Gojukai-Main | Kihon | Kata | Kumite | Bunkai

Bunkai - Kata Analysis

Goju-Ryu has always placed a heavy emphasis on the study of kata to learn defensive techniques. This practice is called Bunkai. Bunkai training is very similar to Yakusoku Kumite in that there is an attacker and a defender, but it also blends the concepts found in Kata training. The partners drill techniques, one person attacking and the other defending using only moves and concepts found within a kata. Blocking, evading, counter-striking, kicking, attacking and grappling techniques are all found within the movements in Goju-Ryu kata, and only vary in complexity according to the skill level of the people practicing.


In the Gojukai, most kata have established Bunkai that students learn after they have become proficient with each kata. The only kata that do not have a corresponding Bunkai are the Taikyoku series. From Gekki-sai Dai Ichi up to Suparinpei, all the bunkai have been developed by Kaiso Gogen Yamaguchi and by Saiko Shihan Goshi Yamaguchi. Saiko Shihan cautions however that these are set as the curriculum for Gojukai, but that they are not the only interpretation of the techniques in kata. He encourages students of Goju-Ryu to continue to explore other meanings of techniques and concepts through their own practice.

Sanchin and Tensho can be explored using two-person "Kote-Awase" and "Kake-Awase" exercises that resemble Bunkai. One of the most significant differences between these and Bunkai exercises is that for Sanchin and Tensho there is no clear winner in the exercise.

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