Benefits of loud responses in Martial Arts Classes
If you have participated in HapKiDo for any amount of time, surely you have heard the admonition from your instructor. “You are too quiet!” It’s your instructor’s way of encouraging you to respond to their direction not just with, “Yes, Sir,” but with a loud, “Yes, Sir!” You may be wondering, “What’s the big deal? That guy at the other end of the line is loud enough for all of us!!” But maybe the request for a loud response has some purpose behind it.
The first purpose is one that goes without too much saying. Martial arts is a whole system based on respect, mutual respect between teacher and student. It’s also based on trust; trust must be a part of the relationship between teacher and student (see Ten Expanded Ideals of the Hwarang, #7). So the very first reason to respond loudly is because your instructor asked you to. Could there be more to it than that?
The benefits for the student go way beyond merely strengthening the relationship between teacher and student. Though the pursuit of HapKiDo may seem highly individualistic, every class you attend puts you on the mat with others who are also striving to achieve a goal through training. These individual goals probably share quite a bit in common, say, perhaps, the improvement of one’s quality of health and life through martial arts. That common goal takes individuals in a class and incorporates them into a team. As part of a team, your individual contribution counts. The total amount of team energy depends on your input.
So, why does it matter in HapKiDo whether or not the team or its individuals is loud? Energy! When you think of a relaxing atmosphere where not much needs to be accomplished, you may picture a quiet scene. But then, think of a sporting event where the score is close and the game is almost over. What does the crowd do to encourage their team to finish strong and victorious? They go wild and yell and scream to urge them on. High energy on the HapKiDo mat contributes to kicking higher, punching harder, and sharper, less lazy, more accurate practice of self-defense.
The name HapKiDo means the art of coordinated powers, one of the very first things learned when beginning HapKiDo. What powers or strengths are we coordinating? We are coordinating our inner strength with our outer strength. Our inner strength, ki power, inner energy can be stirred with a strong, out-loud yell. Then that more vibrant inner energy is demonstrated in the way we move in class, or at test time.
This ability to coordinate our inner strength with our outward actions is especially import as adult who face struggles in the world of our careers, relationships, etc. When we are faced with a difficult situation as an adult, do we have the confidence and internal strength to persevere through the tough time? When you are loud in Martial Arts Class, you are practicing taking the power you have within you and bringing it to the surface. Even if you are very strong internally, if you do not practice bringing that power out in your actions, when the time comes that you need to utilize your inner strength you may not have the ability to use it.
The higher belts in our HapKiDo family have a responsibility to set the example. You can envision the HapKiDo journey as traveling down a stream of water. The farther downstream you move, the more there is behind you. The upstream water is depending on you to set the course. In setting the example of loud, respectful responses to the instructor, the higher belts demonstrate the expectation, and also reap the benefits of becoming not just a mediocre martial artist, but one who excels.
Martial Arts Instructor
Choe's HapKiDo Karate of Cumming and Suwanee
3020 Old Atlanta Rd.
Cumming, GA 30041