This video was filmed when I was teaching in Lund, Sweden in October 2011. Over the weekend we had been exploring the progression found in the Pinan Heian series. We began with the core techniques found in Pinan Shodan (Heian Nidan) and progressed through the whole series to the more advanced techniques found in Yodan and Godan (See my DVDs “The Pinan / Heian Series: The Complete Fighting System” for a detailed breakdown of this progression).
The sequence is often explained as a” lower cross block” to a low kick, an “upper cross block” to a face punch, a “pressing block” to a middle level punch, before hitting the enemy twice. One key problem with such applications is that they are rendered totally invalid the minute the attacker does anything other then precisely what they are told. Other issues are that the individual techniques are very unlikely to work in themselves, they would produce great vulnerabilities even if they did, and parts of the sequence go unexplained (i.e. why bring both hand down at once for the “pressing block”?).
The sequence makes far more sense when viewed as a grip strip, arm-lock and punches. It is nevertheless interesting to note that people still cling to the “blocking sequence” as being valid – despite its many obvious flaws – simply because it is widely practised. What we need to do to make sense of kata is to avoid “appeals to authority”, look at kata with fresh eyes, and ask what truly best explains the motion?
All the best,
PS If you prefer to watch the video on YouTube please click HERE