Black belt kata bunkai

Today, Sensei Noia had us work on parts of the Heian katas and some bunkai for high belt katas.

Warm up with kata parts

Sensei Noia has us start class working on the first few moves of each of the Heian katas. We did the first six moves of Heian Shodan, the first seven of Heian Nidan, the first seven of Heian Sandan, the first three of Heian Yondan and the first seven of Heian Godan.

After that, we did the same amount of moves for each kata but his time in mirror image which gets the brain working.  I really like working on kata as a warm up for class because it gives us more time working on kata even if it is only parts of the katas.

Black belt kata bunkai

We spent the rest of the class working on various applications (bunkai) from Kanku Dai and Hangetsu.  We started by doing a full Kanku Dai.  The first moves that we worked on was from near the end of Kanku Dai where you do the spear hand strike, after the side snap kick and back stance.  Someone has grabbed your hand and you turn counter clockwise, giving them a backfist to the face and then taking them down over your leg while in a horse stance.

It has taken me a long time to realize this but many of these techniques are all about timing and placement of the body and not about power.

We did a full Kanku Dai again and then worked on the upward x-block, near the end of the kata.  You catch the attackers hand, bring it up over your head, turn your body with their arm over your shoulder and then pull it down until the arm breaks.

We moved on to Hangetsu starting with a full kata.  We did the movement from the first kiai where you do an open handed outward block and then grab the attackers hand.  After grabbing the attackers hand, you can do the next move and either strike their elbow or the nerve near it or you can turn it into a face first takedown.

Also, be sure to take it slow when working with a partner, because they are a training partner, not an attacker and gone partners do not grow on trees.

We ended class with a kata of our choice and then lined up.

Learning the application of your kata can help you

Up until about two years ago, I was never really interested in the application of the kata moves but since then I have spent more and more time learning how these techniques work.  It not only helps me understand the katas better but it helps me explain the katas much better when I share them with other students.  Telling a student what they are doing in their kata always improves their performance and they seem to retain it better.


About doug
Doug is a Shotokan Karate student that enjoys sharing his Karate training experiences with everyone. He is a Computer Consultant, an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, blogger and a freelance writer..

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