View Full Version : Training a single kata for 7 years?

Jari Virta
20th January 2001, 12:06
This is something you all already know, but here goes. It is often said that the old masters only knew a handful of different katas at most and studied one kata for years on.

Often those less into traditional karate get the weird conception that these old masters did nothing but stood on a beach (at sunset of course :) ) and did endless lonely repetitions of the kata and then somehow miraculously were transformed into the supermen they are remembered as.

I find it ludicrous. Of course they did bunkai. Probably at least half of their training time was about applying the kata - not repeating it punching air!

I would've assumed that the people on this board know all this, but still I sometimes notice that someone doubts if some old-time master really studied only one single kata for 5 or 10 years and then they say that the story is probably only partly truy and they also practiced bunkai. I don't know about you guys, but to me practising a kata implies that of course the bunkai goes with it too!

It is funny how the modern styles have lost the bunkai and then given the public the idea that nobody knows the bunkai anymore. :(

I am sorry about my English output, it is not my native language but I hope you get my point.

Doug Daulton
20th January 2001, 22:07
Mr. Virta,

I think you are absolutely correct. The key word is "study" as opposed to "train". I used to think study meant endless repetitions of a kata with no bunkai.

Now I believe study includes bunkai (lots of it) as well as endless repetition of the kata. Once one is informed by the bunkai, the individual kata practice takes on a much deeper meaning.