Victor Smith wrote:
One possible interpretation of Funakoshi Sensei’s comment was that the Dan should analyze their technique and then use that analysis in their training as in how to use the technique. This does not seem to indicate there was a defined use of kata but a more open ended study. I feel this harkens back to the days of personal instruction and direct guidance of the instructor for the student.
If you observe the kata, the drawings and the video closely you’ll see that Mabuni shows more than just the kata. In the drawing shown he used a closed fist strike instead of the spear hand strike of the kata. He also clearly adds a kick not in the kata for one of the ‘bunkai’ responses too. In this it is clear that ‘bunkai’ meant more than just the actual kata technique, exactly as Shiroma Shimpan (another Itosu student) showed in Nakasone’s 1938 ‘Karate-Do Taikan”.
Very nicely stated.
We've had some martial pinheads (of doom) post here and on other Forums who like to box martial techniques into neat little boxes. (THAT'S NOT UECHI!!!!
) and get bent out of shape when more than one application is attributed to a sequence in martial choreography (a.k.a. kata). And yet here from Victor we see that karate started...
- As one-on-one personal instruction, and not in large classes with instructors shouting Ichi! Ni! San!.
- As an "open-ended" study, implying no fixed temporal and/or content boundaries.
- As an iterative process (similar to CQI) where the student and teacher bounced back and forth between the practice of choreography and the analysis of said choreography.
- As a non-literal exercise in human movement where practitioners are doing "more than just the actual kata technique." In other words the kata serve not as a literal study of karate dogma, but rather as a mnemonic device.