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Old 11-02-2011, 11:31 AM   #1
dapidmini
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kiai in aikido?

in a couple videos I've seen about aikido in japan (especially aikikai), their taisho seems to have a kiai session. I've also had a couple shihan come to my (previous) dojo to train with us.. and they also teach kiai in taisho. what is the purpose of kiai? even though my current dojo exercise similar movement (rowing), we don't exercise kiai. and our rowing movement are much more flowing and slow instead of sharp and hard like in the videos. do you think kiai or those movements has anything to do with our Aikido? or even Ki?

I know that some of you will probably tell me off that I should ask my Sensei about this. I will certainly ask his opinion too but people in aikiweb seems to have very interesting opinions about stuffs like this so I'd appreciate it if you'll share some with us
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Old 11-02-2011, 12:07 PM   #2
dave9nine
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Re: kiai in aikido?

hmm.
not sure if your using 'kiai' in some way that i havent seen before.
the only 'kiai' i know of refers to an exhalation--usually accompanied by a sound--when executing a technique.
here, and as ive been taught, ki is the energy, and ai is the harmony, so a kiai is a way of harmonizing ki (through breath).

i dont know of any formal ways to practice this--one just lets it out as it comes naturally.

in my dojo, the kiai is encouraged to encourage exhalation during technique execution (breath in while accepting/inviting/blending; breath out while sending/extending/executing)

are you talking about a different thing?
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Old 11-02-2011, 12:14 PM   #3
kewms
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Re: kiai in aikido?

I don't know where you train, so I have no way of knowing what kiai has to do (if anything) with *your* aikido.

In my training, it is usually possible to execute the same technique in a smooth flowing way, or in a sharp, explosive way. Either way is equally valid aikido, it just depends on the situation and particularly the energy provided by the attacker. When explosive technique is called for, kiai might also be appropriate. Kiai is also often appropriate in weapons work.

Katherine
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Old 11-02-2011, 12:59 PM   #4
Cliff Judge
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Re: kiai in aikido?

Seems like there must be something about this in Bill Gleason Sensei's book on kototama. I don't think the term you are looking for is actually kiai.
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Old 11-02-2011, 02:41 PM   #5
phitruong
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Re: kiai in aikido?

kiai as in screaming at the other bugger until he/she craps in his/her/its pants then perform the softest technique that you can do? have not done that sort of thing since i got out of karate. i only scream like a girl when we do shinai work.

the most disturbing kiai that i encountered was from one of my sempai who laughed louder as you slammed him harder. very disturbing. i used to abject terror screaming, even whimpering screaming of sort, but laughing is just not right. just not martial, if you ask me. folks would think that we are some sort of comedy central or something. bad enough we, men, wore skirts and falling over ourselves, but laughing is just not right!

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 11-02-2011, 05:07 PM   #6
edshockley
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Re: kiai in aikido?

I experience an odd divide regarding kiai. Henry Smith Shihan advocates a silent kiai. Breath is meant to accompany every movement as described in post #2 above but my weapons sensei, Nizam Taleb (go dan) emphasized an articulated sound similar to karate. (We even practiced separating kiai from movement to unsettle the rhythm of uke.) I cannot say if I am comfortable with this because I have practiced this way for so long or if the articulation truly is more natural with weapons. My suggestion is experiment. Truth is revealed in action.
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Old 11-03-2011, 03:43 AM   #7
ryback
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Re: kiai in aikido?

Of course it has to do with ki and with aikido.The tori-fune exercise (the rowing) teaches two very important ellements.Tai sabaki (body movement) and kiai.Kiai is a form of exhaling and directing the ki through breath and it can be done with a highly audible sound or without, so it's not about shouting or screaming.The air (and the sound) should spring from the centre and as they say, in a very high level , one can also disrupt his opponent's hara by directly sending his ki from his hara to his opponent's with the use of kiai...
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Old 11-03-2011, 06:34 AM   #8
Walter Martindale
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Re: kiai in aikido?

Ai-ki without Ki-ai?
You don't have to be noisy about it but your 'ki' has to have 'ai' to do aikido well, no?

Never understood why you have to try to deafen your opponent when trying to throw them. what if he/she is already deaf?

