The Power of Kiai

In this excerpt from the intriguing documentary Mind, Body and Kick-Ass Moves, a Japanese martial arts expert uses the power of his kiai to ring a heavy temple bell.

According to Master Sasaki:

The body is approximately 70% water. An expression of kiai causes ripples in this water, which stills the opponent’s energy. It’s an instantaneous release of great power.

The Chinese concept of Qi is ambiguous. Kiai as used by the Japanese is an actual force; it’s more concrete.

Another self-identified kiai master entered a challenge match against an MMA fighter.  Here are the results:

MMA vs. Kiai-jutsu

70 comments on “The Power of Kiai”

  1. Thank you for sharing this video Chris. It is an incredible demonstration of kiai. I am still a beginner in hara training and Zazen, and I find this example to be very powerful.
    ~Becky

  2. It is an incredible demonstration that some people will believe anything. You can’t cause ripples in the body’s water; it’s not like the body is a vessel containing a body of water. The water in the body is a part of every cell.

    This guy’s main power is the power of “Uke Magic.” In other words, he has somehow convinced his students that this stuff works, so they act like that guy with the sword. Ridiculous.

  3. While I respect the comments of the poster above me, he made the bells go DOINGGggg!!!.

  4. I’d like to add, that skeptics often use “uke magic”, altering people’s responses by making them disbelieve. That is also ridiculous, but they like to do it.

  5. I think that the bell is placed upon a pillow and thus the vibration is not transmited to the bell.

    I have also been in front of a tibetan bell, much like that one and yoou cannot make it vibrate in the same way.

  6. what the bell is sitting on could not possibly be a pillow as that would not allow it to ring at all (even when struck with the hammer). i think it’s very likely that vibration from the foot stamping is being transmitted into it.

    notice the demonstration is not given using a suspended bell.

    also notice the “make your opponent collapse” demonstration is never given with an opponent who is not an associate of the “master.” when it is, it’s likely to come out more like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEDaCIDvj6I

    that said, it is perfectly possible to cause undamped rigid bodies to vibrate using your voice if you match their resonant frequency. you can try this with a piano–strike a key in your vocal range to hear the pitch, push the sustain pedal, and sing that note back into the piano. the piano strings will vibrate sympathetically and “sing” back to you. you can even get the piano to “sing” different vowel shapes, because the strength of vibrations in the harmonic series of strings will mimic that in the timbre of your voice. try it! so if this guy were singing, i’d believe him. but i think the audio spectrum of his shouting is probably too diffuse to cause the bell to resonate on its own.

  7. the bell is resting on a pillow; it’s identical to the tibetan singing bowls. The whole bell doesn’t vibrate equally, but has nodal areas, just like a xylophone bar.

    he might well make the bowl sing with his kiai, but the guy passing out was under “dojo mind control”.

  8. It’s total bs. Just look at the top video on youtube.com when you do a search for “Kiai”.

  9. He says Chinese Chi isnt real ..
    Go take a look at “Shaolin Kung Fu” if you dont believe its real .

    The real fake thing here is Kiai

    Chi is the real energy from within .

    [edited for civility]

  10. there’s never been a documented case of the supernatural. in every case where skeptics have been allowed to collect and examine data, it’s been found that no natural laws of physics or biology have been violated. there are individuals out there capable of extraordinary feats of strength and concentration, and probably the mental visualization of the chi concept helps to attain them, but magic is an illusion of magicians. in many of these cults, elaborate systems of tradition and veneration coerce followers into believing in (and being complicit in) irrational and readily-discounted explanations for athletic skill with the occasional flashy trick.

  11. Nobody thinks he just stamps the floor to make the bell ring……

  12. This is most certainly either an example of an irrational cognitive response in his student, whereby he believes that his master can actually do that and therefore falls, or it’s complete fraud altogether.

    There has never been a legitimate case of exhibited supernatural martial arts, as tested and qualified to be authentic. This is not due to people having closed minds; it’s not due to science being unable to discern the power; it’s not due to ancient secrets only imparted to a select, prepared few who have trained to use it. Rather, it’s because no Master will ever allow a legitimate source to set up a controlled experiment, lest they be proven frauds.

