Heian Shodan, developed by
Master Yastasune Itosu, is the first kata a beginner to Shotokan Karate
learns, and is fundamentally one of the most important kata you study.
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
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 Kata. Only once you have
perfected this kata can you truly develop further.
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.