Iain Abernethy Discusses the Meaning of Pinan

Iain Abernethy (author of various books on Kata Applications, martial techniques and mental strength and guest on Episode 009 of The Applied Karate Show podcast) has released the latest episode in his series of podcasts.

This epsiode discusses The Meaning of “Pinan”.  The name of a very popular series of beginner to intermediate kata, created by Anko Itosu, Pinan (pronounced Heian in Japanese) is generally literally translated as “Peaceful Mind”.

Clearly Iain is not a believer in this translation, and for good reason.  Firstly, its quite clear that the word “Mind” is not represented by either of the kanji in Pinan.  The first kanji – Pin or Hei (å¹³) – means peace, while the second – An (安) – can mean easy, cheap or tranquil.  So a more correct translation might be “Peace and Tranquility”.  This would be a very good explanation in finding a Japanese translation of the word Pinan.

Cleverly, Iain has realised the obvious that most of us haven’t necessarily considered – that Okinawans at the time of Itosu’s creation of the Pinan kata (late 19th or early 20th century) didn’t necessarily look to Japanese literature in naming things.  Instead, they looked west to China, an empire who had a massive influence on the tiny kingdom of Okinawa for centuries.  So Iain has looked for a more Chinese translation.

I won’t spoil the ending here, so please listen to Iain’s podcast on The Meaning of Pinan.  Its somewhat controversial, but a very thought provoking discussion.

I don’t think it really matters if Iain is right or wrong on this one.  What matters most is that he has taken the time to build a hypothesis, and has found logic to support it.  This type of thinking is important in the martial arts, as it gives us a chance to try to “get inside the minds” of the originators of our discipline, and thus gain a greater understanding of our art.

The Applied Karate Show Episode 012 – Mario McKenna Sensei

Applied Karate #011 (mp3 – 19MB – 55 mins)



In this episode of The Applied Karate Show we start the show with a bit of a round up some news in the world of karate, including

  • The deafening silences of The Applied Karate Show (I promise to be more regular)
  • Shorinjiryu Karate Australia becoming a part of the Shorinjiryu Kenyukai Watanabe Ha World Federation
  • The new series on the History Channel – The Human Weapon

I also discuss the introduction of my new regular karate and related arts newsletter and blog, The Essential Karate News. Sign up now for regular information on karate, kobudo, kettlebells and related aspects. Its free, and I will do my best to make it informative.

In the main feature of Episode 12 our guest is Mario McKenna Sensei.

A karate and kobudo instructor now resident in Vancouver, Canada, Mario is the only western exponent of the little known branch of Naha-te known as Tou’on-ryu Karate, founded by Juhatsu Kyoda, the senior most student of Naha-te under Kanryo Higashionna, and a fellow student of the famous Chojun Miyagi of Goju-ryu. Having lived in Japan for many years, Mario sensei is a well versed practitioner of Gojuryu and Tou’on-ryu karate and Ryukyu Kobudo. A psychologist by training (with a Masters degree in Sports Psychology), Mario clearly works to balance both the academic and physical aspects of our art, in the tradition of Bun Bu Ryo Do. Please join in as we discuss

  • Starting out in Gohakukai Karate in Canada
  • Moving to Amami Ohshima in Japan’s south, and taking up Ryukyu Kobudo under a direct student of Shinken Taira
  • Moving to Kyushu, where he continued his studies of Ryukyu Kobudo (under Katsumi Murakami sensei, a direct student of Motokatsu Inoue), and taking up Tou’on Ryu Karate
  • The differences between Tou’on-ryu and Goju-ryu
  • The value of weapons practice for karateka (something that Mario sensei says shouldn’t be considered in the first 2 years of training – listen why to find out)
  • The concept of Bun Bu Ryo Do

Be sure to visit Mario’s website, and also subscribe to his informative blog.

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Applied Karate #011 (mp3 – 19MB – 55 mins)


Martial Secrets Is Back

One of the original podcasts about karate, Martial Secrets, is back.

Some of you might be aware of Martial Secrets, a Podcast hosted by Kris Wilder. Kris has authored several books on the martial arts and has trained and taught seminars around the world.

But a little known secret is Martial Secrets itself, the Podcast that takes in a wide range of martial artists and people on the edges of the arts as well. When you tune into Martial Secrets you will hear from a wide group of people like a Screenwriter, a Physical Therapists, a Dr. of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and a Black Belt Magazine columnists, to name a few.

As the new interviews are coming up – after a 18 month long hiatus – explore the back catalogue, you will not be disappointed. Kris was also the guest on Episode 3 of the Applied Karate Show and he maintains a crisp and poignant blog at http://www.myspace.com/kris_wilder

Iain Abernethy’s latest podcast

For those that don’t know of Iain Abernethy, he is one of the leading proponents of the study of pragmatic applications for classical karate and its kata. He maintains a blog, has a podcast, and was the guest on Episode 9 of The Applied Karate Show.

Iain has just released his monthly podcast’s latest episode

This month’s podcast is entitled “The most important part of practical karate training” and, as its name suggests, it covers the most important part of karate training! The podcast is just over 17 minutes long and should be of interest to all those who believe karate training should address the needs of self-protection.

I’ve yet to listen to this episode yet, but it sounds interesting.

Iain Abernethy – The blog » Blog Archive » The Most Important Part of Practical Karate (Podcast!).