    Why did Master Sasaki have a BBC correspondent film him doing this, in his own dojo? Why not invite a team of scientists and shout at the bowl in a controlled location? Assumedly his power would not be rendered ineffective to do it elsewhere, right?

    The answer is that in fact it would be. Because it’s not an internal energy at all — not insofar as it’s mystical explanations would indicate. It’s an elaborate system of untruths ranging from the innocently ignorant to the consciously deceitful, used in place of physical operations and functions like leverage, velocity, inertia and strength.

  13. How much time have you invested in a search for legitimate controlled experiments?

  14. You skeptics obviously do not understand internal martial arts and it’s power. I know from personal experience that what that master sasaki did is of reality, internal power comes in a variety of forms; whether it be called kiai, or chi, or qi. It’s all within the practicioner, and we all have access to it.

  15. When was the last time you rung a bell by stamping?

    Also. I’d like it add that actually in Korea, it’s a Kiup that we do. And when you administer one properly and you are good enough, You really can scare someone.

  16. @CobRa

    There’s no way you can debilitate an unwilling opponent by yelling at them at range. If you believe you possess similar powers then you’re a stooge to the stupidocracy. Go do a real martial art. Punching and kicking air doesn’t count either – pick something with physical contact, like judo.

  17. lol r u bullshitting me? i mean ive heard many yells in my life but i never got knocked out from one, so ya lets all just yell at people instead of using bullets…..

  18. A few things about sound, here is MythBusters breaking a glass
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7765557442856739526
    Also MythBusters tested how music affects plant growth and plants that were played Heavy Metal Music grew the best!

    Im not saying you run off to Japan and join this guy but there is some truth to this and to dismis it completely is as bad as believeing it without question

  19. Ok i beleive in chi since there is a hand test you do that helps you feel it and i understand that if you breath in then yell with all your force you can scare or shock someone if they don’t expect it but this is rubbish i have seen so many people do one hit knock outs without touching people its gotten insane they only use it on their students not on a crazed mental attacker try it on the street and then if it works then i will belive it.

  20. Master Sasaki may belive that he could do this thing, but he got to prove in classical ways, trying in presence of cientists, in a lab!
    Because , other way this is just a believe. We need to prove such thing as ki projection………!!!!!!!!!
    Hug for all!

    Walker

  21. I can ring a bell with my voice from several feet, but have never studied this art.

  22. I prefer f”’k, it always relaxes body effectively and not only body but mind.

  23. LOL! That MMA vs OldMan Kiai has got to be the saddest yet funniest thing youre gonna see in martial arts.
    I’ve always seen or heard (from movies or cartoons) about people breaking glass with a high pitched voice, if that’s really true (can’t believe it) and i see it with my own eyes, i’ll believe the whole kiai business. I don’t think it should be written off cause of a couple fake-goofy-old-kiai “masters”.

  24. Umm so a metal bell is also made of mostly water? god damn ppl can convince them selves these days….

  25. This whole thing is to profile the gullibility and sheer ignorance of the english speaking world.

  26. Dude is delusional and needs medical attention if he believes he has magic powers. More sad than funny really.
    Too bad these type of people have followers…maybe they all deserve each other.

  27. If anyone has done any kind of qigong with an instructor then you know that your master transmits chi with every session ( usually), your body becomes used to his energy and whenever you are around him you can feel him. The same happens with the average no touch knockout master. He can only do it on his students because they are insynch with his chi.

  28. Ahhhh another Bullshitto master. I wish Japan still had that tradition of challengers going around to different Dojos and challenging the masters of each dojo. If the challengers win, they get the dojo’s deed, and can do whatever they want with the dojo. Man if that was still around, I’d go around fighting all these old Bullshitto masters and getting all their deeds, then selling them. That would be easy money.

    Even if this BS was real, why bother learning it when a strong punch, or kick or choke hold can result in the same effect, and works on anyone, not just on the people who believe in this nonsense.

  29. Are you kidding me? This is absurd.

    First off, this guy stomps on the floor as he rings the bell. If the camera shakes, what makes you think its the “ki” that makes the bell ring? Its quite plausible that the bell is on a table/structure that causes movement to be amplified. Energy from a foot stomp travels through the floor you know.

    Kiai doesn’t “cause ripples in the water”, muscle contractions cause motion throughout the body. This guy with the sword is an obvious actor.

