Having instructors who did not profess to know it all, and teachers who encouraged John Burke to experiment and train in different styles and methods gave him the ability to recognise the core of the arts rather than the peripherals. Thus, the applications shown here are useful no matter what style of Karate you train in or which group you are a part of.
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Effective application of Karate Kata for self defence videos available without charge. This gives you an idea of the sort of thing that you can see in our Kata Bunkai DVD and book ranges.
This is where you can find direct links to the Bunkai Strategies Newsletter video clips. Older clips can be seen in the Archive here.
Even when you don't know a particular kata, looking at the principles can often help us decipher the mysteries of kata we do know. Here's a little clip from the Naha-te kata Sepai. Thanks to Luke P for suggesting the kata.
The tate shuto uke of Tekki Sandan or Nijushiho (just released on DVD: Kata & Application volume 26 - Tekki Sandan) and why it isn't necessarily a block. Why horse-riding stance might be the best stance you can use for this technique. And why the hikite (pulling) hand might just double your power...
The sideways kata, Naihanchi, sometimes features a third part (Tekki Sandan in Shotokan). There is a move where you punch below your opposite hand, and naturally, there are some fightening examples of what people think it is for. Here's a version with some principles writ large for you...
Sometimes you have to look at the fundamental movements. Gedan Barai (low section sweep) is contained in many Karate kata. Applications to it can be simple or complex. Here we take a look at one that heads towards the complex - complex torque, that is...
Here's a detail of the awase uke (simultaneous down block and inside to outside block) from Heian/Pinan Sandan as shown at the Oldmeldrum seminar in bonny Scotland. We've also just released 3 hours+ of video footage from the B.A.M.A. Seminar as a download!
At the Martial Arts Expo 20th October 2013 in Coventry UK we filmed nothing. So here's a clip that we took back at the dojo to try to remind ourselves of some of what had been shared at the seminar and for those who could not make it to be there....
The B.A.M.A. Seminar brings together practitioners of different martial arts with teachers who share a familiar outlook. This week's clip shows you a small part of my Tekki Shodan DVD from 8 years ago, and footage from the seminar featuring Martyn Harris sensei and Neil Ellisonsensei. Approaching the subjects of Okinawan Karate and Xing Yi, the teachers independently taught what I consider to be Tekki applications...
Selling videos or providing a valuable catalogue of bunkai resources? Well, if comes down to being a salesman then I'm not very good at it, so hopefully you can see the value in what we produce. Here's a blatant ad for the new Kata & Application volume 23 - Gojushiho Dai video, available to download or on DVD. Enjoy the taster.
Sanchin dachi, from the Sanchin kata, also found in many many Naha-te kata and Nijushiho, Unsu, et al. Often tested by kicking towards the groin, the tension prevents the kick from landing at it's target. In this clip we take a look at the kata from a different perspective...
A cheeky use of the Newsletter to publicise our upcoming seminar, or a guided explanation by 3 teachers to cover an important principle - you decide...
Following a question from AB of Wrawby, we take a quick look at the Crane Stance tsuru ashi dachi as seen in Gankaku/Chinto. We're not evading a strike with a bo staff. We're not avoiding ashi barai.
A principle from the recent Bunkai Bootcamp. We look at why you might want to invert the nukite position, as seen in kata like Heian/Pinan Sandan, and with the "stick grabbing" posture.
The opening moves from Bassai Dai or Passai. Not for jumping into the middle of the fray to block in 3 different directions. There are many ways to use this move effectively. Here's one...
At this year's Bunkai bootcamp the question was asked about the opening moves of Tekki Nidan/Naihanchi Nidan. It's not "catching an arrow" - that's the sort of thing that I was taught...
From Kanku Dai or Kusanku, we find a falling motion with a projected fist behind us. We could apply it with our position already being "on the floor", but this particular request was that we begin it stood up. The footage is from this year's Bunkai Bootcamp, and is a response to a question asked by a participant.
On Kata & Application volume 15 Kanku Sho we have various applications for the moves in the kata, including "the jump". This week's clip shows one of the jump applications, illustrating why we shouldn't think of it as defence against a bo staff attack. More than that, we look at the principle of what jumps might be used for across all kata.
