Yelling is just like any other self-defense technique. The more you practice the more effective you are. I’ve been practicing martial arts for almost 40 years ( I started when I was two – ha ha!) so I’ve had a lot of practice yelling. I can promise you the best way to practice yelling is when you’re hitting something, like a bag or a focus mitt– or someone– in sparring that is. Don’t just walk up to someone on the street and yell while you hit them🤣.

Yelling in Self Defense does two things –

  1. It improves your power
  2. It scares the bad guy

One dilemma facing most women who are learning HOW to yell is exactly WHAT to yell. From the beginning of my self-defense instruction days I have always warned women that yelling “help” doesn’t really get you very far. Unfortunately, these days, no one wants to get involved. A while back I used to recommend that women yell fire, because logically if someone hears a person yelling fire they will call the fire department. I have since learned that that’s not always the case either. If they don’t smell smoke then they probably won’t call.

In karate we have our own verbal sounds that we use when we yell. It’s funny but having visited many martial arts schools in my career it seems that different karate schools kind of have different yells. One of my woman students along time ago could never figure out exactly what to yell. So she just decided she would use the word die. It was hysterically funny to me to watch her spar and every time she threw a reverse punch she’d yell “die”. I tell that story in my self-defense class everybody laughs but it actually helps them to find their voice even if it is by yelling “DIE”. Who knows, it may even scare the bad guy more!

So if no one is in the house – tape a picture of a bad guy or somebody you don’t like and practice yelling at them. It doesn’t have to be words but it can’t be just a loud sound from your gut. Remember there’s a difference in a scream and yell.