If you’ve ever watched a competitive Taekwondo fight or sparring match, then you’ve probably noticed fighters shouting whenever they punch or kick.
This is a normal part of many martial arts, but if you aren’t familiar with the reasons why people shout while fighting in Taekwondo, it can seem a bit strange.
Luckily, we’re here to clear up the confusion! In this article, we’ve covered everything there is to know about why Taekwondo fighters shout – from how it helps in a fight, to some of the different ways Taekwondo fighters shout.
So let’s get started, shall we?
4 Reasons Why Taekwondo Fighters Shout
People shout while striking in Taekwondo for a variety of reasons. These shouts, also known as ‘Kihap’, can serve multiple purposes depending on how it’s used.
However, there are four main reasons why Taekwondo fighters shout during a match. Here’s a quick breakdown of each reason.
It Increases Power
The main reason why people shout while fighting in Taekwondo is that it can help improve the speed and power of a strike.
Breathing plays a large part in any martial art, and it’s no different when it comes to Taekwondo’s punches and kicks.
By yelling when striking, a fighter pushes all the air out of their lungs in one go. This helps them to time their breathing, and in turn, make a more powerful strike.
Kihap also helps improve your strike’s power by reducing hesitation and anxiety while striking.
This means you don’t hold back as much when punching or kicking your opponent, making your strikes much stronger than before.
It Intimidates Your Opponent
Kihap can also be used to intimidate your opponent. Loud, booming shouts can be startling to your opponent, potentially throwing them off enough to let you get a free strike in.
This can make a big difference during a competitive fight where every point matters.
Its benefits as an intimidation tactic also mean that shouting during a fight is useful if you’re ever being attacked.
Shouting while defending yourself can intimidate your attacker, giving you the chance to fight back or escape.
By combining an intimidating Kihap with a painful punch or kick, a fighter can make a strike feel even more powerful than it already is.
This doesn’t just make the strike more effective, but the intimidation aspect of Kihap grows as a result.
It Strengthens Your Core
The shouts in Taekwondo come from the diaphragm, not the throat.
This means that a Kihap can be used to tighten up the muscles in the body, especially the muscles around the chest and stomach.
Tensing your core helps to protect your vital organs from injury during a fight, so shouting is a good way to reduce the risk of injury and strengthen your body.
Many strikes in Taekwondo can take the wind out of your lungs if you aren’t prepared; however, a Kihap forces the air out of your lungs voluntarily, which prevents you from being winded.
This is a great way to avoid getting hurt while also being able to continue fighting.
A Kihap can also be used to get rid of excess energy by expelling it through a shout – for example, shouting if you get hit will help reduce the pain and keep you focused.
It Increases Your Confidence
Finally, Kihaps can be used to boost your confidence during a fight.
As mentioned earlier, shouting can get rid of hesitation and strengthen your core, which helps you to stay confident and in control during a fight.
Shouting keeps you anchored – this is vital for staying focused and engaged in a fight.
Because people also shout when practicing moves outside of a match, Kihaps are also used to tether the mind to the techniques and skills learned from training.
Because of this, shouting can improve muscle memory and help you relax while fighting.
Different Types Of Taekwondo Shout
Not all shouts in Taekwondo are the same, and you might find that some people use several different shouts depending on the techniques they are using.
There aren’t any rules or categories of Kihap that Taekwondo fighters have to stick to, but the intensity of a shout can change with different attacks and situations.
Probably the most common shout in martial arts is the ‘Kiai’. This shout originated in Japanese martial arts like Karate, but is used in a lot of martial arts – Taekwondo included.
This shout doesn’t have a specific sound, but most martial artists will pronounce it as ‘Hi-Ya’.
The Kiai is a short and loud shout that pushes as much air out of the lungs as possible in one go.
In Taekwondo, this shout is typically used along with stronger punches and kicks to help give the strikes even more power.
The ‘OSS’ is another common type of Kihap in Taekwondo, and sounds fairly similar to someone shushing.
Fighters will generally Oss during fast strikes that are chained together – this helps to give each individual punch or kick extra power without getting rid off all of the fighter’s breath on the first strike.
Oss is also commonly used during blocks, where it helps to strengthen the body and tighten the core muscles.
This protects your vital organs from injury, and prevents you from getting winded by getting the breath out of your lungs naturally.
Again, there aren’t any set-in-stone rules for the types of Kihap people must do in Taekwondo, but these two shouts are definitely some of the most common ones used while fighting.
And there you have it – now you know everything there is to know about why people shout when fighting in Taekwondo! Kihaps play several important roles while fighting in Taekwondo, and people use these shouts to help them out during sparring and competitive matches.
So next time you’re watching a Taekwondo fight, keep an ear out for how the fighters shout – now you know what to listen out for!
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