Where do I focus?

I’ve been reading Iain Abernethy‘s “Bunkai Jutsu.” I’m really enjoying it, as Iain provides a lot of thought-provoking ways to look at kata.

However, I can’t help but notice that I’m finding difficulty in my kata training. On the one hand, Iain and all of my instructors have made it clear that we should be working kata extensions. For the uninitiated, that means working applications beyond what is written or required. On the other hand, Iain talks about practicing one solid technique over and over again.

By working multiple applications of a particular kata segment, we lose response time since we have to filter through several instead of just having one that we work over and over. That time lapse could end up costing us our life.

But all of my instructors have stressed the importance of working numerous defenses for multiple attacks on just one kata segment.

Knowing the masters sometimes only knew one or two katas, it’s a sure bet they knew multiple applications. But I know over a dozen katas. How am I supposed to keep my kata applications in line with which form I’m doing and in what spot?

Maybe I’m not working hard enough. Okay, I know I’m not working hard enough. There is just so much material to filter through. The thought of trying to narrow things down when I’m trying to wade through the swamp that is being a college senior is a daunting task.

By Adam Bockler

Adam Bockler is a B2B marketing professional, a black belt martial arts instructor, DDP Yoga instructor, and a personal trainer.


  1. Hello Adam,
    The way I look at doing variations, is as ‘Henka’.
    In ninjutsu, you take a simple technique, practise the basics and then see how many variations you can make with this one technique.
    Sinds all have the same principle, the basic one, this kind of practise gives a lot of practical results.

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