Welcome back to Learning Unleashed! Continuing in our series on Pinan, we’re diving right into the training foundations that underpin the Yuuki Defense teaching philosophy. There is some exciting stuff in here! While it might seem slow going at first, you will find some powerful truths written deep into what we’re discussing that I’m going to outline clearly for you. Take these lessons and apply them to your personal safety preparedness. I promise you will you be more resilient and more effective. Not only that, but the truths we’re going to review in this series of articles are also applicable to your daily life. Learn then, make them yours, and use them. You’ll be one step closer to EMPOWERING yourself.
Now that we’ve clearly established that the primary purpose of the Pinan kata series was to more effectively teach the lessons of karate in a shorter period of time, we can take a look at the first, and arguably most important principle: Forward motion.
Heian 1/ Pinan 2
This is the first kata taught in the series, and master Funakoshi formally restructured the naming system in Shotokan to reflect this. Now, there are many details and a lot of specifics that we could delve into here on what this kata is about, but that’s for another article. In this case, we’re just looking for the big idea of this fighting lesson. To do that, we’ll take the perspective of Master Itosu again. “How do I teach someone with no knowledge of how to fight, how to fight?” Well, asking that question will lead you right to the big ideas for effective self defense. What’s the first one? MOVE FORWARD - TOWARD YOUR OPPONENT.
Forward motion is the most natural kind of motion for the human body. We have better balance moving forward than we do moving backwards or sideways. It is a function of our anatomy that we are best suited to move, walk, run, play, and use our limbs in the forward direction. It only makes sense then that this would be the fundamental lesson. It’s a crucial one though, because in the chaos of conflict, we can quickly lose our bearing, orientation, and balance if we’re not ready and trained. Therefore, we train to move forward toward our opponent, no matter what.
I'm supposed to do what?!
If you think about it, this is a radical idea. To the untrained person, moving backward would seem like the safer bet. But Masters Itosu and Funakoshi knew better. Moving backwards only allows your opponent to move forward, and while you’re busy retreating, he’s gaining valuable momentum and power for his attack. The trained response is to move forward, seize the initiative, and press the enemy back as quickly and as forcefully as possible. This lesson serves as the powerful foundation for all of the subsequent lessons in the Pinan/Heian series.
Now, like I said before, there’s all kinds of good stuff in each of these kata about power generation, weight management through stances, and specific hand techniques, but without the broader context of the fighting theory, these become harder to find, and even get lost over time. Karate and self defense shouldn’t be a random collection of tricks. If you’re learning tricks, you’ll run out fast when time is short and tension is high. Effective application of specific techniques comes from understanding the principles that tie the art together into some kind of systematic approach to neutralizing violence.
Tapping into real karate is really cool...
Right now, we’re taking the broad view of the Pinan system to learn why it is the heart of karate. So remember this first and most important lesson, nearly everything stems from it. Forward motion is better than backward motion - Move forward into the enemy. It makes his job infinitely harder, and he'll want to give up that much quicker.
In our next article, we’re going to jump into Heian 2/ Pinan 1, the second kata taught in the series. The principles from that kata will take what we learned here to a whole new level! See you then.
KEEP READING: Pinan- Studying Kata for Self-Defense- Part 3
Written by Brandon Torrellas