Breaking your boards, blocks, and BONES!

geocad

Green Belt
Joined
Apr 12, 2007
Messages
110
Reaction score
0
Location
Flagstaff, AZ
Last night I watched a TKD class instructed by one of my soon to be new instructors (he's older <52> and a 2nd dan). I'm still injured/reinjured so I didn't partake, I just watched.

Although I would someday like to achieve a higher degree of martial arts knowledge, it's not important to me to wear a 'black' belt. I'm content starting a new school as white belt again. I can still do more than some of those little elementary school kids! :) Anyway...

My new instructor was telling me about all the injuries he got during his 2nd dan test breaking blocks and boards. So my questions are...

1. What's the point of breaking inanimate objects? I understand demonstrating power punches and kicks, but isn't there a better way to do it then risking SERIOUS injury?

2. Is this more of a tradition thing then a demonstration of power?

3. Do you make your 12 year old kids testing for their 1st dan break the same number of boards and blocks as adults doing the same test? If not, why?

4. What kind of condition can one do to prepare for their breaking portion of their tests? Some peoples bones are just not as strong as others so serious injury is more likely than others.

I just don't get it (yet) but maybe someday I will with your help.

What did that famous guy say? "Boards don't hit back!"

Thanks!
 

Kacey

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Jan 3, 2006
Messages
16,462
Reaction score
223
Location
Denver, CO
Last night I watched a TKD class instructed by one of my soon to be new instructors (he's older <52> and a 2nd dan). I'm still injured/reinjured so I didn't partake, I just watched.

Although I would someday like to achieve a higher degree of martial arts knowledge, it's not important to me to wear a 'black' belt. I'm content starting a new school as white belt again. I can still do more than some of those little elementary school kids! :) Anyway...

My new instructor was telling me about all the injuries he got during his 2nd dan test breaking blocks and boards. So my questions are...

First, IMHO, if your instructor hurt himself that badly, then he wasn't really ready to break those items... although mistakes happen; when my sahbum was testing for IV Dan, he decided to break a housing brick with a punch... he didn't know until too late (after the testing) that there was a difference between house bricks and reinforced house bricks; unfortunately, he bought the latter. He didn't break his hand - but didn't break the brick, either.

1. What's the point of breaking inanimate objects? I understand demonstrating power punches and kicks, but isn't there a better way to do it then risking SERIOUS injury?

To demonstrate power, yes - but more than that, to demonstrate the correct technique. Plenty of people can generate power, but they cannot focus it appropriately when hitting a target - which is why breaking of boards and cement (and occasionally other objects) continues, instead of using the electronic power meters available through many suppliers. Before boards, people practiced breaking on each other - which is way more dangerous! :)

2. Is this more of a tradition thing then a demonstration of power?

See #1

3. Do you make your 12 year old kids testing for their 1st dan break the same number of boards and blocks as adults doing the same test? If not, why?

No. The number of boards is different based on the age, gender, and weight of the student, as all of those factors influence breaking. I am more impressed when one of my students - a 13 year-old girl - breaks one board, than when her father - a 44 year-old man - breaks 4, because for her to break at her size, requires much more technique, as he is a foot taller and twice her mass, and most of it muscle. Breaking is easier for him - her breaks must be technically correct.

4. What kind of condition can one do to prepare for their breaking portion of their tests? Some peoples bones are just not as strong as others so serious injury is more likely than others.

Forging (dallyon, if I'm remembering my Korean properly) is the preparation of the tool for heavy contact. Start by hitting a softish object - a focus pad, for example, and gradually increase the power as it becomes more comfortable. Then move up to a harder object - a heavy bag, perhaps, and continue. For hand conditioning, phone books work well, as does a bucket of sand or rice. For feet, hard surfaces are pretty good - walls, heavy bags, etc. As you hit a hard surface, your bones will thicken over time - just make sure that you're not doing too much too fast. Your instructor should be able to help you with this.

I just don't get it (yet) but maybe someday I will with your help.

What did that famous guy say? "Boards don't hit back!"

Thanks!

So true... that's why boards are easier than people - they don't move, either!
 

zDom

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 21, 2006
Messages
3,081
Reaction score
105
1. What's the point of breaking inanimate objects? I understand demonstrating power punches and kicks, but isn't there a better way to do it then risking SERIOUS injury?

2. Is this more of a tradition thing then a demonstration of power?

In breaking boards, it (usually) really isn't a matter of power so much as FOCUS: being able to put the power of a technique exactly where it needs to be.

