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Heian Shodan: The first for the black belt


Tetsui dans Heian Shodan

Heian Shodan: The first for the black belt

This Kata Heian Shodan is the simplest of the five Heian. It no doubt served as a model for the creation of Taykyoku kata.

But beware, even if it's simple, it's part of the kata to present for the black belt 1er dan. So do not neglect Heian Shodan 😉

The Heian Kata were created by Master Itosu according to, it seems, Kanku, Bassai et jion. The goal was then to simplify the kata for the promotion of karate and to be able to teach it in Okinawa schools. I'm not going to give you here a history class on the origin of the Heian because it's not the purpose of this blog and because we already find a lot of information about it on the internet, but I'll tell you make a quick summary:

As said before, Master Itosu created the Heianfor educational purposes by stripping them of all dangerous techniques.
Initially these Kata was called " Pinan Which in Chinese means " calm and peace" , and it's Master Funakoshi who renamed them in Japanese: "Heian" which has the same meaning.

The purpose of his kata would be tosoothe the body and mind. Moreover each of the Heian begins and ends with a defense technique.

I still think that the primary purpose of these kata is the pedagogy :
Each Heian will allow you to slowly forge your body to become a black belt of karate.
Each allows a different work and therefore an evolution of the practitioner towards the famous Black Belt 😉

Heian Shodan teaches you stability ...

... by learning the two basic positions: Zenkutsu Dachi et Kokutsu Dachi.

It teaches you 3 techniques to defend you at 3 level gedan, chudan and jodan: Gedan Barai, Shuto Uke et Jodan Age Uke

And 3 strikes techniques: Oizuki Chudan, Tetsui Uchi (with a clearing) and Shuto Uchi.

However, there is still no leg technique in this first part.

For learning kata, you will see that the base is the same as for Taikyoku, a large capital I with some variations, so a tip, go to revise the Taikyoku 1, 2 et 3, especially to review the various rotations that often pose difficulties for beginners.

The level of rythme, most of the techniques ofHeian Shodan follow 2, separated by a slight pause (1s), but I will explain more easily on the video.

Heian Shodan: decomposition of Kata

Here is the progress of the kata, it should allow you to follow then on the video:

You do not have to remember all the names of each technique but make an effort to retain some of them because during the passage of rank, you will need to know the Japanese names of the techniques in the test of Kihon, so much start learning right now

(I put aside the break time you have to do sometimes.)

