HEIAN NIDAN

Peaceful Mind, Level 2

A non-linear development

The technical differences between the first two kata of the Heian series are enormous. The unskilled student who masters the first kata is confronted with a much higher technical level when he or she is about to study the Heian nidan.
Several new techniques, some of them to be performed simultaneously with both hands, and even a combination of kick and fist, represent requirements that bring the inexperienced student to the limit of his coordinative abilities.
This makes us understand that the study of Karate, despite being based on rational concepts, is not always linear. This is an important aspect of the practice, as a Martial Art contains in itself ups and downs, fullness and emptiness, therefore contrasts. The didactic aspect goes beyond the Kata itself and enters the field of Kumite: a fight does not have a linear trend! Knowing how to adapt and therefore also one's subconscious to sudden changes is an indispensable characteristic that defines a good fighter. The development of the ability to spontaneously adaption to changes begins with the technical differences of the first two Heian Kata.

A challenging beginning 

The first example of the coordinative complexity of Heian Nidan are the first techniques (from No. 1 to No. 6). They also have a valid application in self-defense, although for the Karateka engaged in learning the Kata, this is a subject to be dealt with later.

Sen no sen – Possible application

For the first time a leg and an arm technique are performed simultaneously (Sen no sen, No. 7), which requires coordination and balance. In this combination the arm technique (Uraken uchi) blocks a punch to the head while at the same time a Yoko geri keage counters to the armpit of the attacking arm.

Recommendation 

When executing this combination, it is recommended – after pulling back the techniques – to keep the balance on one leg for a very short time, in order to have time to pull out the next technique (Shutō uke).

Gyaku hanmi

Also the blocking techniques (Nos. 16 and 19), which are performed in hanmi posture and combined with other techniques, require a certain amount of body control. 
The hanmi posture in position No. 19 brings about a change in the zenkutsu dachi; the stance is about one foot shorter. This should be practiced carefully in order to finish the kata at exactly the same point where it began. This kata clearly presents a greater challenge to the karateka than Heian shodan. In this movement, it is additionally important to avoid lifting the position by shortening it, in order to keep the hip at the same level.

 

The high degree of difficulty of the applications

Heian nidan also represents a clear increase to Heian shodan in the Bunkai area, as already in the execution of the Kata itself.
The defensive situations force the student to decide where to counter and with which technique.
If the opponent is larger, it is often advisable to use a Chūdan counter technique.
However, if he is smaller, it is a good idea to counter Jōdan, completely independent of the solutions presented here.

Learning effect

The initial techniques of the Kata (up to No. 3) are repeated in mirror image (Nos. 4 to 6). Here it is advisable to practice two different applications with different degrees of difficulty to increase the learning effect. The additional technique Fumikiri to the thigh (No. 7) serves to complete the sequence successfully even in the case when the Yoko geri keage could not be placed as the final technique.

 

Oi-komi technique

The interpretation of technique no. 22 (Morote uke) is intended here as a Jōdan attack. However, it could also be a defense against the opponent's elbow if he attacks with oi zuki on the right. Executed strongly and precisely as an "oi-komi technique", the morote uke can also be used as a counter.

Stick attacks

The last sequence of the Kata provides a defense against a stick combination. For the first time the stick appears as a possible weapon. Of course, a weaponless defense can also be provided at this point.

Defending near the hands

In principle, stick attacks should be defended near the opponent's hands (or on the hands themselves) to avoid own injuries to arms and hands.
This requires defending forward to get close to the opponent, so that afterwards can act itself.
In addition, the stick is most dangerous at the tip.
When training with the stick, both good control and expert direction are necessary to avoid injuries.

Duration: about 40 seconds

You can find the matching book here:
Shotokan kata up to black belt