Monday 20 July 2020

Movement one of Heian Shodan: SHIN GI TAI

Today I will use the first movement of Heian Shodan, in isolation, as a means to broadly look at karate technique: body. mind and heart/spirit. Hopefully, some food for thought and, better still, motivation. Osu, André. 

Movement one of Heian Shodan

1A. The first movement is initiated by a simultaneous left ward hip turn into shomen; wind up of hidari gedan barai (leftward extension of the right ‘guide hand’ and left fist to right shoulder); head turn for correct chakugan; dropping the weight; and leftward inversion of the right leg/foot—turning on the right heel/kakato chushin.

There is also a natural inhalation through the nostrils, a focus of the eyes and a decisively cleared/relaxed mind. The intent is both calmness/mental control and receptiveness to the environment. To achieve this, the power is concentrated in the tanden/hara, which has a feeling of sinking into the lower abdomen and, interestingly, relaxing the eyes. That is, have a poker face, no expression. This reflects the name 平安 (Heian) which translates as peaceful.

1B. Movement one is completed by simultaneously executing a quick hidari gedan barai; driving the left leg 90 degrees forward from the right heel; twisting the waist/hips rightward into hanmi; and tightly pulling the right fist to the right—uken migi koshi (hikite); and a inaudible exhalation from the mouth.

Upon completion of movement one, consciously relax all the muscles with the exception of joint shime (namely maintenance of a perfectly erect posture—pelvis, back and neck; correctly formed fists/seiken, hikite) and knee/foot positions.

In sum, again reflecting the name of the kata, one must go from complete inaction, to explosive action, then return to complete inaction in an instant.

While this is only the first movement in Heian Shodan it encompasses all aspects of SHIN GI TAI in Karate-DO and, indeed, Karate-JUTSU. To further elucidate, this description could obviously be written in even greater detail. That being said, I think the point of this article has been sufficiently made. 


To conclude, I will quote one of my past articles, which I think fits the bill well here: 

“It is not a jumping kick or any other novelty that verifies one’s 
            karate ability. That is because any athletic individual—even without 
        any karate experience— can do such actions with a little practice. 
    Rather, it is the simplest of Kihon, which takes many years to 
    execute at a high level. Yes, it is these ‘grounded fundamentals’ 
         which ultimately define one’s true technical level in budo karate”. 

Needless to say, this point (naturally) applies to kata and kumite/self-defense also. I will wrap up on that note. Osu and greetings from sunny Oita.

                   © André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2020).

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