Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Commander Zigg, Sep 3, 2004.

  1. Commander Zigg

    Commander Zigg New Member

    After tonight's class, I realized what an incredibly lousy kiai I have. I would like to know more, but all the advice my instructor gave me was to try to get the kiai from down below your belly-button, and not in your chest or throat. I would like some more advice, but I don't really know where to look. Does anybody have advice, or maybe a website or two that can explain it a bit? It would be mucho appreciated.
  2. Shai'tan

    Shai'tan New Member

    Hi Commander Zigg,

    This is one good site I have found:
    Making a good kiai

    What my sensei tells me is that it must feel as if the air is knocked out of your belly. Like getting a punch in the belly and all the air is forced out.

    If you "simulate" that without the punch you should do fine.

    When my sensei makes a kiai you are just shocked. The first time I couldn't lift my sword, I was totaly stunned.
  3. Talyn

    Talyn Reality Hacker

    An article previously on Veritas.

    Written by Kendamu

    "Kiaijutsu is usually assumed to be a loud shout, but that is only its most trivial expression. First of all, kiai is always a psychophysical method to organize one's own energy and will. At the same time, it is a method of affecting another's inner world." -- Ellis Amdur

    Kiaijutsu (The Art of Harmony), like Aikijutsu (Aiki and Kiai are the same characters in opposite order), is a method of harmonizing oneself with another person in order to make them do what you want. Like Aikijutsu, Kiaijutsu can be used to find out another's intent, deceive others about your intent, or to manipulate an opponent's strong points in order to gain the upper hand in both sport and real combat. Among other things, the Kiai can add power to your strikes and kicks, help you overcome fear and pain, and (when timed properly) can help you sustain a blow to the torso area with less or no injury. Much of the Kiai's strong points have to do with intent because, even though many Asian martial arts use the kiai, Kiaijutsu as an art is Japanese. To the Japanese, Ki translates as "spirit", referring to intent, feelings, and mind-set that, which many believe, is represented by an actual psychic energy.

    Kiaijutsu can be amazingly elaborate. Some arts, such as the Ninjutsu of the Togakure Ryu and the Kenjutsu of the Jikishinkage Ryu, have four types of Kiai. For example, the Togakure's Kiaijutsu consisted of the Attacking Kiai, Reacting Kiai, Victorious Kiai, and the Shadow Kiai. The Jikishinkage's Kiaijutsu also had four Kiai that were similar in type, but were named after the Seasons. Being that the Kiai is overwhelming popular as a yell, many find it suprising that the Shadow Kiai and the Winter Kiai of the two school above are actually silent. More suprising is the fact that those two Kiai are actually the most useful of them all. Of course, this comes with a price. Such Kiai are the most difficult to master.

    There are other types of Kiai outside of the main four also serve purposes such as suddenly appearing larger, freezing an opponent in place, appearing vulnerable, or actually becoming vulnerable and using that to win. The teachings of Kiaijutsu say that masters of such art are actually able to freeze multiple opponents or knock people backwards or even knock people over with this skill. Many myths and legends speak of people who could kill small birds from several yards away with this shout. The skill of knocking individuals over with the Kiai has even been witnessed in modern times. The author of this article has even frozen people in place from several yards away and even was able to knock someone over on one occasion with Kiaijutsu. The individuals in question felt as if being hit by a shockwave which stopped or knocked them over. The author has also felt the power of a similar Kiai as it froze him in place and blurred his vision.

    To perform the basic Kiai, one must be like the bow and arrow. To start, inhale as one would normally do in meditation by expanding the stomach and drawing Ki into the One Point (also known as the Hara or Dan Tien). When you inhale, its not dissimilar to that of an archer drawing back the bow when preparing to fire upon an enemy. When exhaling, one would tighten the abdominal area and let out a "Ha!" sound which is not dissimilar to releasing the arrow that is being fired at the opponent. The reasoning behind tightening the abdominal area is so that the sound resonates from the One Point and is not forced out of the throat. Forcing this yell out of the throat will make your throat hoarse and can lead to one to lose their voice, making their vocal Kiai useless. The Kiai being spoken of here is for general purposes such as making strikes and kicks stronger, overcoming fear and pain, and sustaining blows without injury. The downside is that there are other Kiai that serve a single one of these purposes more efficiently, but the upside is that this Kiai can somewhat effectively serve many purposes simultaneously.

