Board break from most recent test

auntlisa1103

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This was testing to Temporary (probationary, if you prefer) Cho Dan. I’ve been practicing TKD for four years. I now have a six month probation and one more test to Cho Dan. At my school this test is the first time you break real wood. The test to Temporary is also arguably the hardest at my school, because you have to get three black belt sponsors to sign off that you are ready.

I need to explain my reaction at the end

This board break was the hardest part of this test for me, mentally. I’m blind in one eye and therefore am not physically capable of depth perception. You may notice the paddle target on the left block. That’s because I didn’t trust myself not to face plant into the cinder block. I wasn’t sure I would stop in time. This video actually really helped me realize just how far away I really do stay.

Additionally, I was two weeks from this test when we shut down for COVID. This test finally occurred October 2, 2021.
 
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Dirty Dog

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This was testing to Temporary (probationary, if you prefer) Cho Dan. I’ve been practicing TKD for four years. I now have a six month probation and one more test to Cho Dan.
Interesting progression.
At my school this test is the first time you break real wood.
Also interesting. Our students break 12x10x1" wood starting at 9th geup.
The test to Temporary is also arguably the hardest at my school, because you have to get three black belt sponsors to sign off that you are ready.

I need to explain my reaction at the end

This board break was the hardest part of this test for me, mentally. I’m blind in one eye and therefore am not physically capable of depth perception. You may notice the paddle target on the left block. That’s because I didn’t trust myself not to face plant into the cinder block. I wasn’t sure I would stop in time. This video actually really helped me realize just how far away I really do stay.

Additionally, I was two weeks from this test when we shut down for COVID. This test finally occurred October 2, 2021.
Would I be correct in guessing that your blindness is fairly recent? Because although it absolutely does affect depth perception, you can learn to compensate, given time. My depth perception with one eye is as good as anyone's.

Nice job on the break, and congrats on the promotion.
 
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auntlisa1103

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The length of time is partly due to COVID. I took a little over a year off because I’m Type 1 Diabetic. Which is how I lost my vision, incidentally. In 2004 I spent 4 months essentially blind in both eyes simultaneously before the surgeon got one mostly restored.

I still have to pace off my approach from the target to space it right. Think NFL kicker pacing back from the holder in prep for a PAT. I blame this partly on my utter lack of athletic development in childhood. I was the kid who was afraid of the ball, couldn’t run very fast or well, etc. My brain doesn’t work like a well-trained athlete’s brain. When getting feedback from an instructor on a technique, I’m well-known for asking “what am I doing that’s not what you just said?” because I’m not great at translating LOL

Thanks for the feedback and support.
 
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auntlisa1103

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Additionally, we use rebreakable boards all the way through until this level. I do think there’s a method to the madness of facing us with real wood for the first time here. They like to throw stuff at us to see how we respond.
 

Dirty Dog

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The length of time is partly due to COVID. I took a little over a year off because I’m Type 1 Diabetic. Which is how I lost my vision, incidentally. In 2004 I spent 4 months essentially blind in both eyes simultaneously before the surgeon got one mostly restored.

I still have to pace off my approach from the target to space it right. Think NFL kicker pacing back from the holder in prep for a PAT. I blame this partly on my utter lack of athletic development in childhood. I was the kid who was afraid of the ball, couldn’t run very fast or well, etc. My brain doesn’t work like a well-trained athlete’s brain. When getting feedback from an instructor on a technique, I’m well-known for asking “what am I doing that’s not what you just said?” because I’m not great at translating LOL

Thanks for the feedback and support.
You can set yourself to practicing depth perception. Shift your body slightly side to side. That helps simulate binocular vision. And instead of pacing things off. Just do it. Pacing sets up the right distance, but it doesn't do anything to help you actually learn to judge distance. I've been there and done that.
Additionally, we use rebreakable boards all the way through until this level. I do think there’s a method to the madness of facing us with real wood for the first time here. They like to throw stuff at us to see how we respond.
Good rebreakables are the same as wood.
 
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auntlisa1103

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Good rebreakables are the same as wood.
Absolutely. But the change from the rebreakables we’re used to to real wood does a mental thing. It adds an intimidation that I feel like they want to see how we handle. Testing your pil sung and baekjool boolgool, as it were.

We also don’t get practice shots for the first time in this test. We set the boards up (one hand and one foot), address the judge, get the nod and go.
 
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auntlisa1103

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Actually now that I say that. Rebreakables must be hit at the spine, but you can “get a piece of it” a couple times and it will go. Real pine will break on any grain line, but there’s no getting a piece of it, it either goes or not.

