Vocalisations – barking


Steve Morris barks, some might say he’s barking, but when he strikes he barks. When I first came across this concept it really struck a chord. Barking works, it makes you hit harder, whilst activating the core muscles and thereby providing protection as you strike. In a post on this subject Morris says

“The utterance of sounds whilst training and fighting is one way of charging the CNS to raise the number of motor units recruited and their rate of firing.  The sounds also can determine the pattern, rate, and intensity with which you strike, defend, or counter.  The duration of the sound as well as its pitch and intensity, can reflect and reinforce the nature of the physical effort and hostile or defensive intent of your movement.”

Now we’re talking! Using sound to set the rate of strikes and their intensity is extremely useful. I now make sounds all the time when I’m being physically active, regardless of if I’m training or not. This clip of a dog barking clearly illustrates the involvement of the musculature as she barks.

By increasing the rate of the sound the body can follow so rapid punches follow rapid barks. In grappling the sound is more of a grunt, if, for example I’m picking some one up to throw them. Imagine lifting a heavy log or something, you would grunt as you applied the effort, wouldn’t you? Even when I’m holding pads for someone I bark, this helps me set the rate for them and means that my ‘receiving’ on the pads is in tune and strong enough to add resistance. I’m a noisy bugger.

Kiai was always seemed a bit silly to me, but barking and grunting works! Ricky Hatton barks as he hits, watch him hitting the bag on you tube and you’ll see, and hear.

During a recent lesson, a bloke was struggling to get his hip to move before his shoulder in punching. I had him walking around trying to manage this, with some, limited success. Eventually, he got it when I sang ‘I’m the King of the Swingers’ from Jungle book. He’d got the idea that the movement was similar to the dancing of the apes in that film, the song helped and he managed to replicate the desired movement. There were complaints about my singing, however.

Often while trying to get the message across, it’s possible to get bogged down in detail. If I vocalise, as I perform the person can ‘copy’ this rather than becoming immersed and over-reliant on the detail. So when I’m demonstrating something, I  vocalise the ‘feeling’ of the action. Actually, I probably combine this with the detail. I’m told that I go into cartoon mode; one person I train with says she can ‘see’ the sounds, as in a cartoon or like the WHAM’s and POW’s in the original Batman series. This my sound a little bit silly, but it does comply with advice concerning Learning Styles!

5 thoughts on “Vocalisations – barking

  1. Yes the king of the swingers did help with the hip movemement, as did the Hoffmeister Bear, but it was not until a fellow student revealed to me the ancient “Way of the Quo” that the true power of the hips were realised.

  2. If you remember correctly, the way of the Quo was incorrect! All that rocker dancing made the hips and shoulders move together as a unit. The fellow student was of course better at the Quo demo than myself, as he was a big fan back in the day……

  3. I am soooo looking forward to seeing the Way of the Quo, even if it’s only for the lesson on how not to do it 🙂

  4. Ahh yes, perhaps i should have explained better, the splendid quo dance was followed up by a demonstration of the hips in isolation and this is what helped,as i was at a point and probably still am, where at times i was being told i was doing it correctly, i.e hip ,shoulder, arm and other times not. and not being able to distinguish between the two by how it felt.
    The hips in isolation also let me see the power they(hips) added to the punch or kick, and the wise guy walk and skimming stone thing also then made more sense. However it was still the quo dance which sticks in my mind,

  5. Pingback: How to bark…. « EPIC martial arts Blog

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