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Matt Wolfson
23rd June 2003, 17:27
I have take karate for a while now and we always shout. (spirit yell so I am told). I am not sure what the benifit or goal of doing this is.... The meaning of kiai as I understand it is spirit yell/shout. When one engages in a physical altercation it is neccesary to "rise' to the occasion. Rising has as much to do with the body being ready, as it does with assuming an attitude or mental state or whatever you wanna call it, at its most basic level it would be called the fight or flight instinct. We are either going to fight like the dickens or flee like the wind. Training with this in mind, in the beginning it is conciously trying to link the shout with a change in mental state coupled with preparing the body to act(Heightened sense of awareness is the idea). The goal/ideal as I understand it is to use the shout as a catalyst for jump starting the mind and body to the level of intensity that approaches or does illicite the fight or flight response, primary focus on triping the fight response. Two people of equal physical ability as an example. One is raging and spiting fire from his eyes. The challanger must "rise" to his opponets physcological level in order to stand a chance, if he doesnt or cant then he is lost. Musashi says the shout conveys to your opponent your spiritual(ki?) power, and I believe him. I am having trouble putting my idea into words. Anyone help future or refine this thought? Am I completely wrong in my interpertation?

ichibyoshi
23rd June 2003, 21:47
Firstly Littlepond you need to sign your full name at the bottom of all your posts.

Secondly you're pretty much spot on. In fact I'm not sure quite what your query is. Kiai does all those things you've said and more. In kendo it is a very important part of co-ordinating the physical techniques into a one-pointed act - BAM! I've noticed though, that kendo is relatively noisy compared to some MA, especially koryu. Aikido too, as I have experienced it, is largely silent, but then you are attempting to "aiki" your opponent, not dominate him/her.

One thing I've found as I've shuffled along the Way is that my own feeling about my kiai has changed. In the beginning it helped protect me from fear of my opponent. Nowadays it is more about creating a space within which my technique can be manifest. And also when I get slack it's a way of kicking myself up the bum and saying "get a move on!"

StanLee
24th June 2003, 08:03
Try doing a search on kiai jutsu. The kiai is supposed to stun or even kill opponents. One story of O Sensei said that his kiai from his practice in the woods were said to have knocked birds out of trees in the local village!

Unfortunately, this art is almost lost, even in Japan as I've read.

Stan

Matt Wolfson
24th June 2003, 12:20
[QUOTE]Originally posted by ichibyoshi
[B]Firstly Littlepond you need to sign your full name at the bottom of all your posts.

How do I post my name on posts?

Also you wrote: "One thing I've found as I've shuffled along the Way is that my own feeling about my kiai has changed. In the beginning it helped protect me from fear of my opponent. Nowadays it is more about creating a space within which my technique can be manifest."

I am not sure what you are saying about creating space and how does it protect you from fear? Please explain

don
24th June 2003, 17:20
Originally posted by StanLee
Try doing a search on kiai jutsu. The kiai is supposed to stun or even kill opponents. One story of O Sensei said that his kiai from his practice in the woods were said to have knocked birds out of trees in the local village!

Think so?

My own mantra has become, "I want to take the UKEMI."

Two writers also imply that Osensei also knocked over a car with his KIAI when the unfortunate vehicle was about to broadside his tram.

Think so?

Charles Mahan
24th June 2003, 18:04
A less esoteric benefit of kiai is that it forces you to exhale when you strike. This tenses the abs and that helps provide a more stable base from which to apply a powerful attack. Some styles don't kiai, but this principle of exhaling during the attack is still there. In Uechi Ryu karate there isn't a kiai as such, more of a hiss, for lack of a better term. In MJER Iaido, there is not usually a kiai during workout, although there are some advanced sets which do contain kiais. Nevertheless the principle of exhaling during the strike is preserved.

Of course if you are going to kiai it should be done very forcefully. A weak kiai does you no good in any case.

joe yang
25th June 2003, 17:00
Along practical lines, a good, loud, focused kiai, with the throat and vocal chords relaxed, helps ease tension in the face, neck and shoulders, classic locations for holding tension. This tension restricts power and robs energy.

cguzik
25th June 2003, 17:55
Originally posted by Littlepond
How do I post my name on posts?
[/B]

You can edit your profile (use the button entitled USER CP at the top of the page, and then use the EDIT PROFILE link at the top of that page) to include a signature line. Put your name in your signature line. Be sure the Show Signature checkbox is checked when you post.

