You might have heard of people shouting all the time in karate. But why do they do it?
What is it about karate that makes people shout? And does shouting do anything to improve you as a fighter?
What Is A Kiai?
You might have seen people doing karate who seem to be shouting all the time.
If you’ve ever wondered why that is, then good news, as you’re about to learn!
The shout is a common thing that many karate practitioners do. It’s called a “kiai”, and karate practitioners do it for many different reasons.
Of course, despite having the name “kiai”, that’s not the sound that actually gets made.
In fact, karate practitioners have been known to make many different sounds when doing their kiai!
These shouts are said to have many effects on the people doing them.
Firstly, they are claimed to help with breathing efficiency and timing, making breathing and striking happen both at the right time.
They are said to increase confidence and intimidate opponents, as well as increasing the amount of power in your strikes.
Kiai is also said to protect against strikes, increasing your defensive ability.
A kiai is said to tighten your core muscles, stop you from having the wind knocked out of you (because a kiai empties your lungs), and is also said to help increase your ability to resist pain.
In short, a good kiai is claimed to do a lot of things for you!
What Is Kiai For?
As previously stated, a kiai is meant to improve your fighting game in a lot of many different ways.
Let’s have a look at the ways that a kiai is supposed to help karate practitioners to get better at karate!
Firstly, kiai is meant to help you to increase the power of your strikes.
As striking is so important in karate, it’s of course no surprise at all that people who do karate want to increase their hit power!
Likewise, it’s said that a strong kiai can make you a more confident attacker.
It is said to help focus your willpower and mental energy into your strikes, as well as giving you the confidence to fight.
And of course, it’s also said that a powerful kiai can actually intimidate and scare opponents, as well as increasing the strength of your attacking power.
And, finally, a strong and effective kiai is said to make your defense stronger.
It helps to tense your muscles correctly at the time of impact, or so it is said.
People also say that a strong kiai shout can not only stop you feeling winded, but can also help you to ignore the effects of pain.
However, is any of this actually true?
Does It Work?
No, a kiai doesn’t really work. You can’t make yourself stronger by shouting.
If anything, shouting just makes you weaker!
If you watch fights of high level fighters such as boxers and MMA fighters, you’ll see the most skilled comat athletes in the world going at each other.
Above almost anybody else, these people know exactly what works in a fight and what doesn’t.
You’ll pretty much never hear any sound from them except for heavy breathing and a bit of trash talk.
Maybe the occasional involuntary grunt, but that’s it. You’ll pretty much never hear something as ridiculous as a karate kiai.
This is because a karate kiai is an absolutely stupid thing to do in a real right. For a start, far from helping with your breathing, it saps your breath.
Think about it – you can’t talk or shout without using your breath, right?
Breathing is absolutely essential for many things with your body, talking and shouting being examples.
So, as it takes breath to shout, you’re just wasting it on a kiai!
If you’re giving a strong kiai with every strike, you’re just wasting your breath and energy, and making yourself more tired in the long run.
Remember, you’ll never hear a ridiculous karate kiai from a top level boxer, and they’re some of the best striking artists on the planet.
The fact is, a kiai is more likely to make your fight worse than better.
As for the idea that a kiai stops you from having the wind knocked out of you, as you don’t have any breath left in your body.
That’s gotta be some of the most useless fighting advice available.
Either way, you’re still out of breath – which means you’re not going to be doing much fighting!
A kiai won’t scare or terrify anyone either. Honestly, they’ll just think you’re an idiot who believes martial arts movies a little too much.
Shouting might increase your own confidence, sure – but you’ll feel a lot more confident if you actually learn practical things about fighting, and not mumbo-jumbo like magic shouting powers.
Again, if this stuff actually worked, you’d see people do it in fights where it would actually make a difference.
The fact is, if someone’s trying to punch your head off, a powerful kiai is going to do absolutely nothing to help you fight.
Why Do People Do It, Then?
When it comes to martial arts, people are really susceptible to absolute nonsense.
Lots of people want to believe in mystic powers, and the idea that there are some magical shortcuts that don’t involve hard work, physical exercise, sweat, and training.
They’d rather believe that you can make yourself a better fighter by shouting harder than the other person.
Do yourself a favor, and don’t even argue with these people.
You can’t argue against or convince someone who’s ready to believe such obvious nonsense.
They’re way too far gone! Instead, concentrate on learning as much karate as you can, as well as other martial arts.
Get fitter, stronger, and smarter. And leave magical shouting to the utter idiots who believe in it.
Martial arts is full of myths and lies. Don’t fall for them! Concentrate on the stuff that works, especially if there are examples of it working.
And forget about mystical nonsense like kiai making you stronger and tougher!