The Pinan/Heian Series (1-5): The Complete Fighting System Volumes 1 and 2 by Iain Abernethy

All of Iain Abernethy’s DVDs come highly recommended and these two are no exception. Iain shows a series of pragmatic two-person drills that will be of special relevance to those practising the Pinan/Heian kata, though useful to everyone seeking realistic fighting applications from kata.

What Iain does so well is build a logical progression in the drills. They begin by developing fundamental skills: clearing the guard, taking a position of advantage and striking — first with the fist, then with the open hand. Later drills progress to throws and takedowns, locks, cranks and strangles.

The drills never rely on contrived movements on the part of your partner. These are all highly workable techniques, simple to learn quickly and develop as a reflex action. Any (or all) of them would make a great addition to the syllabus of a club wishing to achieve a new level of pragmatism in its training.

With insightful explanations along the way, you get the feeling that Iain really has understood the intentions of the kata’s creator, Itosu, and brought the master’s fighting system to life.

Interestingly, with the emphasis on close-quarter work, some of the early drills have a ‘Chinese’ flavour to them, reminiscent (though not the same as) Wing Chun style drills — perhaps a hint that when Itosu created the Pinans, karate was not as far removed from Chinese arts as it has now become.

Mr Abernethy has delivered yet again. These two DVDs come strongly recommended for all karateka, not just students of the Pinan/Heian series.

Pinan Drills 1-3 Pinan Drills 4-5