Another way to do it is to type your name at the end of your post, like this:

Regards,

Chris Guzik

cguzik
25th June 2003, 18:02
Being a practitioner of Karate you may not be familiar with the writings of Ellis Amdur. You may want to check his books out; they discuss certain aspects of kiai that you would not run into elsewhere. Ellis practices (and teaches) aikido as well as certain koryu. His first book Duelling with OSenseihas some especially interesting notes on kiai.

Kiai and aiki are the same kanji, just reversed. I once was asked what "kiai" meant and I responded "energetic penetration". The teacher's response was "no, that is 'aiki'".

Don - One point that Ellis made at the Orlando seminar (I'm the one that joined you at breakfast that day) was that certain kiai have different effects on the body depending on where the sounds come from. Some kiai are cutting kiai, others are striking kiai. I probably am not doing justice to his points though.

Best,

Chris

don
25th June 2003, 19:35
Originally posted by joe yang
Along practical lines, a good, loud, focused kiai, with the throat and vocal chords relaxed,

I think it was Ron Tisdale who related that he had a friend who waited for a KIAI from his opponent so that his mouth would be open making his jaw easier to dislocate with a punch. I've been uneasy doing KIAI ever since.

Actually, as you say, I find a strong exhalation vastly increases the power of any given technique I'm doing at the time. I find my KOKYU segueing into KIAI.

don
25th June 2003, 19:40
Originally posted by cguzik
(I'm the one that joined you at breakfast that day) (1)

One point that Ellis made at the Orlando seminar was that certain kiai have different effects on the body depending on where the sounds come from. Some kiai are cutting kiai, others are striking kiai. (2)

1) You know, I remember the name and I remember telling myself to associate the face with it as I see you online, but despite good intentions, I cant' summon your face back. Damn! ...and sorry. (The manga character is not a good mnemonic.)

2) Yeah. A missed opportunity, this. We should have asked him to demonstrate the different types.

He mentioned KIAI based on seasons, right? And some based on KOTODAMA. He dismissed out of hand any differential effect between say a "Ya" and a "Ei" saying that different traditions had different attendant KIAI.

cguzik
25th June 2003, 20:27
Don,

Were you there for the Sunday class on the Toda Ha Buko Ryu kenjutsu kata? During that portion, he did teach two different kiai that occur during the kata. The first, which occurs with most every cut, was an ei! sound. he called this a cutting kiai and said that it uses the back muscles. The last strike was done with 'oh' or 'toh' and comes from the abdomen.

As for remembering my face, I did post once in the Rogues Gallery thread in the Members Lounge, if you feel so inclined to find it. Otherwise, we'll have to wait until next time!

Chris

don
26th June 2003, 23:24
Originally posted by cguzik
As for remembering my face, I did post once in the Rogues Gallery thread in the Members Lounge, if you feel so inclined to find it.

Gotcha! Thanks.

J. A. Crippen
27th June 2003, 23:10
One other very important thing to keep in mind about kiai and their development in Japanese koryu is that they were originally derived from esoteric Japanese Buddhism, usually called 'mikkyo' (Shingon, Tendai, shugendo, etc). They are 'seed syllables', sounds based on syllables in Sanskrit which represent different Buddhist deities. By expressing one it is thought that the power of the deity is invoked, whether for defensive protection or offensive attack.

Although in some koryu, and I think Jigen-ryu is an example, they are just used to scare the **** out of the enemy. The Jigen-ryu practitioner (I may have the name wrong, but I recall the ryu was based in Satsuma and whose members were known to be particularly nasty during the early Meiji conflicts) simply screams like all get-out at the enemy while running at them at full tilt with sword drawn and ready to strike. Any religious aspirations aside this tends to freak people out, even those hardened to the battlefield.

