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Form, Body Dynamics & Applications

I our dojo, we teach some basics first followed by kata. I feel that kata are a good way to learn basics and are more interesting than simply squatting and punching, so to speak.

Once the student learns the "outer" form of the kata (the steps, techniques, directions, etc.), we turn the focus to body dynamics. We work on "how" to move, essentially the inner "form" of the kata. The "inner" form powers the "outer" form. Anyone can copy the movements of a kata, but it is quite another thing to move like a seasoned Karate expert.

Once the student makes progress in learning "how" to move, we gradually introduce the applications (bunkai or imi), essentially "how" to use the techniques. The reason this is done second, after body dynamics, is important.

With ordinary body mechanics, the applications will have a limited effect. Done in an ordinary way, a punch is just a punch. There is nothing wrong with it -- it is just limited.

Learning body dynamics takes a long time. Actually, the bunkai is relatively easy. In Kenpo, we used to call certain techniques "tricks". Certain defenses were used against certain attacks almost like a formula.

Form, body dynamics, applications. The ultimate goal is to be able to perform each and every movement optimally and to apply each and every technique effectively. This requires constant work and great attention to minute details.


Charles C. Goodin