The Application and Meaning of Kata.
Without bunkai, karate kata are just a sequence of techniques. If we have no understanding of the application for the various kata moves and transitions, the kata has no relevance to our training apart from kihon (basics), movement and balance.
Masaji Taira, student of Eiichi Miyazato, has spent many years developing what is now called 'Taira Bunkai'. Taira Sensei regular visits members of the Goju Ryu Kenkyukai helping karateka, with an interest in the bunkai, understand the meaning of the kata.
Another man who has made a great difference to the understanding of kata is Iain Abernethy. The following series of articles on Iain's website, gives a great insight into kata and bunkai practice.
Kata (formal forms) were regarded as the cornerstone of martial arts training by the past masters. However, many modern karate practitioners question the value of kata. Some have even stopped the practise of kata altogether. So what is the point of kata and why did the past masters place so much store in them? The answers to these questions are revealed by "bunkai" (the analysis and practical application of the movements of kata).
An understanding of bunkai brings the kata to life and makes them relevant to the modern world. In this series of articles we'll be exploring the basics of bunkai. It's my intention to keep our discussions as accessible as possible and I hope that these articles will open up this important and fascinating area of kata practise to those who are relatively new to karate or bunkai training.
Read the whole series of articles at Iain's Site