Mental aspects of patterns
Students tend to overlook the mental aspects of patterns during their training, but they are just as, if not than more than, important. One of the obviously mental aspects of pattern performance is the kiai/kiyup. The kiai is not just a yell to be performed at specific points in a pattern, it is the convergence of all your energy and thought at a single instant of maximum power. When the pattern is performed correctly, you feel so good that you cannot help but make a noise. An explosion will make a loud noise, but a loud noise is not an explosion, likewise, the kiai is a shout, but a mere shout is not a kiai. When you perfect a technique to the point that you know an opponent would be powerless against it and you execute the technique in a pattern, you feel exalted at its perfection. This feeling of exaltation and perfection is released through the kiai. Only perfection will bring out a true kiai. Otherwise, it will only be a yell. If you have an unshakable belief in both yourself and your ability to apply the techniques of the kata, regardless of the circumstances, then your kata will posses kiai.
When an opponent is helpless against your techniques, you will feel the kiai. When the opponent feels overcome by the kiai, he or she will feel "aiki." Aiki occurs when one is overwhelmed by a dominating spirit. Feeling aiki will cause an opponent to doubt his or her skills and to resign to defeat. In combat, if you break your opponent’s spirit so that they lose their will to fight, you are guaranteed victory. Sometimes a highly confident stare may cause aiki in an opponent. In the classic text, The art of War, Sun-Tzu states, “Achieving victory in every battle is not absolute perfection, neutralizing an adversary’s forces without battle is absolute perfection.” A high quality pattern performed to perfection will cause aiki in those who view it. They will feel a cold chill come over them. Arrogance, making mean faces, and overacting will not cause aiki. Aiki not a caused by a conscious effort of the performer, is something that occurs naturally when one has perfected his or her pattern to point that it viewer are awestruck by it performance.