View Full Version : The first movement of HEIAN YONDAN

31st August 2002, 16:48

There is a slow movement when starting HEIAN YONDAN.

1: Any ideas why slow?
2: Any ideas why hands open?

Would be nice to hear from you some BUNKAI-sequences.

31st August 2002, 16:55
I consider such things to be variations...in particular, a variation of pinan nidan (fast and closed), and even kenku dai or yara kushanku.

Now, do variations follow form or function? :)

31st August 2002, 17:17
One of the rules I like to keep in mind is that there are 2 reasons for doing a motion slowly in a kata:

1. qigong energy exercise.
2. the martial application is probably very difficult.

I do Tang Soo Do, and we call this form "Pyung Ahn Sa Dan."

In my particular art, this motion is done quickly, and a basic bunkai I can immediately think of is blocking an overhead strike with the upper hand, and a piercing spear hand into the armpit. The chambering motion before the next technique could be a follow low attack to the groin, though I believe that would be a stretch.

Another way to look at is to block a "haymaker" type punch from your attackers left side. Your motion is stepping in to intercept the attack, block with the upper hand, spear hand or fork hand to the throat. I think this would be a good, fairly no-BS modern bunkai.

From a taiji (read: performed slowly) perspective, I think the motion is fairly similar to a pulling/yielding motion (the chamber) and followed by an uprooting push. That would be fairly elementary, yet true to the essence of taiji. Doing this slowly would allow the practitioner to focus on the body mechanics needed to get low, and uproot his opponent.

An Aikidoka may see a wrist lock attack, or possibly wrapping the shoukder into a nasty lock. To me, this would be a very "high-level" interpretation, and would take a good deal of practice as well a bit of deviation from the form (fine with me.)

When thinking of bunkai, I try to make them reflect the more "martial" aspects. i.e. the things that will end the attack as quickly and violently as possible, in a manner that could be taught to hundreds of soldiers at once. The best way to do this is to give them a motion to repeat over and over again, and give some individual instruction when needed. It's NOT hard to stick your hand in someone's throat, but it could be construed as important on the battlefield.

1st September 2002, 04:16
In most Okinawan styles which teach Pinan Yondan, the first move is fast.

I believe same as Ted said that the Pinan/Heian are about variations on a theme, or themes, taken from kata such as chatan Yara No Kusanku, and possibly Chinto and Jion and seisan,so as to teach different ways of defending against different attacks.

Why slow? Someone decided it looked good slow in competition in Shotokan.Does, too.

Why open?Well, mebbe,for using the top hand as a palm strike inward to the side of the head and turning the head, and the bottom hand to reverse a wristlock and secure an arm bar, followed by, after reversing the sequence, an juji garami takedown with a finishing elbow crank pin.As the next two moves in kata after reversing are the downward x block and the morote uke chudan.

Or, maybe, as one teacher told me once, the upper hand was to shield you from the sun.Heck, I don't know, and no one else really does either, Itosu never wrote any notes on his kata's applications.

Here's still another:If its a variation on Kusanku's opening knife hand blocks, the rear hand up may be preparation for a hidden hand knife hand strike such as is actually shown later in the kata after the elbow strike, and also with another rear open hand held high over the forehead, this time retreating back toward the other direction.

The kata have many lessons to teach, and we all may have some insights on these.

I tend to like the first offered explanation as I am doggoned if I see any actual combative usage of that first move otherwise.

But that is perhaps my own perceptual limitation rather than a truth that is written in stone.

Maybe the guy was right who said its a guard position with a hand shielding you from the Sun?Only reason I think otherwise is that the particular theory of kata to which I subscribe is the one , not Dillman's but rather the Okinawan and chinese ones, which say that each move in a kata has like five levels of actual combat application and the followup moves do tend to look like a smack, lock, takedown and finishing lock.Again, maybe this is just me seeing this.Works against a wrist grab real good though.Wouldn't do it against a fast punch.But it may not be intended for one, either.