Most "kiai" is really just a way to get people to "brace" their core and properly connect the lower body to the upper body for transmission of power...

Oh. it's also a good way to wreck your vocal cords
W
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:51 AM   #9
Cliff Judge
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Re: kiai in aikido?

If the vocalizations that some folks make when doing the rowing exercise (at my dojo we often do "EE - HO" and "EE - SA") can properly be termed a kiai, then this mean that a kiai is more generally a use of the vocal chords to manifest a particular type of reality from the breath.

Just saying....if you don't like to drink the coolaid you don't have to drink it but the martial aspects of the rowing exercise are just the tip of the iceberg.

On the other hand, in all my training currently my actual "I am trying to impose my will upon this conflict" type kiai is silent. So its not just sound that you use to manifest.

I guess kiai is something like....using your energy to impose your will on reality. And combative uses of this are a very small, restricted subset of what that can be.

Last edited by Cliff Judge : 11-03-2011 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 11-04-2011, 08:35 AM   #10
PaulieWalnuts
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Re: kiai in aikido?

This is quite interesting, it seems to go against everything that is taught in Iwama.. surprise lol.

Morihiro Saito used to say that you cnat practice real AIkido or any Budo without Kiai. In this interview from http://aikido-france.net/articles/saito5/ When asked "What is the significance of kiai?" he answerd:

Morihiro Saito Sensei: Kiai is something that comes completely naturally when you have ki or energy. It comes by itself. There are also methods to suppress kiai, but with O'Sensei, it was different. He said that you should shout from the abdomen. Indeed in martial arts a big kiai is a sign of good energy. It is important to make kiai. Training without kiai does not make big progress. It is not powerful and has no energy. With a big kiai, a training is full of energy. That is why it is better to shout out loud. O'Sensei always said, "What kind of kiai is that? Make a bigger kiai! Go outside and let the sparrows fall from the trees!" He always said proudly, "When I once made a kiai at the newspaper company, Asahi Shimbun, fourteen people fell from their chairs." When you have to train where you cannot make noise, for example because the neighbors complain, you can't help but be silent. But wherever possible, you should shout out loud.

His son Hirohiro Sated in his new book that KIAI is the tool that connects/unites the mind, body and spirit. He says it goes into Shinto religion and prayers and Kiai is connecte dto it.

Ive seen people in Iwama kicke dof the Mat because they wont learn how to Kiai. H simple says teh sma as his father that Aikido cannot exist without KIAI.

What about all the Videos of Osensei that have sound? they all have him using Kiai. He was famous in Iwama as the crazy old man with the scary Kiai.

Personally I coul dnever imagine doing Aikido in silence, ive tried it at other clubs and the art feels dead to me.
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Old 11-04-2011, 09:12 AM   #11
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Re: kiai in aikido?

Apologies for the spelling errors, working on a dodgy keyboard at the time
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:11 AM   #12
phitruong
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Re: kiai in aikido?

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
If the vocalizations that some folks make when doing the rowing exercise (at my dojo we often do "EE - HO" and "EE - SA") can properly be termed a kiai, then this mean that a kiai is more generally a use of the vocal chords to manifest a particular type of reality from the breath.
.
wondering if i did this all wrong, because i have been using "HI - HO, HI HO. OFF TO WORK WE GO" and the other "PIZ - ZA, PIZ ZA. MEAT LOVER"

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 11-05-2011, 11:20 AM   #13
PaulieWalnuts
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Re: kiai in aikido?

Dont get me wrong im not saying only Iwama people use KIAI or only people who dont Kiai cant be good at AIKIDO or BUDO. But from my personal experience and understanding of KIAI from what I learnt in Iwama, Correct use of KIAI is very important.
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Old 11-05-2011, 11:53 AM   #14
Janet Rosen
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Re: kiai in aikido?

Quote:
Stephen Miller wrote: View Post
Dont get me wrong im not saying only Iwama people use KIAI or only people who dont Kiai cant be good at AIKIDO or BUDO. But from my personal experience and understanding of KIAI from what I learnt in Iwama, Correct use of KIAI is very important.
I've been on the receiving end of very powerful throws, delivered with and without audible kiai.
I've less often been on the receiving end of devastating throws I "never felt coming." they were always without audible kiai.

Now YMMV but I'm a little middle aged woman and much more interested in learning the latter.

