So actually working a techniques against a resisting opponent is on the same level as doing a kata?
Apples and oranges. Both can be/are training tools. Kata/bunkai represents a collection of techniques, applications, strategies, tactics and principles that can be extrapolated from the kata and then used against a resisting opponents.
Could you please give an example? I'm only familiar with most of the kata of Shotokan, ITF TKD, Uechi-ryu, Isshinryu so if you could pick from one of those I'd appreciate it.
Absolutely, this would be a great direction for the thread to take. I enjoy the Pinan katas. Lets take a look at the first movement in Pinan Shodan as an example;
Commonly taught as some type of left handed palm heel block/trap with the right arm to 'break' the attackers arm at the elbow. Several problems with this, first the high right hand is not really doing anything practical in the beginning. And to think one is going to 'break' anything with such a trap against a live, hostile, resisting opponent is not realistic. It teaches a bad technique based on a faulty principle.
So, lets take a look at it as a shoulder lock as described in one of my above posts, perhaps the first. As we see a hook punch coming at our head we instinctively raise our right arm to cover (assuming a left hook for the sake of this example). This is a simple, gross motor cover similar to a reverse 'elbow spike'. Doesn't take a lot of training as it is a natural motion. The left arm then comes up behind the attacker's left tricep. The next movement in the kata is the right arm going down and the left up and close. This is a simple shoulder lock, very common in Chin Na, Hapkido, Aikijujutsu systems.
It teaches various things; locking a joint, in this case the elbow and shoulder are affected down to the waist. It demonstrates off-balancing an opponent. It demonstrates gross motor responses which is critical due to adrenaline dump under duress which is connected to blood pressure spikes and pulse rate. It demonstrates the ability to flow into a take down from the initial response. It also demonstrates a principle that is equally applicable in situations other than the one described above. For example, the shoulder only works the way a shoulder works. The principle demonstrated could be applied standing or while on the ground. It can be applied even using the legs while on the ground.
You'll have to forgive me if I'm unable to convey by the written word the totality and dynamics of this movement. It is difficult to describe moving, flowing events in a step by step basis. Hopefully I've described it sufficiently to at least convey the feel, so-to-speak.
At any rate, we can break this down into any number of scenarios. For example, your at the gas pumps and the guy you cut off gets out of his car and takes a swing at you.
Your stopped on the street by someone feigning the need for directions and then launches a mugging attempt.
You've gone to the ground and the perp is reaching for a weapon and it becomes necessary to temporarily lock him up in a situation where a strike is unavailable or undesirable.
There are any number of scenarios that can be created from just this first bunkai. Pinan Shodan demonstrates a lot of balance displacement tactics that are useful from multiple angles and positions.
Remember a kata was not designed for a practitioner to perform in exacting standards like say...a belt test or competition. Rather it was a catalog of movements that demonstrate practical things for multiple situations. That is why one could be well versed in self defense with the knowledge contained in just a few kata, perhaps even just one. This was a view of Kanbun was it not?
Forgive then David, I didn't know. Care to share your background?
I've been very blessed to have received training in multiple systems over the years. From some very good instructors who weren't interested in fluff. Most of which were in my career field or something similar. For me, military, E.P. agent and Deputy.
But I for one dont put much credence into time or rank , they arent always an indicator
Absolutely correct! My personal feelings are what a man/woman can do or what their level of experience is when it comes to real life. For example, many instructors have never had to use their skills against a real attacker. This doesn't mean they are bad instructors, nor does it mean that what they teach is wrong. But they teach from theory and not experience. There is a difference.
I have 'rank' and often try to down play it. I use it on my site as a means of establishing credibility. But that is only because it is the only language many prospective student know. Once they train with me I fully explain where belt rank came from and why it came to be and how little it has to do with real martial arts. I never wear my belt in real training and the only time I do wear it is for a photo opportunity for my site. Again, it is what is looked for from those new to the arts.
Right now, only one of my students knows how many BB's I've earned and what level they are. I prefer it that way. More important to me by far are my instructor certifications from the State or 'higher authorities'. Those are the ones that have opened the most doors and have allowed my to attain the level I now have within certain circles.
Again, I'm enjoying this thread. Thank you to everyone for participating.