what’s up karate nerds today I want to teach you an exercise called the kata connection that teaches you how to bridge the gap between the solo form the kata and its practical application what we call bukai in japanese so are you ready to play some kata connection let’s go alright so to help me demonstrate this kata connection exercise I have my brother Oliver right here who is a professional fighter with the UFC so he knows how to hurt people and that’s the whole point because you want to be able to use your kata techniques in practical self-defense but the question is how usually we have trouble seeing the connection and that is what this exercise will teach you it’s kind of like a fun game all right so let’s play here’s how you do you start by standing in a basic natural stance you’re not ready to fight anybody this is civilian self-defense all right you will be the attacker now all of us job is to attack me from any direction from any angle with any technique but it cannot be a professional fighting technique right because that’s not what kata was meant for it has to be civilian self-defense so imagine you’re a thug right and let’s not do it full speed because injuries can happen ok so yeah I’ll just be standing here and you go ahead and attack me however you want ok right this is the attack Oliver decides to grab me maybe he wants to push me shove me against the wall or headbutt me I don’t know but what you need to do now is react instinctively naturally using your karate techniques see what happens so what I would do is Bam kneed him in the groin which makes his head come forward right natural flinch response I would then grab his chin in his hair and just spin him to the there that would be my natural reaction to that technique right now here’s what you do without your friend you recreate that exact same technique solo okay so Oliver grabbed me I went back I took his head and I took him down this way right now see if you can connect those moves to a kata that you already know so this first part here looks like the kata say some from glitch adduced I’m right or say sound in Goju do this part right and then the takedown here exists in many kata or if I decide to close my hands this way all the way here maybe even it exists in so many different cutouts that suddenly you start realizing that all kata are just variations on the same theme and the theme is practical self-defense let’s do another technique I have no idea what Oliver is about to do I’m just gonna be standing here okay so Oliver grabs my wrist right and then he wants to pull me into this huge hook punch what I would do is duck right here okay I let him hold my hand doesn’t matter if he holds it because I want to close the distance and then I will try to enter and lift and go down that would be my natural reaction based on my physiology and my skills maybe you would do something else right maybe a throw is too difficult if you’re weak or if you’re small right but now let’s recreate that so I was pulled by the hand I stepped in and I did this right hey that looks like a cutter move right exactly again that’s the point I want you to make the connection between self-defense and kata that to person attack defense and the solo reinforcement or re interpretation of that move right because this is originally what cutter consisted of unfortunately many of these boom kite explanations have been lost in the sands of time and this is a great way to reconnect with the roots of kata let’s try a third one okay go ahead okay I’m being attacked with a bear hug from behind my natural instinct here was to try to sink down with my center of gravity into a sumo stance and then try to get my elbows out if you just release me already I can see the kata move right here but then the question is what happens after this right here maybe I try to escape here this way and then maybe I go back try to take him down and then maybe I finish him or run away so again are you okay with the elbow yeah okay so I I went one two and then I went under I grabbed and I went back this way and I took him down all the way here these are moves that you can see in almost any kata because like I said before all kata are simply variations on the same theme and that is practical self-defense and if you’ve never seen this connection before then this game the kata connection will help you open your eyes that’s it for today train hard good luck and have fun


  1. Really useful! Great! 😄
    I will try in my daily pratice of shorin ryu kyudokan.
    Thank you for the lesson.
    You open my mind ^_^

  2. Great. I am a karate practitioner and I sometimes struggle to fight people stronger than me. Could u make a video on that please as it could help me.

  3. actually it's very exciting to play around making up different kind f bunkais for katas. I used to spend hours with it. Great job Jesse.

  4. great video…every time when i start learning a new kata,i always try to learn the practical application of that particular move from the very start,so by the time the kata is finished i have quite a range of useful techniques in my arsenal.anyway i just started learning unsu,i hope it will help me learning more techniques.

  5. Your video got me to thinking, when I first started Choy Li Fut kung fu, I thought the forms were just a bunch of waving the arms. Now that I've practiced the applications with my partner over the years, I can see all sorts of strikes, blocks, joint locks and breaks!

  6. Great video! That's the same exercise that our teacher told us to do last week to improve our understanding of kata. Greetings from Italy!

  7. Loving the Bunkai explanation here! Every time a smug says "Kata is impractical," the first thing that comes to my mind is that they studied under a McDojo where you get black belts in 2 weeks. I have seen lots of real Kata focused Karatekas in competitions and their speed and power are unbelievable!

    We recently had an international competition hosted in PH. Shin Tsukki-sensei conducted a training camp in SM Mall of Asia. Here's a photo you could check out:

  8. So awesome! Love your videos. Many of karate techniques have been adopted by krav-maga by the Israelis for good reason too. Love what karate coupled with analytical thinking yields…

  9. I'm currently 8th kyu (was a white belt a few months ago) and although katas are hard to learn, stick with it and you learn this deeper sense of understanding. The bunkai. I have a lot to learn but I love it. This video us another eye opener. Great video Jesse!