    For the next part of this article, the four Kiai of the Togakure Ryu Kiaijutsu will be discussed in enough detail that one could practice them. Note that the sounds described are useful to that of a native Japanese person. Sound and tone structures of other languages (such as English) may require other sounds to be more effective among others who natively speak another language. However, the sounds are good for training to feel for where the source of the specific Kiai is and how it feels as it resonates through the body:
    Attacking Kiai: This shout is a fierce explosion of Ki used specifically for making the opponent drop his/her guard for a very short moment in order to open a window of opportunity to connect a strike or series of strikes. This shout originates in the lower abdomen (lower Dan Tien to those who study Qigong and Taijiquan) and resonates through the torso with the intent of bewildering, terrifying, and overwhelming the opponent. Like all Kiai, there is no word meaning behind the sound used. The low, drawn-out, almost growling sound of "ehy!" is what native Japanese speakers would normally use.

    Reacting Kiai: This sound is very heavy, intense, and is used to create a sense of disappointment in the opponent upon successfully defending against his or her technique. This sound hisses up through the body from the tightened midsection. The sound "Toh!" is common for Japanese speakers. As stated before, however, native speakers of other languages will use noises fitting their local tone qualities.

    Victorious Kiai: This sound is very triumphant and energetic. This shout comes from the solar plexus (Upper Dan Tien to those who study Qigong and Taijiquan) and is used upon successfully dealing a series of strikes to bewilder and discourage the opponent from fighting any further. The sounds "Yah!" and "Yoh!" are common for Japanese speakers to use.

    "Shadow" Kiai: This is the Kiai of the four that is most powerful. At the same time, though, it is the most quiet of the four. In fact, the Shadow Kiai is silent. If any sound were to be used, it would be an almost-silent "uhmm" that some use when exhaling while practicing Ki Breathing. This Kiai is meant to transform your state of mind by simultaneously and spontaneously combining the aspects of the three previous Kiai and bringing one to the highest level of involvement in the fight. In this state-of-mind, attacks are always used with such precice timing before a defense is even needed. One is in touch with his/her opponent's Ki and therefore there is no suprise to react to. In this mind-set, the options of winning, losing, past and future are removed and the concept of action in the present is all that exists. The only sound that exists at this point is your breath rhythm to the events.

    Being that Kiaijutsu involves harmony with another's Ki, other skills come about while practicing this art such as sensing another's intent long before physical action takes place. Even if nothing took place afterwords, one would have not even have to doubt that they felt the sakki, or "force of the killer", from another. One would just merely know from that point that the person was once committed to the deed but never followed through with it. Sakki is the Ki that is projected outword when one has intent to harm or destroy someone or something. All living things naturally project this when determined to do something of the such. If such force is strong, even average people with no Ki training can feel it. That is why one must be determined to win when stepping into an arena or is about to engage in combat. Your sakki may become so strong that you'll appear very feirce to the opponent. Sometimes it may even be to the point that they back down. This is even true if the opponent is of higher skill than you. With such intent being put to use with a Kiai, you can appear so demonic that you could win with pure intentions alone.

    A way to train projecting your intent is to sit in a public area, doing nothing out of the ordinary, while focusing on another random person and thinking, "Look at me," over and over until they do. Another way to go about this is to do something a bit unusual while focusing on a random person and thinking, "Don't look at me," over and over. As you grow stronger at projecting your intent on another person, your Kiai will grow stronger.

    Another training tip helps your focus. If your focus is specifically directed at the individual you Kiai at, it will concentrate your intent upon the individual and make it that much stronger. To strengthen your focus, light a candle in a dim-lit or dark room and focus on every move the flame makes. Your ability to focus may not last for a very long time at first, but in time you'll be able to focus for longer.

    On a final note, this one directed at practitioners of Radical Ki and Dragonball Z-based Ki, every skill mentioned above has been practiced for thousands of years in the Asian martial arts and every skill mentioned above can replace several types of Ki Blasts, Ki Power-ups, Ki Shields, and even the ever popular Super Human/Ascention/Limit Break/Super Saiyan as well as add new skills to your arsenal. Not only that, but these skills are proven to be combat-applicable unlike the Ki Blast, Power-Up, and Ki Shield. I ask you politely to drop what you're doing with Radical or Dragonball Z Ki and give Kiaijutsu a fair chance. I am certain that it'll serve the vast majority of combat needs better than any Radki or DBZer skills will.
    Here's a new training tip. To learn where the source of you Kiai comes from, learn to grunt. According to Garm Olafson, "To find your grunt, place your hand on your tan tien and make the noise. Whatever noise causes your tan tien to push outward quickly and forcefully (without any attempt to make this happen other than the grunt) is the right noise for you. Some kind of 'Humpf' is usually best. The purpose of this grunt is to 'wake up' your tan tien, and to begin to develop the connection between it and your intention on the palm at the moment of impact." This same quick and forceful push of the tan tien happens when you Kiai.
    Also note that when you Kiai, you're sending out your intent. So if you Kiai with the intent of looking cool, you're probably not going to knock anyone backwards (but you'll look cool). If you Kiai with the intent of knocking someone back, its more likely. For example, I did a Kiai while performing a Kata. I ended up doing the Kiai in the general direction of someone. My only intent was to make a proper Kiai at the correct movement in the form and I did so that person I did the Kiai in the general direction of didn't really get affected.

