Many of the elaborate applications used to respond to grabs and holds are actually dependent on the attacker being fairly lifeless. The photo above being an example, why doesn't the attacker grabbing Choki Motobu's wrist simply pull him to the ground or let go and hit him in the back of the head while Motobu is turned away? What is he waiting for?
A strong active grip to the wrist or lapel (or anywhere else) is not an end in itself and is done in order achieve things like greater impact when hitting, throwing techniques, securing locks and holds etc. So does it make sense to have kata applications to respond to these grips? training to focus responses on a wrist grab or lapel grip can end up having devastating consequences from what quickly follows next!
Escaping from locks and holds is a very difficult skill to acquire, it is hard won through countless hours of grappling requiring not only knowledge of the escape manoeuvres but also an intimate knowledge of the holds and locks themselves. A prerequisite for a good lock or hold is breaking the opponents posture and balance, many of the escapes taught as bunkai for various kata begin with the defenders posture and balance intact and lack the most important part of the escape, recovering posture and balance!!!
Given the vast number of possibilities and variations that occur in grappling and the experience needed to be effective in escaping grips, locks and holds it seems counter intuitive to try to isolate a few techniques here and there and catalogue them in a kata. What if you have the escape from an armbar but not from the choke that follows it? the list of 'what ifs' goes on and on ad nauseam and quickly reveals that it is beyond the scope of any kata. To effectively prepare to deal with a grappler and grappling techniques grapple!
The aim of this post is to call into question that the antique forms (kata inherited from China) originally contained reactive grappling techniques and that the common isolated attacks used in modern kata bunkai such as wrist grabs, lapel grips, locks and holds are a poor representation lacking in vitality and far removed from reality.
If the intention was to record responses to grips and holds etc it should in some way give meaning to and reveal the structure and sequence of a kata, otherwise the form is just another seemingly random series of techniques strung together for no apparent reason. What would be the benefit of this as a practise? and what value would the solo exercise hold for the practitioner? can solo kata movements ever honestly represent reactive grappling?
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