Bunkai is the sensible application of kata. It’s the essence of traditional Okinawan Karate (唐手) yet extensively misinterpreted.
In this video, Jesse Enkamp (The Karate Nerd) describes his Chinese Kung Fu exploration from checking out the origins of Tode in Fujian, China.
The trick to bunkai is language, and also modern-day Japanese terminology may be our best obstacle.
See http://www.karatebyjesse.com to find out more.
Unique thanks to Will Wain-Williams from Monkey Steals Peach.