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Yayo 11-03-2000 02:50 PM

In my dojo, we only use Kiais(sp) during certain Bokken Katas. We never use the while practicing Aikido techniques. Do other dojos utilize Kiais? I recently read a book that said that O Sensei frequently used powerful kiais that could be heard from a great distance. I am concerned that perhaps this is a part of Aikido that I am failing to utilize.

jxa127 11-03-2000 03:44 PM

You should always use kiai...
Kiai is more than yelling. The way my sensei explains it is this: ai means harmony and ki means energy. Aiki is harmony with an attacker's energy -- kiai is the flip side of that: harmony with our own, internal energy. Thus, kiai consists of all parts of the body being unified and directed to one intent.

For example, we almost never turn our trunk without also movoing the hips and legs. We don't break our structure by hunching our sholders or bending at the back. Our who body's structure is tuned to the particular movement we're executing. This also, of course, involved breathing, and that is where the yell comes in.

It's long been known that a good, relaxed, powerful exhalation adds power to movement. The yell is just an audiable indication of good kiai (aligned body structure, focused intent, and good breathing). It's not the yell that's important, it's the things that make a good yell that really count. My instructor says the yell is just a good way from him to tell how well we're doing.

I hope this helps,

-Drew A.

laughingboy 11-03-2000 04:08 PM

Kiai for breaking monotony
We don't use kiai's (sp) at all in our Dojo. I do like to sometimes throw them in during practice. It's a good way to shake things up as it were. When I'm uke and the nage is concentrating and trying too hard, a good loud kiai will bring them back to Earth. Plus, it's funny :).

Nick 11-04-2000 08:30 PM

kiai are best used when the attacker is not expecting it- so if you kiai every technique, not only will you strain your voice, but unless your kiai is very powerful, it will lose effect. It's quite useful with an atemi when unexpected (as my sensei have demonstrated on me).

Let me put it this way- what would your reaction be if a person came up and suddenly screamed in yor face? Now, what would your reaction be if you knew that person was going to do that as they approached you?

Many of the best things in life are used sparingly.



jxa127 11-05-2000 01:28 PM

You should always use kiai, you just don't have to yell...
Two points:

1) "kiai" does not equal "yell". (see my post above).

2) You should never strain your voice with a good yell. It comes from your belly, not your chest, and the throat should be relaxed. If you strain your throat during the yell, you are actually too tight and thus not using good kiai.

We don't yell with every technique either, but we strive to have kiai in all of our movements -- whether we yell or not.


Nick 11-05-2000 05:24 PM


good point, however it might be argued if you can achieve this "internal" kiai, than a yell would be unnecessary...



jxa127 11-05-2000 09:04 PM


You're right, the yell is not always needed. My instructor maintains that the yell served two purposes: (1) to help the instructor gauge his students kiai (body structure, mental intent, focus, etc.) and (2) it CAN be intimidating to one's enemies. :-)

I guess my sensei's point (and by proxy, mine) is that the yell is a by product of good kiai, not good kiai by itself.


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