  1. Musubi Dachi, Rei (hello), announces kata. (all without haste) (3s)
  2. Hachiji Dachi Yoi (3s)
  3. Zenkutsu Dachi left, Gedan Barai left
  4. Ayumi Ashi Zenkutsu Dachi right, Chudan Oizuki right (1s)
  5. Rotation by the right on the back heel (go see again Taïkyoku Shodan for explanations.) with preparation of the Gedan Barai right
  6. Zenkutsu Dachi right, Gedan Barai right
  7. Right Wrist Release: You make a sharp withdrawal from the body on the back leg by pulling your arm out to your left (much like Uchi Barai doing)
  8. Then your fist goes up in front of you and you go down to Zenkutsu Dachi right, Tetsui Otoshi (The hammer blow with the idea of ​​falling: all the weight of your body is in your fist)
    The 7 and 8 points are one and follow each other directly.
  9. Ayumi Ashi, Zenkutsu Dachi left, Chudan Oizuki left (1s)
  10. Left turn on the back heel towards the "straight line" with preparation of the left Gedan Barai
  11. Zenkutsu Dachi left, Gedan Barai left
  12. On site, Jodan Age Uke left open hand
  13. Ayumi Ashi Zenkutsu Dachi Right, Jodan Age Uke Right (1 / 2s)
    As soon as you start for the next technique, you open your right hand.
  14. Ayumi Ashi Zenkutsu Left Dachi, Jodan Age Uke Left
    You chained directly without forgetting to open the left hand
  15. Ayumi Ashi Zenkutsu Dachi Right, Jodan Age Uke Right - KIAI (2s)
    Each technique
  16. Rotate by the left on the front foot (go again Taïkyoku Shodan for explanations.) with preparation of the left Gedan Barai
  17. Zenkutsu Dachi left, Gedan Barai left
  18. Ayumi Ashi Zenkutsu Dachi Right, Chudan Oizuki Right (1s)
  19. Rotation from the right on the back heel, with preparation of the right Gedan Barai
  20. Zenkutsu Dachi right, Gedan Barai right
  21. Ayumi Ashi, Zenkutsu Dachi left, Chudan Oizuki left (1s)
  22. Left turn on the back heel towards the "straight line" with preparation of the left Gedan Barai
  23. Zenkutsu Dachi left, Gedan Barai left
  24. Ayumi Ashi Zenkutsu Dachi Right, Chudan Oizuki Right (1 / 2s)
  25. Ayumi Ashi, Zenkutsu Dachi left, Chudan Oizuki left
  26. Ayumi Ashi Zenkutsu Dachi Right, Chudan Oizuki Right - KIAI (2s)
  27. Rotate from the left on the front foot with preparation of the left Shuto Uke
  28. Kokutsu Dachi Chudan Shuto Uke left
  29. at 45 ° right: kokutsu Dachi Chudan Shuto Uke right (1s)
  30. Rotation from the right on the back heel, with preparation of the right Uke Shuto
  31. Kokutsu Dachi Chudan Shuto Uke Right
  32. at 45 ° left: kokutsu Dachi Chudan Shuto Left Uke (2s)
  33. Back Hachiji Dachi swiveling on the back heel and bringing back the left leg (3s)
  34. Back Musubi Dachi (Bring each foot in half one after the other, half right, then half left.)
    Rei (Hi) (3s)

Here you will notice that despite its apparent similarity with the Taikyku, Heian Shodan is not symmetrical at all :

First the seizure release which appears only on one of the small 4 side, then the straight lines, the first with high level blockages (Jodan Age Uke) and the return with Oizuki on the Chudan level. It would seem that in the ancient forms these three Tsuki were at the Jodan level, to match attacks and defenses. I can not tell you why it was the Oizuki Chudan who were finally selected.

Okay, I'll stop bothering you with the theory because I think it's now time to put yourself in the shoes of Karate and put on your kimono for learning.Heian Shodan on video.

I let you do your usual warm-ups thanks to my book: The ABC of warm-upsThen I'll meet you on the video. See you soon

>>> Download the video
Erratum : on the video, I explain that the Shuto are done with a pause between each. Or after verification, it is a mistake, they follow 2 2 as I wrote to you above, thus respecting the general rhythm on 2 kata time. Errare humanum is (from latin? It becomes intellectual this blog !!!)

Leave me a comment below, thank you!

See you soon and practice well ;-),

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  1. Good evening. I am Teodor from Romania. I want to ask you three questions. If you can help me with an answer. How can I adapt the shotokan style to other styles. For example, karambit, muay thai or Filipino martial art. From kata we can customize a knife uke. Which kata can practice and adapt as a taijiquan exercise. Have a good day

  2. Hello, Bruno.
    Thank you for this informative video.
    I am learning heian shodan right now. I admit that the kata does not pose any particular problem, except on the end of the kata with kokutsu dachi, shuto uke ...
    In fact, I have some difficulties after the second kiai to go into kokutsu dachi properly. I also saw your video on kokutsu dachi and trained myself a lot of times to do this position. However, I find it difficult to assimilate and reproduce it properly in the kata.
    Of course I will continue to work kokutsu to get there.
    Do you have any tips or learning techniques for this position that would make my assimilation easier?

  3. Hello Bruno
    I am fired since
    1AN 1 / 2 in St Pierre Island of Reunion and your videos help me a lot thank you for your lessons very clear and very nice, I train every day with you !!!! I just got my green orange belt !! come see us on the island for an internship ... See you soon

  4. Karine Pardessus at

    Hello Bruno, Thank you very much for this virtual course!
    I'm just starting shotokan karate.
    You help me to make great progress.

