Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Sword Profile
Originally uploaded by weddings{by}robert
Have you given much thought to your kihap lately? I've heard some bad ones in my days. Some seem to have the wrong goal (in my less than humble opinion) while others just don't seem to be sure why they are doing it at all.

Iain Abernethy's site has an interesting article written by Jamie Clubb on the subject of Kiai. One of the more interesting things I took from the article was the idea of 3 different kiais: pre-fight, during the fight, and post-fight.

In some way, this makes sense... the Kihap is meant to intimidate, gain a psychological advantage, give an extra kick to your technique, catharsis, all of these things. The parallels to Geoff Thompson's work on modern fighting make a certain level of sense.

Kihap is a pivotal motivator in class. A strong snappy kihap inspires action in your students. Likewise, your boredom or lack of excitement can also come out. I'm sure all of us can name an instructor whose very tone inspires you to do better, either from the strong energy and confidence or the sheer terror of disappointing them.

Sometimes, you can even tell a person's lineage by their kihap. Every instructor has a student who tried to emulate their kihap. Just like any other aspect of their martial art, we try what we know to be successful first. Mine doesn't sound much like my instructor's anymore, but it is definetely LOUD, just like my instructor. Sometimes I have 2 different kihap in class, depending on what I want, once again, something I stole from emulation and made mine.

Now, go out there, yell, and find your kihap!

Meanwhile, I'm going to ponder how odd the written word "kihap" looks...
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