One Minute Bunkai™ was created as an informal guide to learning and understanding Karate applications in an easy to follow visual format. One Minute Bunkai™ does not claim to have the only applications, it uses a no-nonsense approach to present interpretations that work, and are as simple as possible. In addition they do not require cooperation from your training partner.
These one minute videos are not intended to show you how to make these applications work for you, they are meant to illustrate big and little ideas of what Karate moves contain within them. You must figure out the "how" through your own practice with the help of your instructor. (read more)
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About One Minute Bunkai
One Minute Bunkai™ is the creation of Angel Lemus (former Creative Director and Publisher of Bugeisha: Traditional Martial Artist magazine). Angel has studied Karate and other martial arts for 38+ years, including Judo, Jujitsu, Okinawan weaponry, and Chen Style Taichi. He has always had an interest in the practical applications of the art, which were previously clouded in mystery and were either not realistic, unuseable, or completely ignored.
Angel's approach to bunkai (applications) was instilled in him early by his Sensei, Tim Rodgers, who always represented Karate as a lethal weapon (not a sport), and whose incredible skill in fighting is both terrifying and a thing of beauty. The awesome thing about Sensei Rodgers is that he represents "old school" Karate, meaning that everything he does is basic, uncomplicated, efficient, and hurts. He forged his fighting skills using several different sources–Karate training in the 50s, three tours of duty in Vietnam, and stints as a DEA operative and bounty hunter. Today he teaches a dedicated group of students in his hand-built dojo in South Florida. Together Angel Lemus and Tim Rodgers founded the Karate group Zentokukai in 1997 with the goal of preserving "old school" Karate and passing it on to the next generation.
Angel is a technology geek/professional, a graphic artist, and video enthusiast. These combined talents and his extensive knowledge of Karate were originally put to use in the production of Bugeisha magazine in the early 90s. Since then, in addition to his Karate teaching career, he has searched for a new project that would bring his passion for Karate to today's Web- and iPad-connected world in a unique way. The idea of One Minute Bunkai™ came to him early one morning after a sleepless night spent thinking about Karate.
It is his hope that One Minute Bunkai™ will be an important resource for the many talented players in the martial arts field who are passionate about bringing clarity and understanding to martial artists everywhere—young or old, beginner or experienced.
Angel lives in Hawai'i and teaches Okinawan Karate and Kobudo at the Kokokahi YWCA in Kane'ohe.
How to look at Bunkai
You will never find out the "real meaning" of a Karate move, there is no such thing. There are some obvious applications that are "what you see is what you get" or "at face value", but many moves are not what you think they are initially.
Bunkai falls into several categories which I talk about below, for example in the video Chudan uke #1, you see a forearm block being done against a punch and at the same time it turns into an elbow lock. The move is identical, thus the move is many things simultaneously.
Bunkai is what makes Karate moves come to life, but like any art with a path to mastery, all beginners need to forge a solid foundation, for this reason I tell my students to first focus on proper technique. Without a solid foundation any number of bunkai you memorize will NOT work effectively in the real world. You will not have the needed power, penetration, solid bone conditioning, and you will probably bounce off your opponent.
Karate applications are deep but first focus and master your hitting because it will end the fight in 1 second, don't become obsessed with grabbing and controlling someone without first giving them a good softening shot.
Bunkai goes like this in general, but there are always exceptions:
1) Number one on the list–Hit, punch, kick, stab, poke, strike, bump, smash, get the idea?
2) Gabbing and controlling can happen after you hit or simultaneously.
3) Breaking of bones, tearing of tissue, and separating of things that are supposed to be connected.
4) Denial of breath by constriction, and/or suffocation.
5) Denial of blood flow by arterial blockage.
6) Pressure points attacks which result from instant pain to a good old knock out.
7) One of my favorites, denial of verticality, i.e.- knock 'em on their butts, using anything you find in Judo, Jujitsu or Aikido.
8) Denial of vision, hey–eye pokes never go out of style, the 3 stooges had it right all along.
