Today, we’re discussing the primary lesson from Pinan/Heian Sandan, the third kata in the Pinan system. So far, we’ve seen not only how Master Itosu codified and condensed key fighting principles with these kata, but we’ve also explored how each lesson should be layered over the previous to create a complete fighting matrix. Let’s expand this matrix by looking at the next principle: Rotation. Rotation is a powerful tool in martial arts and in self-defense. It can be used to generate tremendous power, and it can be used to redirect strong attacks.
It was Archimedes who said, “The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” While this may seem obvious, look at any brawl between untrained fighters and I challenge you to locate a straight line technique. In this lesson, again Itosu is helping us to overcome our untrained instincts by reminding us to direct our forward drives along the shortest, and therefore most efficient route.
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.