|Against a grab in Seiunchin.|
At the time, I didn't think that the classical kata of Goju-ryu actually had a lot of defenses against pushes and grabs. We didn't really practice bunkai to classical kata very much. Like most dojos, I suppose, we did a lot of basic drills, and much of it was centered on the Gekisai kata because beginners and seniors trained together. One of the problems in many dojos: everyone trains to the lowest common denominator. Then they tell you it's not what you train that separates a junior from a senior, it's how you train. Yeah, okay.
|Against a grab in Saifa.|
Of course, at some point most people begin looking at classical kata, trying to find bunkai. The problem is that you generally find what you're looking for. We had been trained in block, punch, kick karate, and so what we found in exploring the applications for the classical subjects were block, kick, and punch applications. When this sort of training begins to seem elementary, as it certainly did, we latched onto that oft repeated dojo rejoinder: A punch is not always a punch, a block is not always a block. This road led us to that enticing morass of martial arts mumbo jumbo where anything could mean anything. I started finding grab releases everywhere. At this point, almost anything could be used as a grab release--especially if you're working with a compliant compatriot. Only much later did I realize that Goju-ryu classcial katas actually hit more with the forearms than they do with the fist, kick more with the knee than they do with the foot, and there are a lot of responses to grabs. I mean, designed specifically for grabs. Why?
|Against a grab in Seipai.|