Bunkai Jutsu DVD’s Now Available As Downloads

As many of you will know, I’ve been selling my own DVD’s for some time now.  I’ve finally caught up with the times and they are now available much more cheaply and conveniently as downloads.

They have both received endorsements from very senior martial artists, including world renowned teacher and author Shihan Kousaku Yokota, 8th Dan Shotokan Karate and Geoff Thompson, co-founder of the British Combat Association, author of over 40 books and BAFTA award winner.

There are only 2 DVD’s at the moment, but I plan to extend the range some time next year.  For more information and to purchase, please visit the store page.

Karate Kata Bunkai: Bassai Dai

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do any videos on kata bunkai, which was a very prominent element of this website when I first started it.  Unfortunately I still haven’t been able to, yet recently I’ve been asked if I will be doing any more.

So what I’ve done below is take an excerpt from my DVD, Inside Bassai Dai.  It features some kata bunkai from the opening sequence of Bassai Dai.  I hope you enjoy it. Continue reading “Karate Kata Bunkai: Bassai Dai” »

Karate Kata Bunkai: Bassai Dai

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do any videos on kata bunkai, which was a very prominent element of this website when I first started it.  Unfortunately I still haven’t been able to, yet recently I’ve been asked if I will be doing any more.

So what I’ve done below is take an excerpt from my DVD, Inside Bassai Dai.  It features some kata bunkai from the opening sequence of Bassai Dai.  I hope you enjoy it.

Many visitors to this website don’t get taught this kind of bunkai at their own Dojo, so please leave your feedback below and tell me what you think.

Endorsment By Shihan Kousaku Yokota, 8th Dan Shotokan Karate

Shihan Kousaku Yokota is an 8th Dan at Shotokan Karate with a special interest in uncovering myths and getting to the truth (hence releasing his own book, Shotokan Myths on the subject).

I am therefore very honoured to have received the following endorsement by from him on his Facebook page, about my DVD, Inside Bassai Dai.

“Over the holidays I had a very pleasant experience watching one Shotokan bunkai DVD. It is called Inside Bassai Dai created by Sensei Charlie Wildish, UK. I found the bunkai in it to be realistic and easy to learn. He demonstrates how some of the techniques are applied. I was particularly pleased to see the application for double uchi uke (inside forearm blocks). He interprets them as a uke followed by a uraken”.

I have trained under a number of senior Japanese and British instructors in my time.  But none of them have been as dedicated to exposing the political, social and sporting influences on Karate which have altered the way we train and consequently watered down Shotokan as a martial art as is Shihan Yokota.  This is why his personal endorsement is very special to me.  If he approves then it not only means that I can be satisfied with my DVD, but my whole understanding of Karate as a real martial art (rather than just a sport) must be moving in the right direction.

It will be very difficult to get closer to the true source and understanding of real traditional Karate today than the teachings of Shihan Yokota.  This is why I am very excited to have this endorsement and why I thank him very much for it.

WOW! An Endorsment By Geoff Thompson!

Geoff Thompson is co-founder of the British Combat Association and a pioneer for reality based martial arts training.  His experiences as a martial artist (now 6th Dan)  and working as a bouncer gave him a great insight into what does and does not really work when under pressure.  He put this experience into his own teachings and was polled as the number one self defence instructor in the world by Black Belt magazine USA.  From there he has become the author of thirty-four books, five multi-award-winning films (two BAFTA nominated, one BAFTA winning), two stage plays and hundreds of published articles.

It was with a little trepidation (and quit a bit of cheek on my part) that we sent my new DVD, Inside Bassai Dai to Geoff Thompson for review.  We are delighted and honoured to have received the following endorsement from Geoff:

“Shotokan has always been my base system, so it was fascinating for me to watch the Charlie Wildish DVD on Bassai Dai, and come away with so much new information about this powerful kata and its origins.  I particularly like the historical element about Sokon Matsumura (who created the kata) and how, when & why he created the “grappling kata”.  I got a lot from this DVD and highly recommend it”.

I also sent Geoff a copy of my other DVD, 10 Kicking Tips, which I will be giving away free for a limited time to anybody who buys Inside Bassai Dai.  Geoff’s comments on this DVD were:

“I thought your kicking DVD was very good too.  You presented well and the info was strong”.

I’ll be honest, I was also given a few tips on improving presentation, which I was very grateful for and which I will be looking to implement as soon as I can.  To find out more about Inside Bassai Dai and 10 Kicking Tips, or to buy them, please visit our on-line Store.

New DVD: Inside Bassai Dai (Kata Bunkai)

Keith and I are very pleased to release our new kata bunkai DVD, “Inside Bassai Dai”.  For those not familiar with Bassai Dai, it is a very central kata in many Karate systems and is often used for black belt gradings to 1st Dan.  This is fitting considering it’s author is the Okinawan master, Soken Matsumura who is a very pivotal character in the development of Karate.

