Lohan 1 is the title I have given my first form, (a routine group of movements that depict a physical conflict). Lohan 1 was not it's first name. I learned this group of movements originally from my father sometime during the mid to late 60's back home in Montana. It's original name was Pinan Shodan. This form, to my understanding came from a very old style of Okinawan Te that had only one form. It's original origin is not 100% certain, however it may have it's roots from Anko Itosu around 1895. Pinan is a group of movements, and Shodan is the first advanced rank in Okinawan Karatedo, 1st black belt. Therefore this would be the first black belts form, and it's at the beginning, isn't that neat?
I have changed the movements of this form from a linear straight block, punch, kick idea to a more circular flow of block, grab, punch, grapple, kick, and finish. I have changed it back into a Chinese conception of movements, thus I call it a Lohan and put it up front as it is my first form.
In Lohan 1 we begin by working on footwork. We learn to pick up the ankles and feet and keep the leg aligned from the hip knee to feet. Then we begin walking. The walking comes in the form of a flat walk that concentrates on every movement of the step. What looks like a straight step has hidden within it subtle circular movements as the step glides from one position to the other.
With the feet follow the hands. As the feet and ankles move so do the wrists and fingers. As the knees flow so do the elbows. As the hip glides so do the shoulders. From the top of the head through the spine is a rotation that guides all movement from the center, (Dantien) out to the rest of the body. One free flowing machine that works together in unison.
What used to be a straight form of a capital letter I, is now more akin to the shape of the kanji (Chinese written letters), (平安) . My students will recognize the footwork in these letters. Thus Lohan 1 is written.
From beginning to end the practitioner should focus from the ground up through the top of the head and back down again to the end. And, every time one performs this routine should be a little different from the last. This is how we grow and progress in our Gong Fu.
Peace and Balance,
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