Breaking your boards, blocks, and BONES!

Em MacIntosh

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Personally, I'm a bareknuckle boxer. I've used the makiwara and iron palm training to harden my hands for the last six years. Now I have some deadly clubs. I've proven to myself the effectiveness of breaking. If you're willing to trade in your mits for clubs it's a high price. Look how long it takes me to write these posts!
 

zDom

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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......

Too often when using a punch bag or speed ball, people are only considering the X and Y axis and ignoring the Y — penetration.

I have found board breaking is a great way to show a student that they are NOT striking effectively — or to show them that they ARE.

I have noticed over the years those who break with ease also have dangerous power in their techniques. Those who aren't so good at breaking, not so much.
 

Last Fearner

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I think Kacey summed up the answers to your questions quite nicely, geocad. It really takes learning it from a knowledgeable Master first, then the student begins to understand what it is for, why do it, and how to do it correctly. It is not something you should guess at, be self taught, or learn by trial and error, in my opinion.

What did that famous guy say? "Boards don't hit back!"
Anyone who has stood in the wrong place during a board breaking demo might disagree with that. However, that quote is so over-used, and makes as much sense as saying, "why chew your food? It didn't bite you first!"

Bags don't hit back either, but we still train on bags. Why do they wreck brand new cars in those crash tests. It doesn't exactly compare to a real accident, but it is similar. It is a test to see what happens under extreme circumstances. Yes, everything in those crash tests are set up just right. Angles are adjusted, a machine moves the car, dummies are on board rather than live humans (thank goodness), and a bunch of preparation with bells and whistles going off before each crash - - safety.

The point is that they get results from which they can analyze and learn something about real crashes and the chances of survival for live human occupants.

1. What's the point of breaking inanimate objects?
Would you suggest breaking animate objects - such as human beings. Alternate target gives feedback through positive results while saving pain and suffering of human partners.

The point is, total destruction of a human bone requires specific force depending on the size and location of the bone. Boards of varying numbers require a specific force to break them.

Exceed the amount of force by breaking more boards than necessary to seriously damage a human being, and you know for sure that your power is sufficient. No guessing by hitting a bag and hoping it is done correctly. Only way to be sure is to actually hit a person. Short of that, breaking is verifiable proof that you have done that single technique with sufficient force. Then move on to practice the next technique, and so on.

I understand demonstrating power punches and kicks, but isn't there a better way to do it then risking SERIOUS injury?

There are "risks" of injury in any physical activity. However, risk of "SERIOUS" injury typically comes from improper breaking practice due to not being trained by a qualified instructor, or from attempting more difficult breaks than you are really prepared for. Again, inexperience.

The point of breaking is: total destruction of a human bone requires specific force depending on the size and location of the bone. Boards of varying numbers require a specific force to break them.

Exceed the amount of force by breaking more boards than necessary to seriously damage a human being, and you know for sure that your power is sufficient. No guessing by hitting a bag and hoping it is done correctly. Only way to be sure is to actually hit a person and break bones. Short of that, breaking boards is verifiable proof that you have done that single technique with sufficient force. Then move on to practice the next technique, and so on.

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

Not for the serious practitioner. You can develop power without breaking, and have confidence that your skill will work. However, breaking is one, extremely effective test that demonstrates it to yourself, as well as to an audience (provided your materials are not rigged). But more than a demonstration, it is a skill building process that makes a student better to achieve maximum power at a moment's notice the more they practice breaking, and to be able to deliver that power quickly, and accurately without hesitation. Eventually, it becomes a reflex to strike with devastating 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?
Young bones are not fully developed, nor ready for such impact as an adult. Plus, it is not necessary. Children's self defense is generally geared toward initial strikes, distractions, and slight damage enough to escape and get away. Enough force to dislocate a knee or elbow, or to crack a rib, break the nose or dislocate the jaw is sufficiently demonstrated by breaking one or two boards. No need for kids to punch boards with knuckles. Knife hands, forearms, and kicks are practical weapons that get the job done.

