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!