We've come a long way since Iain first presented his ideas on Bunkai. I think things are being questioned much more which as long as this questioning is done in a positive spirit that can only be a good thing. Whay do I mention this?
Well, I've always had a problem with Bunkai against isolated wrist grabs. Indeed I raise this problem in my own recent Bunkai study of Heian Yondan. Recently Iain addressed this in a video on Heian Godan where his perception is that wrist grabs should not be considered an isolated attack. It just doesn't happen. Actually, that's not true. It rarely happens. Professionally I've had a couple of people seize my wrist in order to get my attention. I happen to not feel this is appropriate but I'm glad that I've recognised these "attacks" as being relatively benign and have acted accordingly. I digress but I just to emphasise that "never" is not accurate.
In Iain's recent video he talked about how, in his perception, wrist grabs are usually actually responses to something that tori is doing. For example tori sees an opening to attack the eyes and uke grabs the wrist to prevent this or uke is stripping away a grab on the part of tori. Iain's drills start from the perspective of tori's attempts at technique being arrested.
So, why do I raise this?
Those that know me know that I love Aikido as nothing else feels quite like it. Yet in the 21st century I do not most Aikido in much regard from a pragmatic perspective. I should add that there is very good pragmatic Aikido out there, but it's rare... and if I'm honest no fun!
Aikido is descended from Japanese feudal systems. Yes, it''s a 20th century art developed long past the feudal era and some 50 years after the wearing of swords in public was banned. But this is where is traces it's roots to. Indeed Aikido is "the art of the sword, without a sword" and the study of swordsmanship alongside Aikido is, I feel, a great compliment to the art. In Aikido, most wrist grabs are accepted as being Uke's attempt at arresting tori's use of the sword by seizing the wrist reaching for the sword.
Aspects of Karate are desended from the same era. Iain talks about movements that grab the topknot. Funakoshi, in Karate-Do My Way of Life describes the forced removal of the topknot in Okinawa.
What I'm getting to, via a long route, is the question of if it's conceivable that some wrist grabs found in Karate are actually sword-arrests as seen in Aikido? If so then this sits fine with me as long as we identify that this is the case. If not then I'm going to continue to question wrist grabs, accepting that there are asnswers there... mostly.