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.
This is a question about the how, rather than the why, thus I will leave that to your own instructor to teach you. I don't prefer to teach openly over the internet for the mass of others who might learn bits and pieces and misuse the knowledge.

I just don't get it (yet) but maybe someday I will with your help.
Perhaps someday - - perhaps with your instructor's help!


CM D.J. Eisenhart
 

Last Fearner

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"Don't know. Never been attacked by tree."-Mr. Miyagi

I think Miyagi (a fictional movie character - not really a master) also said about breaking boards, "why break board? What board ever do to you?"

I have yet to have a student quote me that ridiculous line, but I would be tempted to hit them over the head with a board and say, "there, the board hit you. Now you have a reason to break the board." (lol - just kidding) :ultracool

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.

Yes, this is the goal of advanced students. I teach this to all of my high ranks and black belts, as well as to be able to quickly go through a series of breaks (different stations) within a few seconds. But beginner students have to start somewhere, and it is safer for them to take their time and do it right.

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."
There are a few reasons for demonstrating breaking this way. First, some breaks are showing power way beyond what is ever necessary in real-life, thus they are demonstrating the awesome potential of the human body. It is best to be safe and not injure yourself because of careless rushing. Secondly, many breaks have become easy for advanced practitioners to perform due to years of practice.

However, if they just walked out and smashed through it like a baseball bat through a glass window, the audience would not realize the true power, and years of training it took to master that. Thus, much of the preparation on easier breaks is to build it up so the audience does not believe it is so easy to do, or that the materials are "fixed" to break easy. Finally, you might be surprised to know that the person who takes so long to prepare a break in demo could actually do the same thing in split second timing if they chose.

Impressive as it is it's not combat aplicable.
It is not the break itself that is combat applicable. It is the power that is demonstrated, and yes, a skilled breaker can whip that same power into action in real combat.

Also, some people are under the misconception that a real, live person won't hold still for you to take time to focus on a target like we do when we break. Other than the fact that we can hit with power fast if we choose, it is not practical to initiate attacks of high power while an opponent is alert, and able to move about. The idea is that you perform a quick strike to a knee, groin, rib, kidney, neck, throat, eyes, or some other vital spot to temporarily stun, and immobilize your attacker for just about 1 to 2 seconds, which is plenty of time to generate that focused power of a breaking technique to whatever target you choose.

Not to mention it's a lot harder to break a human than a brick.
I don't know how many humans you have tried to break, or how many bricks you have attempted to demolish, but humans break a lot easier (in my experience).

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.

I might be mistaken on this, but it sounds like you are doing a lot of experimentation, and self-teaching by trial and error. Do you have an instructor who is helping to guide you through this learning process?

With respect,
CM D.J. Eisenhart
 

Odin

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Too often when using a punch bag or speed ball, people are only considering the X and Y axis and ignoring the Y — penetration.

I have found board breaking is a great way to show a student that they are NOT striking effectively — or to show them that they ARE.

I have noticed over the years those who break with ease also have dangerous power in their techniques. Those who aren't so good at breaking, not so much.

I disagree with that, maybe if you have never been shown how to throw a punch, one of the main purposes of a punch bag is to improve your power and form, go to any boxing/MMA gym and you'll see the trainers put thier students on the bags first and foremost.

As for penatration (lol) the bag is one of the first tools used to learn the correct distance of a punch/kick and in that distance you learn how to make your strikes penatrate effectively ( mainly by watching how far the bag moves )

I just find Bags more practical, I think breaking boards and bricks has nothing to do with teaching anything i think its more of a visual thing.
 

Odin

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The point of breaking is: total destruction of a human bone requires specific force depending on the size and location of the bone. Boards of varying numbers require a specific force to break them.

Exceed the amount of force by breaking more boards than necessary to seriously damage a human being, and you know for sure that your power is sufficient.

I disagree with that, the time and focus a lot of people take before breaking the board leads me to think it would not translate well when they need to ''break'' a human...i for one would not stand allow someone to.

