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Thread: Sounds of Cuts

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    All cuts in Sword have a different 'feel' or 'sound' to them expressed either with a Kiai (that could be either internal or external) or through some other type of 'feeling'. This of course would depend on the type of cut early, tip, finishing...etc, but it could also depend on the direction of the cut ie: virtical, oblique, horizontal...

    How do you all treat the 'sound', 'feel' of your differing cuts? And does this feeling have an impact on the resulting cut ie: power, speed, continuity?

    Food for thought...
    Michael Griffiths

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    Mike:
    I don't know about the internal stuff. But I was trained by a great cutter (Saruta Mitsuhiro). If the angle of your edge is off (i.e. your sword is over to cut kesa but you edge is facing straight up/forward)it thwacks as it hits the goza. You can ever hear a person's sword bend if they try to "force" a bad cut through an object (terrible sound once you recognize it). You hear and feel almost nothing when you cut a goza and it stays pretty much together (most wonderful sound/feeling in a swordsman's training. Just my opinion of course. You also can train your ear to the sound the bohi makes (if there's one on the blade)when you have a good cut and can practice cutting pretty effectively without cutting anything.

    Carl

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    Thumbs up Sssszzziiippp!

    Carl,

    Just to add on a bit to your explanation.

    The best sound is not the "tachikaze" [sword-wind]. To me, the best sound is that made by the makiwara when a very sharp blade slices through it: "ssszzzziiip." It's an "intangible" ... just like the smell of the tatami-omote has that "green smell of Japan."

    Enjoy your visit with Otake sensei.

    Regards,
    Guy
    Guy H. Power
    Kenshinkan Dojo

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    Guy:

    Well my friend I was trying keep down the anticipation, but you fixed that. My mind can almost taste the smells, sounds and sights now that you stirred my imagination. Just to get even I might call/e-mail and tell you how much fun I'm having.

    Carl

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    Lightbulb Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!!!!

    Carl,

    Why don't you make an e-budo "progress report" during your trip to Japan?

    Enjoy! (As if I have to tell you!)
    Guy
    Guy H. Power
    Kenshinkan Dojo

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    Guy:

    Hmmmm! I might give that a try.

    Carl

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    ok, maybe there's a little confusion on what I was actually after...probably my fault. I don't need to know whether the your cuts go 'woosh' or 'swoosh'. I'm actually after what 'sound' comes out of your mouth when you Kiai when making certain cuts. Is it relitivly the same 'sound' each time or does it change depending on what cut your making??
    Michael Griffiths

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    Default Ehhhh! Yaaaaah!

    Michael,

    what 'sound' comes out of your mouth when you Kiai when making certain cuts. Is it relitivly the same 'sound' each time or does it change depending on what cut your making??
    Usually I don't kiai when cutting. Sometimes I allow a "hiss" to eminate -- but it's not a hiss really, it's the sound of my pent-up breath escaping just after impact.

    Other times I may kiai at impact. This will be "eh!" for the first cut, and "yah!" for the following cut. Some ryuha have a third kiai, "toh!"

    Then, for toppatsu (continuous running/cutting) I'll start out with an elongated "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEHHHHH!" which rises in volume as I near the first target and punctuates the cut; then, I'll alternate "ya" and "eh" for the remaining cuts so that one "run" might sound like:

    "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEHHHHH!"
    "yah!"
    "eh"
    "yah!"
    "EEEHHHHHHH!

    This is what I learned from watching Nakamura sensei.

    Regards,
    Guy

    Guy H. Power
    Kenshinkan Dojo

  9. #9
    da_aib Guest

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    Michael,

    i know that the type of kiai can change with the direction and type of stepping and most likely the type of cut. But i'm not sure about the dirction of the cut. I'm curous myself about this and wonder what others know of think about this.
    Tim Grace

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    ok, I think I'm getting some stuff now... =)

    This is in response to Guy's post more or less. Do you think there's a method to the madness of the different types of Kiai?? Like why is "eeeehhhhhh" so commom among all the martial arts??

    Why do some kiai's start off with a big wind up, others end with the cut and some trail on after the cut has been finished??

    Why "eh", "yah" and then "toh" does this effect the type/timing of the cuts...what if the kiai were expredded the other way round like "toh", "yah" and then "eh" what would that do??