Matsumura was one of the prime movers in developing linear technique (previously, Okinawans practiced primarily Chinese based circular techniques).  He also taught Azato and Ituso, who went on to teach Funikoshi (who introduced Karate to Japan and hence the World).  So Matsumura’s impact on Karate is enormous.

He also faced unusual and unique challenges, which I have written about before, so I won’t repeat it here.

Matsumura’s master was taught by a Chinaman and Matsumura is known to have gone to Shaolin to do some training.  It is therefore appropriate that I am working with Keith (a Kung Fu exponent) as it takes us back closer to Matsumura’s original influences.  It also makes this DVD a bit unique.  There is also a free DVD on Kicking Tips being given away with it.  Anyway, it’s been getting some great endorsements and is available at our store with full details if you want to check it out.

“This DVD delivers a down to earth and realistic look at the often misunderstood Kata of Karate.  Simple to follow and easy to understand.  It is great to see Charlie Wildish incorporating my ABC system of manstoppers in to his karate, it is must have principle for any serious combat martial artist.  Good work Charlie”.

Kevin O’Hagan:  7th Dan Combat JuJutsu, 6th Dan British Combat Association.

“This DVD is a must for any true Karateka who is interested in uncovering the essence of Bunkai, and understanding the true meaning of Kata.”

Mark Winkler:  6th Dan Wado Ryu Karate, Qualified Systema Instructor

 

Bassai Dai (Passai): Grappling Kata?

As discussed in an earlier posting, the Okinawan master, Sokon “Bushi” Matsumura was a central figure in developing the now familiar linear technique, at a time when most martial artists on Okinawa were still using the circular techniques of Chinese origin.  As discussed in that posting, Matsumura was also the head bodyguard to the King of Okinawa and the bodyguards (like all Okinawans) were not allowed to carry weapons by Japanese decree.

This left a situation where the bodyguards could end up fighting a superior number of assailants, who might also be armed.  That previous posting discussed how the linear technique would have helped take the fight to the opponents and dispatch them as quickly as possible (necessary when facing larger numbers).

Taking a step further back in history, the earlier Okinawan masters had developed a system that included all modes of combat.  This would include striking, grappling and weapons.  Although Matsumura developed the linear technique and clearly emphasised the “one hit, one kill” philosophy which we are very familiar with today; Matsumura and his men would clearly have needed some grappling skills.  They would not be interested in taking a fight to the ground where others could kick them on the floor and they would not be interested in the time taken to gain a submission when others would be attacking them.  However, they would be particularly interested in knowing how to release any kind of grabs or holds and release them very fast before others came up to hit them.

Matsumura is believed to the be the author of Bassai Dai (also known as Passai or Patsai), which is still practiced in may styles of Karate and Tang Soo Do.  When you look at the opening sequence of Bassai Dai just after the forward thrusting back fist strike/block, you turn 180 degrees and perform 2 chest level blocks, turn 180 degrees again and perform 2 more chest level blocks, then turn 90 degrees to the right, scoop low and perform 2 more chest level blocks.  When you stop to think about it, this is a bazaar sequence.  Firstly, Matsumura was known to be a man who studied his enemies, and in this case his enemies would be angry Westerns wanting to trade (and being rejected by Japanese order).  Matsumura would know that these “barbarians” would not practice straight lunge punches, but would more likely swing at the head.  Secondly, why do so much blocking and not hit back?  You’ve just blocked 3 people and they are still standing, still wanting to hit you!  The defence is not geared to the likely attacks and still leaves you vulnerable at the end.

Was it that Bassai Dai was more for character development than for actual fighting.  Matsumura was practical, clever, ruthless and fanatical about martial arts.  It is very unlikely that he would author a kata that did not have very practical, effective and ruthless fighting movements from start to finish.

So what conclusion can we draw?  The obvious one is that this sequence of 6 chest level blocks are in fact, nothing to do with chest level blocks.  Bearing in mind that Matsumura’s men would expect to be outnumbered, should a fight break out they would expect to be grabbed from all directions.  So try practicing this sequence with a partner.  Have them grab you in various ways from behind, then turn and perform the double blocks.  You will find that most grabs will be knocked off and as you are moving into your opponent/partner, you will find that the second “block” can often be used as a close quarters strike.

My Sensei, Paul Mitchell always says that Bassai Dai is a grappling kata.  Not grappling as in the sporting sense, but to release attackers grabs and line them up for a finishing blow.  He also says that Karate is “a kind art” as it teaches you to strike first (which is the easiest way to dispatch somebody) and grapple later.  However, when learning to strike we place a great deal of emphasis on stance and posture which some people decry as unrealistic and static.  But that stance and posture gives you the balance and stability that you need when somebody has grabbed you and is trying to shake you about as you try to release them.  Furthermore, the mobility that we are supposed to lose by using these stances are more valuable for sporting contest than the reality of the street.

This may seem strange to some people if they are reading these type of ideas for the first time, but the more you analise it, the more you realise that it is the only logical conclusion.

Our own DVD on Bassai Dai and its bunkai is now available at our store.