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Iain Abernethy
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Favourite Bunkai Quotes?

I’ve just been adding some quotes to the Facebook page from the past masters that stress the importance of application / bunkai training. As we know, these instructions from the masters are largely ignored today as the majority (albeit a rapidly shrinking majority) do not consider the meaning of kata and hence are not able to apply it in an emergency.

These are the three quotes I just added to Facebook, but there are many more of course. What are your favourite quotes from the past with regards to kata application?

All the best,

Iain

Once a kata has been learned, it must be practised repeatedly until it can be applied in an emergency, for knowledge of just the sequence of a kata in karate is useless.” – Gichin Funakoshi

Practise each of the techniques of karate repeatedly. Learn the explanations of every technique well, and decide when and in what manner to apply them when needed.” – Anko Itosu

The techniques should not be practised simply so they can be performed in the kata. Since karate is a fighting art each technique and movement has its own meaning. The karateka must consider their meaning, how and why they are effective, and practise accordingly” – Shigeru Egami

Iain Abernethy
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Here are a few others which I think are also quite useful:

In karate, hitting, thrusting, and kicking are not the only methods, throwing techniques and pressure against joints are included … all these techniques should be studied referring to basic kata” – Gichin Funakoshi

The karate that has been introduced to Tokyo is actually just a part of the whole. The fact that those who have learnt karate there feel it only consists of kicks & punches, and that throws & locks are only to be found in judo or jujutsu, can only be put down to a lack of understanding … Those who are thinking of the future of karate should have an open mind and strive to study the complete art” – Kenwa Mabuni

Karate is not intended to be used against a single adversary. It is a method of using the hands and feet to avoid injury should one, by chance, be confronted by a villain or ruffian.” – Anko Itosu

“The techniques of kata have their limits and were never intended to be used against an opponent in an arena or on a battlefield” – Choki Motobu

“The meaning of the directions in kata is not well understood, and frequently mistakes are made in the interpretation of kata movements. In extreme cases, it is sometimes heard that "this kata moves in 8 directions so it is designed for fighting 8 opponents" or some such nonsense.” – Kenwa Mabuni

Zach Zinn
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Don't remember where I read this, or who said it probably lots of people, but I like the simplicity of:

"It is what it does".

In regard to what movements in kata mean.

Oerjan Nilsen
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Choki Motobu: All kata use the socalled postures (kamae). In fact, there are many kinds of postures and many kinds of kata. While learning these postures should not be totally ignored, we must be carefull not to overlook that they Are just forms or templates of sort; it is the function of their application which needs to be mastered.
Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Oerjan Nilsen wrote:
Choki Motobu: All kata use the socalled postures (kamae). In fact, there are many kinds of postures and many kinds of kata. While learning these postures should not be totally ignored, we must be carefull not to overlook that they Are just forms or templates of sort; it is the function of their application which needs to be mastered.

Nice! smiley

Iain Abernethy
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"Kata, as a demonstration, is but a shallow and limited usage of kata" - Donn Draeger

Stolen from Michael Rosenbaum’s article found here: http://iainabernethy.co.uk/content/kata-mnemonic

Matt Perlingiero
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I'm not sure who said it, but one of my favorites is, "Karate has many kamae.  It also has none."

Iain Abernethy
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Matt Perlingiero wrote:
I'm not sure who said it, but one of my favorites is, "Karate has many kamae. It also has none."

Yes that’s one of my favourites too! It was Genwa Nakasone in the book Karate-Do Taikan when expanding on Gichin Funakoshi’s precept, “Beginners will use stances; Advanced students will use natural postures”.

All the best,

Iain

Oerjan Nilsen
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Gichin Funakoshi`s 18th precept: "Kata is practised perfectly, real fight is another thing."

I like it because this quote directly adresses one problem many people encounter early in their "bunaki" studies, that when they try to recreate the techniques under pressure it does not look quite like it does in Kata.

Oerjan Nilsen
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Here is one quote from "Muye Dobo Tongji" (A martial arts manual published in 1790 in Korea but with roots streching back to 1584. Most of its sources was from China).

"Techniques are simple but the principle is profound”

I really like this one as it is not the technique itself that is important but the combative principle it is an example of. A turn 90 degrees in Kata could be an illustration that you should move out of the line of attack from the front. The turn itself is simple enough, but the principle is conveys can be used against any number of attacks (pushes, straight punches, etc).  

Oerjan Nilsen
Oerjan Nilsen's picture

Gichin Funakoshi:

"You may train for a long time, but if you merely move your hands and feet and jump up and down like a puppet, learning karate is not very different from learning a dance. You will never have reached the heart of the matter; you will have failed to grasp the quintessence of karate-do."

BRITON55
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The essence of Hyung [kata] is in the constant striving to perfect the techniques..this will aid "Quiet confidence"..."Pyung Ahn".   "Where there is preperation there is no fear"......Kwan Jang Nim...Kee Hwang. "Tang Soo Do"

LC Stig
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The following is a rather long quote from an interview with Pat Nakata, done by Charles Goodin. Nakatas instructor, Chosin Chibana was one of the last students of Anko Itosu. This is Nakata about bunkai as taught by Itosu:

"There are 3 levels of application that were taught. Level 1 was for beginners and the very young students, which was punch, strike, kick, block and cocking - pulling the hand back in the chambered position for the transitional moves. Level 2 was for the intermediate and older students and emphasized body mechanics for more powerful punching, striking, kicking and blocking. What originally appeared to be cocking, now became throws and / or locking techniques. Level 3 as mentioned earlier, was vicious and deadly. The punch, strike, kick and block were now executed to destroy the opponent with a single technique. The throws and locks were fatal if applied correctly. Level 3 was only taught to trusted senior students."