There are a few interesting the things about the “Key-eye!”…”Hi-yah!”, “Aiyah!”, “Eeee-yah!”
The word is Japanese and the kanji looks like this:
Seem familiar? That’s because you have definitely seen the characters transposed like this:
That’s the kanji for Aikido.
So as you know, “ki” means energy or mood. “Ai” means join or fit. Kiai sends energy out. Aiki (as in Aikido) takes energy in…
You will find this concept in all martial arts. Basically, it’s a battle cry meant to summon energy, sharpen focus and scare the pants off the victim(s).
The Koreans call it “K’ihap”. In Korean:
Our school includes Japanese and Korean martial arts, so it’s important students understand and appreciate both languages and cultures.
Regardless of its name, the concept can be very powerful. If you think about it, the scariest dogs aren’t necessarily the biggest ones. Instead, they are the ones with the meanest bark.
Likewise, violence can be scary. But the THREAT of violence is even scarier. Learn to project the threat of violence and you will avoid combat.
Street fighters use voice commands (and the threat of violence) to their advantage. Nasty and violent name calling is frequently used to weaken the victim’s will to stand up and fight back. Recognize trash talking for what it is – a tool to “beat up” the victim before taking the next step.
Lastly, all Olympians grunt and groan when they truly exert themselves. It’s a natural thing. And it really does work.
Bottom line is: We want our students to learn how to speak up for themselves. This means asking for help when they need it, telling someone to knock it off, or even doing what it takes (generate massive strength and focus) to fight off an attacker.
I encourage you to play with your kiai. Choose where you want it to start: in your center (just below your bellybutton) or in your throat. See how it affects your disposition and technique. They are completely different tools (weapons.)
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
Sensei James has 35 years experience in the martial arts and has served as an AAU (American Athletics Union) certified martial arts coach and tournament judge. James has a 5th degree black belt in Hapkido and a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo. James owns SuperGeeks, Smart Karate and AnyoneCanFight.com.Publisher: karate kids