Heian Shodan (Peaceful form, first level)
Original name: Pinan Nidan (peaceful form/safe from harm, second level)

Heian Shodan is characterised by the core basic techniques of gedan barai, oi zuki, age uke and shuto uke, with a tetsui zuki thrown in for good measure.

gedan barai
shuto uke

History

The five Pinan kata (shodan to godan) were created in about 1904 by Yasutsune Itosu and formed the basis of karate as it was introduced into the school system on Okinawa, not long after the martial art emerged from being taught in secret.

It is not clear whether Itosu created the set from scratch, adapting some of the sequences from more advanced kata, or, as some traditions dictate, he took a longer and older kata, called Channan (or Chiang Nan), and broke it up into five shorter forms.

When Gichin Funakoshi introduced karate on to the Japanese mainland he changed the Chinese-sounding Pinan to the more Japanese Heian, from the phrase heiwa antei, meaning peace and calm, signifying that mastery of these kata would give the practitioner peace of mind if having to defend themselves. He also swapped the first two Pinans round, considering the original Pinan Nidan (now Heian Shodan) to be more basic in nature than Pinan Shodan (now Heian Nidan). ~ GE