In our basic kata classes on Saturday mornings, we are now on Heian Sandan (平安三段), the third kata in our regular syllabus.
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. Heian Sandan introduces another basic stance, introduces a couple of new techniques, and starts to teach us about changes in height. It also features more complex turning. Moving from a strong center to make the fumikomi while keeping the body center close to the ground is one of the big challenges in Heian Sandan. That same body center control is also the key to turning and shifting smoothly. As with other kata, we’re learning to take the focus away from our arms and legs and to have the body center begin to initiate our movement. The better we become at moving this way, the less this kata’s power feels like brute force, and the more it becomes a light, smooth, fast power.
Even though the techniques are basic, doing the kata really well takes a lot of practice. An excellent example is here.
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