A square wooden board has not the same dimensions as a human bone wrapped in muscle and also the way in which a board is broken is due to the way in which it is held and where it is struck, the human body on the other hand is not supported in such a way nor has a permanant breaking point since it is more mobile and absorbs impact better then a piece of wood..and as such i find it difficult to to compare bones which boards...especially in a fight situation.
 

zDom

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I disagree with that, maybe if you have never been shown how to throw a punch, one of the main purposes of a punch bag is to improve your power and form, go to any boxing/MMA gym and you'll see the trainers put thier students on the bags first and foremost.

As for penatration (lol) the bag is one of the first tools used to learn the correct distance of a punch/kick and in that distance you learn how to make your strikes penatrate effectively ( mainly by watching how far the bag moves )

I just find Bags more practical, I think breaking boards and bricks has nothing to do with teaching anything i think its more of a visual thing.


(shrug)

That's your opinion.

My opinion is, bags and focus pads are the tool for TRAINING power and focus; boards are a fun way to test and demonstrate that power and focus.

We don't stand around with stacks of wood and break during training sessions, fwiw. It is an occassional thing. We don't strap a white belt on someone and then put a board in front of them to learn how to punch. You really seem to have a lot of misconceptions about what goes on inside a traditional martial art school.

We DO however, teach proper form before putting them on a bag. We don't tape wrists and proper form (along with the development of wrist strength) is critical to preventing injury.

I've been doing this for 15 years and I've seen plenty of people who THINK they are really getting it on the bag or focus pad but when they make an attempt on a board, fail.

And MOVING the bag indicates PUSH, not penetration. You should try to FOLD the bag, not "move" the bag. The most powerful strikes move only the middle of the bag while the top and bottom stay roughly in the same spot until the bag unfolds... then it moves.

A board break attempt can demonstrate if they are pushing or penetrating.

Anyway, it isn't just a matter of physical ability — there is a pyschological component. When faced with a target that has the potential to hurt the hand or foot, some people slow down their technique — unless trained to circumvent their inhibitions.

I've seen a lot of MMA stylists even at the top levels who could really benefit from some traditional striking training. Then, perhaps, they could get that knockout after ONE punch instead of drawing a fight stoppage from a sloppy flurry that really isn't doing all that much damage.

Interestingly enough, Liddell — someone who DOES have that traditional training in his background — is among the MMA guys who DOES have single-punch knockout power ... or is it really FOCUS? ;)
 

Odin

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[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif'](shrug)

That's your opinion.

My opinion is, bags and focus pads are the tool for TRAINING power and focus; boards are a fun way to test and demonstrate that power and focus.

[/FONT]

[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']I agree I think its just for fun rather then for actual training.[/FONT]
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We don't stand around with stacks of wood and break during training sessions, fwiw. It is an occasional thing. We don't strap a white belt on someone and then put a board in front of them to learn how to punch. You really seem to have a lot of misconceptions about what goes on inside a traditional martial art school.[/FONT]

[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif'] [/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']When did I say that?what misconception have I given other then disagreeing about the practicality of breaking boards?


I've been doing this for 15 years and I've seen plenty of people who THINK they are really getting it on the bag or focus pad but when they make an attempt on a board, fail.

And MOVING the bag indicates PUSH, not penetration. You should try to FOLD the bag, not "move" the bag. The most powerful strikes move only the middle of the bag while the top and bottom stay roughly in the same spot until the bag unfolds... then it moves.[/FONT]

[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif'] [/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']??? but it does move, which is what I said.and because of the padding used in pads you usually find it folds,to be honest you get to a point in training when you know how good a punch or kick lands, from what i have been taught all kicks and punches are taught to ''penatrate'' turning through your attacks is a core training technique.

A board break attempt can demonstrate if they are pushing or penetrating.