  10. Great video, Jesse. It all connects to the basis of karate is a real fight stance. I have practiced aikido for some time and it's all about shorten the distance to neutralize the attacker.

  11. Really like this, I will try to do something like this with my students. I can not do this as most only know 1 – 3 katas at the moment. But getting them to look at bunkai at a early stage is good.

    Thanks Jesse, for this great video

  12. Jesse, I really like that you can do the bunkais against real attacks and not just against a static oitsuki. This is what I hate most about "self-defence" teaching that most of them are shown against a non-existent or artificial style attack, where the attackers executes a "clean" punch and then stands in the last position for a minute…

  13. Thank u Sensei,, I took taekwondo class now, and when I joined the sparring competition, I barely Remember what tdo techniques I will do for counter attack,but unfortunately everyone see me doing different attack ,,I saw myself doing the basic kata, but I haven't yet been to karate class…but sad part is I hit her face not the kata moves anymore but the boxing bad…😑😑😑😑😑

  14. As much as you might not want to like Karate, this guy is bloody addictive. His vid with Ian Abernethy was gold. Wold love to do a similar vid putting kata to a self-defence view my club has. So glad I found this man/his vids, make me think outside the box. Thank you, Jesse.

  15. 🙆Thanks Jesse!It was really worth to watch this video.Keep training👌👍👊and teaching.God bless you!

  16. great job thankyou i have taken a differt type of marital arts but I see where the Kata is more practical than i first thought

  17. I noticed he doesn't seem to help his brother up. snicker. Some brothers are just that way. 😉

  18. Love your videos! Some of the movements are very aikido. As you said before, different pathways to the top of the same mountain ⛰

  19. Nice video, there is so much hidden in Kata and forms of many martial arts. I like that you can only discover true bunkai through mindful training, it means that they never become common knowledge. I feel like this is deliberate, to preserve the true art for only those who have the correct attitude.

  20. We applied bunkai to our basic self-defence pinons today and now Iv'e fallen more deeply in love with Karate. Kata's are beautiful. I swear you have done so much for karate and I hope you are wonderfully blessed for it. You're the type of friend a karateka should hope to have. I am even more thankfull for my Shihan who is knowledgeable about this subject.

  21. Hey jesse do most schools practice kihon then kata then bunkai or kihon then kata then kumite because i feel like it would be better to do kihon then kata then bunkai then kumite like learn the basics learn how to use those basics in forms then learn how to use the techniques in a way you can defend yourself then practice what you learned in sparing

  22. I've only learned 5 katas but I'm going to definitely practice them again and try to make that connection.

  23. So many karate instructors are still on this "japanese university karate trip" which left many informations back on Okinawa…..great that there are guys like you widening the horizon by combining modern knowledge with the traditional basis….I had a 10 years karate break cause of the difference between what so many senseis told me and what I experienced for myself to be usefull or not. Now I have found back to karate and it is no longer a discrepancy to what I feel doing katas! ….did I get a karate nerd now? I guess so 🙂

  24. In every Kata lies an application and hundreds of techniques. Just like in other Martial arts 😁
    Wing Tzun/ kung Fu for example 😉

  25. i might have done karate and a bit of kata but what kind of kata should i do
    like karate has diff styles meaning diff kata i forgot my original one i was kid …idk wtf i was doin but now im back and i know karate but idk any kata

  26. This is the main problem I see with Kata. Are they practical? Sure. Can the moves be used in a real life situation? Yeah, it's been done before. No problems there. Do most Karate practitioners practice or know how to practice in a way that actually helps them in the previously stated situations? No, unfortunately not. Whether it's due to time or transition between styles throughout the years, I don't know, but it shows to me that in our day and age, unless a revolution occurs in Karate as a whole, Kata has been rendered inefficient at best (for most practitioners). I'm just saying, it's kind of sad.

  27. When oliver grab his arm and swing the hook, he say that his natural response it to close the gap to the attacker, but in 3:13 i saw his spontaneous reaction is to back away his head from the hook not to duck and close the gap.

  28. Hi,Jesse. Always thank you for your wonderful videos!
    We should know not only how to show kata beautifully but also how to use kata practically as well.

  29. another excellent video Sensei. I really appreciate where you talked about closing the distance, that's exactly what we talk about in my studies of shorin-ryu.
    Also, it's great to do Kaka with a lot of energy. Someone once said that doing kata hard can yield the same results as doing push ups..

  30. Thank you Jesse and Oliver for giving me more practical ideas and concepts to understand (and appreciate) my katas. There’s an expression in Buddhism and Zen: “If you’re bored, pay closer attention.” You just helped me pay closer attention to kata. Gratitude!

  31. I love your bunkai explanations of course now I’m going to be asking all my friends to attack me so I can work the bunkai 🙄😂

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