Pyung Ahn Sam-Dan

This form is a traditional taekwondo form, meaning it pre-dates contemporary forms (such as those used by the ITF, ATA, and WT). In other words, this is a form used during the 1950s within the Nine Kwans that eventually came together to form taekwondo.

  • Older forms such as this one were often based on forms from other martial arts.
  • The details and names of these older forms tend to vary more widely from school to school as well.

The version shown here is just one version; the reader should recognize that there will be variations among schools.

The Pyung Ahn forms (also called Pyong An, Pinan, or Heian) originated in Okinawa. They were adapted by Anko Itosu from older Karate kata such as Kusanku and Channan into forms suitable for teaching karate to young students. When Gichin Funakoshi brought karate to Japan, he renamed the kata to Heian, which is translated as "peaceful and calm".

The Pinan kata were introduced into the school systems on Okinawa in the early 1900s, and were subsequently adopted by many teachers and schools. Thus, they are present today in the curriculum of martial arts styles such as Shitō-ryū, Wadō-ryū, Shōrin-ryū, Kobayashi-ryū, Kyokushin, Shinki-Ryu, Shōrei-ryū, Shotokan, Matsubayashi-ryū, Shukokai, Shindo Jinen Ryu, Kosho-ryū Kempo, and Kenyu Ryu. From Shotokan Karate they were adapted into use in Traditional Taekwondo.

One of the stories surrounding the history of the Pinan kata claims that Itosu learned a kata from a Chinese man living in Okinawa. This extremely long kata was called "Chiang Nan" by the Chinese man. The form became known as "Channan", an Okinawan/Japanese approximation of the Chinese pronunciation. The original long form of the Channan kata is lost. Itosu divided the form into 5 kataswhich he thought would be easier to learn. In taekwondo, these are:

  • Pyung Ahn Cho-Dan
  • Pyung Ahn Ee-Dan
  • Pyung Ahn Sam-Dan
  • Pyung Ahn Sa-Dan
  • Pyung Ahn Oh-Dan

All of these forms use an I-shaped embusen.




This diagram is copyright John B. Correljé and is used with permission. Terms and conditions are available at Pyung Ahn Sam Dan Hyung ATO.jpg

Written Instructions

  • Joonbee
  • 1. Left foot steps 90° counterclockwise into left Back Stance. Left Outward Block.
  • 2. Right foot slides forward until feet are together. Right Backfist Strike simultaneously with left Low Block.
  • 3. Without stepping, left Backfist Strike simultaneous with right Low Block.
  • 4. Right foot steps 180° clockwise into right Back Stance. Right Outward Block.
  • 5. Left foot slides forward until feet together. Left Backfist Strike simultaneous with right Low Block.
  • 6. Without stepping, right Backfist Strike simultaneous with left Low Block.
  • 7. Left foot steps 90° counterclockwise into left Front Stance. Left Double-Arm Block.
  • 8. Right foot steps forward into right Front Stance. Right Vertical Fingertip Thrust (spearhand thrust). Left knifehand presses downward below the right elbow.
  • 9. Left foot steps behind right foot. spin 360° counterclockwise into left Back Stance. Left Hammerfist Middle Strike.
  • 10. Right foot steps forward into right Front Stance. Right Middle Punch with Kihap.
  • 11. Pivot 180° counterclockwise, left foot moves to right foot, eyes survey area. Fists on hips.
  • 12. Right foot steps forward into right-facing Horse Stance. Right Low Forearm Block into right Backfist Strike. Right fist to hip.
  • 13. Left foot steps forward into left-facing Horse Stance. Left Low Forearm Block into left Backfist Strike. Left fist to hip.
  • 14. Right foot steps forward into right-facing Horse Stance. Right Low Forearm Block into right Backfist Strike. Right fist to hip.
  • 15. Left foot steps forward into left Front Stance. Left Middle Punch.
  • 16. Right foot steps forward into front-facing Horse Stance. Hands remain the same.
  • 17. Pivot 180° counterclockwise into left-facing Horse Stance. Right Hook Punch over left shoulder. Eyes look over left shoulder. Left knifehand chambers.
  • 18. Right-facing Horse Stance. Slide or leap right. Left Hook Punch over right shoulder with Kihap. Eyes look over right shoulder. Right knifehand chambers.
  • 19. Right foot moves to return to ready position.
  • End.