In kata less is more.

When bunkai sneaks in.

Recently while watching a group of students demonstrating a kata I noticed that a common theme was starting to appear. What I noticed would have made no difference to anyone who might have watched with an untrained eye. But to me all of the telltale signs were clearly evident. There was no doubt about it, bunkai was beginning to appear in many places. 

The use of bunkai certainly has its place, especially when the objective is to give someone a purpose for a particular movement. Issues only arises when students start to think their kata will benefit from adding extras. In fact quite the opposite is true. The goal then is to get the students to understand the importance of that simple fact. Hopefully over time with proper guidance the correct approach to kata will ultimately evolve.

So, take my advice. Prior to practicing, or publicly performing your kata, empty your pockets of all the things that are not needed. Because when it comes to watching a good kata, far less, is definitely more. 

Remember: "Without the body, mind, and spirit working in harmony, kata is an empty hollow thing indeed."