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Kata: Heian Shodan

By admin - Posted on 26 January 2014


English - Peaceful Mind: First 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.

In Sensei Itosu's original naming, this kata was actually Pinan Nidan and was taught second. Nowadays we know it as the first kata in the series, and this is logical as it is clearly the simplest of the five. Using almost the same floor pattern as Taikyoku, it adds additional techniques, such as the tetsui-uchi hammer first strike near the beginning, the age-uke upper rising blocks, and the shuto-uke knife-hand blocks to finish.

It's important to use strong hikite to prepare the blocks, and treat them as strikes in their own right - study carefully the way that Sensei Kanazawa performs these. Also, make sure that you get the direction right for the four finishing blocks, with numbers two and four at 45 degrees to the front.