Please take a look at Articles on self-defense/conflict/violence for introductions to the references found in the bibliography page.

Please take a look at my bibliography if you do not see a proper reference to a post.

Please take a look at my Notable Quotes

Hey, Attention on Deck!

Hey, NOTHING here is PERSONAL, get over it - Teach Me and I will Learn!

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


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 (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)

“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 (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)

“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

I am not a leading authority on any one discipline that I write about and teach, it is my hope and wish that with all the subjects I have studied it provides me an advantage point that I offer in as clear and cohesive writings as possible in introducing the matters in my materials. I hope to serve as one who inspires direction in the practitioner so they can go on to discover greater teachers and professionals that will build on this fundamental foundation. Find the authorities and synthesize a wholehearted and holistic concept, perception and belief that will not drive your practices but rather inspire them to evolve, grow and prosper. My efforts are born of those who are more experienced and knowledgable than I. I hope you find that path! See the bibliography I provide for an initial list of experts, professionals and masters of the subjects.

Bunkai - A form of Practice

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

“If you liken the technique to a length of chain, you are gradually removing links, breaking it down so it can be studied piece by piece.” - Dave Lowry, Learn by not Doing

What this practice method attempts to do is isolate the many components in a technique.

  • Perform the technique as designed and taught.
  • Perform the technique stopping at the last part such as a kick, stop without tension and just let the foot flop. In short regarding kicks, “Complete all the actions of the kick except for the last one.”
  • Perform the same kick, but leave off both the last movement and the penultimate movement—the extension of the lower half of the leg.
  • The next link to go is the kicking leg itself. Drive your hip from the 45-degree angle of the front stance to a fully front-facing direction. But keep your kicking foot on the floor.

What Lowry Sensei is trying to convey, to my mind, is one breaks down the technique into its distinct and separate components. In short again, “The focus is placed on mastering individual elements, broken down in such a scientific manner, that make up the whole technique.”

Lowry Sensei explains, “It’s a sure way to learn the fine points that will make your technique stronger. It’s also a way to isolate or accentuate any problems you might be having.”

So, as I see it when one takes their fundamental, basics, training to this stated of break down it speaks to another aspect of what we call, bunkai, but different since is is not breaking down the kata into techniques but breaking down the technique itself. I believe that many of the terms that describe what we do to teach, learn and apply our karate and martial arts are unlimited in how they are defined because as you can see by this article, and the one written by Lowry Sensei that can be found by searching the Internet, bunkai is not just breaking down kata to find effective techniques to apply in self-defense but it also includes breaking down and defining, discovering and synthesizing other aspects of the disciplines into explainable facets of a very broad, deep and interesting way of the empty hand. 

For instance, as I define bunkai, previously to this new thought, I stated:

Bunkai [分解]

The characters/ideograms mean "disassembly; dismantling; disaggregating; analysis; disintegrating; decomposing; degrading." The first character means, "part; minute of time; segment; share; degree; one's lot; duty; understand; know; rate; chances," the second character means, "unravel; notes; key; explanation; understanding; untie; undo; solve; answer; cancel; absolve; explain; minute."

Bunkai means to analyze or disassemble, a term used to describe a process of breaking apart a form to explain the application toward fighting or in more modern times self-defense. It describes the meaning of a movement within the kata and basic techniques, i.e. fundamental technique derived exercises as an introduction toward kata practice and training.

What I would do today is change it to reflect the additional concept of what I see as karate bunkai:

Bunkai means to analyze or disassemble, a term used to describe a process of breaking apart karate and martial arts, from techniques to kata to all particulars of the system and art to help explain it, validate it and apply it  in practice and training, to explain the particulars of karate and martial arts toward fighting or in more modern times self-defense. It describes the meaning of principle base multiple methodologies, the basic techniques, the kata and other aspects of the discipline. (Yes, this need further editing but it will do for this article)

This exercise is about seeing beyond the obvious, seeing beyond perceptions, and seeing beyond the initial limited teachings such as how bunkai is often taught and understood. When you learn a new term to explain how the teachings of karate are taught from a traditional or classical perspective where such terms are used you have to define that term and then remove verbiage that directs the mind to a singular specific so that the definition remains generic and unrestricted. Then you take that term and definition and see how it may, could or does apply to other aspect of the discipline. Example is bunkai where the definition is:

The characters/ideograms mean "disassembly; dismantling; disaggregating; analysis; disintegrating; decomposing; degrading." The first character means, "Part; minute of time; segment; share; degree; one's lot; duty; understand; know; rate; chances," the second character means, "unravel; notes; key; explanation; understanding; untie; undo; solve; answer; cancel; absolve; explain; minute."

Note that in defining the term there is nothing there that binds that term to any one meaning. Those meanings tend to be tied to such terms because of how they are introduced, often in teaching a kata one is told that the bunkai is, “Sensei then explains the particular technique such as a side block to a straight punch to the solar plexus.” Once that type of explanation is provided, without explaining that bunkai also does what I suggest, the student will, as humans do naturally and instinctively, assign it to that narrow definition instead of coming to the understanding that bunkai goes beyond just explaining, finding and developing techniques from kata moves. 

In short, when using the term bunkai, use it to mean that you are analyzing every part, every segment, every understanding, every question, every answer by explaining it and how it could work, how it may work and why it will work whatever many different ways beyond one set way. For instance, when your drill partner, uke vs. tori, throws a straight punch to the solar plexus in lieu of blocking it explain how you can move out of its path while deflecting it with one hand and applying an appropriate action with the other, etc. - bunkai! 

p.s. here is another point of view, perception or distinction; don’t refer to other bunkai as advanced or secret techniques but call them what they truly are, bunkai!

Bibliography (Click the link)
Derived, extracted from his Black Belt ‘the karate way’ column, “Learn by not Doing of April 1996.”

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