A non-linear development

The technical differences between the first two kata of the Heian series are enormous. The inexperienced student who masters the first kata will be confronted with a much greater technical effort when studying the Heian nidan.
Several new techniques, some of which are performed simultaneously with both hands, and even a combination of kick and fist, present demands that push the inexperienced student to the limit of his coordinative abilities.
This makes us understand that the study of karate, although based on rational concepts, is not always linear. This is an important aspect of the practice, since a martial art as such contains within itself ups and downs, fullness and emptiness, precisely contrasts. The didactic aspect goes beyond the kata itself and enters the realm of kumite: a fight does not have a linear course! The ability to adapt oneself and therefore the subconscious to sudden changes is an indispensable quality that characterizes a good fighter. The development of the ability to adapt spontaneously to changes begins with the technical differences of the first two Heian Kata.

A challenging beginning

The first example of the coordinative complexity of Heian-Nidan are the first techniques (from No. 1 to 6). They also have a valid application in self-defense, although for the karateka engaged in learning the kata, this is a subject to be covered later.

Sen no sen - Possible application

For the first time, a leg technique and an arm technique are performed simultaneously (Sen no sen - No. 7). This requires coordination and balance. In this combination, the arm technique (uraken uchi) deflects a fist thrust to the head while simultaneously countering with yoko geri keage under the armpit of the attacker's arm or on the chin.


When executing this combination, it is recommended - after pulling back the techniques - to keep the balance on one leg for a very short time, in order to have time to lunge for the next technique (Shutō uke).

Gyaku hanmi

Also for the defensive techniques, which are executed in the Gyaku-hanmi posture - over-twisted upper body rotation (No. 16 and 19) - and combined with other techniques, one needs a certain body control. In addition, the gyaku-hanmi posture in position no. 19 entails a change in zenkutsu dachi: the position is shortened by about one foot length. This results from the strong hip rotation, which is needed to enable an effective defensive technique with the rear arm. This should be practiced very carefully so that the kata ends exactly where it began. In this movement, it is additionally important to avoid raising the position by shortening it, in order to keep the hips at the same level.

The high degree of difficulty of the applications

Heian nidan also represents a significant increase over Heian shodan in the bunkai area, as in the execution of the kata itself.
The defensive situations force the student to decide where to counter and with which technique.
If the opponent is larger, it is often advisable to use a Chūdan counter technique.
However, if he is smaller, it is advisable to counter Jōdan, completely independent of the solutions presented here.

Learning effect

The initial techniques of the kata (up to No. 3) are repeated in mirror image (Nos. 4 to 6). Here it is advisable to practice two different applications with different degrees of difficulty to increase the learning effect. The additional technique Fumikiri to the thigh (No. 7) serves to complete the sequence successfully even in the case when the Yoko geri keage could not be placed as the final technique.

Oi-komi technique

The interpretation of technique no. 22 (morote uke) is intended here as a Jōdan attack. However, it could also be a defense against the opponent's elbow if he attacks with oi zuki on the right. Executed strongly and precisely as an "oi-komi technique," the morote uke can also be used as a counter.

Stick attacks

The last sequence of the kata provides a defense against a stick combination. For the first time the stick appears as a possible weapon. Of course, a weaponless defense can also be provided at this point.

Defend near the hands

In principle, it is important to repel stick attacks near the opponent's hands (or on the hands themselves) to avoid own injuries to arms and hands.
This requires defending forward to get close to the opponent, so that afterwards can act itself.
In addition, the stick is most dangerous at the tip.
When training with the stick, both good control and expert direction are necessary to avoid injury.

Duration: about 40 seconds

Here you will find all information about the techniques in the video