Kiai and Kihap for Kids and Teens (and adults?)
Last week I asked one of my classes, “Which is worse: a wimpy kiai, or no kiai at all?”
Instructors, you know what I am talking about. Kids, you probably know, too. Every class has some students who are too shy or self-conscious to make a loud noise. When called upon to kiai, they let out a thin little squeak that sounds more like a sigh of surrender than the spirited shout of a warrior. And as a teacher, it sometimes makes me want to sigh in surrender. I’ve done everything I can think of to get a shout out of these kids (and sometimes, adults), and there it is again: the incredibly wimpy kiai.
So I tossed out the question, and there were good arguments on both sides. Context matters, of course. In class that day we were practicing kata, but there are other times where kiai might be used, and the question could have a different meaning.
What do you say, readers? Is a wimpy noise better or worse than no noise? Why?
And what can we do to help students who are too shy to shout? Do you have a tip or foolproof technique?