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Wastelander's picture
Chuck Merriman on Bunkai

This is a short clip from Chuck Merriman Sensei's lecture on kata bunkai during our Ryukyu Martial Arts Friendship Gasshuku

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Thanks for sharing. I think that’s a good observation and, although “bunkai” now as an accepted use as “application” throughout the karate world, it’s important to remember it literally means to “analyse” or “dissect”.

I also think what is mentioned in the clip is very much in line with Itosu’s 6th precept:

“Learn the explanations of every technique well, and decide when and in what manner to apply them when needed.”

So we learn the applications of the kata from our teacher (“learn the explanations”), but we as individuals must decide how we are to personally make use of that information based  on our individual preferences and attributes “DECIDE when and in what manner to apply them when needed”

I think that’s very much in line with the message in the clip, and it’s undeniably part of the kata process. The idea that kata denies and limits individual expression is commonplace, but it’s totally mistaken.

Thanks for posting Noah!

All the best,


PS While getting the embed code, I noticed this interview by Vice Morris too: