The Heian kata came to Japan from Okinawa, where Funakoshi Sensei gave them their Japanese name. Heian means “peace and safety.” These kata were developed from the advanced kata to play the same role we use them for today: as a gateway into karate training for beginners.
In Heian Godan techniques come from a few of the brown belt level kata; particularly Empi. We continue to train back stance (koukutsudachi), front stance (zenkutsudachi), as well as side stance (kibadachi), and add a jump. The contrast between slow movements and full-speed rapid combinations is also important. As with other kata, it has a mix of basics and complex movements, including important training for all levels.
Especially now that we’re into the beginning kata again we encourage students of all grades to come to the Saturday kata classes. Even when we get beyond the kata you’re practicing, it’s great to begin to learn how techniques can be combined, and the practice in applying techniques is indispensable.
See you Saturday!
At SVSK our Saturday morning kata classes focus on one kata at a time. We typically spend four Saturdays on each kata:
Week 1: Overview/review of the kata
Week 2: Fine points of the techniques and the kata
Week 3: Hands-on practice to understand applications (bunkai)
Week 4: Variations in the kata