Van Canna wrote:
One point though, I should've clarified my clip a bit: It is a modification of the typical Bongai therefore still follows (or has to follow) the kata movement somewhat, otherwise someone will quite rightfully say it isn't Seisan.
Yes, I understand that, and if a student is going for his Dan rank test, then he should show the 'standard' app.
However, Walter has told me many times that the Okinawan masters [Takara sensei, for one] feel that Bunkai apps. are nothing but 'a way' and not the only way for an advanced practitioner to 'use' the style for defense.
The final app. is something that the student chooses based on what he believes works best for him, and so Uechi becomes his own personal 'jewelry box'.
Now as to what works best, well, again it is based on the student's understanding and experience of the critical concepts of fighting street attacks, and what his primal brain will give him permission to do, technique wise.[Here best to re-read what Darren Laur wrote up above]
You come up before a Uechi board of seniors for rank, I expect that you perform kata/bunkai according to an accepted standard.
Those are your compulsories. However, if I spring surprise attackers/scenarios upon you, I also expect to see imagination at work, along reality concepts.
Walter said that along these lines, Takara sensei told him that he learns much by watching these imaginations performances by students who adapt the system to the self.
I you limit a student with 'compulsories' he will never develop an individuality that might just save his life.
Great post Van! This is the best explanation I've heard for the inclusion of the "compulsories" in testing. We need some sort of starting point to formally measures skill some would suggest.
The World of Olympic figure skating also use to have something called compulsory figures. All the skaters had to skate a precise figure eight several times. The judges then measured the deviation from the required template and scored each skater. Think of this as a handicap as the score on compulsory's effected your total score of your effort when you actually skated later in completion.
The flaw in the system was some of the sloppy figure eights prevented the best skaters from wining the main even the skate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_figures
Put it in our context this would be like the best fighter in a tournament placing 5th because the thumb check gods said his bunkai was wrong, his elbow was too far from his rib cage or this thumb or fingers were in the wrong position when he was not moving. Hard to swallow for someone who just kicked everyone's ass.
So test are tests, competing is competing, and fighting is fighting.
None of them are the same. One needs to determine what their goals are and pick a group that fits their needs at the present time. Within each organization lies a group that probably address their needs.
Henry has generated a very active thread here. It's encouraging to see a Uechi senior question the validity of picking up fat guys and blocking sword cuts etc.. I'm surprised to see him back pedal and attempt to close Pandora's box? You can't close it once it's opened Henry.
I know this because I'll been banned several times for engaging in this sort of dialogue. You sir have broached the topic with the decorum of a gentleman!
Glad I'm not the only one to express these thoughts. I was starting to feel like the Rodney Dangerfield of Uechi-ryu. It's surprising how many Uechika feel the same way about the compulsories . Sensei I've always enjoyed your clips on variations on bunkai. This is what we should see more of on discussion forums not less. Feel free to stimulate the thought process of the student in all of us.
Your take on this is not a departure from the party line. As Van points out the next step after performing the compulsories is to make it your own, show us what you can do with the language of kata this is the next step after shodan.
Henry you point out that we are not all standing at the plate with the same DNA. Our body type and mindset will dictate the response and not the compulsories. All things being equal the bigger stronger guy will win unless the other guy finds something else to bring into the plate. This is a reality in life and why many of us in the arts also carry.
You do the Uechi world a great service by posting clips of variations of Bunkai as it gets many thinking about their kata and how it might be used. Everyone needs to ponder if their techniques would stand up in a real violent confrontation if their interest in training also includes self defense.
Will something work or is it the stuff of fantasy is best discovered in training and not the street.
I'm a wee bit like Marcus in my approach to training, I dabble in violence and sometimes see a similarity between what worked and motions I perform in kata, reverse engineering application. This does temper how I may perform a particular section of kata. As time passes I may discover a new bunkai for that particular section of kata and my performance of this section will once again evolve to reflect the new focus.
It's how I work, I'm not claiming it's right, it's just what is right for me at the present time. Keep on sharing your ideas Henry, it's what the forums are for and many will grow as a result of your contribution.