Bunkai-jutsu. The practical application of karate kata
Author: Iain Abernethy
Book review by Phil Hayes
Having attended, Iain Abernethy´s ´bunkai ´seminar, in Edinburgh back in May, albeit with a broken foot. I was lucky enough to have a chat with Iain himself. Having been impressed by what I had seen, I asked him to recommend one item from his vast array of books and DVD´s which would best suit someone of limited karate ability such as myself, as a starting point. His recommendation was ´Bunkai-jutsu´ The practical application of Karate kata.
Having recently finished the book i have been asked by Stephen to write a short review.
I should start by saying that as many of you know I have only recently taken up Kyokushin-kan karate, and therefore I feel vastly under-qualified to even attempt a review of any of Mr Abernethy´s works, however I shall endeavour to do it the justice it truly deserves.
I could never get to grips with karate as a youngster. Even at the tender age of 12, the idea of trying to ´block´ a powerful kick with my scrawny little arm seemed at best foolish, and having been ´set upon´ a few times, but never with a nicely uniform Oi-tsuki to the mid chest area, I gave up and dismissed karate as impractical for my own self defence requirements. The book ´Bunkai-jutsu´ is little short of a revelation. The often irrelevant performance of kata for pretty, demonstration purposes is firmly put to bed, and the ugly, brutal reality of kata as a singular fighting system for use in ´real´ situations´ is revealed. Kata has meaning, at all fighting distances, in all situations, yes, even on the ground. The explanations within the book, along with the related illustrations are in themselves brilliant, taking the reader through parts of the kata themselves, then onto the true application(s) in a straight forward easy to grasp manner. Even to a beginner like myself who has not yet learned all the kata´s being shown, it was simple to follow.
Beyond the black and white examples the author explains in great detail how to look at the kata from a practical, fighting system viewpoint, rather than simply memorising steps and actions for the sake of having to learn them for grading purposes.
Iain´s explanations of ´the nature of real fights´ of which i have some experience, and how the bunkai applications are designed to deal with ´real fights´ and not sport style competition fighting , show how with the correct understanding and practise of the kata and their applications, karate can be the ultimate self defence tool I had always hoped it would be.
I would recommend this book to all karate practitioners whatever their grade or experience within the art, and if possible book yourself a place on the very next bunkai seminar with Iain Abernethy himself.
This books contents include: