When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:
I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me
I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me
I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull
I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death
I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed
I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes
I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados
I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers
The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn
Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung
WARNING, CAVEAT AND NOTE
The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated.” - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources
“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames
“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne
In this bunkai may not be exact as it was originally intended - traditionally/classically. This is good. Bunkai in kata are the blueprints of combat and the best means of conveying such things especially in today's cultural societal times - relatively peaceful.
We can create bunkai ... BUT, should we. In most cases in today's karate world and relative to karate as budo we don't actually create bunkai. We will take the bunkai that is passed down to us and create a variant that works for the individual. A simplistic example or explanation but that is all we should do.
There are criteria for bunkai, simplicity and natural. Bunkai must be efficient and fit well within the fundamental principles of martial systems. They should follow closely natural movements and connect to the natural instinctual moves the body is already encoded with for survival. Training and modify what the brain draws on and this closeness to natural instinctual physical movement is critical to "make it work" in an adrenaline flood of chemicals hell bent on turning you into a drooling curled up baby hoping to survive.
Their simplicity should enhance and shorten the learning process. The bunkai then can be used to continually support and strengthen that encoding so it will always be fresh and available to the lizard brain when things go hinkey.
Bunkai that are complicated are not bunkai but merely a tool of interest to keep paying customers interested and coming to the training hall. Karate as budo is not meant to be a sport and complicated instant gratification type teachings are not conducive to karate as budo for fighting, defense, protection or combat scenario's.
The question then arises in western martial arts, is bunkai necessary? In most cases it is not necessary because our western culture tends to label karate as sport, not budo. As a sport the combative aspects conveyed by bunkai for that purpose are not allowed in the sport arena. Even when you label it a combat sport it is not a budo or combative in reality or real world violent encounters of predatory nature. This point can be argued until the cows come home but in my view it is factually accurate in a more traditional/classical aspect of conflict.
Creating bunkai for the "test" is also a waste of time. Bunkai should never be "created" to test one for a black belt of any level. Testing or evaluating the application of bunkai learned as one progresses is absolutely a good thing but creating for a test is a waste of time. First, it impresses only the uninitiated. Second, it is always a tool used to build up a quantity that impresses the uninitiated or ignorant they are actually "doing something useful or cool." Third, they created bunkai after testing is always forgotten and therefore serve no useful purpose in karate as budo, i.e. karate goshin-do.
In closing, bunkai and kata as in martial arts is misunderstood in the west and it can only be truly understood by looking to the cultural belief systems of the past and present of the origins - Okinawa, China and Japan culture and beliefs that influenced karate as budo, i.e. karate goshin-do.