Meikyo is a Shotokan kata that is based on elements of 3 Rohai kata that are studied in Shito ryu schools.
Meikyo roughly translates as "Bright Mirror" probably due to the obvious symmetry within the form. Rohai Translates to "Vision of a Crane" and is belived to be a Matsumora kata from the Tomari region.
In my opinion there is an underlying theme in the bunkai of this kata that revolves around different countering options for 2 handed lapel grabs or strangles. This will become more apparent as we get through the videos.
First off here is the complete video for all the sections we will break down.
So, onto the first section.
In section 2 we show the downward block/inside block/upper rising block stepping punch combo. This part of the kata does vary from school to school with some using the same block in each of the 3 repetitions. We are showing all 3 variations of block so every version should be covered. For each of the blocks we have shown the most basic application of blocking a stepping attack and countering with oi zuki. This is fine for beginners in the dojo but I feel that a student studying this kata should have more common sense and skill to apply to their bunkai. Because of the simplicity of these applications I shall not even bother to write a description!
However, if we add the block onto the moves we used in section 1 we have an alternate counter (or 3 alternate counters!). So again we will assume that the attacker has tried a strangle or double handed grab. We can use our kiba dachi and the circular arm strike to try and release their grip. We then have the option of using the nukite strikes as before or by shifting our weight into forward stance and performing the gedan barai we have a clear strike to the opponents neck (this gedan barai could also be directed to the attackers arms to further help releasing the grab). We can also follow up with the oi zuki as in the kata to finish off.
For the inside block we can make a slight change to the attack to a one handed grab and hook punch scenario. We then use the circular arm movement in the same way as before to release or control the grab, The inside block can be used to cover the incoming hook punch and then should give us the option of grasping the punching arm to pull in for our hikite. Again we counter with the oi zuki to finish.
The age uke version can simply be used as an upper rising strike to the attackers grabbing arms to help release them or move them towards his face and disrupt his vision and allow us space for our oi zuki counter.
This piece of the kata includes the Bo Uke and Bo Dori techniques. Many traditional practitioners claim this to be a defence against attacks from a Bo staff (6ft foot long, solid oak stick). I find this unpractical and unrealistic and also feel that a modern karate-ka has little need to learn defence against traditional weapons so I personally do not include them in my training or syllabus at all.
In the first clip we have used the Bo Uke as a quick block and grab against a straight stepping punch. The Bo Dori then becomes an arm lock and throw.
As an alternative the second clip shows a block against a hooking punch and a simultaneous counter to the solar plexus. We then use the Bo Dori technique to secure the arm and strike to the face, throat or eyes.
A simplified bunkai for these techniques is to use the tetsui uchi as a forearm block to a straight punch and counter with the crescent kick.
A more realistic approach would be as a defence against a grab to the throat or lapels. We can use the tetsui uchi as a strkie to the opponents face and continue into an arm lock. By using our back stance here we can also use weight to help over power the attacker. The closer distances invloved here rules out any practical use for the mikazuki geri but a slight change to a knee strike makes a very effective counter. Finally if we work on the assumtion that the previous counters will have caused some reactions from our opponent we can use one side of our ryowan gamae as a forearm strike to the back of the attackers neck.
This section shows a double Haiwan Uke and another Ryowan Gamae. In the kata all techniques are performed moving forwards. I have said this many times in other blogs but in my opinion the direction of movement in a kata has little bearing on the bunkai that is performed. The kata has to move in a direction and obviously if you are using the skills trained in bunkai to defend yourself every technique must be as a reaction to an opponents actions.
With this in mind we use the first block to stop a straight punch. We then grab the attackers arm and use the next Haiwan Uke to perform an arm lock and potential break. We could continue with the Ryowan Gamae and bring the attacker to the ground.
The alternative bunkai uses a more realistic hook punch attack, in fact a double hook punch (right then left hand). This Haiwan Uke block can then become more of a reactionary head cover to the flurry of punches. If we then close in on the attacker and use the Ryowan Gamae as a shoulder lock and alter the directions shown by the kata to step back instead of forward we have a very useful arm lock restraint technique.
In the kata again we step forward to block with Awase Uchi Uke (double inside blocks) we then counter with a Morote Zuki (assisted punch). For our first bunkai we have to make the block work so we change the technique to steop back instead of forwards to block a straight punch. We then counter with our assisted punch to the face. A liitle note on this punch. Basically I think its rubbish!!!! I have practised it on a heavy bag and found it weaker than a single hand punch. I am also a firm beliver in never using 2 of your limbs for 1 combative use (for example not using 2 hands to block 1 kick). My general theory on 2 armed techniques in kata is that there would usually be an opponents limb or body part in between them or that they should not be together at all but just close to each other. In this instance a single jab punch is more effective and the close proximity of the second hand could suggest a follow up punch is possible.
The 2nd clip uses the double blocks stepping back again but this time to break free from a strangle or lapel hold. As a counter we are going to stick with my theroy (its my blog after all!) and actually use the first hand to grab the opponents head and the second as our strike.