HEIAN YODAN - Peaceful Mind Number Four
Heian Yodan is the fourth of five kata in this series and will be the longest kata that the student has been taught to date. Also, more emphasis is placed on kicks in this particular kata than in any previous kata found in this series. There are three chudan-mae-geri-keage (middle level front snapping kick) and two chudan-yoko-geri-keage (middle level side snapping kick). Once again, several new hand techniques are introduced for the first time. They are gedan-juji-uke (downward X block), chudan-empi-zuki (middle level elbow strike) and kake-wake-uke (reverse wedge block), as well as one new stance, kosa-dachi (cross legged stance).
This kata also introduces the student for the first time to two new concepts. One is a long forward movement, this is where the student is required to follow up a technique, in this case a jodan-mae-geri-keage (upper level front snapping kick) with a long shift forward into a kosa-dachi (cross legged stance). The distance travelled in this movement will usually be equal to one the distance of a full length zenkutsu-dachi (front stance). The second new concept is that of teaching the student for the first time to shift from one stance to another without moving their feet from the present embusen (line of attack) that they are on. In this case from a kokutsu-dachi (back stance) into a zenkutsu-dachi (front stance) after which a hiza-geri (knee strike) is preformed, here it is very important remember to keep your toes pointing downward when doing the hiza-geri (knee strike).
It is very important to remember that the dynamics of this movement are done entirely without stepping off line since the whole point of the lesson is for the student to learn to "shift" from one stance to another, allowing the student to "step" defeats the whole purpose of the lesson and so it must be avoided.
This kata contains 27 movements and should take the student approximately 40 seconds to complete. The correct performance of this kata is required in order to advance in rank from 7th kyu (red belt) to 6th kyu (green belt).
There are two kiai points in Heian Yodan. The first one occurs on the augmented chudan-uraken (supported middle level back fist) at the top of the embusen (line of attack). The second one occurs on the chudan-hiza-geri (middle level knee strike) at the bottom of the embusen (line of attack).
To return to a ready position after the last movement of the kata leave your left foot in place and withdraw your right foot so as to stand up once again facing forward in hachiji-dachi (natural stance). You must now formally end the kata. You do this by bringing your left foot half way in towards your right foot and your right foot half way in towards your left foot so that you are now standing with your feet together. At the same time as you bring your feet together also bring your hands to your sides so you are again standing in heisoku-dachi (attention stance). Now rei (bow). After bowing, step out with your left foot and then your right foot and once again stand in hachiji-dachi (natural stance) while at the same time bringing your hands from your sides and hold them in a ready position in front of you with your fists closed.