Martial arts is a physical discipline that involves a combination of techniques and movements aimed at defending oneself or others. It is widely known that martial artists often shout or yell during training and competitions, a practice that has been a source of curiosity for many people.
This shout, commonly known as a kiai, is not just a random sound, but a deliberate expression of energy, power, and focus. The use of the kiai is an essential part of the martial arts practice and has both practical and psychological benefits.
In many martial arts, such as karate, kendo, and taekwondo, shouting or “kiap” (also known as “kiai” in Japanese) is used to focus the mind and body before executing a technique.
Shouting ensures we breathe out at the proper time. Kiai creates greater consistency with a technique where the yell reduces fear and hesitation, so we strike closer to the maximum power our body can generate.
A fierce yell may startle and intimidate an opponent or attacker. A kiai synchronized with an effective strike will make the strike seem even more powerful and painful.
The kiai, combined with getting into a fighting stance, helps center our mind and body. It connects us to the dojo, the place we practice over and over. By bringing our mental state back to the dojo, we release some of the anxiety that naturally occurs during a real-life conflict or in a tournament sparring match. This psychological return to the dojo transitions the mind to use muscle memory, rather than attempting to overthink the situation. This optimizes success during attacks or in tournaments.
Protects the Body
If we see a strike coming and are not able to defend against it, a kiai will tighten our core muscles and may prevent organs from getting injured. Kiai may prevent getting the wind knocked out of you, since the lungs have been emptied of air. A loud exclamation is a natural response to pain. Further, according to some martial artists, it is a way for the body to get rid of an excessive ki surge.
Using Kiai During Training
At IMAA, we channel our power through kiai while kicking and striking. If you want to learn to increase confidence, generate power, and scare attackers, consider joining us on the mat for lessons.
At Innovative Martial Arts Academy, our Martial Arts training offers men, women, and children the opportunity to challenge their bodies and minds without the threat of injury and intimidation. Take on the best training in disciplines like Aikido, Kenpo Karate, and Kali, and build your skills one day at a time with the help of our dedicated instructors.
We are proud to serve families across Wake Forest, Wakefield and the surrounding area with a rewarding experience that can set you or your child up for success in all aspects of life. If you’re interested in learning about our martial arts program, contact us at 919.562.4663, or visit our website.