Bunkai is a quite new Topic for me because it didn’t really exist in the Wado-Ryu I originally learned. I surely wasn’t interested in the Bunkai I saw at that time and I didn’t knew that realistic bunkai was possible.
But now, about 15 years after learning the katas, I am suddenly able to give every movement a meaning - wow! I really want to connect Kata with Bunkai and I alter the Kata to make a firm connection. As an example let’s take the first movements of pinan shodan (heian nidan) and compare it to the application I want to connect it with, the pinan-shodan-flowdrill: http://www.iainabernethy.co.uk/content/basic-pinan-shodan-flow-drill When I first tried the drill myself, I didn’t have the feeling that I had trained this movement for many years in the solo Kata. And I didn’t.
Let’s just have a look at the first movement. The left arm does a sotu-uke (uchi uke) in the Kata and an uppercut in the drill. The end position is the same, the actual movement is not. To really get a chin-jab you first have to move the left arm in the right start position, i.e. the elbow has to be lower than the fist. In order to get a pulling movement (hikite) for the right arm it has to be first moved the left side of the body, for example to the left hip.
This is only a minor change, but do I many changes throughout the Kata in this way. An other example is the height of the kicks. In Chinto I exchange the nidan-geri with a kick to the chins instead. Are there any disadvantages of this approach? One point could be that there is more than one bunkai to each technique in Kata. But that’s not a problem for me, I can alter the Kata according to the bunkai variantion I am currently training. How do you feel about this topic? Do you alter you solo Kata too? If not, are you able to imagine any Bunkai while performing the Kata?