The heian kata was created to teach grappling?

Happy holidays everyone.

I have hear a lot of reasons over the years why the pinan/heian kata was created. i was wondering which other theory’s were out there and can you explain them

a few of the ones i have hear over the years are:
the pinan / heian series was created to teach the grappling aspects of tode, it teach in the primary schools.
that pinan shodan (heian nidan) was created first because the opening movement was designed to create a twitch reflex. and easier to perform.
@DILIGAF the heian kata has very advance grappling in them as well. its not just basic grappling.
there are many arm-bars, traps, breaks, joint locks reversal, chokes as well as small circle jujutsu in them.

i can spend months just going over the first heian kata and nothing else with all the applications never hitting the same one twice
part of the problem is many people are only taught simple applications when there is far more to bunkai then this.
bunkai has several levels not just a basic one.
and the arms are only part of the technique. there is also alot with the stances. the stances themselves become locks and traps as well as breaks and so forth
you ruined my next question. your not allowed to participate any more.. lol

my next question was going to be along the lines of what is the difference between beginner and advance techniques or applications, in regards to kata… or something to that effect i was still working on the wording.
if any one cares to answer that part here your more then welcome. it seems the direction this question might be starting to take anyway

I dont consider kata having hidden movements. i ever really liked that term its mis-leading.
from my understanding and i will use naihanchi for this example, itosu didnt remove the advance techniques to naihanchi that he taught to the children he removed only the deadly ones.
im also drawing from the fact that itosu was well versed in grappling.

in a letter itosu wrote to the ministry often refereed to his ten percepts now a days number 6 mentions grappling. why would he mention grappling to the ministry of education if he didnt put it in t
***something got cut off here**

why would he mention grappling to the ministry of education if he didnt put it in the kata
itosu writes
6. Handed down by word of mouth, Karate comprises a myriad of techniques and corresponding meanings. Resolve to independently explore the context of these techniques, observing the principles of torite (grappling/joint locks) with the corresponding theory of usage – and the practical applications will be more easily understood.

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9 Responses to The heian kata was created to teach grappling?

  1. Lex says:

    Personally? I think they were created to simplify the style.

  2. DILIGAF says:

    there are alot of simple grapling bunkai for the pinan katas. I think their is merit in that argument. I think you could argue that the pinan katas are designed for very basic arm locks and grabbing escapes from behind and from the side.

  3. LIONDANCER says:

    Lex does have a point though. In the Shidokan Shorin Ryu style many of the Pinan moves and even sequences are a more simplified versions of the 2 Passai and 2 Kunsanku Kata. Since the Pinan are newer forms than the Passai and Kusanku Kata and are taught long before Passai and Kusanku Kata it is a reasonable assumption that they were created to be simpler to teach to beginners. And yes, the first move in Pinan Shodan if practiced often enough is a great reflex for a great number of incoming attacks. It is easy to learn within a very short period of time and great for a beginner. There are also other moves in that form that lend themselves for defense to quite a variety of attacks. …and of course since they are part of the more demanding forms of Passai and Kusanku they also have the more advanced bunkai too.

  4. Man of faith says:

    I think LIONDANCER has a point, however I think the others are only looking at the surface. Even the most basic of Kata has a laundry list of grappling that is easily looked over by the untrained eye. There is a saying in the White Crane system, “One move, a thousand applications.” I think this applies to all martial arts, and more specifically all Kata. There are different stages a beginner goes through in Bunkai of Kata. Fundamentals only, using what you see in the form. Breakdown of the movements to see the less obvious techniques. And then an in depth “journey”, to really understand why this form was created. I personally believe, that Kata is far more than a string of techniques, but eventually becomes, if you look deep enough,a series of concepts that are unique to each form. They all look the same on the surface, but if you go deep enough, you see the signature. It is hard to say why it was necessarily created, that is something I don’t have a theory on, however you are right in saying there is far more to it, than what the basic Bunkai can reveal. It is all of our jobs as martial artists to interpret the message within the form.

  5. pugpaws2 says:

    This is a subject that I have always been interested in. It seems that there are many theories as to why this series of Kata was developed. Several seem plausible. To bad we cannot ask the old masters why. That would clear up much.

    What I like about Kata in general is every time you think you have one or more good applications for a particular technique, stance, …etc. you either find another on your own, or even more likely run into someone that has different ones that are also realistic and practical. To me it is like the English language, there are only 26 letters, but the possibilities for basic words is immense. Then as you put words together to make meaningful writing, the possibilities expands exponentially. The more I learn and understand that more I realize just how little I really know. we are all ignorant to some extent. The problem with ignorance is we can’t possibly know what it is that we don’t know.

    By the way, I’m thinking of having a Seminar weekend in March or April. Would like some input on it.

