Kiai is an attack on the sensory system of the enemy. The lightning hands of Kempo are decidedly aggressive, an unrelenting assault.
Power of kiai and the hand speed of Kempo
Utilized together, this concert is a powerful weapon. Kiai can be used prior to or upon contact. When used prior to forceful contact, it acts as a sensory battering ram, weakening the mental defenses of the enemy. When it is used upon contact, the exhalation of breath lends strength (and force) to the instrument of attack — usually the fist.
The combined power, of the kiai and flurry of strikes, is used to overpower the enemy. Unrelenting assault on the defenses of an enemy is a typical Kempo tactic. Many of the waza taught in class demonstrate this tactic. For example, “Seven Hands” has an excessive amount of strikes. It has two sets of three open-hand strikes (Shuto, Reverse Shuto and Palm) followed by a Spear Hand. In most situations, two or three strikes are enough to disable or discourage the enemy.
An unrelenting assault
One can use a variety of targeting tactics. First, you can use the Galloping Horse, which advocates striking the exact same area repeatedly. Secondly, you can assault each new tactical-opening, as they become available. When you use this tactic, each assault must create or lead to an opening in the defenses. Finally, you can attack the defenses — starting with the hands — and work your way to the vitals.
This is a violent and deadly art. You keep playing the aggressor until you’ve won. An incapacitated enemy is the only sign of victory.