All the above are inside your Karate kata. There are certain rules and parameters that once discovered give you a KEY to unlock these hidden moves.
This KEY is what I call the X-RAY vision to see through the veil of Karate which hides the goodies inside. Memorizing a bunch of things is not the answer, what is important is internalizing of the "Principles". The principles and rules of Karate bunkai which allow you to (and I'm serious about this) figure this stuff out on the fly like a jazz musician can improvise in a jam session (there really is very little difference).
I cannot tell you how to find the Key in this writing, everyone needs to spend a good amount of years researching, reading, looking, discovering, having things done to you, in other words you need to pay the price to find this Key.
No matter how much fancy bunkai stuff you know, the most important thing to take to the street, is common sense, knowing your gut and your nose, that's right, like when you get a gut feeling, or something doesn't smell right. Follow your instincts. And remember that there are 2 very important rules to combat:
Combat rule #1: Follow the rules of combat.
Combat rule #2: forget rule #1 ever existed.
One last thing, if I was about to get into a fight, and I have a good old solid iron frying pan within reach, I will grab that wonderful fighting instrument of antiquity and take into battle, I don't care what I look like, that frying pan will enhance my fighting skills a thousand fold
My point is– do not let dogma stiflle your imagination, in life, in self-defense you do whatever is necessary, you must react using your instincts, use your space, your environment, your body as a weapon, and anything you can get a hold of, like a frying pan.
Be smart, follow your gut, control yourself, and break all the rules.
One Minute Bunkai Players
Producer of One Minute Bunkai.
Head Instructor (Sensei) of the Ninchokan Dojo in Kane'ohe Hawai'i.
Vice President of the Zentokukai Karate Association.
IT manager, Graphic Designer (web, print, video)
Judy Lemus PH.D.
Instructor (Sensei). Practices and assists at the Ninchokan Dojo Hawai'i.
Education Specialist/Marine Biologist.
Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology.
Rob Toonen PH.D.
Practices and assists at the Ninchokan
Marine Biologist. Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology.
Oren Leong M.D.
Practices and assists at the
Ninchokan Dojo Hawai'i.
One Minute Bunkai's Music
Tony James is the sound of One Minute Bunkai! Tony is an amazing artist and one of the most talented people I have ever met. I'm proud to say that he is my Karate student, friend, and musical Sensei. Without Tony's music One Minute Bunkai would be a hollow production. Music is the soul, the emotion, and brings life to images. Tony (a master percussionist) has nailed it with his blending of Japanese Taiko, rock, and funk to make these mini 1 minute+ soundtracks that complete our videos.
Tony was the co-founder of Maggie’s Dream, and established himself as a premier studio and stage performer by working with artists such as Cyndi Lauper, Billy Squier, Brenda K. Starr (with Mariah Carey), Lenny Kravitz, Coolio, PM Dawn, Charles & Eddie, Dave Koz, Darden Smith, Noel, David Yazbek, and Jeffrey Gaines.
Tony also won acclaim as costar of the Emmy-nominated Disney series Out of the Box and as an original U.S. cast member of the Off-Broadway sensation STOMP.
You can check out his CD on the iTunes store.
The Production Shop
It's quite simple, Apple all the way.
I use a MacPro (vintage 2008) with eight 3 GHz cores and 8 Gigs of Ram. Running the latest Apple OS (Lion10.x).
For software I use Final Cut Pro X, Motion and Compressor. It is amazing that one individual can do all this stuff at home.
What is even more amazing is that I use my iPhone 4s for video capture. With its 8 megapixel camera it captures 1080p HD video and it looks pretty good in Youtube.
It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to shoot one episode, about 2 hrs on the production end, to edit video, graphics treatments, and upload to YouTube.
The one who showed me the way...
To the man, mentor, father, and Sensei, I thank you for giving me the gift of Karate, I promise I will guard it like the treasure that it is, just like you have always done.
Arigato Gozai masu!
Sensei Tim Rodgers (right)
The Rock, the Well, the Rhino!