[/FONT]

[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']I don’t think so if someone is supporting the board at either side a you push against it on the breaking point it will break, so the push would therefore become a penetrating motion.[/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']
Anyway, it isn't just a matter of physical ability — there is a psychological component. When faced with a target that has the potential to hurt the hand or foot, some people slow down their technique — unless trained to circumvent their inhibitions.[/FONT]

[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif'] [/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']

I've seen a lot of MMA stylists even at the top levels who could really benefit from some traditional striking training. Then, perhaps, they could get that knockout after ONE punch instead of drawing a fight stoppage from a sloppy flurry that really isn't doing all that much damage.

Interestingly enough, Liddell — someone who DOES have that traditional training in his background — is among the MMA guys who DOES have single-punch knockout power ... or is it really FOCUS? [/FONT]


Im pretty sure breaking bricks in not in chuck liddels training log, nor is his overhand right a kenpo move that I know of ( : …..Nice try though, I will say though that Focus is something that all fighters train in, it is impossiable to be a successful fighter without showing the highest level of focus during a fight.

but
 

Odin

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[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif'](shrug)

That's your opinion.

My opinion is, bags and focus pads are the tool for TRAINING power and focus; boards are a fun way to test and demonstrate that power and focus.

I agree I think its just for fun rather then for actual training.

We don't stand around with stacks of wood and break during training sessions, fwiw. It is an occasional thing. We don't strap a white belt on someone and then put a board in front of them to learn how to punch. You really seem to have a lot of misconceptions about what goes on inside a traditional martial art school.[/FONT]

[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif'] [/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']When did I say that?what misconception have I given other then disagreeing about the practicality of breaking boards?


I've been doing this for 15 years and I've seen plenty of people who THINK they are really getting it on the bag or focus pad but when they make an attempt on a board, fail.

And MOVING the bag indicates PUSH, not penetration. You should try to FOLD the bag, not "move" the bag. The most powerful strikes move only the middle of the bag while the top and bottom stay roughly in the same spot until the bag unfolds... then it moves.[/FONT]

[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif'] [/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']??? but it does move, which is what I said.and because of the padding used in pads you usually find it folds,to be honest you get to a point in your training when you know if you have delivered an effective punch, plus twisting your bodywieght through your punch is a core technique, if your not your doing something wrong.[/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']
A board break attempt can demonstrate if they are pushing or penetrating.


[/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']I don’t think so, if someone is supporting the board at either side a ndyou push against it on the breaking point it will break, so the push would therefore become a penetrating motion, they are both the same thing in that respect.[/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif'][/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']
Anyway, it isn't just a matter of physical ability — there is a psychological component. When faced with a target that has the potential to hurt the hand or foot, some people slow down their technique — unless trained to circumvent their inhibitions.[/FONT]

[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif'] [/FONT]
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']Which they should do, under circumstances other then the ones created in the Dojo striking a brick with your bare hand is nto a good idea.IMO

I've seen a lot of MMA stylists even at the top levels who could really benefit from some traditional striking training. Then, perhaps, they could get that knockout after ONE punch instead of drawing a fight stoppage from a sloppy flurry that really isn't doing all that much damage.

Interestingly enough, Liddell — someone who DOES have that traditional training in his background — is among the MMA guys who DOES have single-punch knockout power ... or is it really FOCUS? [/FONT]


Im pretty sure breaking bricks in not in chuck liddels training log, nor is his overhand right a kenpo move that I know of( : …..Nice try though, I will say though that Focus is something that all fighters train in, it is impossiable to be a successful fighter without showing the highest level of focus during a fight.
 

zDom

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Im pretty sure breaking bricks in not in chuck liddels training log, nor is his overhand right a kenpo move that I know of( : …..Nice try though, I will say though that Focus is something that all fighters train in, it is impossiable to be a successful fighter without showing the highest level of focus during a fight.

Did you read what I wrote? I bet you are right in that Chuck doesn't train by breaking boards on a regular basis — but I am also willing to bet that he did some breaking somewhere along the line during his Kenpo training and found the experience helpful in developing single-punch knockout focus.

