The Kiai – Part II

The kiai is much more than a loud yell.  The correct kiai begins internally 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, there by 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 coordination 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 beathing).  Kime and kiai are one and must be done together to obtain maximum results.  You cannot execute or explain the kiai without knowing how to apply kime correctly.

The kiai can be used during different times of attacking:

Before the Attack (Sho)

  1. For psychological reasons to psyche yourself up
  2. To scare or startle your opponent (this does not always work against experienced fighters)
  3. To expel excess air;  too much air is not good
  4. To tighten the abdominal muscles

During the Attack (Chu)

  1. To increase striking power (kime)
  2. To prepare yourself to receive a strike
  3. To help your rhythm, timing, and breath of the attack
  4. To distract or stun your opponent

After the Attack (Go)

  1. To release, relax the remaining air
  2. As a signal of conquest, sign of victory
  3. To increase the chances of scoring a point in tournament kumite (acting)