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Perspective on H. Sandan

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:45 pm
by HanshiClayton
There are a few differences between the Heian Sandan of Shotokan and the related Pinan Sandan katas of other styles. Some of them may be clues to applications, so it is good to be aware of them. There are also some small differences in the katas performed by different branches of Shotokan. Again, traditional Shotokan senseis become agitated if you do the kata as it is taught by their rivals. (See Standard Lie #3.)

Step 1-6: Inside block in back stance, followed by the "double-block" cluster. Allowing for stylistic differences such as using cat stance instead of back stance, everybody does this cluster essentially the same way:

Except for Seito Shorin Ryu. Step 1, instead of an inside block in back stance, they use a left hammer strike in front stance. The performer also steps backward (away from the threat) on this move. The double blocks are performed as they are in Shotokan.

Step 7-8: Reinforced block (back stance); nukite and osae uke (front stance). Standard Shotokan.

Instead of a reinforced block, an inside block; nukite performed without osae uke:

As in H. Nidan, the non-Shotokan styles don't do a pressing block. It appears that this was added to Shotokan.

Step 9-10: Anti-clockwise turn with hammer strike; step forward and punch; kiai. (Standard Shotokan.) Most groups perform this the same way, pivoting on the ball of the right foot, turning in an upright posture without any special emphasis on the "captured" right hand.

Some Shotokan groups move the right foot a few inches to the left before pivoting (at least they seem to in their videos).

Other styles have an extra move between the nukite and the tettsui. After the nukite they pivot to the south in front stance and do an open-hand downblock to the north, arm parallel to the rear leg, similar to a move that Shotokans perform in Empi kata. The extra move is there in each of these examples, although it looks a little different in each one.

Step 11: Turn to the left, upright stance, fists resting on hips. (Standard Shotokan.) All groups, all styles perform this position the same way, except for one.

Seito Shorin Ryu turns clockwise instead of counter-clockwise.

Step 12-14: Fists on hips, side stance, uraken uchi. (Standard Shotokan.) There is some variation in this series of moves. In Shotokan, the most common approach is to raise the stepping knee very high, keeping the shin vertical, and then turn the hips and stamp down as if crushing someone's foot. The uraken uchi is vertical.

Sugiyama's group does almost the same thing, but with a small flip of the foot, as if sweeping an attack away from the performer's groin or knee.

These two groups turn the "flip" into a crescent kick. The leg reaches out so that the shin becomes horizontal.

In Seito Shorin Ryu the stepping foot performs a sweeping motion but doesn't lift off the floor.

The remaining styles step from side-stance to side-stance without lifting the stepping foot. No kick, no sweep. They just step from one stance to another. Seito Shito Ryu and Wado Ryu do an exaggerated elbow swing on each step (elbow blocks) before a horizontal uraken uchi at waist level.

Step 18-19: From side stance, a slow kake-te block, followed by oi-zuki in front stance. (Standard Shotokan.)

These styles seem to skip step 18. They go from the uraken uchi to the oi-zuki without performing kake-te in between. In the case of Seito Shito Ryu, the third uraken uchi looks like a tettsui strike.

Step 20-21: Turn around into side stance; left elbow strike to the rear; right punch over left shoulder. Shift back to the right and do the mirror image. Kiai. (Standard Shotokan.) Shotokan groups all do this pretty much identically.

Matsubayashi Ryu uses cat stances instead of side stances.

Shito Ryu and Wado Ryu use upright stances instead of side stances.

Re: Perspective on H. Sandan

PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:04 pm
by milmascaras2
Hello Dr. Clayton,
I have just seen a similar technique for the first cluster of blocks (Step 1), I saw it from a friend who practices American Kenpo, he calls it 'Unfurling Crane' and it combines a back fist with a hammer strike to the groin while stepping forward, could it have been derived from the ping ans or could it be the other way around from an older Chinese source?

Re: Perspective on H. Sandan

PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:33 am
by HanshiClayton
The original Kempo techniques were drawn directly from the Chinese martial arts. (Modern "kempo" might have anything at all in it.) Chinese chuan fa is a goodly thousand years older than the Pinan katas.