    Another time, myself and two friends were having a free-for-all every-man-for-himself sparring match where we all three fought each other at the same time. At one point, it got a little too rough and they started taking it seriously. The one who had weaker martial arts skills started to run away after about ten seconds and the stronger one ran after him. I truly ginuinely did not want them seriously hurting each other. Out of instinct, I focused on both of them and did a Kiai in their general direction with the intent of "STOP!!!" on my mind. They did. They stopped in their tracks looking at me kinda strange (from 50 feet away) saying something to the effect of having the feeling of some kind of shockwave go through them.

    Its all about intent.
    There are two definitions for Kiaijutsu:

    Kiaijutsu - the art of harmonizing with the universal force

    Kiaijutsu - shout of intention as a weapon
    This one is for those who own a Bokken/Bokuto or a Shinai:

    Stand with your feet shoulder width (not kendo stance). Raise your shinai up so that it is 30-45 degrees off vertical pointing back (jodan position) and at the same time rise up onto the balls of your feet. Then cut down into gedan and at the same time drop your body so your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor. When you raise, open up your chest. When you cut, make it big and round, like you are throwing your shinai away. Keep your back straight and vertical through the entire exercise.

    As you raise, breathe in so that your breath and your motion all stop at once. As you cut, breathe out and kiai "eh." Don't let all your air out, try to let only enough out to make the sound. Stop the sound, the breath out and the motion all at once.

    The combination of breathing and motion make it easy to make a correct, loud kiai.
  4. kiaiki

    kiaiki Valued Member

    Lots of words and good advice, to which I can only add: why are you asking? If your teacher is good enough to know that you kiai is poor, surely he/she must be the one to correct it. You can't really expect to learn this 'breath harmony' from a book or a chat forum - it takes many years of practice, which may be shorter if you've already learned to use you diaphragm from yoga or playing a wind instrument. If your teacher can't teach this as part of his classes then attend another instead/as well. All Japanese martial arts that I have encountered make use of kiai, some use 'silent' kiai, others are at the other extreme and use it as a shouting 'weapon' to disable or distract an enemy. No good teacher of a Japanese martial art should consider themselves fully trained without the ability to teach this.
  5. shotokanwarrior

    shotokanwarrior I am the One

    If you ask me, you should just forget about trying to make it sound like a conventional kiai and just let out a huge scream. That's what I used to do when I first started.
  6. shotokanwarrior

    shotokanwarrior I am the One

    Another suggestion. You could try to kiai like you're shouting at someone, rather than assisting a strike. When you train in your own time, you could try shouting 'You *******!' when you do a move, then reduce it to a piercing monosyllabic 'YAIII!' (Pick your own syllable there.)
  7. Vanir

    Vanir lost my sidhe

    You know I hate to bring up a point about a highly informative post, but...

    One should be aware that in terms of individual responsibility this approach does not promote a democratic environment. Your politics are up to you, but this practise is not in keeping with honest, democratic ideals.

    Thought, word and deed was the other part of that Togakure training.

    The reason I bring this up is because I've been on the streets a number of times in the past and running around in peoples' actual lives treating them with such disregard, all for your little "training session" is highly offensive, when they may have recently been sexually abused, repeatedly beaten, starved for weeks and treated poorly, outcast of social organizations such as schools, etc. and so forth. Their forced intuition is what, your mighty skill???

    Be a warrior, sure, but try to keep a heart whilst you do or all you'll become is abusive. Give others their democratic space and involve them in your training within defined areas, such as among clubmembers at your dojo, or friends whom have elected to further your training. People you maybe specifically don't like if you have to, but know that you're starting something.

    Kiai growing stronger, Jesus Christ.
  8. shotokanwarrior

    shotokanwarrior I am the One

    That is seriously messed up.
  9. Knight_Errant

    Knight_Errant Banned Banned

    Please, for pity's sake, don't just shout "KIAI". That's not how we do it...
    (Well, technically, 'we' don't it it at all any more...)

Share This Page