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Bunkai -- Right, Left

When considering the applications of a technique (bunkai), one guideline is that the technique should work for both a right and left attack.

Take a right middle block. If the attacker throws a right punch, we can use this block. If he throws a left punch, we can also use this block. The block does not change depending on whether the attacker throws a right or left punch.

This is extemely important. When we are standing facing an attacker, we do not know what he is going to do. We do not know whether he is going to throw a right or left punch (or some other technique). What we do know is how we are standing, our body orientation, our surroundings, and what blocks/strikes we can do best in that position.

We will not choose a specific block based on what the attacker does. There is no time for that level of detail. We will, instead, defend our zones (lower, middle, upper) with our best block/strike. I use the term "block/strike" because our defense might be block, might be a strike, or might be a combination of the two. Who knows?

But what we should know if that our defense will work against a right or left attack. This requires us to practice against both attacks in the dojo. We would not switch our defense at the last minute. That is a sure way to get hit, especially if the attacker throws a fake.


Charles C. Goodin