    Is the kiai something for people to 'find' themselves and just express what naturally 'comes out'??
    Michael Griffiths

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    Default Significance of kiai

    Mr. Griffiths,

    Take a look at some work in progress I have up in my dojo "library".

    I came across some interesting stuff while assembling various quotes from Ueshiba Sensei (Aikido):

    http://www.shinkendo.com/library.html

    The link at the bottom of the page in reference to Ueshiba Sensei is the one that contains info regarding kiai.

    I don't know if he speaks for all koryu, but his viewpoint is interesting anyway.

    Regards,

    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

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    Michael,

    Do you think there's a method to the madness of the different types of Kiai?? Like why is "eeeehhhhhh" so commom among all the martial arts??
    No, I don't think there's a "reason" -- like "secret internal power" and all that sorta "kotodama" esoteric stuff (which has its place in Shinto practice). Perhaps it is because "eh-ya-to" has somewhat been "standardized." Or, maybe because it is easy to forceably exhale those sounds during the actual cut?

    But, I could be mistaken.

    Regards,
    Guy H. Power
    Kenshinkan Dojo

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    Default

    Originally posted by BumbleBee
    ok, I think I'm getting some stuff now... =)

    Why "eh", "yah" and then "toh" does this effect the type/timing of the cuts...what if the kiai were expredded the other way round like "toh", "yah" and then "eh" what would that do??

    Is the kiai something for people to 'find' themselves and just express what naturally 'comes out'??
    ......................

    The sounds usually mean something and the essence of them is where Mr Scott asks you to read.

    I don't think you can generalize too much as Ki and Ma-ai are closely linked. So the sounds we make in different arts and distance/timing varies

    For Go no sen in Kendo. Usually a good "Saa Koi" will induce an opponent to move back. But this will vary in say hand to hand combat where the opponent is much closer.

    Also in Sen sen no sen we have to accomodate zanshin. If there is more than one sound emitted say in nukitsuke and kiritsuke, the first sound is shorter. The "yaa" I hear shortened is more of a "yo". The second or third "stitch that!" kiai must be with zanshin.

    Above all regardless of volume or pronunciation it must come from Hara.

    This is the season where I sometimes have lots of first year students lying around the Dojo, twitching with plastic bags on there heads. They breath in deeply and just excell the sounds from their mouths causing them to hyper-ventilate.

    Some styles emit no sound and the breath is held "in" until after the technique is completed.

    Regards, Hyakutake Colin

    http://www.bunbun.ne.jp/~sword

    http://www2.saganet.ne.jp/sword





  14. #14
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    Michael,
    i think i've worked out at least one of the thing that you were asking. some kiai's are used to set or break and rest the moment before during or after your cut. for example a kiai that winds up could be suited for a late cut when you need to break you oppnets concertration for a moment...

    but don't hold me to that though

    Tim Grace

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    Default Ueshiba

    Hello,

    No, I don't think there's a "reason" -- like "secret internal power" and all that sorta "kotodama" esoteric stuff (which has its place in Shinto practice).
    Yeah, I thought about deleting the "kotokama" part of the quote, but found that it wouldn't read as well without it, and was hesitant to alter the words of Ueshiba Sensei.

    I don't want to bring on the wrath of the Aiki-bunnies (at least not for that)!

    Kiai is an interesting topic. I'm assembling an essay (in all my freetime) about it in fact.

    Basically, I think if there is any "universal law" that can be stated about kiai, it is that it is a manifestation of your "unified/focused energy (intention)". As such, it can serve many purposes - such as disrupting your opponents mind or spirit before an attack (Kendo), adding depth to a technique during the point of execution, or showing resolve at the end of a technique - to name a few.

    In our dojo we have pre-arranged points during kata and tachiuchi that we typically kiai, but we also say "if you feel like you want to kiai (ie: it feels like a natural thing to do) then do it. I've never heard anyone be corrected for kiaing too much.

    While I don't read much of the books anymore about Aikido and Ueshiba, since it mostly seems to repeat the same mystic, overly cryptic philosophy, some of Ueshiba S. earlier writings (quotes) are actually quite interesting, and have numerous references to koryu and battlefield tactics.

    Regards,
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

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