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The Pinan / Heian Series as a Fighting System: Article Series
#1
Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five
Two thousand years ago wise men sought Christ, wise men still do.

Techniques are situational, principles are universal.

Fast as the wind, quiet as the forest, aggressive as fire, and immovable as a mountain.

He who gets there first with the most...wins!

Minimal force may not be minimum force!

We don't rise to the occasion...we sink to the level of our training.


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#2
Video 
Reading through the first article, it is interesting to note that Pinan Nidan is often taught first in many styles as Pinan Shodan is thought to be technically more difficult.  However, this is not the original order as taught by Itosu Sensei. 


Quote:In addition to the change in emphasis from fighting skills to group exercise, the order in which the Pinan katas are taught has also changed over time. In the vast majority of today's dojos, it is the second of the series (Pinan Nidan) which is the first kata taught. The reason for this is that Pinan Shodan is generally accepted as being technically more demanding than Pinan Nidan. This difference in technical difficulty prompted Gichin Funakoshi to rename 'Heian Nidan' as 'Heian Shodan' and vice-versa so that within Shotokan the names for the forms reflect the modern order of teaching. So why did Itosu choose the order for the series that he did? Why was Pinan Shodan (now Heian Nidan in Shotokan) originally the first one taught?

As we have already discussed, in most of today's dojos the Pinan / Heian series are practised as a form of exercise, and the modern teaching order of the katas reflects their relative technical difficulty. So what was Itosu's original order based upon if not their technical difficulty? It is my belief that Itosu designed the Pinan / Heian series to be a coherent fighting system and that the original order of the katas reflects the order in which these fighting methods should be taught i.e. the first stages of the fight are taught first.

If allowed to progress, a physical altercation will generally go through a series of stages: Pre-fight (verbal exchanges, aggressive body language), limbs coming into range (strikes, attempted grabs etc), grips being established, and finally grappling. Not every single fight will progress in exactly this way, but it should be obvious that a grip cannot be established until limbs come into range, and there will be no grappling until some kind of grip has been established. We should always aim to end fights as soon as possible so that the fight does not progress. Therefore, when teaching self-protection, it makes sense that we should deal with the earliest stages of the fight first. I believe this is the approach adopted by Itosu when formulating the Pinan Series.

This is quite interesting and leads to the idea that technical difficulty is not the measure by which the order of the five kata is performed, rather that there is another measure as proposed by the article. 

Quote:Upon analysis of the applications of the five Pinan katas, we can see that Pinan Shodan (Heian Nidan in Shotokan) contains techniques that predominately deal with the initial exchange of limbs. Pinan Nidan (Heian Shodan) predominately covers techniques that follow on from the initial grip. This includes techniques where you have grabbed an opponent, and techniques to counter an opponent's grip. Pinan Sandan is a grappling kata that includes a number of throws, takedowns, locks and other grappling techniques that can be utilised when you and the opponent are locked in a clinch. Over this series of articles we will see that by the end of the first three katas we have techniques that can be applied at all stages of a fight; exactly as the name 'Pinan' is said to represent. So what do Yodan and Godan teach?


This article, and the book Bunkai Jutsu as well as the video series, 'Bunkai-Jutsu Volume 1: The Pinan / Heian Series' is what lead to my expanded view of kata as a whole.  The following video clip gives an example of the combative philosophy within Pinan Shodan:






Thoughts on the article... Smile
Two thousand years ago wise men sought Christ, wise men still do.

Techniques are situational, principles are universal.

Fast as the wind, quiet as the forest, aggressive as fire, and immovable as a mountain.

He who gets there first with the most...wins!

Minimal force may not be minimum force!

We don't rise to the occasion...we sink to the level of our training.


Reply
#3
From part 1:

Quote:For the purposes of this article we will look at two applications of the Shuto-ukes that are performed at forty-five degrees. As you may already know, the reason the techniques are performed at an angle is to instruct the kata's practitioner that they should be at that angle, in relation to their opponent, when applying the technique. The opponent has attacked with a telegraphed wild swing. The karateka has shifted to a forty-five degree angle so that they are off the line of attack. As an additional measure, both arms are brought up in an instinctive cover in order to further reduce the chances of the opponent's strike landing (Fig 1). When the karateka feels the opponent's arm collide with theirs, the left arm wraps around the opponent's arm and then continues to pull them in the direction of the punch so that they are moved off balance. A strike is then delivered to the base of the opponent's skull (Fig 2).
[Image: Part-1-Fig-1.jpg]
[Image: Part-1-Fig-2.jpg]
Two thousand years ago wise men sought Christ, wise men still do.

Techniques are situational, principles are universal.

Fast as the wind, quiet as the forest, aggressive as fire, and immovable as a mountain.

He who gets there first with the most...wins!

Minimal force may not be minimum force!

We don't rise to the occasion...we sink to the level of our training.


Reply


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