An example I give to new students wrt (with respect to) breathing and kiais and getting a little extra 'uumph' out of their techniques is one of pushing a heavy car, one that's hard to budge, up a slight incline.
Hands are pushing hard on the trunk and you make a one big instantaneous power-push, in a movement remotely akin to a Wauke thrust, to get that car moving. When you exercise the push you globally (other muscles too) tighten your midsection muscles and make one big grunt to get ALL your strength out your arms and onto the trunk of the car. And after you have been pushing for a while and you are rapidly getting tired and exhausted, that grunt and shove movement becomes more and more important as you feel you are mustering the last of your strength and putting it into it (the shove).
I have more questions than answers about some of my pugilistic adventures sometimes, so I'll throw this one out in hopes that maybe someone knowledgeable in these matters can shed some light on the following, which may contain some of the values of a kiai.
Using a kiai can also protect the inner organs by tightening the midsection to prevent a strike from reaching the inner organs as I will mention next.
On the fighting side, I remember a 'hot and heavy' sparring match with a young American 'Master', whom I swear to this day was going after my internal organs. He hit me pretty good once in the lower ribs with what felt like a piercing, penetrating punch (felt like a shoken) causing me to involuntarily (automatically) let out a kiai -- A little yelp, actually. I remember 'yelping', exhaling and tightening up at the instant of the hit. Was this the body's automatic defense response to defend itself in an attempt to prevent injury?
Also, both of us immediately stopped for an instant giving each other stupid looks as if to say "What the...?" In retrospect I then saw the value of the kiai, if done purposely, as a tool to briefly and effectively distract an opponent.
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[This message has been edited by moulton (edited 02-06-99).]