The original name of the Heian kata is Pinan. Other styles of karate have retained the Pinan designation (Wadō-ryū, Shōrin-ryū, Shitō-ryū).

Peace and tranquility

The name of the kata refers to the mental attitude that the karateka develops through constant practice. By mastering the techniques, concepts, and strategies provided by the kata, one can achieve such mastery and confidence that a calm mental attitude is possible in real combat. The latter increases the probability of victory over a mentally less strong opponent. It is obvious that a relaxed mind enables the implementation of technical and tactical knowledge that a stressed attitude would at least partially block and jeopardize the positive outcome of the fight.

Not only for students

The first basic kata should not be underestimated either as a learning tool for beginners or as a benchmark for advanced fighters. The constant repetition of the main movements that Heian shodan offers must accompany the karateka throughout his life. After many years of practice, one should be careful not to fall into the trap of arrogance by neglecting the practice of the first kata. Its execution undergoes a development that reveals the level of maturity of the advanced karateka, even the master. It is also, after all, a training in humility.
In the classic book of Master Nakayama, which should be in the library of every karateka, the disciple of Master Funakoshi speaks of an experiment carried out in the middle of the last century. In it, the technique of oi zuki, present seven times in the Heian shodan, was analyzed. This fist technique, performed by an expert with the level of 4th dan, develops a force of up to 700 kg, concentrated on the surface of the knuckles of the index and middle fingers! From here it is easy to see the effect of repetition and therefore the importance of the fact that both techniques and kata (even the basic ones) should be practiced over and over again.

The first part of the Heian series

Heian shodan is the first kata of the "Heian series", which consists of a total of five kata.
The Heian contain the most important basic techniques of the Shōtōkan school.
Heian shodan mainly teaches the two most important stances (Zenkutsu dachi and Kōkutsu dachi), three basic defensive techniques (Gedan barai, Age uke and Shutō uke) and the first attack (Oi zuki). In addition, the Sanbon principle is practiced.

Sanbon Principle

Sanbon techniques are tactical attack combinations that aim to accustom the opponent to a speed (in the first two attacks), then accelerate them and surprise them with the last attack.
For this purpose, the target regions are usually chosen differently to make it even more difficult to repel (Jōdan, Chūdan, Chūdan).


To the turns already learned in Taikyoku shodan are added two more, at 45° and 135°, both in Kōkutsu dachi.

Important concept

On the subject of bunkai, it is first important to develop a sound understanding of how to apply the techniques. Once the karateka has internalized the effective teaching of the techniques of a kata, he can go in search of his own applications. There are a great many messages contained in each kata. To understand them, the subject of bunkai should be approached with humility. The accumulated knowledge can later be personalized with own and perhaps fancy interpretations.

Possible application

In technique No. 3 - the release from the grip to the wrist - special attention must be paid to three things.
The rotation of the hand must be very quick, in no case bending the arm, and the circular movement must be very large.
If any of these points are neglected, the application will not work.

The age-uke techniques (nos. 7 to 9) can also be defenses against stick attacks, for example.
However, applications against stick attacks should only be considered at an advanced stage.

Duration: about 40 seconds

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