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Old 06-09-2001, 06:55 PM   #1
Jim23
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Kiai*cough*

I just realized something. Aokidikas don't kiai! Is this really the case, or have I just not seen it? Maybe it's not in harmony with aiki?

This is really odd, as all (most?) martial arts use the kiai.

Weird.

Jim23

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Old 06-09-2001, 10:26 PM   #2
jimvance
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Gosh, I hate to be picky but....

Could you really have AI - KI without KI - AI? In other words, what is a kiai? I do not think it is merely an audible. Perhaps you do kiai and just don't realize it. Why should it be called "energy combining" and not "rebel yell"? I think I know what it is, but rather than sounding too dogmatic/bombastic, I would like to know what you think, since you do come up with some thought provoking stuff around here (which I happen to like, most of the time).
As an aside, where I train, we DO kiai. But it sounds more like cartoon or jazz vocables than a bunch of angry (or hurt) white pajamas. Sumo rikishi kiai as well, but differently. I don't think it's just a yell.

Jim Vance
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Old 06-10-2001, 09:39 AM   #3
Jim23
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I've heard aikidoka do a "pffff" at times, or a "hmmf", but not the kiai I'm accustomed to.

I mean the loud sound that comes from your body's center of gravity, below your diaphram: "Ieee-Ahh!!".

I know kiai means "working with ki" or "harmonizing ki", so, I suppose the actual sound doesn't really matter (although I do enjoy hearing Bruce Lee's version -- even when done by Eddie Murphy).

In addition to focusing your energy, timing, breathing, movement and power, it also forces oxygen into the bloodstream, empties air from the lungs (helps absorb an attack), while startling your opponent (no opponent? Uke will do). Oh yes, it can also impress the opposite sex.

No, really. Most Japanese martial arts train using the "shout" kiai, why not aikido? Now, in a combat situation, it's probably best to use a semi-silent version of the kiai while keeping the mouth shut -- making a sound similar to the puff sound boxers use (and keeping your teeth in the process).

I heard a story of a famous Karateka who was well known for using the word "kusoh" for his kiai -- it means feces in Japanese. Talk about potty mouth.

Jim23

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Old 06-10-2001, 11:31 AM   #4
jimvance
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Oh poo

Thought I'd get something like that out of you. (heh heh)

Morihei Ueshiba Sensei had tremendous kiai. According to Saito Sensei and Shirata Sensei (a la John Stevens) you could hear it from a ways off. I have also seen Hikitsuchi Sensei and Shioda Sensei use kiai effectively. It does not look like Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei had much to do with it though. It would be interesting to pick some of these guys brains and ask them why or why not.
You don't see a lot of kiai (audible) from judo players. Maybe the different intents present different methods of kiai. Maybe one of the lurking shihan will tell us.
I overheard a story regarding Shinto Muso ryu jodo. Within the jodo kata, kiai for cutting and thrusting movements are given. Apparently at a summer gasshuku, one jodoka "kiai-ed" with a tremendous belch. Much to the credit of their teachers and traing intent, they were able to finish the kata before splitting a gut.

Jim Vance
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Old 06-10-2001, 12:03 PM   #5
Jim23
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Re: Oh poo

Quote:
Originally posted by jimvance Thought I'd get something like that out of you. (heh heh)
Morih-eeiiiiii!!!!!

Interesting. So, some do and some don't do the the shout.

I remember, many years ago, watching a full contact (gloves) karate match on TV. Anyway, many of the karateka had never fought full contact before. One very athletic guy started the fight with a fancy flying kick and a LOUD impressive KIAI! Problem was that the other guy (very experienced though unassuming) just waited for him to land, then knocked him out with a boring punch. End of match -- good kiai though.

I'm curious as to other opinions, as kiais DO work. A friend of mine actually scared away an armed attacker with a loud kiai and an impressive stance.

Jim23

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Old 06-10-2001, 12:09 PM   #6
Chuck Clark
 
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One of the meanings for KIAI is a manifested, focused energy. This can then be used to actualize intent as in affecting an opponent, etc. When kiai is extended to another energy it becomes aiki or "meeting/fitting energy." Of course these definitions are not literal and are simplistic due to a lack of time and space.

What many think of as the only aspect they have seen of kiai is the audible expression of this energy. It can have many strategic values that are all important. Effective kiai can also be silent. It can be done on the exhalation and also the inhalation of breath.