Regarding your comment about it being "impossiable to be a successful fighter without showing the highest level of focus during a fight,"

I am thinking that perhaps you don't even understand what I mean when I am talking about focus in regards to a striking technique. I am not talking about overall mental focus.

I am talking about the ability to put a punch exactly where you intend to put it.

Surely you aren't going to claim that MMA fighters have focused punching? Most of them, even at the top levels, regularly throw wild punches that don't even connect with a target, much less hit a specific target.

As a group, they aren't the best strikers. Most wouldn't make it through the first round with a real boxer, for example, or with a Muay Thai fighter.

I am talking about hitting SMALL specific targets. Not "the head" (which they very often miss or land only glancing blows anyway) but a small, specific target such as temple, cheekbone, bridge of the nose, etc.

"Aim small, miss small."

Most of the MMA fighters I've seen are inaccurate when it comes to even hitting a general target like the head, so what would indicate to you that they have any ability to not only hit where they want on a X - Y axis, but also with a specific Z depth — that is, far enough IN to the target to achieve maximum power (not TOO close, as you don't get full extension and full speed, and thus full power; while at the same time not just hitting the surface plane, making "contact" but barely so no REAL force is delivered).

If you opened your eyes and ears and actually read what people are writing here on Martial Talk instead of just looking for an opportunity to declare yet again how perfect the MMA system is, you might come to realize that there is a lot to learn about striking that you won't learn by watching MMA fighters on TV or even in a MMA gym.

But if you are happy just being a cheerleader for the MMA movement, I wish you the best of luck — especially if you ever have to depend on your striking to defend your self, family or friends.
 

Odin

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Did you read what I wrote?

Of course i did why would i have replied if i didnt?

I bet you are right in that Chuck doesn't train by breaking boards on a regular basis — but I am also willing to bet that he did some breaking somewhere along the line during his Kenpo training and found the experience helpful in developing single-punch knockout focus.

I once did Tia chi, yet none of that has related well into MMA or muay thai, surly Chuck Liddels kickboxing background has more to do with his knock out power then when he used to occasionally break bricks at the age of 15?

Regarding your comment about it being "impossiable to be a successful fighter without showing the highest level of focus during a fight,"

I am thinking that perhaps you don't even understand what I mean when I am talking about focus in regards to a striking technique. I am not talking about overall mental focus.

I am talking about the ability to put a punch exactly where you intend to put it.

??? chuck liddell hardly does that either.
If your not focused mentally during a fight, how can you be focused on your targets or strikes?? that makes no sense.
May be you dont spar enough but to me its both the same thing.

Surely you aren't going to claim that MMA fighters have focused punching? Most of them, even at the top levels, regularly throw wild punches that don't even connect with a target, much less hit a specific target.

I see top level boxers do the same?infact all fighters do the same.
again though how would breaking a sationary piece of wood relate to throwing a punch at a moving target? im not sure i know what your point is here.

As a group, they aren't the best strikers. Most wouldn't make it through the first round with a real boxer, for example, or with a Muay Thai fighter.

You'd be surprised, most of them are ex boxers and ex-muay thai fighters, but then boxers and thai fighters dont have to worry about being taken down.

I am talking about hitting SMALL specific targets. Not "the head" (which they very often miss or land only glancing blows anyway) but a small, specific target such as temple, cheekbone, bridge of the nose, etc.

"Aim small, miss small."

Again a piece of wood is either held infront of you or is placed between to objects??? how does this tranlate to hitting specific points????


Most of the MMA fighters I've seen are inaccurate when it comes to even hitting a general target like the head, so what would indicate to you that they have any ability to not only hit where they want on a X - Y axis, but also with a specific Z depth — that is, far enough IN to the target to achieve maximum power (not TOO close, as you don't get full extension and full speed, and thus full power; while at the same time not just hitting the surface plane, making "contact" but barely so no REAL force is delivered).

Really? what have you been watching TUF i suspect.

