Pinan 5 Direction 1&2

Here is an interpretation for the beginning of Pinan godan.

We interpret the first moves of Pinan sandan and Pinan godan differently, although they appear to be the same move. This is because the follow-up moves in the kata show different tactics that require different use of the same technique.

In godan, we are defending against a chudan strike from the front.

As the first move of the kata shows,

we step forward, closing the distance to the opponent,

while blading the body out of the line of attack, and

simultaneously re-directing the incoming punch past us with the crossing right forearm. 

We drop into cat stance

and use the left forearm to contact the arm of the opponent just above his elbow, turning him away from us.

This exposes targets at his back or lower ribs to our reverse punch. In the kata this finishes the interaction. 

We immediately defend our six.

We do not assume the threat is finished just because we have stopped one opponent. We are vulnerable to an attack from the rear.  

We drive our elbow into the opponent behind us, and the punch across our body into the available target.

Our left foot snaps to the right foot: the opponent is right there. We maintain balance by keeping the right foot rooted at the moment of contact.

This technique is useful if you are pinned at the side or the back, with an opponent in contact with your body so that your movement is restricted. It could happen anytime, but is likely in an elevator, doorway, other confined space or in a crowd. 

In Pinan godan, we then counter with a backfist or brachial stun and follow up with a reverse punch.


Note: at the beginning of all the Pinan katas we turn counterclockwise and drop into nekko ashi dachi. The purpose of dropping into cat stance as you turn your opponent is that the stance is stable both front to back and back to front at once. So, an attempt by your opponent to pull you or push you will be impeded or prevented. 

This is followed with a comparable technique in the clockwise rotation, so we can train both sides (except in Pinan nidan/Heian shodan).


Video and Post Copyright © 2023 Jeffrey Brooks, Yamabayashi Ryu, Mountain Karate, Hendersonville-Columbus area, Saluda, NC 


For more on quick reversals, the fundamental tactical skill used in Shorin Ryu, check out the article Too Fast To See 


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Many of the applications I am showing in this series are anti-grappling and anti-throwing. These may not be the best or preferred self-defense under all circumstances, but they decode the kata without changing the kata. In these specific cases, the grappling interpretations might make more tactical sense than a striking application.


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