The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Monday, July 16, 2012

The Real Meaning of Kiai

Over at the Martial Art Terminology blog, Charles James Sensei wrote an excellent article on the meaning of Kiai. Below is an excerpt. The full article may be read here.

Let me being my feelings on this term/character/ideograms, kiai is not a battle cry or spirit shout in the sense westerners feel it is a loud expression of spirit and effort where effort is the louder the shout the greater your effort and supposedly spirit level. There is so much more than this when defining and understanding kiai and its energy source called, "Ki."

Ki is a cosmic energy; the animator of life. The Japanese/Chinese proved more than 2,000 years earlier, in such practices as acupuncture and a variety of health and martial arts, that some kind of special energy ran through the body.  They call this special cosmic energy ki (kee), which is translated variously as "energy," "spirit," "mind," and "cosmic breath."

A "kiai" can be a slogan, a word, or a nonsensical sound. The nonsensical sound is often used within the practice of karate kata or form. The concept of "ki" and some of its more astounding uses are on their way to being accepted universally.

The two characters/ideograms mean, "scream; yell; fighting spirit," and the first character means, "spirit; mind; air; atmosphere; mood," while the second character means, "fit; suit; join." The spirit yell as to my feelings and perception incorporates a lot more than the yell which is usually manifested as a short curt sound unique to one's system of practice.

But, there is more .... 

11 comments:

Tao1776 said...

Rick...what do you think about Dillman's claim that he can knock you out with Ki... sounds more like Falon Gong or something leftover from the boxer rebellion. I just can't buy it. I've seen it all in the old Pentecostal churches....suggestion - willingness - without touching me? Please....

Rick said...

I don't think that I would count on that as Plan A.

Just sayin'

I DID see Kushida do something a lot more ordinary, explainable and still wonderful. At a demonstration he was doing free style with six opponents. With that many, even at his level he was working hard.

One student with a wooden sword had a clear shot at him from the rear and was charging in,when Kushida turned to face him and gave him the look of death. The attacker's feet ran out from under him and down he went.

I knew him so after I asked him what happened. He said he thought Kushi was going to kill him and he was trying very hard not to get any closer.

Paul said...

So this is your (suggested) plan B?

Rick said...

Maybe Plan Q.

Paul said...

I just wonder how many students of martial art would like to be conditioned into a stage whereby he, armed, will be physically paralyzed by a scary look of an unarmed guy....

Rick said...

You mean Kushida Sensei? He had a very strong presence.

Paul said...

Shouldn't he train his students NOT to get paralyzed in face of ANYONE having a strong presence? I mean, the Sensei seemed to be doing just the opposite, and I can't figure out the rationale behind, though I'm sure he must have his own good reason...

Rick said...

Paul, he didn't train his students to fall down when he looked at him. That's just ridiculous.

Charles James said...

Forget the kiai, those teeth totally got me to run like the dickens, yikes!

Paul said...

Ridiculous things do happen, sometimes...:):)

fitnessat50 said...

My instructor at the Rec & Ed club of Yoshokai Aikido is a very nice guy and an excellent teacher. But when we happen to be partners at the main dojo, I cannot look him in the eye. Something about his expression in kamae is very unnerving. I expect he learned that from Kushida-sensei.