Tag Archives: m nakayama

What Forty Years of Pinan Five Means!

Let’s talk about Pinan Five.
the shame of it is that some people think
it is just Karate,
one of those basic kids type of things,
doesn’t have the energy of the real stuff,
the mysterious kung fu,
the intrinsic chi power,
and all of that.

I have to grin when I see that attitude.
Let me explain.

I was an instructor in Chinese Kenpo
back in 1968.
I loved it.
I was in one of those wheels,
I didn’t know enough to teach,
but I was a teacher,
and I was getting sacred lessons
from another guy,
who had maybe two months more experience than I did.
It was like a tube,
the information being shoved
down the tube,
school owner to head instructor
to slightly advanced instructor
to instructor (me)
to student.

I was God!

in my fevered adolescent imagination
I sure felt like one.

there weren’t any publications on the martial arts back then.
I think Black Belt was at issue 9 or 10,
something like that.
And it was always sold out.

And there was Bruce Tegner,
which I poured over,
absorbing commonalities,
trying out my sacred techniques
in his never ending geometries.
past that,
there wasn’t anything.

The martial arts were new!

one day,
I don’t know how it happened,
or where I found it,
but I found a book.
A book of real Karate,
and it was the Best Karate.
It really was,
because it said so on the cover.
Best Karate,
by M. Nakayama.

And the first one I got was on a form called
Heian Five.

I didn’t even know what a Heian was!

I moved the furniture back,
held that book in one hand
and punched with the other,
and I learned the form.

I liked that form.
I felt power in it right from the get go.
A power I didn’t perceive in Kenpo.
that’s all right,
I knew even then,
that there were different sides to the art.

when I showed it to my instructor,
the guy with a couple of more months experience than I,
he was less than impressed.
it was my first experience with the ‘rivalry’
of the martial arts.
Shotokan thought the kenpo fellows were ‘magic finger’ boys.
thought Shotokan was dull and boring.
All you do is go back and forth on the mat. Punch and kick,
and that’s all.

I didn’t care,
I actually just sort of shoved
all the contention and rivalry
right out the back of my mind.
And for one simple reason,
I was having fun.

let’s fast forward a couple of years.
About five,
to be exact.
I had learned all the Heians,
which were called by the original name
at my more traditional minded school.
And I practiced them every day.
Wake up in the morning,
couldn’t wait to get up,
pull on my gi
and punch back and forth,
working those pinans,
and a few others,
looking at how to relax
to get more power,
trying to still the shake in my moves
and attain perfect stillness,
thinking that there was someone in front of me,
and what it would really feel like,
to crunch that backfist down
and split some serious skull.

fast forwarding more,
I taught my first students,
and I taught them,
you guessed it,

I learned other arts,
and while I was meandering through Tai Chi,
or whirling through Kung Fu,
or trying to master the myteries of
or going ourobouros
with the Pa Kua,
I was still doing those pinan forms.

I was learning the mysteries,
but I couldn’t give up the pure movements,
the clean energy,
the simple geometry
of classical Karate.

As I learned other arts
certain energies transferred back and forth between them.
The power of Karate
began to infect Tai Chi.
Pa Kua took on a reality I would never have suspected even existed,
and karate changed for me,
but it wasn’t always the effect of other arts,
it was just changing me.

Last night,
before I went to bed,
I went through Pinan one through five.
Focusing on the inner stillness,
by getting my body to be still
totally and absolutely
at the points of focus,
through the pieces of my body
figuring out alignments,
taking my time.
This morning
I woke up,
laid in bed for a few minutes,
like a child at Christmas,
I got up and went to the other room,
no gi,
no anything,
I am blushing to admit,
but I couldn’t wait to cloth myself,
the lure of the pinans was too great.

I do other karate forms,
my own among them,
I do lots of tai chi,
and I do other things,
but those Pinans,
they are the pip.

do I have mystical power?
I can do the candle trick
from over a foot,
and there is a commensurate ability
to concentrate.
but I am far beyond seeking mystical tricks,
I just want to do Karate.
Never forget it,
have it next lifetime.
And I will.
Of that,
you can be sure.

that’s pinan five,
over forty years of pinan five,
and I still have some life left in me,
a fair amount,
once one understands
that the length and quality of life
is related
to the length and quality
of karate you have in you.

to be fair,
I totally understand
if you have a different base art,
and feel similarly
towards that art.

Ours is not to argue,
ours is merely to glory
and to luxuriate
in the blessings of a life
immersed in martial arts.

obligatory URL.
I put the Pinans
and six other forms
that I ‘evolved’
after them.
I demonstrate how they were done originally,
and the tweaks
I have personalized them with,
and why.
because of my matrixing background,
gets pretty interesting.
of course,
Love them applications,
and there are a lot of them.
So Temple Karate…


Three DVDs,
135 minutes of fist smacking fun,
and over forty years
of hard fought,
day by day accumulation of,
martial arts knowledge.

Here’s a section of one of the forms, The Iron Horse

“Teachers open the door, but you must enter yourself.” ~ Unknown