Pinan Godan Bunkai (video)

Here is a clip of me teaching some bunkai for the opening sequence of Pinan Godan. As I’m sure you know, the angle in the kata tells us the angle we need to be at in relationship to the enemy. The ninety degree angle at the start of the kata therefore tells us to shift to the side of the enemy (away from his free hand) and then to apply the kata.

Because of the chaotic nature of conflict, the kata does not know where our feet will be prior to the application of the movement; it therefore simply records the angle we need to be at and not the unknowable specifics of how to get there. I mention that because it’s a point that sometimes confuses people new to bunkai, or who still have the view that a sideway move means the enemy is to the side (as opposed to the karateka moving to their side).

One thing to note is that great care needs to be taken on the neck crank and your partner’s safety must be your key priority at all times. On a technical level you should note how no part of the kata motion is left unused: the “prime for the block” is used, the hands on the hip are used, the stance facilities the correct shift in bodyweight, and so on. The standard “block and punch application”, however, leaves many parts of the motion redundant and has many tactical flaws. I would therefore suggest that what is presented here is a much better way of looking at the movement. However, as always, it’s up to you to have a look and make up your own mind.

All best,


Practical Kata Bunkai: Pinan / Heian Godan Moves 1 to 6