated without context then one would think a comb is needed. Martial Arts are full of techniques that are named in a similar way.

A straight translation may miss the intended meaning
 

Gerry Seymour

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That is the articles quote. Thats your opinion and youre entitled to it. The OP, videos and article I posted are discussing that its a fundamental error to drop your other empty hand when punching. Because you can get hurt or knocked out and your offense may be slower. So, they (and other MAs) teach to keep your hands up or in front of you. Dropping your hands when you are out of range or the opponent is out of position may not matter as much. However, when you are in punching or kicking range, it can be harmful to oneself.
You posted the quote, as a support to your argument. And every instructor I know teaches keeping hands up - just not in all drills or drills exercises. There are reasons it can be useful to isolate the arms in a specific way.
 

JowGaWolf

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However if your argument is chambering an empty hikite cannot get you hurt or knocked out, then that would be some evidence arguing their (OP, videos, article) point.
Who is saying that? show me where.
 

JowGaWolf

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If a karate bunkai is intricate, it's being done wrong. It should be direct, economical and effective.

I have seen clips of convoluted bunkai that require the kata to be substantially changed so the bunkai fits. While they might be clever, and even effective against a compliant opponent, most will not be practical. I very much dislike someone changing a kata for the benefit of their pet bunkai.
"Make it work," vs "understanding when and how apply"

"Make it work" is a phrase that I truly dislike.
 
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GojuTommy

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Your response to "tell me what your definition of hikite is" was "show me his hikite". If JGW doesn't know how you're defining the term, how can he show you that?

Or are you avoiding that, so you can keep saying "that's not hikite", rather than bringing an actual argument?
Ive already defined hikite.
He just keeps making **** up.
 
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GojuTommy

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There is a method of teaching (don't know if it's traditional in easter MA, but I suspect it is) where there is little to no explanation. The student is expected to learn the movement and then learn from the movement. I don't think it's as effective (for most students) as what you describe, but I've seen some instructors be fairly effective with it, over the long term. I think it normally works pretty poorly in the US, where we have a cultural focus on individuality.

My point is that it's possible some of what we see in traditinoal teachings was meant to put the body in positions/transitions that would teach over time, without needing that explanation. I do believe (from my own experience) that some of what's in traditional forms and other teaching exercises is meant to exaggerate certain movements, positions, and principles beyond what you'd expect them to be in the chaos of a fight. In some cases, it's to create an exemplary version of the principle (how you can get the most of that specific principle or mechanic), and in other cases it's to create a position or transition that makes the principle (or mechanic) more necessary.
Positions and transitions do not teach over time.

You have to actively build neural pathways.

Just because you do a motion or set of motions that are intended to be a throw a million times in a kata, doesnt magically mean that it will teach you how to do it and when to do that throw if no one ever tells you its a throw. Thats not how learning or muscle memory works.

As you say it works poorly, because it doesnt actually work.
 
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GojuTommy

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Unless the "pulling" is pulling the hand back. You're working the semantics from a translation - most languages don't translate very well literally - especially languages that are quite different (like English and Japanese).
Good thing we literally have clarifications from people who were training 100+ years ago on this in several books, so its not up to interpretation, or changing definitions via cultural contexts

Funakoshi in Renten Goshin Karate Jutsu states quite clearly hikite is for pulling and twisting an opponents arm to disrupt their posture.

The irony being funakoshi himself largely removed such teachings from his own syllabus in the post war era
 

marvin8

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My issue is that the beginners interpretations are often taught to simply mimic the movement from kata, including chambering an empty hikite, which plays no role in fighting in any sense, and which only builds bad habits, and harms the students ability to effectively apply a technique.
You posted the quote, as a support to your argument. And every instructor I know teaches keeping hands up - just not in all drills or drills exercises. There are reasons it can be useful to isolate the arms in a specific way.
No, I didn't. I posted an article and videos that covered the OP issue of "chambering an empty hikite." And, I never argued about what other teachers do. I commented, "Other karate stylists may have a valid argument."
 

JowGaWolf

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The student is expected to learn the movement and then learn from the movement. I don't think it's as effective (for most students) as what you describe,
It depends on the technique. The more complex the technique is the more important it becomes to learn the movement. Techniques that use similar movements tohhow you move daily don't require this because you already know the movement.