  6. Johnathan Pierson says:

    I’m of the opinion that you, and the many others like you( including a teacher of mine) put too much emphasis on the hidden aspects in the Pinan kata.
    Remember, they were devised to teach school children. Chotoku Kyan would not teach these kata to his private students because of that reason.
    Now, you can say that the Pinan kata contain all of those aspects, but that’s akin to saying that someone’s calligraphy set makes them an artist. Without the understanding from higher level kata to introduce two-handed actions and motions; as well a competent instructor, it’s just a basic form.

    There’s an image of Konishi throwing Mabuni in what looks like the second movement from Sandan. This would not be touched on until a student demonstrated enough skill to land correctly, thus if this were a children’s kata as we are led to believe, this would likely not be taught for years. Also, don’t attempt to juryrig history, Mabuni was known for studying Naha Te, Shuri Te, and even exchanging techniques with prominent jujutsu masters, thereby indicating that his source of inspiration behind that application may well be related to his studies outside of Shuri Te.

    It’s a difficult slope, I believe, to interpret kata based on the merits of Karate alone. These days martial arts saturate media and we “see” applications outside.

    Tuite, the noted art in which is absent from Kata, as taught in Motobu Udundi, is the application of diverse jointlocks within a set of parameters to induce continued movement, forward action, and camouflaging maai.

    As Uehara Seikichi once told a prominent 9th Dan in Karate, “welcome to secondary school.”

    It is my humble opinion that, while the principles behind advanced techniques are laden within the Pinan kata, as one of my teachers has often done, overreliance on utilizing a basic kata to teach advanced modes and methodologies of thinking obfuscates and misdirects fledgling students. While the kihongata are useful for initiation into these techniques, it is the job of the advanced kata to bridge the gap with two hand motions and differential timing between hands and feet.

    For example: Sandan’s last technique could be interpreted as Ogoshi, however, because Ogoshi is a pretty dangerous technique, the likelihood that the movement is a type of throw is low. Not that it can’t be, just that it’s low probability. After all, while kata hides techniques, it would be improbable to obfuscate them beyond interpretation, the lack of irimi waza and the diverse methods of turning into the stance after the last punch; either stepping forward and turning or stepping around behind with what was the front foot; does not lead to a general agreement behind the intended Tai sabaki into the technique…
    However, the other options that are viable are defenses against bearhugs, grabs, Foot sweeps, etc…

    So, to make a long discourse short, I disagree that the Heian kata teach grappling. They* can* be used to teach grappling, but it is imprudent to state that the kata were designed with much of an emphasis on grappling in mind. The incongruity between the kata design and the instructor’s intention highlights the dichotomy between purpose and application. I.e. Why use a hammer (kata) when you can use a saw (technique) to cut a board (teach a principle)? The hammer won’t give you precision, dimensions, or adhere to a precedent of cutting the board. It will give you the foundation needed to apply precision.

    Sorry for the rambling.

  7. SANTOKUKAN says:

    I think all you guys have hit the nail in more than one way. There is no right or wrong answer. we will never get to the bottom beccause we were not there when this katas were created. Good exchange of ideas.

  8. possum says:

    I would like to answer with experience, but alas, I do not have any. I do not know the form – or the style, let alone the reason the form was created. But I get the idea from others’ responses that the forms have both an elementary and sophisticated teaching lesson in them, and I see no reason that the inventors didn’t consider this.

    William Shakespeare, for example, was/is famous for his unending use of double-entendres. (“Get thee to a nunnery” is famous!) And haven’t we all seen a movie – like a cartoon – that was clearly marketed for children, and yet there are hidden comic moments that only adults can understand – that is, children laugh at the same moment that adults laugh, and yet for different reasons?

    So why create two kata – one for basic and another for advanced – when one can do, if properly crafted? Why cannot the exploration of additional and more complicated applications itself be the lesson? I think that more would be lost when two kata were developed, because in the end – as many have pointed out that there are endless interpretations and applications – there would have to be endless kata to consider all of the possible applications. So rather than embark down a path to make new kata for new applications, why not have just one to represent them all.

    I think the two answers may just be right there in front of you: first, that you’ll never know in the inventors’ minds; and second, that the kata’s study is circular – meant to be revisited over and over, each time garnering new discoveries and knowledge.

    just my thoughts…

    EDIT: Oh, Jeez… sorry about that Kokoro! I will send ME to a nunnery… :-)

  9. jwbulldogs says:

    One theory I’ve heard was that the naihanchi kata were created for fighting with your back against the wall. Hence the lateral movements in the kata.

    This also make some sense considering fighting against multiple attackers. My 1st sensei told us when fighting against multiple people that we are to put our backs against a wall. Then use the wall to defend ourselves until we can escape. With your back against a wall you can’t be surprised with a hit from behind your back. Every strike will come within you peripheral vision. I didn’t learn any naihanchi kata from him.

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