Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Power Of Ki-Ai

I've been thinking about how to put this post together for days now. For readers familiar with Dojo Rat, you know we have touched on the esoteric and somewhat occult aspects of the martial arts. I really wanted to introduce this post with a video of the Knife-fight scene between Paul and Feyd in the movie "Dune". If you haven't seen it, I can hardly describe it, except that Paul uses his voice -- a "KI-AI" to literally blow his opponent apart. Very Sci-Fi. Unfortunately, that video has been removed from the net, probably do to copyright issues.
The thing is, there really is something to it. Check out THIS ARTICLE, which talks about Master Mas Oyama in Tokyo. Remember, this is the guy that killed Bulls with his bare hands. (considered an animal rights violation by today's standards). This is a first-hand account of the power of the Ki-ai.
My mentor and senior instructor under Tae Kwon Do master Tae Hong Choi was very good at a deep, powerful Ki-ai. I myself sing a little, and play guitar. I actually trained in a church choir when I was a kid, and I'm pretty barrel-chested. I picked up that deep, from-the-gut Ki-ai and actually used it. I used in tournaments to accent my points. I always used it starting sparring matches, to judge my opponent's reaction. And I have used it twice to back down dogs that were chasing me. The first time, I was in California helping a girlfriend move. I went through a farm district on a light run, and found myself being chased by three dogs. They'll chase anything that runs. I couldn't outrun them, so I turned and let out a huge Ki-ai and stood my ground. The dogs turned and went yelping back to their property. It happened again several years later with two dogs in a suburban neighborhood.
Master Uyeshiba of Aikido was an expert in The Kotodama, or "Sacred sounds". The highlighted link explains some of this. Uyeshiba was said to have used it to disappear and reappear behind his attacker. When asked, he said "you can't use this too many times", refering that it took immense ammounts of energy to perform this feat and drew from prenatal Chi/Ki. I believe The use of sacred sounds goes back into antiquity, perhaps to Ancient Egyptian Hermetic theory. Of course, we know now that EVERYTHING is in a state of vibration. Water, rocks, glass, plants and animals. Everything. Now, If you can shatter a glass with an opera note, just what is happening?
Why not shatter a spirit?
Why not shatter an ego?
Why not shatter an attacker's aggression?


Bob Patterson said...


Four cats and being allergic to dust, pollen, and mold leaves me stuffed.

Original sabum had a great ki-ap. Not only could he let it rip and throw you off your game but he also used it to mock opponents while sparring.

We watched old sparring tapes and also seen him use it at tourneys. He'd change the tone from a serious ki-yap to a mocking "ha ha you can't hit me". With some opponents it would infuriate them into making mistakes.


Dojo Rat said...

I know what you mean, Tae Kwon Do players, especially good tournament fighters "Chatter" quite a lot with sounds. I also learned this from the best guys in our organization, but it is mostly for sport use.

Sa Bum Nim Pieschala said...

DR -
Odd you mention

"My mentor and senior instructor under Tae Kwon Do master Tae Hong Choi was very good at a deep, powerful Ki-ai."

Mas Oyama was very good friends of a TKD Grandmaster here in Chicago. So much so that he made it a point to come visit once a year.

Strange how that early generation all knows one another and how small the martial arts community among masters really is.

Dojo Rat said...

Ji Do Kwan Brotherhood, my friend

Hand2Hand said...

As I said in another post, my first Tang Soo Do instructor, Phil Suffredini had the loudest, most disorienting, most frightening kiap I've ever heard.

Phil was a major aficianado of opera and I found out late in my training with him that he had training as an opera singer.

It explained a lot.

When I was in college, I had several people tell me that they could tell I was in the gym because they could hear my kiap before they even entered the building. I took that as a helluva complement, but all I was doing was a piss-poor imitation of Phil's kiap.