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#130256 - 09/26/00 11:26 AM A Little Shout - A Louder Shout
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
Kiai, the Spirit Shout described so eloquently by Christopher Caille in the Fighting Arts.Com Magazine brings to mind two different shouts from the past.

In my early years with my karate program at the Scranton Boys Club several decades ago, we used to give an annual show on the youth karate program on parents night. One karate demonstration is pretty much the same as another, if you've seen one, perhaps you have seen them all. So we were in the Boys Club gym and the parents were sitting on their folding seats watching our performance.

This night, when it came time for the kata demonstration, a young man did his kata complete with a high pitched but quiet 'kiai' during his performance. Well, the parents thought it was cute and a rippling titter passed through the crowd.

At that point, to defend my students efforts, I stood up to explain that he was demonstrating a 'kiai' a spirit shout, to focus his energies during a technique. I also explained that he was a beginner, and we all start somewhere as we progress through life. But, I continued, in time the Kiai can take a more focused form, and I would try and demonstrate that for everyone.

Now the entire time I was consciously speaking with a calm, measured tone to my voice. I then grew calm, took a breath, and let my spirit shout.

Well, all the parents flew back into their seats, three of the chairs overturned and everyone felt my kiai.

When my next student demonstrated their kata, their kiai was louder and the entire audience sat quietly.

Mission accomplished.

While, I can explode with a kiai on occasion, the loudest Kiai I recall took place in York, Pennsylvania about 1975. George Iberl was having a karate tournament and an evening karate show. As tournaments go it was a medium sized event, but he had brought Bill Wallace in for the weekend and a clinic the following day. But it was another person who's kiai brought the house down.

He is Ted Vollrath, one of America's many hero's. Mr. Vollrath lost both his legs in the Korean conflict (which is a polite term for a war when we won't call it that). Later in life he trained in Isshinryu. At the time of this story he was ranked a 6th degree black belt, and he could put on a hell of a demonstration.

I never met him, but for that demonstration, but I've seen his spirit in every Black Belt time after time.
The handicapped are no different from the rest of us. We all have special needs in some area, be it weight, glasses, lack of natural talents. The loss of one's legs or a limb are nothing more than another situation to work and rise beyond.. Karate is one way we can learn to rise beyond, I've seen it happen many times and Mr. Vollrath's story is another case in point.

That Saturday evning,f Mr. Vollrath entered the stage in his wheelchair, with the entire audience seated on folding chairs watching. Then he was attacked, and everyone saw him leap from the chair, grab the attacker by the belt taking them down to the ground, and finishing them off. By itself a superior demonstration of skill, ability and fortitude.

But the demonstration wasn't over there. Upon regaining his chair, he took a microphone and began describing a movie he stared in," Pushers Die Hard" , to the audience.

Finally he requested everyone in the audience to stand, and we all did. He then began to describe a scene in an alley in the movie when the Pushers with their guns began to get him. As he did so his hands gripped the sides of his wheelchair.

"Then they brought their guns up and prepared to shoot me……"

At that moment, Mr. Vollrath, pulled up the sides of the Wheelchair, revealing it was the one used in the movie. Two sawed off shotguns snapped out and blasted off their load of blanks.

The entire audience dropped into their seats with a start.

Believe me that was Kiai, and we certainly heard Mr. Vollrath's spirit shout that night.

Years later I learned that Mr. Vollrath was injured during that demonstration, but we saw no evidence of it at that time.

#130257 - 06/05/01 08:04 PM Re: A Little Shout - A Louder Shout
Nick B Offline

Registered: 06/05/01
Posts: 46
Loc: Ajax , Ontario , Canada
Victor I enjoyed your stories very much , especially the one about Kiai.

#130258 - 03/21/04 08:58 PM Re: A Little Shout - A Louder Shout

Nice story.

I remember seeing a white belt at a Karate grading. When he shouted the examiners glasses fell off his nose, the entire building shook and the glasses on the windows vibrated. It was an interesting experience.

#130259 - 05/26/04 02:53 AM Re: A Little Shout - A Louder Shout
otobeawanker Offline

Registered: 06/08/04
Posts: 192
Aye, breathing is the first thing that goes out the window on adrenellene dump. Knowing this, it is an aspect I have spent much time with. Exhaling on exert is a very sound practice. Also when sparring take short choppy breaths, if you are taking deep breathes your are more likely to be winded by a body shot.

#130260 - 05/27/04 02:39 AM Re: A Little Shout - A Louder Shout
White-Tiger Offline

Registered: 06/09/04
Posts: 280
Loc: Adelaide,australia
Actualy while you are sparing it is best to take deep breaths but let your air out with every kick/punch/block ect, this help your power and prevents you from being winded.

#130261 - 08/03/04 01:08 PM Re: A Little Shout - A Louder Shout

i would agree with deep breaths/exhale with every strike. thats wat works best for me and i dont think u get quite the amount of Oxygen u need when u use short choppy breaths.

#130262 - 08/23/05 04:55 AM Re: A Little Shout - A Louder Shout
Shotokan_Nut Offline

Registered: 08/22/05
Posts: 43
Loc: Liverpool, England
My instructor told me about the Kiai and asked me to show him mine, which i did and was rather impressive for a 12 year old. Then he said "not bad" and then let out a massive Kiai which was mostly base and caused the bar light above us to shatter.
"There Are Many Imitations, But Only One Shotokan" Gichin Funakoshi

#130263 - 08/23/05 11:40 AM Re: A Little Shout - A Louder Shout [Re: Shotokan_Nut]
PierrePressure Offline

Registered: 07/02/05
Posts: 173
Wow. I don't think I've ever even heard of kiai. That's pretty cool.

I remember my very, very first class (not terribly long ago, really). I was having allergy problems, so I was all stuffy and my voice was awful. I was taking my introductory class with some other guy, and my instructor says, "Ok, when you punch, yell "AYAH!" to help you release all that energy in your core and tighten up your muscles. Try it." So the other guy who was also in the introductory class *who was pretty big* lets out this big, bellowing "AYAH!". When it was my turn, I (having little self-confidence anyway) let out this little, faltering "ayah!" with my voice cracking in the middle of it. My instructor kinda looks at me like, "What the heck was that?" and I was like, "It'll get better! I promise!" Thankfully it has. But it's nothing like this kiai shout y'all are talking about.

One question: is the kiai shout a sort of chi energy thing? Or is it simply a shout that you develop as you become stronger and stronger?
"If life gives you lemons, you blow those lemons to bits with your laser cannon!" - Brak

#130264 - 08/23/05 11:46 AM Re: A Little Shout - A Louder Shout [Re: PierrePressure]
JoelM Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 6355
Loc: Georgia, USA
Pierre, what you are doing is a kiai.

Shotokan_nut is full of it.
We should all take ourselves seriously...and then crumple that image up and toss it out the window.

#130265 - 08/23/05 11:50 AM Re: A Little Shout - A Louder Shout [Re: PierrePressure]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
I don't ever 'kiai'. However, at the Scottish Games that I attend, all the other clan reps get a real laugh when my turn comes. Just seems to come from the gut, and you can hear it on the other side of the field..." Seo Buchan! !"

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