Our first question revolves around a very classic problem in traditional arts – do people actually use kata during sparring?
Part of the inefficient, ritualized stereotype that goes along with traditional arts stems directly from this issue. Furthermore, when watching sparring at any tournament or even online you are likely to see a grand total of zero exchanges that look like kata.
Check out my perspective on the matter:
The cut-to video utilized in the video above is from a previous post entitled Exploring the Value of Nai Hanchi. Check out the full post if you are interested in a more specific study of this kata/application/combat type question.
Hope you enjoyed it, and check out question 2 – What Kind of Grappling Is In Karate?
As you may know I help the KD team when it comes to matters of traditional martial arts. It’s a great pleasure because I get to answer questions, talk about weapons and stuff…basically the things us martial arts geeks do anyway.
Every now and then we get a question that inspires me to dive a little deeper into the matter and explore the concept in question. User TheShadow1928 asked a short and sweet one: “What are sai good for anyway?“
At first you might laugh a little…but then you might stop and say: “Yea, what ARE sai good for?”
In this video I dive into the background of the weapon, how it was useful to the Okinawans who created it and how it can still be useful in modern society. Check it out!
As long time readers here know, I have a great passion and interest in Bunkai. Bunkai is the application and inspection of meaning in kata, and to me it is as integral as the movements themselves.
Recently I got a chance to watch a new work by Charlie Wildish and Keith McKay Cormack entitled “Inside Bassai Dai”.
Wildish operates the blog Bunkai Jutsu and decided to create a DVD entailing his breakdown of the kata Bassai Dai. In the video Wildish is joined by his friend and ‘partner in crime’ Keith McKay Cormack. The interesting thing about this duo is the diverse backgrounds they bring together, Wildish a Sandan in Shotokan Karate and Cormack a student of Choy Li Fut Kung Fu.
The video is staged in front of an unadorned yet attractive stone wall, which seems to set the mood of the entire video. Wildish and Cormack are friendly and down to Earth in their explanations, yet stay very focused on the task at hand, wasting little time in frivolity.
Wildish begins by demonstrating the kata from multiple angles, then breaking down each segment into possible explanations. Following Wildish is Cormack who demonstrates how the idea of the technique appears in his Chinese background, and how he might approach bunkai from a Kung Fu perspective. It is enjoyable to actively see the similarities and differences played out.
This video is unpretentious, straight forward, and focused on content instead of flashiness. As such I feel it does justice to the spirit of Karate.
As a bonus I was also able to check out Wildish’s “10 Kicking Tips”, which guides the viewer not through specific kicks, but through some of the basic physics and ideas that make kicking effective. This DVD was also an enjoyable watch, especially as Wildish described ways in which kicks can be thrown in a true straight line.
All in all I would recommend these resources to individuals who either study Bassai Dai or are looking to enhance their overall understanding of Bunkai. The procedures used in these DVDs are sound fundamentally and can be relied upon to elicit positive results.