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Thoughts on bunkai for Goju-Ryu / Shito-Ryu Seisan (video)

This footage was taken at a residential course in June 2014. At the course, all participants were asked what topics they would like to cover. One suggestion was the bunkai for Goju-Ryu’s Seisan. I’m not a Goju stylist and therefore Seisan is not a kata I practise or have spent much time analysing.

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Tekki-Nidan Bunkai (video)

This footage was taken at a residential course in June 2014. At the course, all participants were asked what topics they would like to cover. One suggestion was the bunkai for Shotokan’s Tekki-Nidan (Naihanchi-Nidan). I’m not a Shotokan stylist and the school I originate from only practises one version of Naihanchi. Tekki-Nidan is therefore not a kata I practise or have spent much time analysing. In preparation for the course, I familiarised myself with the kata and had some initial thoughts.

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Passai / Bassai-Dai "Reinforced Lower Blocks" Bunkai (video)

This very short clip looks at bunkai for the “elbow” followed by the three “reinforced lower blocks” found toward the end of Passai / Bassai-Dai. Commonly explained as a series of rapid “reinforced” kick blocks (such as one may need if attacked by an angry can-can dancer!), I would suggest that a more pragmatic way of viewing the move is simply striking the enemy, and then pulling them on for a second strike.

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Passai / Bassai-Dai End Sequence Bunkai Drill (video)

This bit of dojo footage covers a bunkai drill for the end sequence of Passai / Bassai-Dai. It begins with the “c-punch” (also called “u-punch” by those who don’t know the difference between a U and a C ;-)) and finishes at the end of the kata. It is not a “technique” and the discrete parts can be used independently and as applicable. The total drill is simply a time efficient form of practise.

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Standing Choke and Throw (video)

This short clip covers a “game play” standing choke and takedown. The footage was filmed in our dojo during a training session in June 2014. It’s very important to understand that these techniques are part of “grappling play”. They are “fighting techniques” and must not to be confused with “self-protection” methods. There is a place for “martial arts”, “fighting” and “self-protection” and all have their inherent value. They key is to not mistake one for the other. I hope you enjoy the clip!

All the best,


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Final shuto-ukes of bassai-dai bunkai (video)

This video looks at the last three shuto-ukes (“knife hand blocks”) as found in Shotokan’s Bassai-Dai, Wado-Ryu’s Passai, etc. A comparison with other versions of Bassai / Passai will reveal that the second shuto (the one where you are “not looking”) is not there in most versions. It therefore seems to me that the “push” we see in other versions of the form has been stylistically over formalised into a distinct shuto-uke in the versions of the kata that posses that movement i.e. it is an “error” in transmission.

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Advanced Kushanku / Kanku-Dai Drill (video)

This video was filmed at a three day seminar in Chicago, USA in May 2014. This short clip is a summary of a flow drill that covers, in order, the bunkai of Kushanku / Kanku-Dai from the opening to the drop to the floor. This drill can be easily adapted to fit all styles, but the version shown is in keeping with the Shotokan version because the vast majority of attendees had a Shotokan base.

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Flow drill for the first quarter of Kanku-Dai / Kushanku / Kosokun (video)

This 25 minute video was filmed at a closed residential course in April 2014. In the film, I instruct the group in a flow drill for the first quarter of the Kanku-Dai / Kushanku / Kosokun. It is my view that the first quarter of the kata instructs the karateka in the basics of limb control and manipulation so that the karateka has the skills to employ the methods found later in the kata. This drill is a time efficient way to practise those skills.

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4 bunkai based finishes from behind the enemy (video)

In this video I show four bunkai based finishes from behind the enemy. This was filmed in the dojo in March 2014. The main theme of the whole training session was gripping drills; so this was a way to get the students to repeatedly practise the same initial pass. The changing finishes give the illusion of something new and hence prevent the boredom of lots of repetition (“repetition by stealth”).

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Posture and Ikken Hissatsu (video)

This short video was filmed at a seminar on the 15th of March 2014. One of the topics I taught at the event was drills for hook punch. This snippet looks at some general thoughts on posture and Ikken Hissatsu (one blow, one “kill”).

There are quite a few misunderstandings around the Ikken Hissatsu concept. One of the most common is that “one blow” infers we only hit once. In truth, the concept is that we have full intent to finish the situation in any given instant.

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