Double inside-outside block? For consecutive mid-level punches? If you've stuck with us this far then you know that certain kinds of application are only eany good as speed drills, and we needs something closer, nastier, and more finite. From kata like Bassai Dai/Passai or Sochin, these kinds of move are commonly misunderstood.
From Bassai Sho, the end sequence has been shown as all sorts of blocks. In this clip we're going to have a look at using the techniques against someone grabbing your shoulder from behind.
Just after the first kiai in Gekisai Dai Ichi and Ni there is a shuto uchi technique combined with a foot movement. Sometimes this can be shown as avoiding a sweep and chopping behind us. Here we look at some core principles that affect that notion...
We're taking another look at the "Bo grabbing posture" bo dori from Jitte (also sometimes written as Jutte). As this move is usually presented as grabbinga six-foot long stick that's presented to you on a vertical plane, we thought you'd like to see another way of using it. The rotations of the hands are the key to tearing the attacker apart (or at least tearing apart their intention).
There are numerous ways to enhance a technique. The variations can be called henka. Our example technique this week is tora guchi (Tiger Mouth) as seen in kata like Bassai Dai, Bassai Sho, and Kanku Sho. The variations can make the move devastating.
Our technique of the week is from Nijushiho. The technique is similar to the one from Bassai Dai, a kind of "mini gedan barai" following the elbow strike. In Bassai it's a triple. Here in the kata also known as Niseishi it's only a single. So, we don't want to use it for blocking a punch. Here's an alternative.
The "swastika block" - manji gamae/manji uke - is often misrepresented as simultaneously blocking high and low, without thought for the consequences or the logical next step. Here, we provide an alternative application that shows how the posture can be used in a grapling situation. The move occurs in so many kata that is must be of consequence - Heian/Pinan Godan, Jion, Gankaku/Chinto, Jitte, Ji'in, etc.
The beginner's kata of Goju-ryu, Gekisai dai ichi, is a much more complex beast than the beginner's kata in Shotokan. It is a relatively young kata, and may have been created with kumite-style applications in mind. That doesn't mean that we can't use applications that are more relevant to us, though, does it? As each generation recreates the art in their own image, we can use the templates of old to reflect the values that we place on our heritage.
This week we take a quick look at juji-gedan barai. The move is seen in kata such as Heian/Pinan Godan, Gankaku/Chinto, and many others. The issue is to not use it for blocking a kick. The ulna is not a great bone for stopping powerful kicks, and using both hands low down is a recipe for getting punched in the face. There are many practical applications, and in this case we will look at an attack on the neck.
This is the Tettsui uchi - hammerfist strike - as used in Heian Shodan/Pinan Nidan. Most people can see that it can be used for a bop on the nose; what we have here is another view of that situation. A similar move occurs in Saifa
Here's the double block near the start of Heian Sandan/Pinan Sandan. Variations on this move occur in Jion and Ji'in, too. I'm pretty sure we've shown this before, I just couldn't find it, so it must be time to film it again, and maybe saying it differently will help. Sometimes bunkai can seem barbaric, sometimes it can seem "too nice"; what must be remembered is that it is up to the practitioner as to how hard to go in. When I am demonstrating for these videos I keep it very light. The effect I get is with a light power level. Higher power levels equal larger effects.
G.W. emailed about the Morote Uke in Heian Nidan. (The technique is very common in other kata, too) His instructor can demonstrate numerous applications for this one, but I've always loved the one you see here. The reason is that it involves the "preparatory" position in a defined way. It also involves one of the Habitual Acts of Physical Violence which might get neglected amongst all these hook punches...
In answer to a subscriber's question, we take a brief look at the signature move from Gojushiho Sho (the JKA classification, not the SKIF classification). Also known as Useishi, the name of the kata is "54, minor version". The hand technique is a sign of links to the crane origins of the kata, and is often shown as blocking a punch to the mid-level. Here are some other ways to look at it.
