Thursday, 19 October 2017
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(1) The Meaning and importance of Kiai in Karate-Do

Another link between mental and physical components is defined as focus (kime).  Focus is the art of concentrating all one’s mental energies on a specific target in an instant.  The analogy has been drawn of a person trapped in a blazing room being able to produce on demand the strength to knock down the door, a task normally found quite impossible. Kime involves as a spontaneous concentration of energy , often referred to in the martial arts as “chi” or “ki”, which flows from the pelvic region to the extremities and points of contact to generate maximum speed,

The striking limb is kept relaxed until immediately before impact. On impact, the muscles of the body contract and the student emit a “kiai” which is propelled by the muscles of the lower diaphragm .
Psychologically this assists with a total commitment to the technique and the muscular effort involved adds to the power produced.  It should be noted that the “Kiai” need not produce any sound .  The object is to transmit, via the correct use of stance, breathing, and timing, the muscular power of the whole body down a striking limb moving at maximum speed, to focus on a given object.

In conjunction with the mental concentration, this exertion of energy is instantaneous and is collectively withdrawn in the next instant in preparation for another technique.

A good Kiai, used at climatic moments of combat can freeze an opponent, paralyze him, or even wound him. The Kiai must be a kiai in the true sense of the word.  It is a weapon by itself.  Through practicing, one realizes that the kiai used in dojo was a basic part of an art of which the present day martial artists have just skirted the border.  The yell commonly passed off as a kiai, was a mere shout from the throat.  The true kiai is jetted explosively by the abdominal region in conjunction with the diaphragm , and the positions of the tongue produce the different types of kiai.

Therefore, karate-ka should practice kiai-jutsu, and must throw their spirit with sound.  The kiai must be a focused one like basically used in most martial arts.  In Kendo, Karate, Aikido or Judo, this focus kiai was used during execution of those techniques requiring the total focusing of the body.

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(2) Analysis of Kiai

Ki = “psycho-physical energy” using breath, spirit, body and mind to perform at will to create, heal, or destruct .

Ai = “ union, reunion” . When one or more individuals are confronting a situatioin of conflict, opposition or agreement, they find themselves in harmony .

Ki-Ai = “ the meating together or union of energy”.  The art of perfectly concentrating all of one’s energy, physical and mental, upon a given object, with intense determination, to achieve one’s goal .  It is the shout made at the moment of attack to give added force to the blow .  The KIAI exerts mental and physical forces so rapidly and dynamically it affects anything in its path.  The vibration and power of the Kiai can surprise, paralyze, confuse, scare or delay the opponents’functioning and render him more susceptible to an attack.  It causes your opponent to experience a mental opening or mental block (suki) and at the same time it increases your (psycho) fighting spirit and confidence .

Kiai is also the result of Kime : the rapid contraction and coordination of muscles and joints, beginning with the abdominal muscles, organs, chest and ribs compressing the lungs,

forcing air upward through the throat and mouth, therby creating a focused yell .  The energy of the entire body and spirit is unified and forced out by the generation of great muscular tension ending with an explosive impact of a punch, kick, or strike .

The Kiai enables a person carrying out an explosive movement (kime) to instantly purify his mind of all thoughts, leaving only the pure energy (ki) which causes him to act in a high degree of intensity .  The Kiai is a way of projecting your ki externally by kime .

Ki, Kime, and Kiai are interwined and must occur together to achieve the maximum results.  Without ki, there is no kime; without kime, there is no kiai.  The power to produce the desired effect depends on one’s mastery of certain techniques, especially breathing and the coordination of physical and mental training achieved through many years of practice.

You cannot execute or explain a correct Kiai without knowing how to utilize Kime correctly.
You must always remember this formula :
Ki = Energy of the mind
Kime = Energy of the body
Kiai = Union or reunion of the energies (mind and body) .

The Kiai is much more than a loud yell .  The correct kiai begins intenally and is the result of proper kime (focus).  The kiai is initially created by contracting the abdominal muscles, pushing the internal organs inward, contracting the ribs and chest, thereby compressing the lungs, and forcing air upward through the throat, mouth and nose.  The energy of the entire body and spirit is unified and forced out in one breath creating a loud yell .

Energy of the entire body means the physical power generated by the intense contraction and proper ccordination of the muscles and joints which are developed through rigorous training .

Spirit means the mental concentration required to focus the mind into the body movement at that instant in time to execute the technique with the correct rhythm of breath (different from breathing) .  Kime and Kiai are one and must be done together to obtain maximum results.  You cannot execute or explaine the kiai without knowing how to apply kime correctly .

The Kiai can be used during different times of attacking :

1.    Before the Attack (SHO)
(a)     For psychological reasons to psyche yourself up
(b)    To scare or startle your opponent (this does not always work against experienced fighters)
(c)    To expel excess air ; too much air is not good
(d)    To tighten the abdominal muscles

2.    During the Attack (CHU)
(a)    To increase striking power (kime)
(b)    To prepare yourself to receive a strike
(c)    To help your rhythm, timing, and breath of the attack
(d)    To distract or stun your opponent

3.    After the Attack )GO)
(a)    To release, relax the remaining air
(b)    As a signal of conquest, sign of victory
(c)    To increase the chances of scoring a point in tournament kumite (acting).