Mirko's left leg hits a target quite well, Andy souwers fists seem to connect quite well too......im not sure what you are watching.


If you opened your eyes and ears and actually read what people are writing here on Martial Talk instead of just looking for an opportunity to declare yet again how perfect the MMA system is, you might come to realize that there is a lot to learn about striking that you won't learn by watching MMA fighters on TV or even in a MMA gym.

But if you are happy just being a cheerleader for the MMA movement, I wish you the best of luck — especially if you ever have to depend on your striking to defend your self, family or friends.

LOL the funny thing is, i never mentioned MMA, infact my first posts was in relation to muay thai and boxing .....I think what you need to do Zdom is ''actually read what people here on martialtalk are writing'' instead of assuming that everything is an attack on TMA, you might learn a lot.
I gave an example of an alternative training method if its not your cup of tea then fine.

you need to take off your TMA hat off and think outside the box.

After all what is the point of a discussion forum if all we're going to do is agree.
 

zDom

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I once did Tia chi, yet none of that has related well into MMA or muay thai, surly Chuck Liddels kickboxing background has more to do with his knock out power then when he used to occasionally break bricks at the age of 15?

We are all the sum of our experiences. If you want to write off the benefits of breaking, that's fine by me. But I maintain there are useful things that are learned by the experience of breaking objects (not to be confused with training breaking on a regular basis).

??? chuck liddell hardly does that either.
If your not focused mentally during a fight, how can you be focused on your targets or strikes?? that makes no sense.
May be you dont spar enough but to me its both the same thing.

Never meant to convey that being mentally focused isn't an important part of fighting. I was just pointing out that "focus" in regards to striking is something else entirely. Both are important in fights involving striking.

I see top level boxers do the same?infact all fighters do the same.
again though how would breaking a sationary piece of wood relate to throwing a punch at a moving target? im not sure i know what your point is here.

It trains accuracy — three dimensional (four dimensional, if you count time?) accuracy. Training accuracy is progressive. First you make sure you are accurate on a stationary object. Then, when you know you can put a strike exactly where you want it, you move on to moving targets.

I'm sure gunnery experts would advise the same progression. This way you know, if you are having accuracy problems, if it is a tracking problem or just basic accuracy.

Again, you mistakenly infer that because we practice on stationary targets, that we exclusively train stationary objects. Not true.

Again, it is a progression. You start with stationary, specific targets to make sure you are accurate, then move on to moving objects.

We train moving objects such as heavy bags, focus mits, moving tennis balls on a string, one-step sparring partners, and free-sparring partners. Frequently.

You'd be surprised, most of them are ex boxers and ex-muay thai fighters, but then boxers and thai fighters dont have to worry about being taken down.

Most? I would agree some, or even many. But then some are fighters that couldn't cut it as a boxer or muay thai fighter so they moved to a different type of competition.

Again a piece of wood is either held infront of you or is placed between to objects??? how does this tranlate to hitting specific points????

See above. If you don't hit the right place, the board doesn't break. It is conclusive evidence of accuracy.

Really? what have you been watching TUF i suspect.

Mirko's left leg hits a target quite well, Andy souwers fists seem to connect quite well too......im not sure what you are watching.

I've watched TUF and title fights on television. I've watched local MMA competitions. Not all MMA fighters are inaccurate; there are exceptions and those who ARE accurate usually do VERY well.

Which supports my point: train accuracy, and you will get results.

A great many MMA competitors appear to really lack accuracy and should, IMO, focus on that aspect to improve their game.

Give me a MMA stylist who is struggling with accuracy issues for 3 or 4 months, and I will send him back an improved fighter.

LOL the funny thing is, i never mentioned MMA, infact my first posts was in relation to muay thai and boxing .....I think what you need to do Zdom is ''actually read what people here on martialtalk are writing'' instead of assuming that everything is an attack on TMA, you might learn a lot.
I gave an example of an alternative training method if its not your cup of tea then fine.

you need to take off your TMA hat off and think outside the box.