    People need to stop looking for the mystery in things and start looking at reality. This business of “ki” is a mindset only. It was developed 1000’s of years ago by primitive minds and has no place in the life of modern, educated martial artists.

    I wonder how powerful Santa Claus’ kiai would be?

  30. Haxo 24, what does that even mean? Enlightenment is a religious characteristic, no? What does religion or faith have to do with overcoming the laws of physics? You’re saying certain people can transcend this world in order to emit an evergy the rest of us cannot find? Wow.

    Enlightenment is often used to refer to educated people as well. Certainly educated folk are not going to submit to the idea of “chi” (or “ki”) as a plausible concept.

  31. Maybe his foot is the one making him read the bell, but that still wouldn’t explain how he did it fromt hat far away possibly you wouldn’t believe somebody could stomp a floor and make a bell ring when he was like what ten feet away? Also there is a visible view of the stand holding the bell and does not have anything that would set it off from below. If anyone could come up with a logical explaination as to how he did this without the power of the kiai please email at [email protected] please keep it intelligent. Thanks.

  32. Chris,
    Any number of “smoke and mirrors” techniques could cause this. Of course there is no visible device that would make it ring, then there’d be no mystery and no one would care about the video. A slightly loose board running across the room which raises by 1/4 of an inch could cause the bell to ring.

    The point is, people believe what they want to believe, and refuse to see any rational explanation. Why do some martial artists choose to see the video above and say “wow, that’s amazing, he can do all that with just a kiai!”, but watch the second video and thing “oh, they’re just trying to discredit him”.

    Wrong.

    The second video unearths the BS. It needs to be seen with a rational mind, not one dead-set on being able to achieve something with “kiai” others cannot.

  33. Kinetic waves can be propagated through the body in a manner akin to water, this is the whole concept behind hydrostatic shock.

    The foot stomping may contribute to the bells ringing, however there can be a impact from a sound, otherwise sonic booms, which are essentially loud noises, would not break windows.

    I think skeptics are faking it, they have some hidden device in their brain making them seem skeptic when we all know it is bullshit and only dumb gullible people believe skeptics.

  34. Sonic booms work by causing windows to resonate beyond their limits. Opera singers have been said to be able to do this due to pitch, not amplitude. You can turn an array of 200 concert speakers on max and they won’t shatter windows.

    A kiai cannot be compared to a sonic boom since its amplitude and frequency are vastly different. I have no problem agreeing that sounds can break things. Absolutely. But kiai-evangelists are “certain” that the energy of a kiai comes from chi/ki which is what breaks it. That’s where the argument breaks down. I hope we can all just educate them a little.

    And your last statement just doesn’t make sense to me. Skeptics are faking it? Right, because we all have to believe the same thing.

  35. Good points.
    I don’t see the power of controlled shouts as a sign of qi/ki/chi.
    I do see sound as destructive in forced blasts.

    I think some skeptics are silly and am just parodying their argument with the last comment above. I am half skeptical and half open minded myself.

  36. Philip, Sasaki clearly explained his position: his ki is not chi, and his attack uses sound waves. Whether those waves are themselves ultimately generated from ki or chi is a matter of semantics.

  37. what a load of shit man kiai and most martial arts are shit jiu jitsu muay thai wrestling mma is what wins real fights all these fucks would be destroyed absolutley fake all of u who beleive this shit are retarded adn would get beat up…pussy

  38. This is the dumbest shit I’ve ever seen!!lol If you believe this then your either brain dead or your involved in this joke of a marital art. It’s complete bull. And dont give me shit that they cant do it on people other then their students because their test subjects have to be used to their masters energy. This is a crock and if you believe it ur an idiot. I could kick the shit out of the greatest master of this martial art.

  39. Why do any of us have to prove him right or wrong. This is “infotainment”. I’m sure you would not be able to learn it for free. So if it’s real or not… doesn’t matter if you aren’t shelling any bucks out.

  40. hi!
    I want a address of master Sasaki’s school.
    Can you help me?
    thanks.

