Shotokan Karate Heian Kata 1-5




One of the stories surrounding the history of the Heian (Pinan) katas claims that Master Itosu Yasutsune learned a Kata from a Chinese living in Okinawa. This Kata was called “Chiang Nan” by the Chinese man. The form became known as “Channan” to the Okinawan masters who found ‘Chiang Nan’ difficult to say. The Channan Kata were thought lost but rumour has it that a Chinese Master knows Channan 1,2 and 3.

Master Itosu formed 5 Karate Katas from the longChannan Kata which he thought would be easier to learn than Channan. The 5 Kata were Pinan Shodan, Nidan, Sandan, Yondan and Godan .A loose translation of the word Pinan (Heian) could be ‘calm and peaceful’.

Another story says Master Itosu formed the “Chiang Nan” Heian kata from some of the more advanced Kata like Kankudai (Kushanku) so enabling him to teach High School children the Karate Kata.

No one really knows for sure, maybe master Itosu devised the Heian Kata himself, maybe one of the above stories is true but one thing is for sure, the Heian Kata are now practised all over the world by millions of people and they are the required Kata up to brown belt in most Shotokan Dojo aswell as other traditional Karate dojo.
Heian Shodan
Heian Shodan The 1st Kata In The Heian Series
Heian Shodan , translates as peaceful mind first level, Heian Shodan is the first of a series of five Heian kata, practiced in nearly all Shotokan Karate dojo. It is one of the most basic kata and is usually the first kata a karateka learns. Some organisations favour Taikyoku Shodan, also know as ‘kihon’, as the first kata. The heian series is similar to the Pinan series of kata.

Heian Nidan
Heian Nidan The 2nd kata in the Heian Series
Heian Nidan , translates as peaceful mind second level, Heian Nidan is the second of a series of five Heian kata, for the first time it incorporates uraken (back fist), Yoko Geri Keage (side snap Kick), Nukite (spear hand), uchi uke (inside forearm block), gyakuzuki (reverse punch) and moroto uchi uke (augmented forearm block).

Heian Sandan
Heian Sandan The 3rd kata in the Heian Series
Heian Sandan , translates as peaceful mind third level, Heian Sandan is the third of a series of five Heian kata, for the first time it incorporates
Gedan barai/uchi uke (double arm block), spinning tettsui (hammer fist) in kibadachi (horse riding stance), fumikomi (stamping kick), tate shuto (blade edge of the hand) and ushiro empi (back elbow strike).

Heian Yondan
Heian Yondan The 4th kata in the Heian Series
Heian Yondan , translates as peaceful mind fourth level, Heian Yondan is the fourth of a series of five Heian kata, for the first time it incorporates, double open arm blocks, juji uke (cross armed block), mawashi empi (round elbow attack), straight arm shuto uke (knife hand block), shuto uchi (knife hand strike), mae geri (front kick), kosa dachi (cross-legged stance), kakiwake uke (V shape double arm block) and Hiza geri (Knee strike).

Heian Godan
Heian Godan The 5th And Final kata in the Heian Series
Heian Godan , translates as peaceful mind fifth level, Heian Godan is the fifth and final kata in a series of five Heian kata, for the first time it incorporates, mikazuki geri (crescent kick), a jump several instances of simultaneous block and counter.
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Linden John

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