So, you know. Trade offs lol
 

Dirty Dog

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Actually now that I say that. Rebreakables must be hit at the spine, but you can “get a piece of it” a couple times and it will go. Real pine will break on any grain line, but there’s no getting a piece of it, it either goes or not.

So, you know. Trade offs lol
Not really. Hitting a board on center is by far the easiest way to break it. It's possible with an off-center strike, but much harder.
I reset rebreakables after each hit, successful or not. And it is possible to break them with an off-center strike. It's just a lot harder. Same as wood.
Again, it depends on which rebreakables you're using. Some are excellent. Some are utter crap.
 

Buka

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AuntLisa, congratulations in overcoming all that you have, for continuing to battle and grow, for taking that test, for breaking that wood.

You go, girl!
 
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auntlisa1103

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Thank you so much Buka.

At 43, this is the only really big goal I’ve ever pursued just because I wanted to, and when I started I honestly didn’t think I’d make it this far. Through martial arts I’ve found more indomitable spirit in myself and a more supportive “second family” than I knew existed.

Thank you again. 😊❤️
 

dvcochran

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You can set yourself to practicing depth perception. Shift your body slightly side to side. That helps simulate binocular vision. And instead of pacing things off. Just do it. Pacing sets up the right distance, but it doesn't do anything to help you actually learn to judge distance. I've been there and done that.

Good rebreakables are the same as wood.
I forget the coloring order but I know for certain certain ones are harder than a standard pine board. At least when they are fairly new anyway.
 

dvcochran

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This was testing to Temporary (probationary, if you prefer) Cho Dan. I’ve been practicing TKD for four years. I now have a six month probation and one more test to Cho Dan. At my school this test is the first time you break real wood. The test to Temporary is also arguably the hardest at my school, because you have to get three black belt sponsors to sign off that you are ready.

I need to explain my reaction at the end

This board break was the hardest part of this test for me, mentally. I’m blind in one eye and therefore am not physically capable of depth perception. You may notice the paddle target on the left block. That’s because I didn’t trust myself not to face plant into the cinder block. I wasn’t sure I would stop in time. This video actually really helped me realize just how far away I really do stay.

Additionally, I was two weeks from this test when we shut down for COVID. This test finally occurred October 2, 2021.
Thanks for sharing. People have different challenges and the journey is different for everyone. One of the really cool things about the MA's is that it can work for almost everyone.

It is truly great hearing other peoples story and should make us all appreciate where we are and how we got there.

What is 'easy' for some can feel impossible to others. Just have to keep swinging.
 

Dirty Dog

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I forget the coloring order but I know for certain certain ones are harder than a standard pine board. At least when they are fairly new anyway.
I've tried various boards at various times. Most of them are junk, honestly. The ones I've found the best are THESE. I'm not endorsing this supplier, it's just a place that sells the right brand. The green board is equivalent to a standard 12x10x1" board. My super scientific test has been to have someone mount them on a holder, hang a towel across them, and break them. And to also break a few boards at the same time. I honestly cannot tell the difference, even after breaking them thousands of times.
 

wab25

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This board break was the hardest part of this test for me, mentally. I’m blind in one eye and therefore am not physically capable of depth perception. You may notice the paddle target on the left block. That’s because I didn’t trust myself not to face plant into the cinder block. I wasn’t sure I would stop in time. This video actually really helped me realize just how far away I really do stay.
This is awesome. You faced a challenge, that you believed had a chance to injure you (face planting into the cinder block). But, you gave it your best, were not injured and you succeeded. Better yet, you were able to learn some things from going through the experience, to help you do even better in the future. I hope I can face my challenges like you just did. Congrats!!!
 
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lklawson

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This was testing to Temporary (probationary, if you prefer) Cho Dan. I’ve been practicing TKD for four years. I now have a six month probation and one more test to Cho Dan. At my school this test is the first time you break real wood. The test to Temporary is also arguably the hardest at my school, because you have to get three black belt sponsors to sign off that you are ready.

I need to explain my reaction at the end

This board break was the hardest part of this test for me, mentally. I’m blind in one eye and therefore am not physically capable of depth perception. You may notice the paddle target on the left block. That’s because I didn’t trust myself not to face plant into the cinder block. I wasn’t sure I would stop in time. This video actually really helped me realize just how far away I really do stay.

Additionally, I was two weeks from this test when we shut down for COVID. This test finally occurred October 2, 2021.
Don't sweat it. Board breaking is mostly a mental game. It's supposed to be intimidating to see if you can mentally cross the hurdle of "punching wood" and still have good technique and follow-through. You did, so no worries.

