While it's heartening to see a new wave of martial artists launching themselves into analyzing the breadth and depth of kata, it's disheartening to see how they sometimes miss the point because they don't fully understand the science behind the moves in kata. After watching a series of videos, reading some posts on martial arts message boards, and remembering to some of my own early training, I've observed that the latest craze afflicting interpretation of moves in kata is the grappling craze. Every move of every kata can suddenly be interpreted as a grappling movement. Even more alarming is that these grappling techniques are passed off as "the next level" of development.
The more I look at kata, and the more I study the Chibana methodology, the less convinced I have become of grappling applications in certain places in certain kata that I have seen passed off as "advanced techniques." Yes, there are many places in kata where you are clearly grappling with an opponent. But in other places, sometimes a punch is just a punch, a block just a block, and a kick just a kick. I think instructors are beginning to read too much into movements or perhaps too little, not fully understanding the science of the movements. And, thus interpreting or inserting grappling imi when it is not the imi that is called for. And the problem with using the wrong imi is that you miss the proper bunkai (tautological, but true). If a move in a kata is just a punch but not understanding how a punch is to be properly executed in that move of the kata, you might interpret it as a throw instead. Both are diminished in execution; throwing and punching are not the same, and both have a different bunkai.
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Technorati: martial arts Karate personal combat self defense chibana chosin kata bunkai