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 sources two sources were Karate-Do Kyohan, by Master Gichin Funakoshi, and the Best Karate series by Master Masatoshi Nakayama. Since these two kata showed a difference of opinion when it came to their kiai points, it got me thinking. So I decided to go one step further.

Below is a comparison of kiai points, using all fifteen kata in Karate-Do Kyohan as my baseline. The first English printing of Karate-Do Kyohan was in 1973, while the Best Karate books I used were printed in 1979, 1981, and 1985. Like many practitioners I have at one time or another used all of these books as reference material.

But, there is an issue. Many of the katas in Master Nakayama's books only show one in a kata where there should be two. I suspect that this was most likely an oversight in the printing process. This is very unfortunate, since on one hand it may give some students the impression that Master Nakayama made these adjustments intentionally, and lead them to practice these 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 zuki.

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 zuki, the second on the last move, hidari zuki age.  

NS -  first kiai is on the chudan oi zuki, the second on the last move, hidari zuki 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 zuki, the second just before you jump.

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

6. Bassai Dai: (disagreement)

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

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 zuki, the second on the right morote zuki.

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

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 zuki.

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

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, shuto uke.

14. Gankaku: (disagreement)

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

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

15. Jion: (agreement)

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

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

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 a kiais in both Empi, and Kanku Dai. In the end none of this matters. Today where each of us places our kiai depends on only one thing, the Master we choose to follow.

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