Before the Heian katas.
Do you teach them?
In almost every Shotokan dojo that I have ever visited over the years, when it comes to teaching kata to new students the starting point always seemed to be Heian Shodan. There is of course nothing wrong with this. After all Heian Shodan is the first kata on the list of the 26 Shotokan katas, and everyone has to start somewhere. But what about an alternative? What about the three elementary katas that Master Funakoshi refers to in Karate-do Kyohan prior to discussing the Heian katas? I am of course referring to Taikyoku Shodan, Taikyoku Nidan, and Taikyoku Sandan.
For a great many years I too paid little attention to these three katas, and also started new students off with Heian Shodan. However, eventually I came to find great value, benefit, and purpose in practicing the three Taikyoku katas. As such, not only did they become the first three katas I taught, they also became part of my own personal training schedule, and I still do all of them to this today.
In the title of this article I asked, "Are you one of the few?"
And then I asked, "Do you teach them?"
Let me know, as I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this subject.
Remember: "It is not where you start that matters. It is how far you go".