HEIAN SHODAN

The fighter is to be always single-minded with one object in view: to fight, looking neither backward nor sidewise. To go straight forward in order to crush the enemy is all that is necessary for him. Daisetz Suzuki

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Peacefull mind level 1

Hei : calm

Shodan : first level

An : peace

 

Heian shodan was adapted from older kata by Anko Itosu to make them more suitable for young karateka, and is fundamentally one of the most important kata you study. Despite being developed by Master Itosu. This kata, along with all of the Heian kata, have origins that lead back to China, and these kata we practice today are based on the older training forms called Channan. This kata introduces the basic stances zenkutsu-dachi and kokutsu-dachi, with the blocks gedan-barai, age-uke, and shuto-uke.

The kata also employs the more complicated sequence involving the tetsui and the shift of the centre of gravity. Taking roughly 40 seconds to perform, this kata contains 21 movements. One very significant part of the kata is the timing of the three age-uke and the three oi-tsuki. To the beginning student, this may feel difficult, but this kata lays the essential foundations for all Shotokan Katas.

Heian Shodan translates as ‘Peaceful Mind – level one’. In many ways, the symbolic significance of the ‘Heian’ series represents the spirit and attitude that accompanies Karate-Do as a Martial Art, so these five kata that make up the series are truly significant, both fundamentally and philosophically.

Being in the shorin category, this kata focuses on being flexible, soft and slow with quick, sharp movements. In this kata you will learn the first punch,2 stances,3 blocks, and 1 strike. However, as the years go by, you start to take a lot more from this kata, partly in combination with the other heian kata as well as more advance kata. Depending on your belt ranking, you will have a different focus when studying and practicing Heian shodan.

For the White Belt: You’re just getting started in Shotokan karate. This is the first kata you learn. Your focus: just the movements. Memorize the movements so that you don’t leave any out on your kyu test. Memorize the movements. Get that? I can’t stress enough how important this is. I don’t want to spend time going over each movement, but there are several charts on the Web with each of the kata’s movements depicted.

The most difficult part of this kata for you will likely be the 270 degree turn at movements 10 and 18. For these turns start practicing them as 3 individual parts for now. Let’s take the first turn for example. You’re facing shomen with your right arm above your head after doing a rising block (“Step 0″) and your right foot is forward. Now:

  1. bring your left foot (which is behind) up to meet your right, meanwhile setting up for a lower block with your left fist up by your right ear (still facing shomen)
  2. put all your weight on your right foot and rotate on the ball of that foot
  3. after the turn, you are facing the right side (if shomen is north, you are facing east) with feet together and set up for a block, so step forward with your left foot and do the lower block

Bow, musubi-dachi.

Heian Shodan

Yoi, hachiji-dachi.
1. Hidari gedan-barai ; look to the left, step to your left with your left leg into front stance and perform a lower level downward block with your left hand.
2. Migi chudan oi-zuki ; step straight ahead with your right leg into front stance and execute a middle level lunge punch with your right hand.
3. Migi gedan-barai; look to your right, pivot 180°. As you are stepping into the front stance execute a lower level downward block with your right hand.
4. Migi tetsui-uchi; pull the right foot back half a step, step forward into a right zenkutsu dachi and swing your right hand back across the front of your body in a circular movement ending in a downward tettsui uchi. This should be executed using a large, circular motion in which the hammer fist is brought up over your head before striking the target. As the strike is performed, slide the front foot back so that the length of the front stance is cut in half.
5. Hidari chudan oi-zuki; step straight ahead with your left leg into zenkutsu dachi and execute a middle level oi-tsuki punch with your left hand.
6. Hidari gedan-barai; look to your left, pivot 90°. As you are stepping into front stance perform a lower level downward block with your left hand.
7. Migi jodan age-uke; a) immediately execute left jodan uke and open hand.
 b) step forward with the right leg into front stance and execute an upper level rising block with the right hand.
8. Hidari age-uke jodan; step forward with the left leg into front stance and execute an upper level rising block with the left hand.
9. Migi jodan age-uke; step forward with the right leg into front stance and execute an upper level rising block with the right hand. Kiai on the second rising block.
10. Hidari gedan-barai ; look to your right, pivot 270°, step out with your left foot into front stance and perform a downward block with your left hand.
11. Migi chudan oi-zuki; step straight ahead with your right leg into front stance and execute a middle level lunge punch with your right hand.
12- Migi gedan-barai; look over your right shoulder, pivot 180° in the direction that you are looking and step out with your right leg. As you are stepping into the front stance, execute a lower level downward block with your right hand.
13. Hidari chudan oi-zuki; step straight ahead with your left leg into front stance and execute a middle level lunge punch with your left hand.
14. Hidari gedan-barai; look to your left, pivot 90° in the direction that you are looking and then step out. As you are stepping into front stance perform a lower level downward block with your left hand.
15. Migi chudan oi-zuki; step straight ahead with your right leg into front stance and execute a  middle level lunge punch with your right hand.
16. Hidari chudan oi-zuki; step straight ahead with your left leg into front stance and execute a middle level lunge punch with your left hand.
17. Migi chudan oi-zuki; step straight ahead with your right leg into front stance and execute a middle level lunge punch with your right hand. Kiai on the third lunge punch.
18. Hidari chudan shuto-uke; look to your right, pivot 270°. Step out with your left foot into back stance and perform a middle level knife hand block with your left hand.
19. Migi chudan shuto-uke; look 45° to front. Step in the direction you are looking (i.e. at a 45° angle to the front, with your right leg into back stance) and execute a middle level knife hand block with your right hand.
20. Migi chudan shuto-uke; look to your right, step bringing your right leg to your left, pivot 135° and step out with your right leg. As you are stepping into the back stance, execute a middle level knife hand block with your right hand.
21. Hidari chudan shuto-uke: look 45° to front. Step in the direction you are looking (i.e. at a 45° angle to the front, with your left leg into back stance) and execute a middle level knife hand block with your left hand.
Yame, hachiji-dachi; traditionally the kata finishes by pulling up your left leg to your right leg, while pivoting slightly on your right heel, so that you end up facing front in the attention position. Bow.