Blocks (and high number of boards) are a different matter and often referred to as "power breaking."
 

exile

To him unconquered.
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Sep 7, 2006
Messages
10,669
Reaction score
247
Location
Columbus, Ohio
Geocad—there are many, many threads in the TKD forum archives devoted to breaking that can probably answer at least some of your questions. Here's a place to get started:

http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=36377&page=3&highlight=Breaking

Try this: go to `Search' in the blue menu bar above the Forum name/description bar, click it, and choose Advanced Search. When you get there, enter `Breaking' in the keyword field and indicate that you want `Breaking' in the Thread Title. Go the right side, where the fora are listed—the default setting is `all fora'—and scroll down till you get to TKD; check that one. Then hit `Go', and you'll get a whole page of thread names on the hows and whys/why nots of breaking. You might as well take advantage of previous discussions of this question, eh? :)
 

tellner

Senior Master
Joined
Nov 18, 2005
Messages
4,380
Reaction score
236
Location
Orygun
Kiln-dried pine and cinder blocks that are 80 parts sand to one part lime.

Feh

Now if you really want to do an impressive breaking demo I suggest the Todd Ellner Standard Brick and Board(tm) :

The Board - an 8x8x2 square of impact-grade hickory, osage orange, purple heart or lignum vitae. Un-dried.

The Brick - A perfectly round piece of Cambrian Shield granite.
 

Kacey

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Jan 3, 2006
Messages
16,462
Reaction score
223
Location
Denver, CO
Attention all users:

Post moved to General Martial Arts Talk to generate greater response.

Karen Cohn
-MT Senior Moderator
 

Touch Of Death

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
May 6, 2003
Messages
11,610
Reaction score
844
Location
Spokane Valley WA
Boared breaking is dangerous and should be approached with extreem caution; however, it's great to boost student confidence and aquire more students at demonstrations.
Sean
 

bushidomartialarts

Senior Master
Joined
Mar 5, 2006
Messages
2,668
Reaction score
43
Location
Hillsboro, Oregon
Here's what is about breaking...

It's actually easy. Cinder blocks are easy. Boards are very, very easy.

The thing is, it doesn't feel easy. There's a part of you that's afraid you're going to go and hurt yourself. And if you believe that part of you, you wind up pulling your punch just enough to fail the break.

And then you hurt yourself.

There's power in that. But you don't have to go overboard with it, pushing things until it actually is difficult. The closer you get to that, the more you're just showing off and in many ways violating the point of the exercise.
 

Ignignokt

White Belt
Joined
May 22, 2006
Messages
19
Reaction score
0
If you plan on breaking lots of stuff with your fists, first be sure that it is worth it to have hard hands rather than dexterity. Too much of that stuff will reduce your hands to mere clubs; maybe not by tomorrow, but assuredly old age will not treat you well.
 

10,000 Hit Combo

Yellow Belt
Joined
May 8, 2007
Messages
51
Reaction score
0
"Don't know. Never been attacked by tree."-Mr. Miyagi

My views on breaking.

In order for me to consider myself competent at breaking something, I have to be able to break it immediately (as if it would hit back) without giving it thought. The focus, energy, penetration etc is already there. I feel that if it were an opponent it wouldn't give me time to focus. When I see a guy take a deep breath with his eyes closed, wind up slowly for a "test chop", take another deep breath, leap three feet in the air and come down with a palm heel and break seven breaks I think, "he's training with way to many bricks." Impressive as it is it's not combat aplicable. Not to mention it's a lot harder to break a human than a brick. I started on boards. Now I can break them without hesitaition. Piece of cake. Now I can move on to harder things. Once I can break a brick instantly, then I'll move on to two. I'm still interested in seeing if I can break a stack of four or five if I "power up" but nah. I think being able to pop a brick as soon as it comes into view will qualify me to do the same to two. Then three and so on. I'm still working on one though. Also take into account safety. Start very small and work your way up SLOWLY. Make sure your hand is hard enough for the next step before you take it. Use iron palm, makiwara and knuckle/wrist push ups if you're able. Try one "power up" break on an item just to make sure you can and how much power you'll need first. In okinawa they learned breaking to punch a guy through his armor. It's sobering to know how hard you can hit something though. Take care of your body, it's the only one you get.
 

ehsen

Yellow Belt
Joined
Oct 10, 2006
Messages
57
Reaction score
0
Location
Hell
If someone is breaking boards it doesn't mean he is a good fighter. Because in real fight no body gets the chance to hit a precise blow.

As Bruce Lee once said,

"Boards don't hit"

Breaking stuff is just wastage of time.
 

Laurentkd

Master Black Belt
Joined
Jan 2, 2007
Messages
1,376
Reaction score
43
Location
Kansas City
"Don't know. Never been attacked by tree."-Mr. Miyagi

My views on breaking.

