Sokon “Bushi” Matsumura (born 1796-1893)
Taught kata Kanku-dai (then known as Kusanku), Bassai-dai (then known as Passai) and kata Gojushiho to his student Yasutsune Itosu.
Yatsutsune “Ankoh” Itosu (1830-1915)
When Itosu introduced karate to the Okinawan school system, he broke up the kata he had learnt from Matsumura, and also Channan (a kata he had learnt from an unknown teacher) into pieces and created 5 smaller ‘Pinan’ kata. This was to give students a stepping stone to the longer and more difficult kata. He kept most of the techniques along a H-shaped embusen (performance line). Itosu was the teacher of Gichin Funakoshi (see below) and taught him all kata (including his five ‘Pinan’ kata)
Gichen Funakoshi (1868-1957)
Founder of Shotokan karate. When Funakoshi moved to Japan and introduced karate there, he created 5 Taigyoku kata by simplifying the Pinan kata (keeping the same performance line but simplifying the techniques). This was to give students a stepping-stone to the Pinan kata. He also changed the name of the Pinan kata, giving them a Japanese name of ‘Heian’.
While Taigyoku Shodan shows up in almost every karate style, GKR derives its version directly from Shotokan karate. GKR’s Taigyoku Nidan however is unique because Kancho Sullivan added a front kick (something not done before with a Taigyoku kata).