The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #164: Readings from Zen in the Martial Arts, Ninjutsu History and Tradition, and The Thirteenth Hour – the Kiai

Episode #164: Readings from Zen in the Martial Arts, Ninjutsu History and Tradition, and The Thirteenth Hour – the Kiai

Today, we’re taking a short break from 80s movies to talk about something found in many martial arts – the shout.  In Japanese, it’s called a kiai (kihap in Korean). The character making up the term make the most sense in traditional Chinese characters (qi4 he2 – although I’m not sure if that term is actually used in Chinese martial arts or in Chinese at all):


On the left, the topmost radical is used for “steam” or “gas” usually.  The star shaped character underneath is the character for rice.  So the steam coming off cooking rice is essentially “energy” or “spirit” and a whole host of other more esoteric things, though in the practical sense, if one thinks of rice being the lifeblood of an agrarian region like ancient China, it makes sense that food = energy.  The character on the right means “together.”  The roof like part of the character is very similar to the character for person.  The one below is “one” and the box on the bottom is the character for “mouth.”  Though I’m not sure it’s explained this way, I think of it as “person or people with one mouth” – i.e. “people expressing one voice” (Chinese doesn’t necessarily have to distinguish between 1 person and many).   Notice there isn’t actually anything about shouting, though that’s how it’s often used practically.

So there are two readings from two martial arts books that discuss this idea of tapping into the universal energy that binds living things: Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams and Ninjutsu: History and Tradition by Masaaki Hatsumi.  We end with a section from The Thirteenth Hour where the main character uses this idea in two separate ways, one defensively, one offensively.

In a way, this episode may be prep for next week’s (likely) episode on Big Trouble in Little China.  The podcast now has a page on Facebook, so head over there and to Instagram to check out some scenes from the film over the next few weeks.


Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

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Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hourplaylist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!



The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #85: The Serpent Slayer

Episode #85: Storytime Reading of the Serpent Slayer

In honor of International Women’s Day (3/8/17), this is our second fairy tale reading from the book, The Serpent Slayer And Other Stories of Strong Women by Katrin Tchana and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.  This week, we’re reading an Chinese tale about a teenage girl named Li Chi who slays a serpent that has been terrorizing a small community for years.  It’s a very traditional story in structure, getting at themes of greed, ignorance, blind obedience in the face of power and corruption, and the boldness (sometimes foolhardiness) of adolescence that has driven the beating heart of many a rebel, despite being outweighed and under-armed.  The main difference, however, is the protagonist is female – although the story is a human one, not just applicable to one gender.

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As patriarchal a society as China was, ancient Chinese mythology does have its share of heroines, and this is a representative tale.  You can find it told and depicted elsewhere on the web, even on youtube in this video game (just the first few minutes of the video is the story).

In other news, next week, we’re going to have an audio transcript of a talk a number of other authors and I did on:

“World Building in Science Fiction and Fantasy: The Essentials

With the Association of Rhode Island Authors

The Science Fiction/Fantasy genre transports readers to new worlds, from the wondrous to the weird. Fans of the genre know that solid world building is essential to the story. When it’s done well, we become immersed in the tale.  When it’s done poorly, we notice. Join us for a discussion with local speculative fiction writer’s to learn their secrets. How do they construct believable worlds in unbelievable settings? What are some of the problems and pitfalls they’ve encountered? Where do they find inspiration? When imagination and writing craft successfully intersect, the results can be out of this world! If you are an aspiring speculative fiction writer or fan, this presentation is for you.” (from the Big Apple Con website)

As always, thanks for listening!


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