Different sounds have different values as well. The internal intent that the kiai expresses has form which can take on audible sounds. Research the Hindu doctrines of "japa sutrum" as well as the Shinto "kotodama." (For example: A simple test... Say "BAAAMMM!" as you smack your hand on the table forcefully. Then invision a small, suble movement to catch a fly in your hand while saying the same thing. It's next to impossible. The intent that is expressed by a small, subtle movement must have an appropriate sound that matches.)

All budo must contain Kiai. How you focus and express it in refined ways is part of higher level practice.

Regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 06-10-2001, 06:08 PM   #7
Jim23
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chuck Clark
O
A simple test... Say "BAAAMMM!" as you smack your hand on the table forcefully. Then invision a small, suble movement to catch a fly in your hand while saying the same thing. It's next to impossible.
I agree, but it does work in cooking: BAAMM! Take it up a notch!!

I thought that a kiai included both the inhalation and also the exhalation of breath. The inhalation while relaxed and moving and the exhalation upon "contact".

Jim23

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Old 06-11-2001, 09:19 AM   #8
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From my limited experience, I have only heard kiai (the common understanding of it--sudden loud noise ) is when someone takes a hard breakfall. But usually my aikido class is really quite compared to a karate class.

As for any other reasons or details, ask my sensei.

Anne Marie
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Old 06-22-2001, 12:38 PM   #9
djleyva
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Re: Kiai*cough*

I actually take Kendo. If you have ever even been in the general vicinity of a Kendo Keiko, then I am sure that you have noticed how big we are on Kiai. This is part of the idea of Ki-Ken-Tai-Ichi, or spirit, sword,, and body acting as one. Your kiai is sort of like the glue in ths mix.
It is interesting that the higher ranking don't really Kiai. From what I hear, they are able to internalize the act of Kiai.They get to the point that they can extend their Ki into the cut without using a the Kiai.
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Old 06-22-2001, 08:32 PM   #10
Nick
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Re: Oh poo

Quote:
Originally posted by jimvance

Morihei Ueshiba Sensei had tremendous kiai. According to Saito Sensei and Shirata Sensei (a la John Stevens) you could hear it from a ways off.
"O-sensei's kiai was a high, ear-piercing shout that you could hear almost half a mile away, and it would just stop you ded in your tracks. It was deafening, it hurt your eardrums. It permeated your whole body, your entire being, you could feel it spiritually, mentally, and physically. It made you weak, made you sometimes want to just collapse... With O-sensei, you didn't jump, you just collapsed, you felt instantly sapped."

From Aikido Kyohan: Complete Aikido, pg. 73.

Hope it helps,

Nick

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Old 06-23-2001, 11:50 PM   #11
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Exclamation The Cat's Meow

Quote:
Originally posted by Nick


"O-sensei's kiai was a high, ear-piercing shout that you could hear almost half a mile away, and it would just stop you ded in your tracks. It was deafening, it hurt your eardrums. It permeated your whole body, your entire being, you could feel it spiritually, mentally, and physically. It made you weak, made you sometimes want to just collapse... With O-sensei, you didn't jump, you just collapsed, you felt instantly sapped."

From Aikido Kyohan: Complete Aikido, pg. 73.

Hope it helps,

Nick
There is a live recording of O Sensei's kiai on an early 1930's film made for pre-WWII Japanese propaganda. I've been told by others that O Sensei had a high, reedy voice. This sounds true, since his kiai in the film, was more like someone stepping on a cat's tail than some god-like thunder.

Of course you can say that primitive sound equiptment didn't do O Sensei's voice any justice. You can judge for yourself. The video tape is carried by AikiNews.

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Old 06-24-2001, 07:36 AM   #12
guest1234
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Well, if that is true, then could it be as suggested by Clark Sensei and others that the kiai need not be a loud shout, but can be other sounds or even silent? What, more to Aikido than the obvious? Subtlety? Levels of meaning? Skill without force? Next thing you know, someone will want me to bend my knees.
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Old 06-24-2001, 10:15 AM   #13
andrew
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Re: Kiai*cough*

Quote:
Originally posted by Jim23
I just realized something. Aokidikas don't kiai!
Much like Atemi, we're supposed to be able to do it, but many can't. I actually think a lot of people get a little embarassed of doing a ki-ai.
I do know people who do/can use it, but in most of the training I've done there's been little actual practice of it. Most frequently it comes up in aikiken for me.

