Bunkai is a soul of karate, says Kyoshi Choube
   Date :18-May-2021

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Sports Reporter :
IN THE 32nd session of online ‘Karate and Sports Seminar for Physical and Spiritual Development of the Students’, Kyoshi Harish Choube spoke in length on ‘Understanding Budokan Kata And Its Relationship To Bunkai’. The sessions are being organised by Karate Budokan International (Vidarbha Region). Karate Budokan International is global association with branches around the world. It is one of the largest and well-disciplined organisations in the world, claims Choube. Starting his address, Choube said, “While kata is regarded as the ‘art form’ of karate, the original premise behind all kata is self-defence. Behind each technique lies multiple hidden self-defence application/s. The application of the techniques within kata is known as ‘Bunkai’.
While studying or practising bunkai, students try to emulate or resemble the kata as close as possible. In other words, they try to achieve the means without compromising the kata maintaining formal stances, perfect posture etc. The reason many emulate kata to this degree of detail when practising bunkai, is due to the way they see the development of kata. Students often see kata being the original concept. They see a kata first being developed and only later, after studying the kata in detail, could a self-defence meaning be unearthed. Kata is both a method of self-defence and an art form. And while it is two things, they do not have to resemble one another. “This is not how bunkai is intended to be and while it is two things they do not have to resemble one another. The karate forefathers had been training in karate for years before introducing their own kata. Over the years they learnt many self-defence techniques, and in that time developed techniques they swore by and may have even used in self-defence. As the years passed they would formulate a kata based on capturing their fighting philosophies.
This is why kata can be seen as a study of history and people.” Bunkai training involves compromise. “The conditions go unchanged in kata, yet in real life, very few opponents will stand in their forward stance with their arm outstretched awaiting your next move. This implies compromise has to be made. Many times you’ll discover in your bunkai training that you are too far away or too close to execute a fully effective technique. Distance is one of the most important factors in self-defence, thus where distance is out, you should always be willing and ready to correct it. When too far, take an extra step in, add a kick on the way in or even try pulling your opponent inwards. When you are too close for your desired technique to be effective, you may have to change a hand strike to an elbow technique, push them back to create the room or even shove them with your body if very close,” said Choube, who is Black Belt 7th Dan, Senior National Chief Instructor and Examiner Karate Budokan International and National Sports Co-ordinator. Choube advised the participants to be target adaptable and be ready to add techniques.
“A kata might depict a body level punch, but you may find in class that your bunkai partner’s arm is in the way of your target. Adaptability is also a key factor in self-defence and where a target is covered; always be willing and ready to change techniques. In such an instance you might deliver your punch to the face or opt for a knife hand strike to the temple. “A kata may depict a single hand or foot technique. Likely, the kata suggests that you put 100% commitment behind that technique to completely disable your opponent. In life however, there’s always something that may go wrong. You may hit the stomach instead of the solar plexus, the forehead instead of the nose; you may have poor distance rendering the technique weaker etc. Another key factor of self-defence is what the Japanese call ‘Zanshin’ (a continued state of awareness). The aim of bunkai training is self-defence effectiveness, so any time you feel your technique may not have met success, be ready to add techniques. Always be sure you and your partner are careful and aware that extra techniques may come if completely necessary.” he said. The programme concluded with an interactive question and answer session. A vote of thanks was proposed by Renshi Karunkumar Tirpude of Karate Budokan International.