Postby Van Canna » Wed Feb 10, 1999 3:17 am

Interesting and controversial subject , isn't it !

Tomoyose sensei told me once, it's okay to kiai only after the strike …and so it goes !

Personally I do not , and never did kiai in the katas , except for some low level grunts here and there when I get really psyched up ! I did however use it extensively when fighting in the tournaments of the sixties ! I agree with Bill Glasheen that our system relies on surgical strikes , but I am not sure that they were meant to delivered with minimal effort; not judging by the way I have seen the Masters perform kata and break wood [ sokusen] ---i.e., Nakahodo-sensei ; Shinjio-sensei ; Yonamine -sensei etc. ! In a real fight you wear shoes ; your shokens and fingertips , if they surface at all under the chemical dump , may be absorbed by heavy clothing , and even if they connect exposed pressure points , there is never any guarantee they will stop an adrenalized maniac in his tracks ! You will be charged and hit by one or more assailants in spite of your best moves !

But a few observations :

1] < The most terrifying sounds of the world big game hunting are the close snarl of a man -eater and the shrieking trumpet of the charging bull elephant > { Peter Hathaway Capstick } …former big -game hunter and master of adventure writing !

2] < In the same manner the roars of two posturing beasts are exhibited by men in battle . For centuries the war cries of soldiers have made their opponents' blood run cold .Whether it be the battle cry of a Greek phalanx , the "hurrah" of the Russian infantry , the wail of the Scottish bagpipes , or the rebel yell of our own civil war , soldiers have always instinctively sought to daunt the enemy through non violent means prior to launching the physical conflict , while encouraging one another and impressing themselves of their own ferocity ! > { Lt. Grossman -On Killing }

3] < The yellers could not be seen ! Men spoke later of various units on both sides being " yelled " out of their positions > { Battle tactics of the civil war …Paddy Griffith }

4] Watch the movie "ZULU" and observe the chilling " yells" rituals by the warriors directed at the British under siege and witness the paralyzing 'roaring charge' at the outpost !

5] Pantazi-sensei using an effective kiai to rout opponents !

6] Jason -san making the back row jump up disoriented with a breaking kiai !

7] My imposing student John Scott at a dan test in Rhode Island , flooring his opponent[ the legs went out from under him like he had been shot] during sparring with a blood curling yell , without as much as touching him !

8] Human beings are said to naturally have a tendency to freeze and stop breathing when facing deadly threat , because our ancestors were once prey to larger and stronger animals better at detecting movement than shape ! Related to protective stillness , breathing patterns alter during extreme stress ! Fear causes the holding of breath , not breathing out , and that is why in combat your lungs are on fire and your energy goes fast , and you don't last long ! Listen to Tracy-sensei when he says you will quickly collapse if he puts you up against his "redman" drill , even if you fancy yourself lasting a grueling two hour workout under simple conditions !

9] Witness the very successful ' model mugging' training method : you are told to shout " NO " each time you strike with a technique ! They explain that shouting propels you into action , frightens the opponent , slows down his reaction time by as much as a second ! It also enhances your strength by psychological focus and it tightens your chest so you can better absorb the blow !

10] Forget the kiai for a moment but go back to breathing :< drop into a boxing gym instead of a dojo and you will enter a world of pure physical conditioning beyond 95% of all dojos ! Fighters whaling each other with blows that will make you wince! They absorb the most powerful blows and smile at you ! How do the boxers breathe ? Given a multi-million dollar business you would think trainers would have heard of Uechi breathing and studied it for incorporation into the development of a super fighter !

11] I'd like to hear from the fighters ! How about from you David-san ? I know you took up boxing !

How about you Gary Khoury-san ? How do you breathe when you fight those tough tournaments ? what are your observations of the Uechi tournament fighters in Okinawa !

How about champion Roy Bedard ? Roy - san are you out there ?

12] Good point by Scaramouche on the animals ! However , according to lt. Grossman { On Killing} - in the animal world < The fight-or - flight dichotomy is the appropriate set of choices for any creature faced with danger OTHER than that which comes from its own species . When we examine the responses of creatures confronted with aggression from their own species , the set of options expands from fight or flight to include posturing and submission. This is the application of animal kingdom intraspecies response patterns ! When the fight option is utilized it is almost never to the death ! Piranhas and rattlesnakes will bite anything , but among themselves piranhas fight with raps of their tails and rattlesnakes wrestle ; this process being vital to the survival of the species >

Outside their own species , we have a totally different story !

Van Canna
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Van Canna
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Postby JOHN THURSTON » Wed Feb 10, 1999 3:35 am


Of course you are correct. I was just trying to make a point about the P.C. tendency to view the animal kingdom through Bambi colored glasses.

It seems to me that the references to the "Animals" in various systems is both helpful and allegorical and "accurate" only to a limited extent.

I'm sure the "Drunken Monkey" Kung Fu system is quite effective, but the name is not exactly marketing sensitive. It also seems aptly named from the brief film clip I saw on it.

Way back ages ago some Bozo actully put a Tiger and a Lion in a Pit to see who would come out on top.

The Tiger won, the man was a "criminal" by our standards certainly and they had to fight to the death because they were made to do so. Very sad.

Most species, as you said, notably the wolf, do not normally fight to the death even in territorial and dominance disputes.

Lions do, in their own way, apparently by the infanticide method. Within the Pride I suppose it is more rare. Naturally, as you said, the individual will seek to fufill nature's way by insuring the survival of his "seed" and death fights within the pride among adults would be "fratricidal".

I was quite shocked to read a common cause of death (after poachers) of male Gorillas was, murder by other Male Gorillas.

I still hope someone tells me I read it wrong.

Quite a divergence from the discussion on Kiai huh?

Well, I guess the point is not to take the animal sources of the system too literally.


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Postby moulton » Wed Feb 10, 1999 7:38 am

Hello Anthony. Better put a little more ooomph into your kiai to show your strong spirit. -- Allen

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Postby David Elkins » Wed Feb 10, 1999 9:04 pm

Hello all, sorry to have dropped in so late in this great discussion. Shows what absenteeism will do. Please tolerate a few tardy random comments.
1. It took a long time to get around to the "spirit convergence" or "shout" perspective. I would submit that perhaps the founders of the art (certainly not an original thought) perceived the "spirit" as "shouting" with the eyes - the portal to the soul. I haven't been in a thousand dust-ups, but I've not been in a few as a result of eye contact.
2. An interesting quote from Augustine Fong, Wing Chun Sifu, "The tiger makes a lot of noise - the hand grenade just sits there."
3. I get a big kick out of watching my two dogs play combat. Maple, a hound, is very vocal and Barney, a pit bull is very quite as he dives over, under, around, and through her defenses to gently nip her achilles tendon and throat. George Sensei, been there, done that, and feel the same!
4. Glasheen Sensei, I resonate to your comments about the manipulation of heavy weights and breathing. I'm teaching my wife to do a hang clean. She is very concerned with the minute details of form and consequently ended up doing a modified upright row which predictably bombed out as sufficient weight was placed on the bar. My approach to teaching the unity of the movement was to place as much weight as I thought she could safely manage on the bar and ask that she trust me and lift it. In two reps she had the movement down cold, eg, "just do it" and it will happen naturally. Perhaps that line of reasoning also figures into the original question of Sensei Canna. The Fathers did not encumber our art with much excess baggage either in the way of "flowers" (gung-fu meaning superfluous movement) or injunction.
I've heard that Chou Sifu and Uechi Sensei enjoyed testing their skills. Had we been there (Oh, for just ten minutes!) any bets that the roar we heard would not have been of silence?

Good training,
David Elkins
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