Of course I'm also from Brooklyn. First time I was ever asked to kiai was about two yrs into training, visiting Ki Society of Virginia and George Simcox Sensei asked us to kiai while moving forward across the mat while a couple of people tried to hold us back. He said any kiai was fine. So I stood tall, simultaneously raised an arm aloft and hollered "TAXI!"
Very effective. Everybody in the dojo stood still in shock then fell down laughing.

Where I train now, folks are expected to kiai out the count during weapons kata. In all seriousness, I do have trouble with this. Just as I cannot carry on a conversation while I am painting, or listen to music with lyrics while I am reading, I cannot have my body carry out complex movement patterns with any accuracy if I am shouting.

Janet Rosen
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Old 11-05-2011, 01:21 PM   #15
PaulieWalnuts
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Re: kiai in aikido?

I think if people are going to KIAI they must be taught proper kiai, I dont think its right to say any kiai is right. Funny story about Kiai in iwama, when one deshi just could not get there head into making any noise and after being thrown of the mat twice for it. Hitohiro got the person to come into the middle of the mat and wanted explain the reason behind Kiai and the correct way to Kiai. he lay on his back and said that many people KIAI by just shouting and the noise comes from the chest, you can here its empty and halo. Instead, he said Kiai must come from the abdomen just like deep breathing in mediation. so he proceeded to lye on his back and started making a noise from his gut and you could see his belly moving up and down. He then got the deshi to stand on his stomach and proceeded to life the deshi up and down using his abdomen and deep Kiai. So he was saying its just as wring to Kiai from high up the body like the chest as it is wrong not to Kiai. Again from my own experience, Ive not seen any other budo that does not use Kiai and I cant do any tech in silence as to me it feels dead.
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Old 11-05-2011, 07:32 PM   #16
kewms
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Re: kiai in aikido?

I've found that encouraging -- or even requiring -- audible kiai can help people who are having trouble putting real energy into their movements. For people not having that difficulty, the "kiai" is already there even if it's not audible.

Katherine
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:06 PM   #17
Adam Huss
 
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Re: kiai in aikido?

You should be able to find an article or two if you Google "Sansei no Kiai" or 'three purposes of kiai"....formal writings will provide better and more accurate information than I can as I have not studied the subject in some time and am just returning to training after a hiatus.

Sansei no kiai:
-To build yourself up and tear your opponent down
-to stop someone's movement
-to finish

Typical kiai we are taught are as follows:
ei
iei
ha
to
ya
kirei

each with a specific emphasis or purpose. In advanced classes kiai is emphasized, for example creating the sound from your hara so that, despite having a deep and powerful kiai, your throat doesn't get sore.

Anyway, I think I wrote on this subject awhile back on here, back when I remembered better what my little group is taught.

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:41 PM   #18
Aikironin21
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Re: kiai in aikido?

I don't remember the book I read this in, and I am not even quoting or paraphrasing either. This is my opinion based upon what I remember reading.

Aiki is the act of internalizing your ki or energy. It's like you drawing energy in. When you are connecting with uke you are training in aiki. On a grander scale, think of it as you being an antenna for ki. You can receive and transmit. In Aiki mode you are receiving. This makes you aware of what is going on around you. Say someone is walking past, and has ill intention toward you. For some reason this person peaks your attention, as he passes, and you take a few more steps you feel the urge to look behind you, and there he is. This is also Aiki.

Kiai is the opposite of Aiki. You are projecting Ki or energy outward. This has nothing to do with the act of yelling kiai in a technique, well not yet anyway. When you do projection techniques like Kaiten nage, at the end is Kiai. In fact, at the end of techniques is the kiai portion, because you are projecting Ki. Even in an immobilization or pinning technique, your ki is flowing in through the pin and into the ground. Any time you project it is Kiai. Kiai is that scene in the movie when the bombastic captain of the football team walks into a party and everyone in the house seems to know the party just hit an all other level of cool. In non-physical martial aspect, you are upset at the service you have received from a business, you decide to go down to the store to talk to a manager. When you get there, you are determined to get the service and respect you deserve. As you walk up from the parking lot, the people inside already notice you approaching. Some don't make eye contact, others nervously smile and look away or act busy. Those that do speak are polite and call you sir or Mr. That is Kiai.

