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Practical Kata Bunkai: Unsu Ippon-Nukite (video)

In this video we look at bunkai for the downward ippon-nukite (“finger pokes”) found at the start of Unsu kata. While people analysing this motion tend to focus on the extended index finger, it is my view that that finger is largely inactive. The three bent fingers dig into the back of the jaw, the thumb goes into the eyes, the index finger has nowhere to go other than run down the side of the face. The arching foot movement moves behind the enemy’s leg as the jaw and eyes are attacked using the ippon-nukite hand positions. The downward thrust will then break balance, as the leg stops the enemy from regaining balance, such that the enemy will fall to the floor.

In the kata the ippon-nukite sequence is followed by four pushes and reverse punches in a cross formation. The common view is that this represents dealing with attacks from four angles. It is my view – based on kata analysis and the past writings of masters such as Mabuni – that the angles in kata represent the angles from which the karateka should apply the techniques being demonstrated. This sequence does therefore not represent attacks from four directions, but instead ATTACKING from four directions. In the video, I show how this shift in thinking reveals that the kata shows follow ups from the initial takedown should it fail. The optimum angle to assume is dependant of the on the enemy’s reactions, and I believe this is what the four punches at the four angles represents.

I hope you find this short video interesting and that it provides some food for thought.

All the best,


PS If you’d like to watch the video on YouTube, the link can be found HERE


Practical Kata Bunkai: Unsu Ippon-Nukite (Finger Pokes)