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Shouting, ‘HUHH!’ What is it good for?

A guest blog post by Sarah

Remember when this blog used to be updated? Nah, me either! So to motivate Linn, I’ve agreed to do a student guest post.

I’m going to be talking about using your voice and making the most of it!

Being able to use your voice effectively is a really important part of self defence:

  • It attracts attention

  • It may prevent or buy time in an attack

  • It changes your mind-set and can help break a freeze

  • It makes you appear more aggressive

Linn and Rob can give you loads more information on this!

Munch, The Scream

If you’ve been training at Rencounter for any length of time we’ve probably been at a class together, and I am probably (at times) the loudest person in the class! KNIFE! KNIFE! KNIFE! STAY BACK!

I was speaking with someone at class who told me they find it hard to be aggressive and loud. They then looked at me and told me I did not have that problem! I’ll take it as a compliment!

The truth is that I don’t have that problem... now. However, I didn’t start coming along to classes shouting, or even close to it. I’m fairly soft spoken, I didn’t want to feel silly or draw attention to myself: when I did a test grading I got the feedback that I was silent. In fact, I wasn’t really sure I was even physically capable of being loud.

It may surprise you to know that I actually have a history of vocal problems! A few years ago one of my vocal cords was partially paralysed and it took a long time, and focused speech therapy, to recover a normal speaking voice. If I’m nervous it usually shows in my voice first.

So what changed?

Using your voice is a skill that you need to learn—like any other skill—and you need to practise. Linn and Rob have specific drills to help with this, but here’s a couple of things that helped me.

I attended a KMG women’s workshop taken by Global instructor Natasha Naccarato. One of the exercises she had us do was performing a combination of strikes, shouting at each strike. Something like this:

punch “STAY!”

punch “THE F***!”

kick “AWAY!”

(It works better in person than in writing!)

So the whole room was shouting this (if everyone’s doing it you don’t feel so silly) and she told us exactly what to say and when to say it (no thinking required).

This exercise really helped me see that I was capable of using my voice.

Having a think beforehand of what you’re going to say really helps, have a go-to phrase “STAY BACK” is a good one or if there’s a knife, simply “KNIFE KNIFE KNIFE!”

What you say is up to you, but be clear, it’s good to give commands that can be followed (As opposed to saying “ DON’T DO XXXX”) and don’t be polite! Whatever noise or phrase you say—do something that works for you—it needs to come to mind when the adrenaline is pumping. Here’s one real-life example.

I’ve also found it helpful to work on making noise with every strike. I’m not a natural at grunting, but a short, sharp exhale when you punch can be enough, add in a little “huh”. It makes your strikes better too. (Ask an instructor how that works!) For audio inspiration think of this song:

Altogether now: “War... HUHH!!!”

Once more... with feeling!

You need to practise this in class. It’s easy to be quiet when you’re learning new techniques, but once you know what you’re doing adding aggression is part of the technique.

I spent ages practising striking whilst making pathetic squeaks or a stupid, frustrated “aaarrrggh” after I’d finished my counter attacks. You may feel silly, but the people around you at class won’t think that- they’ll think you’re a terrifying badass (well that’s the end goal).

(And if you’re thinking “well I’d do it if I had to” or “I’ll do it at grading”.... Will you really?)

Ask Linn and Rob and they can push you to increase the volume! Tell your training partner that you need to work on your vocal aggression – they can then encourage you if you forget (or if nothing else, it’s only fair to warn them what terrifying noise is coming in their direction).

There’s not many places where it’s socially acceptable to shout at other people, but a Krav Maga class is definitely one of them. In fact, it’s the best way to blend in. (Not recommended for your local library)

If I can do it, so can you! And the more you do it, the more confident you’ll become.

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