After all what is the point of a discussion forum if all we're going to do is agree.

I'm not taking it as an attack on TMA. I'm just trying to say,

"Open YOUR minds: (some) TMAs out there have a LOT to offer someone interested in MMA competition."

As for the alternative training methods, I'm not sure I've seen you suggest anything that we aren't already doing on a regular basis and HAVE been doing since 1969 when MSK was established in the U.S.

But I do keep an open mind and an eye out for new and interesting training methods.

Please feel free to share specific drills using focus pads or heavy bags, etc., as I am always looking for new training angles.

Variety is GOOD.

If anybody is interested, I am willing to share some of OUR specific training methods. After all, breaking is a very small and infrequent part of what we do. Perhaps you would be interested in hearing what we do on a more regular basis.

Cheers and best of luck in your training,
 

Last Fearner

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Quote by zDom to Odin: "Surely you aren't going to claim that MMA fighters have focused punching? Most of them, even at the top levels, regularly throw wild punches that don't even connect with a target, much less hit a specific target."
[my emphasis added]

I see top level boxers do the same?infact all fighters do the same.

Odin, this portion of your quote which I underlined, would be incorrect. In Taekwondo, for instance, I have learned (and teach my students) that techniques should be accurately directed to a specific target. Throwing wild, unfocused or uncontrolled punches or kicks is the sign of an unskilled fighter (according to our philosophy). Not all techniques will land on their intended target, however, not ALL fighters swing wildly.

The point of breaking is: total destruction of a human bone requires specific force depending on the size and location of the bone. Boards of varying numbers require a specific force to break them.

Exceed the amount of force by breaking more boards than necessary to seriously damage a human being, and you know for sure that your power is sufficient.

I disagree with that, the time and focus a lot of people take before breaking the board leads me to think it would not translate well when they need to ''break'' a human...

Apparently, zDom is correct. You are either not reading other posts completely, or you are not understanding what is being written! I already answered your above comment in my previous post:

many breaks have become easy for advanced practitioners to perform due to years of practice.

However, if they just walked out and smashed through it like a baseball bat through a glass window, the audience would not realize the true power, and years of training it took to master that. Thus, much of the preparation on easier breaks is to build it up so the audience does not believe it is so easy to do, or that the materials are "fixed" to break easy.

Finally, you might be surprised to know that the person who takes so long to prepare a break in demo could actually do the same thing in split second timing if they chose.

Then, you stated this:
i for one would not stand allow someone to.

This too was already addressed. Did you not read it???

Also, some people are under the misconception that a real, live person won't hold still for you to take time to focus on a target like we do when we break. Other than the fact that we can hit with power fast if we choose, it is not practical to initiate attacks of high power while an opponent is alert, and able to move about. The idea is that you perform a quick strike to a knee, groin, rib, kidney, neck, throat, eyes, or some other vital spot to temporarily stun, and immobilize your attacker for just about 1 to 2 seconds, which is plenty of time to generate that focused power of a breaking technique to whatever target you choose.


A square wooden board has not the same dimensions as a human bone wrapped in muscle and also the way in which a board is broken is due to the way in which it is held and where it is struck, the human body on the other hand is not supported in such a way nor has a permanant breaking point since it is more mobile and absorbs impact better then a piece of wood..and as such i find it difficult to to compare bones which boards...especially in a fight situation.

Yes, YOU might find it difficult to compare. I would not expect someone who lacks advanced training in this skill to understand how it compares. However, here it is in a nutshell. Rather than trying to think "bones are difficult to break, thus I don't see how breaking boards could help," try to understand some basic facts:

1. Bones can and do break.

2. Many times, bones are broken by accident under very basic circumstances in sports and other physical activities.

3. It really does not take as much force to break these long round anatomical structures, padded by muscle, fat, tendons, ligaments, and skin as many people think (if you have had experience with breaking other people's bones, or your own bones as I have, you might realize this - they are not that difficult to break).

