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Kata: Heian Godan

By admin - Posted on 26 January 2014


English - Peaceful Mind: Fifth Step
The five Heian katas were created by Sensei Itosu, one of the two masters of Sensei Funakoshi, for teaching karate in Okinawan High Schools in 1905. Drawing mainly from the Kusanku and Passai katas, the name of the series was originally Pinan, and this is still how they are known in many styles of karate. In Shotokan, Sensei Funakoshi changed the names to the more Japanese sounding Heian, along with Kusanku which became Kanku Dai and Kanku Sho, and Passai which became Bassai Dai and Bassai Sho.

The final Heian kata again requires a good sense of rhythm to master, and introduces the student to the manji-gamai high and low block, which appears in many of the more advanced Shotokan katas. There are lots more turning motions and hip movements to master, and also a jump into a low stance. A few things to watch out for:

  • Rhythm at the beginning - a strong block and punch, followed by a count to five while coming round into kaga-zuki hook punch with the arm pointed slightly downwards in "flowing water position" and body and hand arriving together.
  • Don't put your hand out higher than you can kick mikazuki-geri. It's better to do a low block and leave it there, than move the hand down to meet your foot - the kick must be foot-to-hand, not hand-to-foot.
  • Jump using the right knee to gain height, then pull the left knee up to meet it and bring both to your chest. Kiai at the top the jump, and keep your back straight on landing. It's far better to have a higher stance with a straight back than to get low by leaning over.
  • In the end combination, your hips should be square to the front in a zenkutsu-dachi (front stance) as you strike gedan-shihon-nukite (low level four finger spearhand) to the opponent's groin. You must then pull your foot across as you move into a kokutsu-dachi back stance for the manji-gamae. At this point your hips should be perpendicular to the front, so they have to move a full 90 degrees - drive the move from the hips and make sure your foot moves and both feet end up pointing in the right direction.