To really understand this try to do the Jow Ga Sei ping form. You will eventually hit a point where you brain can't make your body move in the correct way. Even if you do it 50 times your brain will still have trouble controlling your body. I think this type of experience is the only way to understand they why.
 
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GojuTommy

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Term "Comb Hair" in Kung Fu.. I'm not actually combing my hair. I don't need a comb in my hand to do the same motion. When kung fu says "comb hair" it describes the motion and the position the arm should be when trying to protect their head. If this gets translated without context then one would think a comb is needed. Martial Arts are full of techniques that are named in a similar way.

A straight translation may miss the intended meaning
Good thing people who were teaching and training karate in Japan in the 1930s and before have clarified this in books they wrote explicitly stating it is grabbing and pulling people.
 

isshinryuronin

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The irony being funakoshi himself largely removed such teachings from his own syllabus in the post war era
I wouldn't be so sure he did it himself, absent contrary documentation. He would have been almost 80 years old and pretty much retired and not in charge of anything. The Association ran things by the 1930's and Funakoshi himself lamented the direction his shotokan was going based on a quote of his I read from that time period.
Funakoshi in Renten Goshin Karate Jutsu states quite clearly hikite is for pulling and twisting an opponents arm to disrupt their posture.
As far as I know, this is the meaning of hikite - pulling an arm, often with a twist. Maybe this is the origin of the palm up position on the hip most styles end the returning hand with, the result of the twisting action? Sometimes the grab is not visually presented in the form so it may look like the returning hand has no combat application.
Just because you do a motion or set of motions that are intended to be a throw a million times in a kata, doesnt magically mean that it will teach you how to do it and when to do that throw if no one ever tells you its a throw.
While there is some benefit in beginners learning the general motion of the "mystery move," I agree that kata practice without knowing the bunkai keeps the kata from realizing its full potential.
 
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GojuTommy

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I wouldn't be so sure he did it himself, absent contrary documentation. He would have been almost 80 years old and pretty much retired and not in charge of anything. The Association ran things by the 1930's and Funakoshi himself lamented the direction his shotokan was going based on a quote of his I read from that time period.

As far as I know, this is the meaning of hikite - pulling an arm, often with a twist. Maybe this is the origin of the palm up position on the hip most styles end the returning hand with, the result of the twisting action? Sometimes the grab is not visually presented in the form so it may look like the returning hand has no combat application.

While there is some benefit in beginners learning the general motion of the "mystery move," I agree that kata practice without knowing the bunkai keeps the kata from realizing its full potential.
Yeah grabbing and pulling is what it is, then youve got people like that weird Kung fu guy who will argue until theyre blue in the face that hikite is something else, and they justify it by using claims that are unverified pseudoscience at best.
 

JowGaWolf

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Pretty much everything youve said.

So these two people say the same thing I say so I guess they make stuff up too.?
 
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GojuTommy

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So these two people say the same thing I say so I guess they make stuff up too.?
It doesnt matter how many people agree with you if youre wrong.
 

JowGaWolf

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I'm curious to see who was able to get the foot work.

For me all of it was awkward. Just getting the footwork to a point where I could do a bad version of this was a challenge. Lots of power disconnect for me.

Here's what I experienced.
Copying the video.
1. I felt like I kept pulling my arm back more than what was shown in the video.
2. I kept referencing Jow Ga techniques because I had a problem with the footwork. When I thought about that movement, I was able to do the footwork better, but returning hand kept moving into a blocking positio.. Similar to this position but with the fist chest level straight punch. So I went back to trying to do what I saw in the video without thinking of the same footwork in Jow Ga. Not having my clearing hand made me feel naked like I was going to get punched in my face.
3. I also changed the type of fist that. I was using. Still awkward.
View attachment 30471


4. When I got close enough to what I thought I was seeing. It didn't feel like I should draw my punching arm back for the type of fist that I was using. (leopard fist and phoenix fix). This is probably due to how the fist are use. But as soon as I made a Jow Ga fist, I could feel myself pulling back much more.

I've probably done it 20 times

Now for my answer.
#1. Felt Faster simply because my arm wasn't traveling as far
#2. Felt like I could connect more points of power generation, but that has more to do with pulling my arm into a deeper chamber. Even when I kept my arms high, I was still feeling that I can put more into the punch.

The fist however played a really big part to it all.
I just watched how they say Choki Motobu school trains this. I got my doubts. Block punch but I don't know about block punch hand.


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