Kihap - shouting in Taekwondo
When I first started Taekwondo, I (probably like most people) felt very self conscious about shouting at the top of my voice in front of a collection of new people. There were other people in the class (some quite high grades) who were also fairly quiet. On the other hand, there were some people there making more than enough noise for the entire class. It only took a few classes and I decided I wasn't going to be the quietest in the class. Funnily enough, while I see myself as quite self conscious, once I started using a loud Kihap, I actually felt more comfortable in the class. The irrational fear that everyone else would start laughing turned out to be...irrational. From time to time I might get it slightly wrong, and a girlish scream might escape causing the odd snigger, but no matter.
At the Chung Yong club all the instructors encourage both juniors and seniors to Kihap loudly, and aggressively. It really works and is an important thing to get right because:
- A loud Kihap right at the beginning of sparring helps you channel up some controlled aggression, and if done right will put fear into the heart of your opponent.
- Kihap before performing a break to channel energy and confidence.
- Kihap when striking (either with the fist or foot). The exhalation of air helps again in channeling energy, and stops you getting winded if you're counter struck by your opponent.
- A Kihap forces you to breath - some students seem to forget to do this at times!