I'm not a fan of board breaking, personally. I think that it is misused and misrepresented. Like tameshigiri, it should be a teaching and training tool, not a testing or demonstration tool. But it "looks" cool.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Buka

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I've tried various boards at various times. Most of them are junk, honestly. The ones I've found the best are THESE. I'm not endorsing this supplier, it's just a place that sells the right brand. The green board is equivalent to a standard 12x10x1" board. My super scientific test has been to have someone mount them on a holder, hang a towel across them, and break them. And to also break a few boards at the same time. I honestly cannot tell the difference, even after breaking them thousands of times.
The old Bruce Lee line "boards don't hit back" isn't really true in my experience. Back in the seventies we used to go to the lumbar yard and order a boatload of pine boards cut to breaking size. Then we would go play in the dojo after class on Saturdays having all kinds of fun.

So we're breaking with all kinds of kicks and punches, acting like the kids we were. Me and another guy are holding three boards for a jump back kick. The kick was a beauty - but the boards didn't break. We tried time and again. Finally did them one at a time and found out the problem. One particular board. Didn't have an unusual amount of knots, it was just a board. Or so we thought.

We had some big strong guys who could really smack. Nobody could break it. Not with it on cinderblocks with a downward punch, elbow of foot stomp. It just would not break. We put shoes on, boots actually, it was winter, and went nuts on it. Nothing.

One of the guys went to the trunk of his car and got a small sledgehammer. We laughed. He smacked it and it cracked - but did not snap in half. We all studied that board and bent the crack back and forth until it gave. It finally came apart, sort of. It was broken, but not separated into two pieces. Upon further examination, the grain of that piece of wood was much closer together and mis-colored where it snapped. It was as if you took the knots from wood and lengthen them into a grain. It was really weird.

And as for the breakaway boards. We bought a few of them for the dojo. But there was one, of the exact same type as the others, that just didn't want to break. People were hurting themselves. So we threw it in a closet with a "do not use" sign taped to it.

Years later, after I had become a DT instructor and established myself, I brought it into my department and gave it to my boss, who was a wild man and former boxer. He hurt his hand SO bad on that puppy, but he kept it and would bring it out every year or two so others could hurt their hands as well. (funny, but irresponsible and stupid)

What I learned from all this was to really take close looks at what people are trying to break. And that learning paid off. I was overseas fighting, and Billy Blanks was going to do a big breaking demo at an evening show. He asked the folks to get him a dozen patio bricks. The day of the show I examined one. The weight was off. I smacked it against the corner of a cement wall. It cracked, but didn't break. So I smacked it harder. It was reinforced with three pieces of rebar. So much for that. I like to think it was an accident, but I don't think it was, I believe it was intentional. Asshats.
 

isshinryuronin

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I'm not a fan of board breaking, personally. I think that it is misused and misrepresented. Like tameshigiri, it should be a teaching and training tool, not a testing or demonstration tool.
Tameshigiri with a shinken is more complex and multidimensional than tameshiwari with a hand or foot. For example, I think that if you look at a board or tile broken by a novice, it would look much the same as if a black belt did it. Looking at the cut made in a rolled up tatami mat with a shinken, however, will tell a lot about the skill of the swordsman.

The blade must travel along two (or three) axis at the same time - extending towards the target and cutting lateral to it. Plus the angle of the blade as it bites the target is crucial. Not saying it takes no skill to break a board, but tameshigiri IMO is more technique dependent. As such, it has a place in testing.
 

lklawson

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Tameshigiri with a shinken is more complex and multidimensional than tameshiwari with a hand or foot. For example, I think that if you look at a board or tile broken by a novice, it would look much the same as if a black belt did it. Looking at the cut made in a rolled up tatami mat with a shinken, however, will tell a lot about the skill of the swordsman.

The blade must travel along two (or three) axis at the same time - extending towards the target and cutting lateral to it. Plus the angle of the blade as it bites the target is crucial. Not saying it takes no skill to break a board, but tameshigiri IMO is more technique dependent. As such, it has a place in testing.
I'm not disagreeing. I'm saying that in either case it make a lot more sense to use it as a training tool so that you can see where you need to improve than to use it as a testing tool, too prove your abilities (your instructor should already know), or for demonstrations/entertainment. IMO, this is particularly true of "board breaking." I do see a bit more of a case for it as "demonstration of skill" in cutting with a blade. It's just not what I think is optimal use.

That said, test cutting, particularly in the Western tradition, has long been a staple of entertainment. Lemon Cutting and Egg Cutting, or even cutting sheep, were absolute standard fare in 19th Century "Assault at Arms" demonstrations/competitions.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 
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