In this week's clip we take a quick look at the start of Chinte kata. The "unusual hands" start there, but similar shapes can be seen in Heian Nidan/Pinan Shodan and many other places as koshi gamae (hip guard). Our proposition is that this is not for guarding the hip or a ready position, but is, instead, a rather good way of locking up an attacker.
This week we provide another set of uses for the Bassai Sho/Itosu Passaiyumi zuki (bow punch). In effect, it is a variation on Bassai Dai's yama zuki (mountain punch). Rather than thinking about two out-bound hands punching at the same time, we link in the whole of the combination to provide a useful strategy.
Just prior to the first kiai in Bassai dai/Passai, there is a grand sweeping motion and drop of the hands. Those hands make a shape called toraguchi (tiger mouth). This particular move has plenty of applications, but the simple one that is frequently shown in dojo around the world has some easily added enhancements...
The agezuki of Empi or Wanshu kata is a characteristic technique that is used to illustrate the "flying swallow" nature of the kata. Often used to impact, and previously shown here as an arm-bar, on this occasion we have a different application for you. Here's how you use the principle from Empi for grappling:
The Cross block sequence from Heian Godan and Pinan Godan is not for stopping a kick and follow up punch. People outside don't throw maegeri and they don't do oizuki. You can't predict that particular combination. There are a few things that the combination can do, and here's one of them:
Bassai Sho has a turning sequence with palm-up ridge-hand block and one handed gedan barai early on in the kata.
Rather than using these techniques against consecutive attacks, we look at how they care of an opponent in one continuous motion
Empi also known as Wanshu. The "Flying Swallow" kata features a palm-heel block delivered at a strange angle before the stepping sequence. This clip gives you an alternative application for the movement that is often seen as "blocking a punch".
Oizuki. Chokuzuki. Gyakuzuki. The straight punch lecture. In response to a question about how we "sell" the straight punch, in this age of "reality-based self-defence".
Turning sequence from Unsu, and why it isn't really about people standing around waiting to attack you in sequence. There's a boo-boo with which arm I use in the demonstration, but we think the clip is worthwhile anyway.
Nukite. The spear hand. Surrounded by myths concerning thrusting fingers through people's skin. In this clip the unlikely technique is shown in a different context, and some of the different surfaces that the technique can use are illustrated.
The end of Kanku Dai (Kusanku) features a particular ending. The sukui uke (scooping block) followed by yama gamae (mountain posture) before dropping the arms. I think we've looked at this one before, but here's a variation that shows something other than lifting the opponent's body over your head, as not everyone can do that...
Here is the move called awase zuki. Often referred to as the "u" shaped punch, it is seen in kata such as Nijushiho/Niseishi, GekiSaiDai Ichi and others. The idea of hitting someone with two hands simultaneously is a good one. We might strive to be able to do that, but most of us work naturally in a 1-2 or 1-2-3 manner. So how can we use this "double punch"?
More questions from subscribers. This time, the elbow sequence from Tekki Nidan (aka Naihanchi Nidan). Elbow to the rear and then elbow to the front, we are told, as if there are two attackers. We need to ask about those spaces, though, don't we?...
Responding to a question from a subscriber: the move from Kanku Dai with the large double block just before the last turn and jumping kicks.
It's easy to see how the move can be a throw, but the question was asked as to just how you can get bigger people to roll over. In this clip I'll show two things that dramatically change the throw so that the opponent's weight and size is irrelevant.
We're looking at fundamentals. Every New Year should start with fundamentals, and right here we have zenkutsudachi - front stance. In particular, we're looking at the "C" shaped step that occurs in most kata where you find a front stance. I'm sure you've seen bashing with the knee before, so we've added a couple of extra bits to spice up your stepping:
If you would like to see earlier Bunkai Strategies clips, dealing with other moves from kata, they can be found on our Archive page here.
The Bunkai Strategies Newsletter 2012 video clips are available to download for $10. There is over 90 minutes of footage that you would then have on your pad or pc whether you were online or not.
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John Burke's Bunkai Strategies
Karate Academy, 8 Signal Buildings, Brunel Road, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ12 4PB, United Kingdom