Articles

Kiai placement a matter of opinion.

A comparison of two Masters.

In a recent article I compared the kiai points found in two particular katas, Bassai Dai, and Jitte. My two sources were Karate-Do Kyohan, by Master Gichin Funakoshi, and the Best Karate series by Master Masatoshi Nakayama. Since these two sources had a difference of opinion when it came to the kiai points in these two kata it got me thinking. So I decided to go one step further.

Below is a comparison of the kiai points illustrated in fifteen kata, using Karate-Do Kyohan as my baseline. The first English printing of Karate-Do Kyohan was in 1973, while the Best Karate series of books were printed in 1979, 1981, and 1985. 

Right away there was an issue. Some of the katas in Master Nakayama's books only illustrated one kiai point in some kata, where there should have been two. I suspect that this might have been an oversight in the printing process. This is very unfortunate, since it may give some students the wrong impression, and lead them to practice some katas incorrectly.

Here are the results, KK = Karate-Do Kyohan / NS = Nakayama series.

1. Heian Shodan: (kiai missing)

KK - first kiai is on the third jodan age uke, the second on the third chudan oi tsuki.

NS - show only one kiai on the third jodan age uke. 

2. Heian Nidan: (kiai missing)

KK - first kiai is on the chudan nukite, the second on the last move, jodan age uke.

NS - shows only one kiai on the chudan nukite.

3. Heian Sandan: (agreement)       

KK - first kiai is on the chudan oi tsuki, the second on the last move, hidari tsuki age.  

NS -  first kiai is on the chudan oi tsuki, the second on the last move, hidari tsuki age. 

4. Heian Yondan: (kiai missing)

KK - first kiai is on the migi chudan uraken, the second on the hiza geri.

NS - shows only one kiai on the hiza geri.

5. Heian Godan: (kiai missing)

KK - first kiai is on the chudan oi tsuki, the second as you start to jump.

NS - shows only one kiai on the chudan oi tsuki. 

6. Bassai Dai: (disagreement)

KK - first kiai is on the gedan kekomi, the second on the third yama tsuki.

NS - first kiai is on the gedan kekomi, the second on the last move, shuto uke.

7. Kanku Dai: (disagreement)

KK - first kiai is on the nukite, the second just before you begin to jump.

NS - first kiai is on the nukite, the second while in the air.

8. Tekki Shodan: (agreement)

KK - first kiai is on the left morote uke, the second on the right morote uke.

NS - first kiai is on the left morote uke, the second on the right morote uke.

9. Tekki Nidan: (agreement)

KK - first kiai is on the right jodan uraken, the second on the left jodan uraken.

NS - first kiai is on the right jodan uraken, the second on the left jodan uraken.

10. Tekki Sandan: (agreement)

KK - first kiai is on the left jodan uraken, the second on the right jodan uraken.

NS - first kiai is on the left jodan uraken, the second on the right jodan uraken.

11. Hangetsu: (agreement)

KK - first kiai is on the first open hand chudan uchi uke, the second on the gedan tsuki.

NS - first kiai is on the first open hand chudan uchi uke, the second on the gedan tsuki.

12. Jitte: (disagreement)

KK - first kiai is on the third chudan yoko uchi, the second on the third jodan age uke.

NS - first kiai is on the third chudan yoko uchi, the second on last move, jodan age uke.

13. Empi: (disagreement)

KK - first kiai is on the chudan uke, the second takes place as you begin to jump.

NS - first kiai is on the chudan uke, the second as you land the jump.

14. Gankaku: (disagreement)

KK - first kiai is on the gedan kosa uke, the second on the last chudan oi tsuki.

NS - first kiai ids on the chudan oi zuki, the second on the last move, chudan oi tsuki.

15. Jion: (agreement)

KK - first kiai is on the chudan oi tsuki, the second on the last move, sokumen chudan tsuki.

NS - first kiai is on the chudan oi tsuki, the second on the last move, sokumen chudan tsuki.

So there you have it.

Ignoring the printing oversight the biggest differences were found in, Bassai Dai, Jitte, and Gankaku. While minor differences were found in the timing of the kiais in both Empi, and Kanku Dai.

In the end none of this truly matters.

Today where each of us places a kiai in a kata depends on only one thing, the Master we choose to follow.

Remember: "There is no right way. All ways matter."