But yeah, kiai are often considered to have developed from mikkyo rituals and are seen to represent the powers of various Buddhist deities. One example is the sound 'ah', the first syllable of a mantra ("ah bira un ken" is what I remember of it) for Dainichi Nyorai. Shingon practitioners meditate on this syllable while visualizing Dainichi Nyorai. Using the sound as a kiai would be invoking the power of Dainichi Nyorai. I'm not certain who 'ei' and 'oh' are for, but they seem to be pretty common in many koryu. Shinto Muso-ryu uses them, the former for strikes (uchiwaza) and the latter for thrusts (tsukiwaza). I've seen them used similarly in videos of other ryuha.

ichibyoshi
30th June 2003, 22:02
Originally posted by Littlepond
[QUOTE]Originally posted by ichibyoshi
[B]I am not sure what you are saying about creating space and how does it protect you from fear? Please explain

By "space" I mean "opening", or "opportunity" , as in "datotsu no kikai" (opportunity for attack). Occasionally it happens that you create the opening for an attack with the strength of your intention and the execution of the cut is simply a 'formality'.

As for fear, I think vocalising your presence is the one of the most basic and primal human tendencies when it comes to dealing with a threat. Kiai is simply a more practiced/focused response.

fogarty
13th July 2003, 16:43
Originally posted by J. A. Crippen
But yeah, kiai are often considered to have developed from mikkyo rituals and are seen to represent the powers of various Buddhist deities.

?D?D?D

I'm not certain who 'ei' and 'oh' are for, but they seem to be pretty common in many koryu. Shinto Muso-ryu uses them, the former for strikes (uchiwaza) and the latter for thrusts (tsukiwaza). I've seen them used similarly in videos of other ryuha.

More normal, I thought, were 'yah', 'ei', and 'toh'. Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu, at least as taught by Unka Kim, uses 'zuu', 'ton', 'fet'. The last isn't even normally included in the kana syllabary; very unusual. What other ryuha have you seen these yells used for? Also, kiai has a bit of a broader meaning than just sounds you make.

SMR has 'eit' and 'hot' (it's a little known fact that the kakegoe for thrusts for SMR actually starts with a 'h' sound), where I wrote the little 'tsu' as a 't', but you might call it a glottal stop. I'm still convinced they might have come from old Catholic theology. The staff of the archangel Raphael, you see, represents hope, and the sword of Michael is faith. They were in vogue in the Church around the time SMR started up, and St. Francis Xavier had just arrived not long before and chummed it up with the local high ranking Buddhist monks. The ear attuned to kana can't distinguish if you yell "faith" and "hope" instead. . .

But that's only me,

tHK?[eB

bruceb
23rd July 2003, 18:02
In my search to understand the sounds that affect movement, the emotions that affect thought, , the movements that are subliminal signals to another persons body that will be interpreted by their brain, the spirit yell is not an accurate description of what is happening ... although on a beginner level it is best explanation for what is occuring.

As Sean Fogarty has noted, there are particular sounds that masters encourage for particual strikes, and those sounds are related to common healing sounds, or sounds that create an effect upon the human body, also.

These sounds are a result of watching and listening to masters who have effectively used the sounds of healing an movement for their physical practice in their own martial art. Although the root sound is the same, there may be variations in the surrounding sounds to these root sounds. You don't think that some deception wasn't used? Yep, lots of deception, depending on how much the master wanted to give the student.

The Kiai may be one of the lost arts of accentuating movement with sound. Not everyone sees that, or understands how to use sound in conjunction with emotion, visualization, and movement.

The commitment of this spirit yell is with a movement that is designed to be a killing blow, or movement. It may merely injure and incapacitate, but if is used in conjuction with movement it can be deadly. It does involve more than just movement and yelling, but this is not the place to discuss such a thing.

Some of the root sounds are from A - E - I - O - U.

eh - eee - eye - ooo - you ... too simple right? ahhh ... another root sound. I don't even want to go into ong, and ing?

Well look at what Sean wrote, and figure out what helps up motion, what helps down motion, what helps thrusting out, pulling back in, etc, etc. ....

Everyone has some of these sounds in their practice. If you pay attention, you will learn how to use them properly, and your kiai will be more than some lame yelling ... it will mean something.

Remember a kiai is a suppliment to a movement, the movement coming first, and kiai will make sense.

How to put sounds, thoughts, and emotions into your Kiai is something a teacher will have to teach you over time ... there are no shortcuts for this technique ... sorrry.