Recently a few of my newer students have been asking why we are ‘grunting’ or ‘shouting’ during techniques.
What they are referring to is the ‘ki-hap’: literally, Ki means inner power, and Hap means coordination. So the shout is an expression, or perhaps the result of the student coordinating their inner power.
The shout shouldn’t be breathy and originate from the chest or voice box. The noise actually emanates from a much deeper place, and elicits a contraction of the anus and lower abdominal region.
So what’s the point?
Briefly, the kihap has both physiological and psychological benefits. Psychologically it will help you to focus on what you are doing, and improve your concentration. Physiologically, it will raise the pelvic floor muscles and produce intra-abdominal pressure which will buffer the spine, guarding against injuries and enabling you to translate your power through your torso.
Without a strong kihap, the student will risk injury and is likely to lack focus.
We shouldn’t neglect the kihap!