'The time has come,' the walrus said, 'to talk of many things: of shoes and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings.' Lewis Carroll
Let me begin pulling my thoughts about ‘Bunkai’ with one of my own blog posts on just that topic.
Those are words on the historical perspective.
There are many different paradigms used to teach karate. Many of the are very effective, yet at the same time diametrically opposed to each other.
For sake of discussion let us assume whichever which paradigm we hold most dear does work.
At the time I was a student quite a different effective paradigm was used. For one thing there was no suggestion that the study of kata application was the purpose of karate, and this was fairly standard many of the systems I had opportunity to train with, were taught much the same way.
The of kata was for the most part not a place for stories about them, Though there were two tales.
For some time I learned a great deal from other diverse systems of study, mainly what stuck was knowledge how to use techniques against attacks and make them work.
Later on I began my own quest toward understanding my system. And I chose to use those stories to shape my first efforts. Se http://isshin-concentration.blogspot.com/2010/07/do-you-have-time-for-story.html e
As time passed I did acquire a great deal of knowledge from my efforts and from a very amazing instructor who worked at it for decades too.
When I first joined the internet I did share those stories, and was dumped on by many. Not that I cared what others thought, however it told me a great deal what others were thinking of.
IMO one paradigm does use various stories to shape the study of applications as the use them. Ok, fine with me. Just not where my head was at.
So if I am attacked at night,, then Kusanku applications maybe appropriate. And if I am attacked on a bridge then Chinto applications, and so forth. That can work for me too. A different paradigm for learning.
An entirely different method it to work over years and years to work out every possible use for every kata movement.
That does not mean (you pick the number you wish 1,000 or even 10,00 techniques) that facing attack no 982 you have to remember the appropriate answer say 347 and apply it to be successful. That of course would lead to the babble complex of never finding the correct answer in time. Splat ! so finish, End Game.
Rather the goal for such a large, perhaps lifetime study, is not to know which is the proper movement to use, Rather to objectively realize techniques underlying principles and instead be able to use any technique to terminate any attack at all. No decision, just enter the space an attack offers, interior line of defense, exterior line of defense or zero line of defense, just a space you can work, and then perform any kata movement just as in the kata, and game over for that attack.
There are very different paradigms working for many, many people.
There are so many interesting possibilities, and when we listen mayhap we learn something new. I am still looking day by day.