Kihap: The Energy Yell

The kihap (pronounced “key hap”) is a very important part of Tae Kwon Do training.  When properly practiced, this special kind of yell combines sound with breathing in one explosive burst.  The kihap should not come from the throat, but from deep down in the stomach, using the diaphragm to forcefully push air up and out through the mouth.  The kihap is one of the most distinctive elements of Tae Kwon Do practice; no two students’ kihaps are identical.  You will find that as your Tae Kwon Do skills change and grow, so will your kihap.

The Kihap Serves Several Purposes:

  • It ensures that students breathe while exerting themselves, for greater endurance and energy.
  • It heightens mental focus and concentration by making students more aware of each technique.
  • It helps to reduce tension.
  • During drills with a partner, the kihap is often used to communicate that you are ready.
  • It is an expression of confidence.
  • It is a way to motivate yourself and others by sharing your intensity and spirit.
  • In self defense, a loud and powerful kihap can startle an attacker giving you additional time to react or get away.