I say that because, that as a guard leaves your whole face open to any punch or kick in the world.One of the postures that has left kata open to a charge of teaching stupid or outdated techniques.But if its really a jujitsu sequence as I surmise, it isn't stupid, outdated or worthless, but practical, fast and effective.Plus that first strike to the side of the cabbage stuns the attacker before he has time to release your wrist or hit you with his other hand.As does the sidestep in the Okinawan versions of the kata, protect you from that attack.

Spear to the arm or throat? Hadn't thought about it, maybe so.But that top move isn't done as a block, it moves in and the fingers might get hurt by an attack.If however they lead a palm strike inward a la Pa Kua, thats a hoss of a different type indeed.
Just some thoughts on my day off.

1st September 2002, 12:14

Nice explanations. I like it.

That this movement is done fast in ohter styles I didn't know.


1st September 2002, 13:36
I was taught both slow and fast from two different sources. A simple yet effective application of this movement is Tsurikomi Koshi, or lifting pulling hip throw in a counter to being grappled.

Also, the standard counter to Uchimata, inner thigh reaping throw, can be found in movements similar to this.

As Mr. Vengel mentioned, there are some pins and I think some strangulations that may be applied following these types of maneuvers.

One application I came up with is a sort of bypass where a grappling opponent is turned and whipped off balance and then slammed down using the juji uke, or x-block. This would be a less experienced opponent or someone who was pushing or rushing in. It has some nice impact on the ground, and sort of a Aikido irimi nage (entering throw)type quality to it if that helps. Although it is not the same thing.

Sometimes the most simple transitions can yield some pretty powerful moves. All of these throws are very fundamental and very strong.

2nd September 2002, 02:31
Originally posted by kusanku

Spear to the arm or throat? Hadn't thought about it, maybe so.But that top move isn't done as a block, it moves in and the fingers might get hurt by an attack.If however they lead a palm strike inward a la Pa Kua, thats a hoss of a different type indeed.
Just some thoughts on my day off.

Top move is usually interpreted and performed as an upper block in my system, which would explain the difference. :) It appears to be a block in Shorin-ryu as well.

I decided to bust out some of my tai chi books to recall the name of the technique this reminds me of. It it referred to as Fan the Back (Shan Tong Bei) in Yang Style Tai Chi.

As it turns out, I may have subconciously cribbed my piercing strike to the armpit bunkai from one of these texts. :) I guess that really shouldn't surprise me.

Another way to consider it I guess.

2nd September 2002, 14:52
Same here ....... I learned from two different sources, one fast and the other slow. Depending on my mood, I'll go fast or slow, sure is confusing to the students. Keep 'em guessing!

Steve Beale

2nd September 2002, 20:10
Interesting stuff all right.Well, in shorin ryu, it may be a block or may seem to, in Kempo , Okinawan style, it ain't though.But, in the shorin system of matsubayashi, this move also comes in fingers first with a turn up,though some do it straight up, so you could say its a block, or something else.Probably both.:D

Now, thing is, these moves have multiple applications. tai chi, was taken from Shaolin, so the moves shown there are also shaolin apps, which are the fathers of Shorin apps, so that would seem to me to be a valid place to swipe techniques.:DI seem to remember some Taiji text with a spear technique there now you mnention it.I may even have such a text.I just never thought of it in katas context since the 'spear' hand also comes up to the side like a vertical haishu strike, not straight in like a spear.

This is a subtle thing about Okinawan kata, the direction of thrust or arc of strike is not necessarily what it is for the supposed strike or block people use it as.See, if I block with shuto jodan uke, I want to come up and also outward from inside and down, and that is the opposite arc as in Pinan Four that comes up and over from outside, although in Heian Four it does more seem a block.Then that other vertical hand is striking with the back hand or haishu side in a vertical swinging snapping strike.This I believe should be taken into consideration when analyzing possible usage here.Doesn't mean they can't be done differently for different applications, however, they can.