    Best regards.

  5. Hello,

    I'm new to karate, I do not know much about it, I just wanted to leave you a little comment to thank you. I have a very good physical condition, so I am very easily training in club but, suddenly, teachers tend to forget that I started there 2 month ... So to learn the basics correctly, it is not is not always obvious ^^.

    Thanks to your video, I finally managed to memorize Heian Shodan (in one day!) And, for once, I could do it right tonight in training.

    Thanks again!

  6. Hello, I'm a beginner and I love to watch your videos because they are easy and understandable ...
    I wanted to download the video but it does not work!
    Anyway thank you for everything because I advance much faster in my learning.
    Sincerely, adeline.

  7. You will easily find very good explanations on the judo sites; because even if we also use the falls during karate projections, we still have to note that this is not necessarily our strong point, not to mention those who never practice.Marrant to see the number of adults who have the head who turns after a series of falls before ... ..

  8. Hello,

    if i can afford you should make a video on how to roll back and forth for beginners because i'm a beginner and i have a lot of trouble getting level, video worth are great in passing. thank you

  9. hello, I understand nothing for who and gedan barai, I do it without problem, but in the kata are moment his arms outstretched that comes to the ear and other time its the opposite, I would like know why because I do not understand anything anymore, thank you

    • I do not really understand your question; I can just tell you that it is the arm with which you make gedan barai that you come armed to the ear; so after that, it depends on where he was before you made the army.
      But specify exactly when, it pb you if it does not meet your request.

  10. Thank you, for this very good course,
    I am trying to learn this base well.

    I have a small request to make.

    Would it be possible to show us exercises to do every morning on waking, which would last between 15 and 20 minutes.
    Simple exercises and not too heavy, the story of rustling the body and can change it with the years.
    I think about stretching, facial, abdominal etc. etc.
    We do a little program, that each of us should do by getting up each morning
    Sincerely Pascal.

    • Hello Pascal,

      Good morning exercises, you are well motivated
      You can actually do some stretching coupled with body weight, but before it will take a little warm up to rust a little body.
      Everyone can also revise their katas, without strength or speed just for gymnastics and memory.

      I keep your request in a corner and I will try to think about a specific program.


  11. Hello Bruno,

    Thank you very much for this explanation / demo of Heian Shodan.

    Honestly, the dojo lessons associated with your videos are moving faster. With your head rested, your lessons at home can assimilate many points.

    Thanks again,

    Long live the blog

  12. On my part I do not see why the existence of "Masters" should prevent people from thinking. It is the dispensation of thinking exactly, and the exemption from the taking of responsibility, which makes that in societies they have existed, and still exist, the greatest injustices, ignominies and horrors (all this in the din or the meowing). sheep-executors of orders: "It's not me, who decides ...!").

    I'm agree with Deep Spirit: to me too we did once discover this Kata with the translation of each movement; what (in the real situation, the real fight) he served and what it meant.
    It's also you yourself, Bruno (and respect for that) who said once: we must always imagine that in front of us ... we have the real opponent. So, rather imagine to break his arm (and not make a movement whose purpose is obscure, obscure and therefore we would not understand).

    ... On the other hand, your technical explanations, your movements well analyzed and whose execution is described by the words: all that possible to access on the web, is an incomparable tool of work with nothing - big thanks for that.
    Short question: as you know, I can not at this time train at home - but I can have a room for individual training, yet without WiFi connection (one good against the absence of another). Do you think that someday (and perhaps soon) there might be a DVD of your videos, which can be viewed directly even in places without a connection?
    (If ever such a DVD comes out, I am the first taker and take it illico).


  13. Hello Bruno,

    I wanted to thank you for your beautiful achievements. It helps me to progress. I just started karate this year. With your videos, I hope to pass the different belts quickly. From what I could see, you got your black belt in 2 years. It's my aim.

    Thanks again.


