Shotokan's Secret presents a complete theory of the heian katas. There are the forums where the research was conducted.
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Postby HanshiClayton » Sun Dec 21, 2008 4:22 pm

This is a brief section from page 176 of Shotokan's Secret, the First Edition and page 192 of Shotokan's Secret, Expanded Edition. It explains why we need the term, "Dinglehopper" in karate.

    You are aware of “bunkai,” and may have heard of “oyo.” I want to call your attention to a third term that should be as well-known as the first two: “Dinglehopper.”

    A “dinglehopper” is a kata application that is pathetically wrong. The word comes from the Disney movie The Little Mermaid, where Ariel the mermaid brings a fork to Scuttle, the seagull, and asks him to explain it. Scuttle, full of false wisdom, says the fork is a “dinglehopper” and is used to comb and curl your hair.

    Well, you could use a fork to comb your hair, but in fact Scuttle’s explanation is horribly wrong. Similarly, many of the applications we see demonstrated for Shotokan katas are sadly impractical and unrealistic.

    The real bunkai of the Shuri-te katas is so vicious it quite takes your breath away. It breaks necks. It breaks arms. It incapacitates multiple people in a single move. It rips out eyes. It crushes throats. It destroys knee joints. It targets and breaks critical bones. It ruptures vital organs. People hiss and flinch when you demonstrate.

    This chapter is a glimpse into the “real” bunkai of Shuri-te. When I look at the katas, this is the kind of fighting I see. Once I show it to you, I hope you will see it, too. It seems so obvious once you understand what Matsumura and Itosu were up against.

    And… you might decide that a couple of my applications are dinglehoppers! You have to decide that for yourself.

If someone asked me to nominate the single biggest Dinglehopper in Shotokan, I would point to the first move of Empi kata. In his Best Karate series, Master Nakayama showed us how to disrupt an oi zuki attack by dropping down on one knee and striking (gedan barai) the side of the attacker's knee. In the photos, the defender's head is perfectly situated for the attacker's following reverse punch. In real life, if you meet a charging opponent by getting down on your knees, the fight is only going to turn out one way. In spite of this, traditional senseis demonstrate this horrifying misapplication to the present day. Why? Because they don't know any other.

The one-knee-down stance we see at the beginning of Empi is called handachi, also known as "Buddha sitting on a lotus" according to the Bubishi. It is very common in jujutsu and aikido. For instance, in George Kirby's beginning and intermediate jujutsu textbooks, there are thirty-six throws that finish in handachi. Many of them end in arm-bar submissions that match the hand positions we see in the kata.

Five years after publishing the First Edition of Shotokan's Secret, my level had grown enough that I could see Dinglehoppers here and there in my own book. That is to be expected. I was pleased, however, to get this comment from Shihan Gilles Lavigne of Quebec. Sensei Lavigne said:

    You know why "Dinglehopper" is such a useful term? Because you can't say "bullshit" in front of a class!

Amen to that, Sensei Lavigne.
Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D.
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