Why so Quiet?

I’ve always been curious why fighters don’t grunt or make other types of noises when they fight. When I was studying Taekwondo it was really important to exert the breath along with a Key YAH! when hitting your opponent.

It would seem there would be benefit to do this in fighting, however, it was once explained to me that it was rude to be yelling.  I asked a martial arts friend at that time and he said, ‘yelling was a basic part of most martial arts’.

He explained it like this:

  • Yelling helps with your breathing.
  • It causes your opponent to ‘un focus’ (and maybe this is the rude part mentioned but, you would think un focusing your opponent would be a good thing).
  • It helps you focus your energy.

It would seem these would all be benefits. I have a hard enough time breathing while fighting. Holding my breath or switching inhaling when I should exhale and vice versa.

Maybe it’s different now, as I have been away for a while, or maybe it’s different in other Kingdoms. I hope if you read this and know you’ll give me a comment about it. I know that when I was practicing on my pell, exerting a yell as I threw helped remind me when to breathe, but I don’t want to get into a habit of Key YAH-ing if it saw as disrespectful.

And I gotta learn to not hold my breath! I do that when I practice my swings. I concentrate so much on the ‘serve the plate’ move that I forget, you can do two things at once. Breathe, swing, breathe swing.

It’s gonna be a long road….



About Livia Tasia

I love horses, fantasy, writing, the SCA, swordfighting, Mercedes Lackey.

Posted on February 16, 2011, in Heavy Fighting, SCA and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I’ve fought folks who have grunted while fighting, at last night’s practice my man at arms was grunting during the last handful of passes (he was really pushing himself). As far as I know there is no Society wide rule saying you can’t make noise while fighting. I would caution you to not yell at the top of your lungs – folks might think you were hurt, but a martial art “Key YAH” should be ok. The biggest down side I see is that it could become a tell.

  2. That makes sense. Thanks for the reply. I think once I focus on the breathing and get that down right, maybe that will be half the battle.

  3. Donal Mac Ruiseart

    It is possible that the lack of vocalisation is related to many of us having the same tendency to hold our breath. It’s a problem I encounter from time to time, even after over 30 years.

    Another reason may be that not all of us are from a martial-arts background and have not learned to kiah like that. But even if we have, loud vocalisation in some helms can be uncomfortable to the ears.

    Another may be that we don’t WANT to look or sound like brutes. We want to look like nobles fighting gracefully and honourably.

  4. I usually chew some gum to keep the breathing in check.

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