Friday, March 9, 2012
Kata Bunkai is like Tofu
When (any) two martial arts practitioner's get together, they will often compare the Bunkai of each. What is being shown, is what each practitioner feels is the most appropriate explanation (for themselves) in regards to the motion being illustrated.
Each student of a martial art, doesn't study that art for the same reason. Many do so for sport, many also do so for exercise. I do so for Life Protection. What many interpret as bunkai, for my purposes would only be Bullshit. That doesn't make what they do wrong (necessarily), it's would just be wrong to/for Me (and what I teach).
When student's ask me about the bunkai for a particular kata motion, I have to consider several things. First, what concepts, techniques and motions do they know that can be related to that motion, and how are they doing the motion.
It should be clear to the reader (here), that there are numerous possible answers for every motion (no matter how small). For beginning student's, I (attempt to) keep the answers I provide, to being simple motions/techniques. Though sounding (somewhat) deceitful, it's actually a more accurate response (for the student).
Somehow, person's have gotten the impression that every motion in a kata represents some elaborate/technical motion that only the divinely bestowed will understand (eh, ..not so much). Though numerous charlatan’s attempt to give the impression that that's the case, and they are the only way to gain this information, it isn't.
Taika has said, each person will determine what the motions of the kata represents, to themselves. The bunkai and techniques that he teaches us, is from what his interpretations (from the kata motions) were. He doesn't say another interpretation is wrong (necessarily), but he can defend the logic/reason for his interpretation (and argue/debate why another isn't correct).
As student's of RyuTe, we study Taika's interpretations of the kata motions. We use them as guidelines for further research of those kata. The techniques that we are shown, we use for understanding how/why the body does/doesn't move.
It isn't the quantity of techniques that are important, it's the quality of those techniques. Those motions are also (constantly) being improved. I've stated before, how techniques that were taught in the early 80's, when compared to how they are being performed now, are very different. Not because of a change of technique, but because of a change in the execution of that technique.
Much of that change, comes from the study of kata. The culmination of the numerous minute motions made during the performance of kata, will (directly) effect the way one performs technique.
This is why I consider kata Bunkai to be like Tofu. It depends on what you add it to, that determines the taste (result). If you view your bunkai as representing sparring, what you'll see, is sparring techniques. If you view it as being evasion techniques, that's what you will see. The difficulty comes when you attempt to justify those beliefs to anyone else.
Any bunkai you present, has to be able to withstand the scrutiny and criticism’s of the rest of the martial arts community and/or your individual peer group. When Taika first came to the United States, NOBODY was teaching the kind of material that he was. Now (it seems like) EVERYBODY teaches tuite (as if they can even translate it, LOL), and kyusho. The biggest difference between Taika's and theirs, is the fact that he doesn't need to hide behind TCM, and whatever other nonsense they use to make excuses for why their versions don't work.
Very often the results of the numerous bunkai that I've seen, turn's out to be also (like Tofu can very often taste), like Shit.