Heian Shodan is the first of the five Heian, or "Peaceful Mind" katas. Heian Shodan is composed entirely of "basic" techniques; there is nothing "fancy" at all being done. For this reason, it could be said that Heian Shodan is one of the hardest kata to do correctly (of course, a case could be made that they are all pretty hard).

The early history of kata parallels the history of Shotokan Karate. They were developed in Okinawa, with some amount of influence from Chinese martial arts, then were brought to the main islands of Japan by Gichin Funakoshi in 1922. During the periods when Karate training was done in secret, performing kata was the primary form of practice.

Funakoshi's first teacher, Yasutsune Azato, was an exceptional swordsman, and around Funakoshi's time, kata started to incorporate ideas from kendo. These included more focus on relaxing the upper body to achieve faster, snapping motions, and more aggressive and pronounced body shifting.

The Heian kata were distilled from Kanku Sho, a more advanced kata, by Funakoshi's other instructor, Anko Itosu. These kata were designed to aid the development of younger students, and they are usually taught to students below the level of brown belt. Although these kata originated in Okinawa, they were primarily practiced in Japan.

Additional changes to the original kata came as Gigo Funakoshi (the son of Gichin Funakoshi) started teaching his students altered forms of the kata, including deepened stances. A series of meetings at Waseda University in the 1950's lead to further changes in the kata, to emphasize longer, more athletic movements for better conditioning, to eliminate repetitious movements and move the focus to fundamental techniques, and simplify many of the self-defense moves.

Heian Shodan

Salute slowly, musubi-dachi.
Announce “Heian Shodan” in a decisive tone of voice.
Yoi, hachiji-dachi.
1. Hidari gedan-barai
2. Migi chudan oi-zuki
3. Migi gedan-barai
4. Migi tetsui-uchi
5. Hidari chudan oi-zuki
6. Hidari gedan-barai
7. Migi jodan age-uke
8. Hidari age-uke jodan
9. Migi jodan age-uke KIAI! Wait 2 seconds after the kiai.
10. Hidari gedan-barai  
11. Migi chudan oi-zuki
12- Migi gedan-barai
13. Hidari chudan oi-zuki
14. Hidari gedan-barai
15. Migi chudan oi-zuki
16. Hidari chudan oi-zuki
17. Migi chudan oi-zuki; Push
18. Hidari chudan shuto-uke
19. Migi chudan shuto-uke
20. Migi chudan shuto-uke
 21. Hidari chudan shuto-uke
 Yame, hachiji-dachi

View Heian Shodan Video

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