All animals have basic instincts developed over centuries of survival. Humans are no exception. Our instincts were developed during humankind’s early years when there was no technology available for survival except for a stick and rock. In our modern times, these instincts are still a part of our makeup, but, instead of being beneficial, some of them may even be harmful in light of today's technological advances, such as cars. Still others are useful, but they must be understood and controlled or else they may also be dangerous.
One thing that separate humans from animals is that our brain evolved enough that it became aware of itself and it developed a way to control the body's basic instincts. Some blame their inappropriate or illegal behavior on instinct, such as do sexual predators, but we have control over our instincts. We do not have to succumb to our instincts; we have the ability to resist them. This control is honed by martial artists through their training and is used to their advantage.
One of the first instincts we use in our lives is the cry. It is the first thing a baby does in response to just about anything. It is not learned, it is instinctive. Being very loud, about 97 decibels—equivalent to a pneumatic drill, a cry alerts the mother who may be up to a mile away. As adults, when in danger, one of our first instincts is to yell or cry. As martial artists, we learn to use the kiai for many reasons, one of which is to warn others that we need help.
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