    • Hello Anita,
      Here you are with a very ambitious goal, but not impossible. Of course you will have to climb and sometimes go beyond your limits.
      If you think you can surpass yourself, you have a chance of getting there. I wish it you, anyway.
      Afterwards, we must not make a fixation on these 2 years, not everyone has the chance to progress so fast. It is necessary to be careful not to cross stages too quickly and to find oneself with wobbly bases.
      So you have an objectcif, it's good, but you fix intermediate levels and following your progress you will evolve (or not!) Your goal.

  14. Hello bruno, I spend my yellow belt next week, I started karate shotokan since January and since I am your videos with the pedagogy that goes with I made rapid progress.

    Thanks for all.

  15. Ana Marina Vrabec at

    Hello M. Bruno,
    Thank you for your response and interest. Cramps can occur throughout stopaalu and Risto except for the fifth. It does not happen in other positions. See each video. I suspect something is not working well and needs more exercise and I'm getting used to it. Thank you
    Ana Marina

  16. Ana Marina Vrabec at

    Hello M. Bruno,
    This is a simple Kata, but it should definitely be done correctly. Kokutsu Dachi position my favorite. From this position can be performed by many kicks. But every time I use when training Kokutsu Dachi I have cramps in the soles. I do not know why this happens? Probably something wrong?

  17. Hello Bruno,

    Once again a well done presentation, which will allow me to refine Heian Shodan at home ....

    Thank you and have a great day.


    • Hello Bruno,

      Excellent presentation that is very clear.

      Would it be possible to offer this video for download? It would take him to the Dojo and use it in free training support.

      • Hello PhilH,
        For the moment it is not possible to download the videos on the blog, but I'm working on it.
        By cons they are hosted on Youtube and Daylimotion and looking a little in Google you should find a way to download.

    • Bonjour,

      You have to go through a specific software or site to download a video. The easiest is to go through a download platform. I know "" which allows for youtube and dailymotion.
      As for the sounds, we can download them directly in MP3 from the site (but for youtube only I think)


  18. Hello, =)
    So I wanted to intervene on the realization of the kata.
    Indeed, I would like to know if, according to you, it is necessary to privilege the technical aspect or the essential aspect of the kata which is the mastery of the mentality of the kata.
    Your techniques are very well executed, accurate and your shoulder height is very well adjusted throughout the kata.
    However, I have not personally learned this kata in the same way as you.
    My sensei who is passionate about kata taught me the philosophy of kata; the purpose of each movement. So we run the last age uke for example, like a broken arm. The goal of this attack is to finish the series against. That's why there is a kiai. Same for the second soto uke of each of the two series that we execute with the front arm a little longer.

    Is this a problem? How to synthesize philosophy and technique?

    • Hello Deep Spirit,
      Here you have a fundamental problem about running a kata. If I understand correctly you modify the kata to adapt it to the application that you make.
      I think it's not good, because for every technique of a kata, there is a multitude of possible applications.
      The kata as are name suggests, it is the mold or the form, it must not be modified according to the application that one makes.
      In addition it means that in your mind there is only one possible application.
      In my opinion, kata is used to learn gestures, to forge the body and the mind, and one has to focus on maintaining one's form. Then in our research (bunkaï) we can find various possible applications but they must not change the way of performing the kata.
      I hope I have answered part of your question.

    • For my part, I do not see why we could not change the Kata. Because the Shotokan Katas are very different from their original versions. See the differences with the older versions of the Heian Katas, those of Shorin-ryu Matsubayashi-ryu School of Master Shoshin Nagamine. Their comparisons clearly show that Katas have known additions, subtractions and substitutions of techniques. Either by incomprehension of those who learned it, or by improvements that the masters thought to bring. This leads to render some sequences of Katas inapplicable in real combat. Moreover the five Heian (Pinan) were never created by Anko Itosu to be applicable in combat but as physical education exercises for schoolchildren.

    • Hello,
      I agree with you that the Kata have evolved a lot over time, but do you really think it's up to us to make changes? There are Masters for that.
      I think you have to tap into the kata to find different applications but not take an application to modify the kata.

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