andrew
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Old 05-23-2002, 12:17 AM   #14
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I think it is interesting that O-sensei's kiai was recognized throughout his life and heard quite often, but is just not a greatly emphasized part of modern training. I have always seen some kiai throughout my training. My sensei periodically vocalized it, and expressed its necessity as an internal element quite often to me.
I think what we may have is just too much happy feeliness, that people don't want to break up with a harder more martial element. You may notice the amount of threads on leading and ki as supposed to honest attacking and kiai's is disproportional. I respect the aikido communities desire to be focused on what makes aikido unique, but as a member of this community it terrifies me to think that we will lose the basic environment in which that gentleness was born.
Kiai sounds aggressive. Shouting for westerners is aggressive. However, it shouldn't have to be. Some other ideas for kiai might be the following.
1. A passionate prayer, where one allows their will to be lost in the sound, sort of like luke blacking out when he shot the proton torpedo into the death star, (reaching, really reaching here.)
2. Romans 8:26
Likewise the spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs to deep for words.
3. And a thought about the meaning of kiai. When the ai kanji comes after something it usually means a heck of a lot of it. A gathering together of something, so to speak. Such as a hanashi-ai, or katari-ai which is a discussion, or a miai which is an arranged marriage (Mi is "look" ai is a gathering. A gathering of two people searching for a mate.) So a heck of a lot of ki, both yours and theirs are gathered together in a union of sound. So scream to relax, and scream from your hara! The trick is how to do this when throwing without becoming hard, or tensing in order to scream. That is the difference I see between a yell and a kiai, or is it? You tell me.
In either case, I hope it isn't lost from the aikido curriculum. True love for our fellow humans is not always soft. Those of you who had strict parents will understand that.

Life is choice.
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Old 05-23-2002, 01:30 AM   #15
Edward
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Re: Oh poo

Quote:
Originally posted by jimvance

You don't see a lot of kiai (audible) from judo players. Maybe the different intents present different methods of kiai.
As an ex-judoka turned aikidoka, I can tell you that kiai is very essential in judo, eventhough it might sound differently than the classic karate kiai. The reason is probably that the effort pattern is not the same. In judo, as well as in aikido with a resisiting partner like in kokyunage for instance, there is first the initial effort to throw countered by the opponent which might last 2-3 seconds in extreme cases, then the sudden liberation of energy coming with the actual throw after the opponent let go. Our favorite kiai used to be yeeeeeee-sa, the first part considerably longer to match the produced effort.
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Old 05-23-2002, 02:19 AM   #16
thomasgroendal
 
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a good point, everybody kiais differently, and the reasons behind it seem to change often.
My Shindo Muso Ryuu jodo instructor told me to close my teeth, open and then close them again in ieeei, which is a cutting kiai. Makes sense. The burst of energy to launch the blade. Relaxing so the blade faces forward, and then once you are in the opponents body, the shime, the closing of the grip and adding of strength for the purpose of damage.
Ho is a completely open sound, used for tsukikomi, or to strike in and through somebody. A very controlled movement and a fire hose, different sounds to suit it.
What sounds might be appropriate for aikido?
I would say perhaps ee ho sa, as that is what the aikikai people use for funa kogi undo in kyushu, and I am not sure what else.

Life is choice.
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Old 05-23-2002, 08:19 AM   #17
Bruce Baker
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Kiai/ sounds of power?

I think we tried to cover the sounds that increase power of strikes, throws, up, down etc.... But it did not seem to wander into Kiai sounds, did it?

If you listen to some of the sounds that O'Sensei was using in different conditions, there is a slightly different sound to them. It could be that his studys of sound, found in the Kotodama for us today, do indeed have effects on the living vibrations of life. In fact, across the board, most teachers point to different sounds increasing the power of different movements, not just in Asian martial arts, but around the world.

The fact that different great martial artists discover the use of sound at different pitch than we would assume the sounds to be effective in normal speaking pitch, is one of the wonders of Kiai?

This is another area to be studied and realized as more and more people will use the sound of their voice as a weapon. I guess the old joke about your mother-in-laws voice wasn't as funny as it was alluding to a real prospect?

Cultivating a number of sounds that enhance your techniques is not as easy as focusing on one sound or variance of sound for forward or down ... which are the primary movements of most peoples Kiai. So I must agree, we do not normally use kiai in many of our Aikido classes or techniques, but then again, how much force do you intend to use on your partner? Enough to do the technique, or too much to cause pain and injury?

No. If we use the sounds of movement, it is kept to individual warmup practice, bokken, jo, or even your off the mat practice ... not during classes where these sounds would indicate distrack the attention of the practitioners, or cause injury.

Which brings up another subject of different sounds for kiai ...
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Old 05-23-2002, 09:57 AM   #18
Greg Jennings
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Re: Kiai*cough*

Quote:
Originally posted by Jim23
I just realized something. Aokidikas don't kiai! Is this really the case, or have I just not seen it? Maybe it's not in harmony with aiki?

