Sunday, October 28, 2012
Bunkai (“Breaking Down”) is the interpretations of the motions performed within a kata. Until Taika began presenting his interpretations, the majority of systems emphasized that these motions represented the necessary motions for “sparring” (the fact that this made no sense, seemed to be irrelevant).
For some time, the study/practice of kata motion was (and to some limited extent, still is) considered to be of no use or purpose. Why would they of been created, if they served no purpose? It was not taught that each student should create their own (kata). They were required to learn the specific kata, that their instructor mandated (for whatever reason).
What seems to of been lost, was the reason(s) for their having done so. The RyuTe® system requires students (over the course of their mudansha/kyu-rank experience) to learn 12 kata (8 traditional, and the 5 Pinan kata). Within each, are motions that are repeated in some of the other kata.
Originally, many instructors taught only a few (2 or 3?) kata (to their students). They focused their instruction of technique around (only) those kata. A number of those instructor's became famous for just the techniques that they performed from those kata (and from their perspective, there was no need to learn any other/more kata).
It is my own opinion, that total knowledge isn't necessary (for the average student) of every kata (that's taught). Taika always stated, that each person will find the kata that they are the most comfortable with and that kata will (tend to) become their kata.
With time, and experience that kata may change (to a different one), but every student will always have 1 kata that is their favorite. It is that kata, that most of their preferred techniques will come from or be represented within.
I am constantly hearing about people claiming to reverse-engineer a kata (wtf ?). IMO, this usually amounts to someone taking a technique (that they like), and forcing the kata motions to match that technique (and when the motions don't, they'll claim that the kata had been taught incorrectly, LOL).
For my own mudansha students, (when asked, or for example purposes) I will tend to illustrate some (simplistic) technique for whichever motion is asked about. As that student's experience increases, I will (generally) show another (technique) for the same kata motion.
Beginning students, are like (very) small children. They only seek simplistic answers (initially) to their questions. As they progress in their study (and hopefully understand more), I provide more involved answers. I've stated numerous times (on this blog) that RyuTe® is rife with trivialities (of detail). Providing too much, too soon, will only be confusing (and possibly detrimental) to the student.
In general, the (specific) techniques that I've shown to a student (as representing the Bunkai of the particular motion) has been irrelevant. It's never been the technique that was important, it's always been the motion.
It isn't how many different types of techniques we can come up with (to apply) by using that 1 motion. It's how many different offensive motions can be prevented/countered by using that 1 motion (defensively).
(Phrased slightly different, LOL) To myself, it makes more sense to practice 1 motion, that has a multitude of applications, than to practice a multitude of applications to defend against 1 motion.
It's that very practice, that drives me crazy when viewing some of the nonsense that's out there. I've seen system's that teach 30 different ways to prevent being struck by a roundhouse punch, really? Does a student (any student?) really need to learn 30 different ways to prevent being hit by a roundhouse punch? And even if they believed that they do, what are the (different) criteria for each?
I'm just finding it odd, that people keep trying to make the whole self-defense/life protection (thing) a lot more complicated than it needs to be. The whole “Bunkai” issue, seems to of become a favored battle ground for number of these “confusionists” (LOL).
I'm in favor of letting them "battle it out", I'm going to stick with my definition.