After a few years of training, most Karate students will ‘know’ several Kata. Of course there is a world of difference between being able to merely perform the movements of the Kata and truly understanding them. Bunkai literally means to ‘separate’ or ‘break down’ (‘bun’) and ‘understand’ (‘Kai’). Kata bunkai means to breakdown the movements of the Kata and study their practical applications.
Is Bunkai really necessary? If one studies Karate simply to get into shape or perform Kata in tournaments, Bunkai may seem like a waste of time. What counts is looking good (as defined by the rules of the competition), particularly to the judges and the crowd.
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