In Aikido, we tend to focus on AIki. This may be because Kiai is a little easier to grasp and utilize, at least physically. Our goal is to harmonize our balance of Aiki and Kiai to fit our daily living situations. I picture in Yin and Yang Aiki being the black drawing in light and Kiai being white projecting light. As we are walking around we strive for that perfect balance. We are aware of all around us and can at least on a subconscious level feel the energy of others and possibly things. As we recognize through Aiki a strong presence, say ill intent of an attacker (which is him exuding kiai) our Aiki or receptors pick up to verify. As the attack ensues, and we move to enter and blend with the attack our Aiki is rising and we are internalizing and receiving his energy connecting with him. If you go to Kiai at this point, he goes off in whatever direction you happen to be facing along with his flow of energy from the attack. So as you are connected with uke, you are constantly in Aiki and internalizing till you have neutralized the energy from his attack and have taken his center. At the point you are either going to throw or pin uke, is when you start to build up Kiai and project energy to end the technique. The hard part of Aikido is to learn to internalize and not over project.

The act of Kiai or spirit shout, gets its name from projecting. It is standard practice to exhale while projecting and inhale while receiving energy. Don't confuse this receiving the energy from a strike, at which point you want to project. That's why we Kiai when we get hit. We tighten up the muscles where we get hit and project the energy out in a yell. There all kinds of physiological benefits from breathing out when getting hit with a force. Kiai and Aiki here is about energy though.

The rowing exercise, can be done two different ways. You can breath in (Aiki) as you raise your arms, and exhale (Kiai) as you bring them back down towards your sides. You can also reverse the breaths with the exact same motions. Play with that while maintaining Hamni and focusing on Hara. Then try and realize the application of each within techniques.

Like I said, this is my personal understanding of Aiki and Kiai as I interpreted it from reading and studying.It may be way off, and for that apologize if that is so. I may change my view as time goes on and I grow in my Aikido journey. For now, this view seems to help me understand what I am doing physically in Aikido.
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:03 PM   #19
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: kiai in aikido?

well the only contribution i can make is about my own experience with kiai - no implication it must be the best answer or even a good one. I can only account for myself.

Kiai, in my world, is never prescribed - that is, you don't "exercise" to do it: either it comes out of you, or it won't. If it comes out of you spontaneously and therefore it is genuine, it will be a kiai much more prefect than any theory may postulate or that any intentional "training" may yield or afford.

As such, kiai is a spontaneous manifestation of something (no idea why it may be produced spontaneously, at least no clearer idea than why we shed tears when we are unhappy) involved with fighting. Strangely enough, it won't happen for instance in boxing (though you may pant audibly as you throw jabs but that's more of a muffled sound, nothing akin to a kiai).
So, it occours only related with martial arts that involve techniques.

Also, you will never produce a kiai when performing a techinique midlly - when it is spontaneous, it invariably comes out from a vigorous techinque.

What I consider it a no-no is producing it intentionally thinking that its purpose would have been that of terrifying your adevrsary: although some kiais can be terryfying indeed, when they are spontaneous they are never produced with any intention in that direction.

So, you just cannot "train" in kiai, because the only good kiai is the purposeless and spontaneous one and nothing else imitates it (as a matter of fact, again in my world, nothing else than a spontaneous one is a kiai at all in the first place).

When it comes, it is the consequence of a successful technique - that is,. it gets exhaled only when the techinique is by then nearly completed.

It may echo for a while - some kiais may be long and go on a few second also after the thorough completion of a techinique.

I consider kiais a chrism form heaven - when it is spontaneous is a chrism that something, for a fleeting instant, touched perfection. So a spontaneous kiai ought always to be met with respect, as if not an aikidoka but for an instant a spirit from the other world made its darting apparition on the dojo and then suddenly vanished - nowhere anymore to be seen.

ps yes in aikido at times i kiai-ed - rarely and it was invariably the consequence of an act that was well done, of a rare instant of masterful & abrupt touch of grace.

Last edited by Alberto_Italiano : 01-12-2012 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 01-12-2012, 01:23 PM   #20
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Re: kiai in aikido?

