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Kiai (気合?) (English pronunciation: /ˈkiː.aɪ/) is a Japanese term used in martial arts. There are numerous examples of the battle cry in other cultures: kiai is perhaps primarily a development of this. In the representation of Asian martial arts in cinema and in animated cartoons, Modern Kiai are often written by westerners in Romaji as Hi-yah!, Aiyah!, Eeee-yah!, or Hyah!.Traditional Japanese Dojo generally use single syllables beginning with a vowel. In the board game Go the term describes fighting spirit — see go terms for this use.


Use in martial arts

In martial arts, the term commonly refers to a short exhalation (not as yell) before or during a strike or technique. Korean martial arts may call this sound a Yatz or Kihap (기합). In bujutsu (Japanese arts of war), it is usually linked to an inner gathering of energy released in a single explosive focus of will. Students of Japanese martial arts such as aikido, karate, Kobudo, kendo or judo (or related arts such as taiko drumming) do not 'use', but rather allow, ones Ki to emanate from their Tanden (Hara) while executing a technique. It also erroneously refers to the shout that accompanies some techniques when performing kata. Kiaijutsu is at times thought to be the Japanese art of using kiai when performing martial arts. More accuratly Kiai and Aiki co-exist in all Japanese Martial Arts

The proper use of kiaijutsu involves concentrating on the use of one's ki more than it does shouting. A sound is just an audible indication of good kiai (aligned body structure, focused intent, and good breathing). Kiai can be a silent;[1] coordination of breath with activity. A relaxed and powerful exhalation can add power to movement. This may be more accurately referred to as kokyu power. Kokyu and kiai are sometimes used interchangeably. The term kokyu, most often translated as breath power in English, is essentially the same as Chinese nei jin. It is the ability to coordinate breathing with the execution of a jin movement which is important.

The noise from a kiai is said to arise from the hara or dantien-Chinese: it involves the abdominal muscles and diaphragm and should not be sounded merely from the throat.[2]

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