  41. I pity all of you. You have become so separated from the old ways you cannot begin to understand the real truth in things. You “skeptics”, as you like to be called, are convinced that the others are all blinded, believing in lies; you are the ones who are truly blinded, most pathetically by yourselves. To put it simply, you cannot see what is truly there because you do not want to. And as for those of you who think that things such as mma or that brazilian stuff is any more than a peasant’s poor excuse for a fighting art….well, you have obviously not seen any real martial arts.

  42. Santa, I’m so glad you’re here! I need to warn you! Some pompous ass has been impersonating you on the Internet!

  43. For the record, I think MMA and BJJ are crap for the street…but better than this. I’ve seen dinosaurs on TV before and people actually believe the bell can be rang any other way than his magic Dragon Ball powers? A student with a BB gun maybe? A remote controlled hammer in the bell? Or maybe it was just added after the filming, just like the ripple effect. Even if it was real, learning how to punch someone properly is cheaper, quicker to learn, and lot more effective.

  44. You poor deluded skeptics. Everyone with knowledge of the power of the inner secrets know that the reason no test of the supernatural has ever had definitive positive results is that the minds of skeptics generate a powerful “psychic nullification” field that dampens the manifestations of ghosts, the stunning effects of kiai and the smooth funtioning of perpetual motion machines. Poor, poor skeptics with their “reason” and “scientific method” and “being right”.

  45. This is absolute bull. I dont know what is crazier, that people believe this demonstration is real, or that piratebouy and all the people that have inner knowledge of the supernatural believe skeptics create a “psychic nullification field” . That must be the reason there is no evidence( are you serious dumb ass??)…… As for the bell, there are numerouse ways that could be faked. I do beleive sound from yelling could cause this, sound is a vibration and causes other things to vibrate, but its not the case here. Look at the delay in the last yell/stomp. there is like 1-2 seconds before the bell rings . Sound travels at approximately 760 mph. There would be no delay like that from 25 feet away.

  46. Sometimes internet posts meant to be read as “wry sarcasm” can generate a “humour nulification field”. This can then cause people who agree with each other to argue.
    Alas, this seems to have been the case here. Post wsa meant to be satirical, and obviously failed.
    My bad 🙂

  47. The power of kiai for me means I have the element of surprise. By yelling in my attackers face I create a pause long enough to strike first. It un-nerves my attacker and makes me stronger as any tennis player can attest. Three benefits on one–that is the power of kiai. Never underestimate it.

  48. I think the mma practitioner is so trained physically that he can ignore the pain that kiai creates in his body.
    just like he can ignore the pain from a blow or a kick
    I think if an ordinary person, such as a robber attacking, he can beat him down with only his voice.
    the real question is why do so many masters train these things like kiai, ki, chi, qi through their whole lives if it was a hoax.

    you can test yourself to experience chi, by doing a chi ball.
    search on google create a chi ball, psi ball, and give it a try.
    after a good number of honest attempts you can determine if it is false or possible.
    here are a good link for getting started with chi balls

    try to feel what it feels like, and search around the web what other people feel when they make a chi ball.
    and if chi is a hoax so what

    Finally, I would like to say, who cares if chi is a real energy or not.
    what I know is that people who exercise chi, can break many more bricks than they might normally.
    then if it is just because they think they have chi or if it is a real force matters not. what does matter is that it works
    that’s just what I think 🙂

  49. Mike 123, very well put. No one can deny that whether the technique is real, it does still yield results. Also, I believe that sceptics, or all people really, need to prove something themselves before making assumptions.

  50. Psychically, students are conditioned like hypnosis to respond to the Kiai master, or even people who are suggestive or fearful may also give in to it, but I doubt any Kiai effect on a confident, courageous, powerful man willing to face any opposition.

  51. interesting that in the youtube video that the blow on the ironshirt master was just over half the force of the one on the dummy (which voiceover indicated was just shy of the 800 pond of force most profesional combat sportsmen can withstand due to conditioning). What the show did NOT mention (though it is visible) is that the blow on the iron shirt practitioner is delivered MUCH closer to the handle, meaning the same force, but very different impact (impact moment if I recall my highschool physics correctly). Also a nice bit of ham acting/uki magic from the assistant as the bat “rebounds” of the master. Don’t get me wrong, the practitioner is impressively conditioned and could kick my arse without breaking a sweat, but due to good old fitness and skill, not mystical ju-ju.

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