hi stef & rafeh,
before choosing Aikido as my Way, i had read a few books first (the Philosophy of Aikido and Secrets of Aikido). O Sensei clearly emphasized many techniques with energetic vocal shouts such as "yah!" and "Kiai!" it is said that O Sensei could take an opponent (training partner
completely off balance or even throw them from a distance (!) with one of his powerful shouts, hence: the famous "no touch throw." the japanese word for this is 'kototama' which has something to do with the spiritual power or potency of vocalized sound. needless to say, i was a little surprised at how silent Aikikai style is (eerily silent at times
but i Love my dojo and am fortunate to recieve the highest level of compassion and instruction. i do however look very forward to studying Iwama-style one day as i have this very deep unfulfilled longing to belt out a nice heartfelt "KIAI!" whilst executing one of the manifold Aikido techniques. i must admit that i do practice kototama outside of my dojo, but it's only to throw nasty customers without having to touch them, i swear. i will end my humble post with a beautiful quote from Koretoshi Maruyama sensei:
"every river has a name. however, these names disappear when they flow into the great ocean. Aikido has many styles, many names, but Aikido is Aikido. it is my vision and hope that, like the rivers, they flow together and unite as one."
now if that doesn't capture the spirit of Aikido i'm a pink rhinocerous.