After the last fighting class, I was thinking about sparring — how I spar and the other techniques that people employ. I started to focus on how people kihap before a match, because in my opinion it doesn’t seem to do much. I am reluctant to yell while making a fighting stance because I don’t see any benefit from doing so; in fact it could almost make things worse.
The way I understand is that people yell to intimidate their opponent; but this would only work on a very meek person, who probably wouldn’t do well fighting anyways. Most people who come to train and spar in Taekwondo have a strong mental physique, being able to push themselves and face another in combat. Watching the matches during fighting class, no one seemed to be affected by a yell. Many of the people who did yell seemed only to be doing it as a routine; mouth piece in, bow, yell, fight.
I say it could be worse to yell because it serves as a distraction for you. Instead of focusing on the fight, yourself, your stance, your opponent’s stance, you bellow a yell and the fight begins. Once your opponent is coming at you there is limited time to figure all that stuff out before he launches a kick or punch. I can understand the idea behind yelling as you get hit or deliver a hit, since it serves a purpose. Yelling before a fight just seems to me like a waste of air.