This is really odd, as all (most?) martial arts use the kiai.

Weird.
It all depends on the style of aikido, the instructor and the individual.

E.g.:
The Iwama style promotes kiai-ing. We're an Iwama-ish dojo. My instructor and I (I'm the senior student) kiai all the time. But there are still students in the dojo that don't feel comfortable kiai-ing.

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 05-23-2002, 11:16 AM   #19
erikmenzel
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Re: Kiai*cough*

Quote:
Originally posted by Jim23
I just realized something. Aikidokas don't kiai!
Damn, does this mean I have been doing it wrong for the last decade??

Erik Jurrien Menzel
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Old 05-23-2002, 01:58 PM   #20
Don_Modesto
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Re: Survey of Kiai in your dojos

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by thomasgroendal
What I would really like talk about is kiai.
1. Who does it in their dojo, and who doesn't?
2. What is the tradition of when, how, where taught by your dojo.
4. ....my finally question is what do you kiai, (haiya! e-! iei! ho!)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sorry, just noticed the comment that the thread would move to the older (this)one. I repost below.

1. Only me in my present dojo; it gets me dirty looks from the teacher ("JESUS! You scared the **** out of me!") I did it at a seminar, too, and overheard someone suggest that caffeine hereafter be withheld from me.

2. None. Nowhere. I've heard Saotome kiai many times, but few of his students.

Having developed the same questions as yourself a while back (and having used them to very concrete effect in karate), I began playing with kiai and made some interesting discoveries.

First, I found that it takes extraordinary effort to give a hale kiai without crushing UKE/NAGE.

It also makes UKE/NAGE freeze, go stiff, and move in manners dangerous to the continued integrity of body parts immediately within his/her grasp.

4. Mostly I exhale a rising "Ah-aaaaaii!" In karate I used to say "Eit!" timed to end with KIME.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 05-23-2002, 02:35 PM   #21
Jim23
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Re: Re: Kiai*cough*

Quote:
Originally posted by Greg Jennings

It all depends on the style of aikido, the instructor and the individual.

E.g.:
The Iwama style promotes kiai-ing. We're an Iwama-ish dojo. My instructor and I (I'm the senior student) kiai all the time. But there are still students in the dojo that don't feel comfortable kiai-ing.

Best Regards,
I originally assumed that the silence was due to people not training at striking (or putting effort into it), like in karate. You know what I mean, lots of effort with a yell.

With some techniques, like katate-mochi shio-nage, there is the finishing strike to uke's face with tegatana, where a kiai could be appropriate. Most other atemi seem to be just for setting up/distracting, etc.

Power generated can be quite focused and explosive, however, I've never seen anyone kiai with a throw.

Jim23

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Old 05-23-2002, 02:45 PM   #22
Greg Jennings
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Re: Re: Re: Kiai*cough*

Quote:
Originally posted by Jim23
Power generated can be quite focused and explosive, however, I've never seen anyone kiai with a throw.
Weird. It's common at our dojo.

Heck, I'll kiai at times as uke when I give nage katatedori. It just depends.

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 05-23-2002, 07:45 PM   #23
Arianah
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One of my sempai always kiai's with the sound "hi-sah" (emphasis on the first syllable), or maybe it's "i-sah." Anyone know the meaning of this sound, i.e. what it's used for (like others are for thrusts or fininshing strikes)?

Sarah

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From discord, find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.
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Old 05-23-2002, 08:46 PM   #24
batemanb
 
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Re: Re: Kiai*cough*

Quote:
Originally posted by Greg Jennings
But there are still students in the dojo that don't feel comfortable kiai-ing.
This reminds me (slightly off track but in a similar vein) of a situation last year. Here in Japan, during our warm ups, we always do funekogi (torifune), the rowing exercise, whatever you like to call it, and we always emit a vigorous "eay ho" with each movement (we don`t mix with "eay sah" like Hombu, for reasons which I haven`t yet established).

Anyways, last summer I went back to the UK on business and paid surprise visits to my old dojo`s. One of them asked me to take the warm up, so I treated them to a typical Japanese one. When it came to funekogi, I began with vigourous "eay ho", only to be greeted with some sheepish blank looks, followed by a few mutterings of "you don`t mind if we forget the sounds, do you", they all proceeded to do the exercise in silence.

I am not sure who was most embarrassed, them feeling uncomfortable at making the kiai, or me being the only one actually doing it

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