So for the people here who say that Aiki is the opp of Kiai or there is no Kiai in Aikido, can someone then explain why O'sensei always used Kiai. There is plenty evidence in the videos with sound you can here his Kiai, the old people in the Iwama village talk about hearing Osensei screams coming from the forest and dojo day and night. Saito Sensie has explained indepth about its connection to Aiki. So can someone explain where and why it was changed?
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Old 01-12-2012, 02:36 PM   #21
mathewjgano
 
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Re: kiai in aikido?

Quote:
Stephen Miller wrote: View Post
So for the people here who say that Aiki is the opp of Kiai or there is no Kiai in Aikido, can someone then explain why O'sensei always used Kiai. There is plenty evidence in the videos with sound you can here his Kiai, the old people in the Iwama village talk about hearing Osensei screams coming from the forest and dojo day and night. Saito Sensie has explained indepth about its connection to Aiki. So can someone explain where and why it was changed?
I've never heard that aiki and kiai are opposites. I think where there is no kiai used, it's generally from the idea either that it's superfluous or that it is being used, but silently. O Sensei didn't make loud screams after every technique, so it follows that it's not always needed, or not always expressed loudly.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 01-12-2012, 02:42 PM   #22
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Re: kiai in aikido?

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I've never heard that aiki and kiai are opposites. I think where there is no kiai used, it's generally from the idea either that it's superfluous or that it is being used, but silently. O Sensei didn't make loud screams after every technique, so it follows that it's not always needed, or not always expressed loudly.
I would say from my training that it is always needed but never needs to be loud. Kiai is not about how loud you shout.
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Old 01-12-2012, 02:58 PM   #23
mathewjgano
 
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Re: kiai in aikido?

Quote:
Stephen Miller wrote: View Post
I would say from my training that it is always needed but never needs to be loud. Kiai is not about how loud you shout.
That fits with my understanding too. These days I've noticed my school will also start movements with a soft kiai to help stimulate ki in the body.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 01-12-2012, 04:24 PM   #24
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Re: kiai in aikido?

to my understanding there cannot be any prescription about kiai no more than there can be about tears.
Certainly, someone may elaborate a theory about crying, and invent a method to teach guys how to cry. But the fact remains that human beings know already how to cry when crying comes. And so it goes for kiai.
Teaching how and when to kiai or when to kiai not is like teaching how to cry in absence of grief. You can do that - perhaps actors do it (though the good ones, I read, produce grievious memories of their own to that purpose); but the true tears are those that arise spontaneously from a heartfelt sorrow or compassion. And so in my understanding ought to be with kiai, the true one is that which arises spontaneously from a vigorous technique.

tears are always "superfluous", strictly speaking. And yet they flow. So for a kiai - it may be "superfluous" and yet human beings into a frantic action may produce it.

One may kiai silently just as one may cry silently or sobbing - but giving prescriptions in this field is like wanting to teach someone how to suffer - this is, indeed, one of those things that shouldn't be taught and that come best when they are driven by nature rather than by indications.
You cannot really teach compassion, and you cannot really teach kiai.

Last edited by Alberto_Italiano : 01-12-2012 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:38 AM   #25
Aikironin21
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Re: kiai in aikido?

What if while you are practicing Kiai, you are actually learning Aiki? Take the cup analogy. Fill the cup with water, and it is full. In order to put more water in, you have to take some out. Now say there are rules, one of being, the cup must always be full. Since the cup has a finite volume, any water you project out must replaced. The more forcefully you project water out, the more water you must replace it with. So where you see the act of yelling to project Ki or practice Kiai, what you don't see, is the flow of KI throughout.

To just yell loud, is not necessarily Kiai. for a proper Kiai yell, you must muster power, or be internalizing at hara, as you are projecting in your technique and your yell. The more powerfully you project, the more you must also internalize. So as where I see Kiai and Aiki as kind of opposites, they are used simultaneously to compliment each other. They phase and fade like the speakers in THX system to achieve the desired effect. In Aikido, we seek to harmonize Aiki and Kiai to achieve a desired effect. Because you are using one, doesn't mean the other isn't there. They are concepts that play off each other and aid each other so that the end result is a flowing technique.

So to Practice Kiai, is to practice Aiki; and to do so in such a manner to harmonize the flow of Aiki and Kiai, is Aikido.
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