Hiiiyaah! What’s with the yelling?

The other day, I had the distinct pleasure of practicing with two youngsters aged 12 and 13. As my master taught me, I am in the habit of yelling “Keeyup” when I hit the heavy bag or the focus pads. Tyler and Maya both thought it a little weird, but they humored me and gave it a try. Tyler and I both jumped the first time Maya let her lungs clear with a fierce “Hah!”

As evident in this cute video, sometimes people think the Keeyup is a special word or carries special meaning. In fact, it has very practical applications which I’ll explain below.

So, what is a Keeyup if it is not a special language? It is an important fighting technique.

Yelling strikes fear in the opponent.

Cats hiss, dogs bark, and lions roar. If attacked or threatened, a fighting stance with a committed yell might offer the something extra to make your attacker think twice.

Yelling forces your stomach to tighten.

Relax your stomach. Now hit yourself quickly just above the belly button! You can actually knock the wind out of yourself if you do this. Now tighten your stomach and try again. Did you notice the difference? A tight stomach will protect you from injury and prevent you from getting your wind knocked out.

Yelling makes the technique more powerful.

We learned early on that breathing during punching or kicking affects the power of the strike. If you don’t believe it, try holding your breath and punching. It doesn’t feel right, does it? Since we want to make the most powerful strike possible, we force a powerful exhale by yelling during the moment of impact. Or maybe you thought professional tennis players let out grunts on the court to amuse the spectators?

I’m sure there are more reasons why yelling is an effective fighting technique. If for no other reason, do it because a 9th degree black belt does it when he’s breaking 5 boards with the ball of his foot! Set your volume and give a listen to Grandmaster SJ Kim give us a demonstration….

4 responses to Hiiiyaah! What’s with the yelling?

  1. Yelling in marital arts makes the kicks and punches more powerful. It does work!

  2. Taekwon-do class is one of the few places I can yell out loud and not have people look at me funny!

  3. not only does yelling/breathing while you punch on the moment of impact make it a stronger attack, it also help you get ready for the next incoming attack which allows you to tighten up your muscles to, as what he said above, prevent getting the wind knocked out of you. it also creates more stamina for you so your not losing breathe after punching or kicking. yelling is more effective because it actually can create more power into your punch, plus yelling releases anger in itself, so therefore it creates a lot more force into your attack. hope this helped.

  4. Although most things about a Kiap (기합) were said above, there was one mistake. Kiap (기합) is actually a word in the Korean language meaning “Shout” or “Yell”. The reason most Masters yell at you saying “Kiap” it’s because they are telling you to yell when you kick. Many Korean students tend to yell something different when they are preforming or practicing, but when teaching they often say “Kiap” because they are telling their students to yell.

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