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Pinan Shodan and Yondan

The shape of the first movements of Pinan Shodan and Pinan Yondan are the same except that the hands are closed in the former and open in the latter.

To help students get movements, we come up with different analogies or constructs.

For the first movements of these kata, the feeling is like pulling your hands off a hot stove. You touch the stove and instantly react by pulling your hands away. There is no time to think. The movement is instant. Your hands jerk off the stove.

It is important to keep the elbows near the body. Do not let them move away from the body. In fact, the elbows can come closer to the body.

Once the hands jerk up, the feeling is a little like throwing a bucket of water. Don't think of blocking. Think of throwing the bucket of water. This will ensure that your hands move together.

Don't think of your fists or hands. Think of your wrists. Flick your wrists up into the block. If you focus on your fists or hands, your movement will be too tight.

After the block, there is a recoil which is coordinated with the rotation of the koshi. To set the movement, the hara is used. Hara can refer to the tucking motion of the koshi area. Koshi generally moves in the horizontal and diagonal axes. The hara generally moves in the vertical axis.

The movement begins with the koshi rotating to the left (possibly to the right first to generate movement). The hands do not move until the koshi begins to rebound back to the right.

Many years ago, I watched a video of Sensei Katsuhiko Shinzato performing Pinan Shodan. I must have watched him perform the first movement of the kata hundreds to times. For the life of me, I could not figure out how he was generating so much speed and power with so little apparent effort. I did not understand basic koshi then. Years later when I learned the same movement from him, I was so happy! It was as if a great mystery was solved.


Charles C. Goodin