In order for me to consider myself competent at breaking something, I have to be able to break it immediately (as if it would hit back) without giving it thought. The focus, energy, penetration etc is already there. I feel that if it were an opponent it wouldn't give me time to focus. When I see a guy take a deep breath with his eyes closed, wind up slowly for a "test chop", take another deep breath, leap three feet in the air and come down with a palm heel and break seven breaks I think, "he's training with way to many bricks." Impressive as it is it's not combat aplicable. Not to mention it's a lot harder to break a human than a brick. I started on boards. Now I can break them without hesitaition. Piece of cake. Now I can move on to harder things. Once I can break a brick instantly, then I'll move on to two. I'm still interested in seeing if I can break a stack of four or five if I "power up" but nah. I think being able to pop a brick as soon as it comes into view will qualify me to do the same to two. Then three and so on. I'm still working on one though. Also take into account safety. Start very small and work your way up SLOWLY. Make sure your hand is hard enough for the next step before you take it. Use iron palm, makiwara and knuckle/wrist push ups if you're able. Try one "power up" break on an item just to make sure you can and how much power you'll need first. In okinawa they learned breaking to punch a guy through his armor. It's sobering to know how hard you can hit something though. Take care of your body, it's the only one you get.

This is a good point. Currently we require different breaks at different levels. Maybe at some of the advanced belts it would be cool to set up a board behind them without them knowing where or how it is positioned, and then have them turn and strike it imediately....hmmmm
 

10,000 Hit Combo

Yellow Belt
Joined
May 8, 2007
Messages
51
Reaction score
0
This is a good point. Currently we require different breaks at different levels. Maybe at some of the advanced belts it would be cool to set up a board behind them without them knowing where or how it is positioned, and then have them turn and strike it imediately....hmmmm

If I had a training partner to help me with breaking I would like them to surprise me until it becomes reflex. 2 out of 5 times I can break the brick with a palm heel or wrist heel but not so much with a fist. The way I do breaking I probably won't be moving up to two bricks for at least a year. You never know though. I find other aspects of my training more important.
 

Grenadier

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2005
Messages
10,826
Reaction score
616
I've trained at places that have used breaking as part of the cirriculum, and places where it wasn't part of the cirriculum.

I'll simply say that yes, breaking can help teach someone to focus his punch a bit better, and it can do wonders for confidence in some people.

However, breaking should be done with easy targets. As Tellner mentioned, there's a difference between breaking soft pine squares, and a square of Lignum Vitae (although someone who could find a square of such must have $$$ to spare), or reinforced concrete versus dried cement.

Yes, it can be a fun thing to do, and really doesn't cost much to do either.

In all honesty, I really don't care if a school uses breaking techniques or not. At my current school, we do not employ breaking techniques. Instead, we mount a heavy bag against the wall, where the only give is in the bag itself, and teach our students to hit that bag using correct mechanics and good focus. I can't argue with the results, since people who learn to hit the wall-mounted heavy bag will have developed themselves quite nicely, for the most part.
 

10,000 Hit Combo

Yellow Belt
Joined
May 8, 2007
Messages
51
Reaction score
0
Heavy bags are great for impact training your bones and cartilage and for teaching your body how to "share" the force of the strike through the torso and legs. I don't like bag gloves though. I like the feel of canvas against my knuckles.
 

Odin

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Nov 16, 2005
Messages
858
Reaction score
8
Location
England
I have never got the reasoning behind the breaking of objects it really does seem to be a total waste of time and good trees.

Even technique wise, what exactly does it show? that you can stand stand next to a nicely place brick and break it?? why?!? why would you ever need to do that???

i just dont get it.

and as such I woudnt really worry to much about weather a child should be doing it.
 

zDom

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 21, 2006
Messages
3,081
Reaction score
105
I have never got the reasoning behind the breaking of objects it really does seem to be a total waste of time and good trees.

Even technique wise, what exactly does it show? that you can stand stand next to a nicely place brick and break it?? why?!? why would you ever need to do that???

i just dont get it.

Ever tried it? It shows FOCUS: the ability to put a punch or kick exactly where you want it, when you want to.

IMO, all the "warm-ups" and all the crap defeats the purpose. Ideally you should make sure the holders have the break set up correctly — then break.
 

Odin

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Nov 16, 2005
Messages
858
Reaction score
8
Location
England
Ever tried it? It shows FOCUS: the ability to put a punch or kick exactly where you want it, when you want to.

IMO, all the "warm-ups" and all the crap defeats the purpose. Ideally you should make sure the holders have the break set up correctly — then break.

To put a kick or punch on a stationary object?? again i dont see the point I could simply draw an x on a punch bag or use a speed ball, that would enable IMO to better my ability to land punches and kicks exactly where I would want them to when I want to.

If your in the business of breaking bits of wood them im sure it is a good skill to learn but im not.

And have I tried it yes I must admit I have, and again I learned nothing from it maybe its me......
 
Top