At the end of 2021 I was contacted by Matteo Muratori, who had come across some particular modifications of the Heian sandan kata, presented by Funakoshi sensei in his 1935 book: Karate-dō Kyōhan. Building on those changes, we began to do more extensive research, the results of which are published in this article.
As we have already seen, kata have changed over time. The modifications were sometimes made to adapt a kata to one's practice, other times to insert or modify its applications, or to simplify the form to be handed down in schools. The various evolutions took place both in Okinawa and, more recently, in mainland Japan. However, it is plausible to think that the changes made to the kata proceeded by attempts, which, at times, could lead to a return to the "original" form, as the master who had modified, considered discarding the changes introduced. At other times, however, it is possible that the changes were rejected by certain groups of students, and carried out by others, as when the raised heel kokutsu-dachi (known as ukiashi-dachi or nekoashi-dachi in Okinawa) was introduced by Funakoshi Gigō sensei, probably learned during one of his trips to Okinawa, and which was later handed down in the Shōtōkai, but not in the Shōtōkan.
The kata examined by our research is precisely one of these modification attempts which, for one reason or another, never caught on. The texts we have examined are, first of all, those written by Funaksohi sensei in 1922, 1925 and 1935, namely: Ryūkyū Kenpō Tōde, Rentan Goshin Tōde-jutsu and Karate-dō Kyōhan. The following books were also examined: Zukai setsumei Karate-dō Nyūmon Hyakuman nin no goshin-jutsu (日本 空手 研究 会 / Nippon Karate Kenkyūkai, 1957) and Zukai Karate-dō Kyohon (Nakahiko Maeba, Shimabukuro Seiei, Gotou Masafumi, 1957). We immediately anticipate that between the book of 1922 and that of 1925, as far as this kata is concerned, there are no differences. Therefore, taking as a reference the Pinan sandan kata presented by Funakoshi sensei in 1925, the techniques on which the modifications were found are:
1- The morote-uke that precedes the nuki-te
2- The 360° rotation that precedes the tettsui
3- The sequence of the three shiko-dachi