4. The amount of FORCE required to break a square, flat board, held firmly in people's hands, or in a sturdy board holder, is still measurable as to the amount of force the student is capable of delivering - regardless of the target.
- - Fact: A student who can NOT break one board has not developed their technique properly, thus is not yet capable of delivering the force necessary to break any major bones.
- - Fact: A student who CAN break 3 boards, has improved their ability to deliver the force necessary to break some bones. Translating that ability to practical application is another part of training, but it is a necessary ability, whether you gain that ability by breaking boards or through some other method.
- - Fact: A student who can demonstrate breaking 6 boards with some concentration and focus, will be better able to whip quickly through 3 or 4 boards without having to think about it, or take time to focus. Thus, that student will break a person's bone without hesitation, or stopping to focus on the person's body. It will become a quick, natural reflexive action.

As for penatration (lol) the bag is one of the first tools used to learn the correct distance of a punch/kick and in that distance you learn how to make your strikes penatrate effectively ( mainly by watching how far the bag moves )

Here is a major misunderstanding about distance, penetration, momentum, acceleration, and muscle memory. While I'm not going to go into an in-depth lesson on how to break boards properly, I will attempt to correct some errors in thinking about the bag vs. breaking. The bag is not bad, it just serves a different part of training. Techniques that strike a bag resembles what happens when you hit a person's body (good training - for certain purposes).

Conversely, the technique that strikes nothing but air, completes the full use of muscles without interruption. This creates a muscle memory that is valuable when improving striking power, and the penetration of a target. This is one reason why most fighters (including boxers) will "shadow box." There are benefits to teaching your brain to "think" the technique will be completed. This is why a golfer completes the follow through on his swing, even though the ball has already left the club. If the golfer plans to stop a few inches after the ball has departed, his brain is already sending signals to the muscles to stop before he has hit the ball, thus affecting the power of the swing.

Breaking boards accomplishes two very important muscle memory skills. It teaches the brain how to prepare for an impact (as opposed to just shadow boxing), yet forces the brain to accelerate and continue to drive the technique through and beyond the target, allowing the muscles to go ahead and complete the technique to the end (as opposed to punching a bag). It might be difficult for a "non-breaker" to understand the full benefit of this training, but it is a fact that it is an invaluable skill achieved only through breaking.

Now, understand this - - there are a few schools of thought on this.

A. Breaking has no value, can not improve power, and does not translate to real life combat or self defense.

B. Breaking can improve power, but the same power can be attained without practicing breaking.

C. Breaking is a necessary part of developing power, therefore maximum striking power can not be achieved without breaking practice.

I would not go so far as to support theory "C," but I do believe, from my many years of experience as a breaker, that theory "A" is absolutely wrong, without foundation, and usually comes from a lack of experience on the subject (an "outsiders" point of view from the viewpoint of breakers). Breaking does provide a level of training that does not exist anywhere else, but this does not mean that you can not develop power without it.

quotes by Odin:

"I think breaking boards and bricks has nothing to do with teaching anything i think its more of a visual thing."

"again though how would breaking a sationary piece of wood relate to throwing a punch at a moving target?"

"Again a piece of wood is either held infront of you or is placed between to objects??? how does this tranlate to hitting specific points????"

It seems clear to me that you have more questions than answers, which shows that you are not experienced on this subject. It translates (in my opinion) as, "I don't know how to do it, thus I don't see how it could possibly work or be used in a real fight."

You think breaking boards does not teach anything. Consider the game of golf. Hit the long drive from the tee or the fairway, chip onto the green, and putt the ball into the hole. Rather than just always playing an 18 hole game, most golfers will spend time on a Driving Range. Then they will practice chipping shots onto a green, over and over. Finally, they will practice their putting game (a lot of time on this). All of the individual skills are put together for a good game.

Striking a target first involves learning the proper technique. Then, you must learn how to hit a target without missing. This begins with stationary accuracy (focus mitts, kicking target drills, bag work, single board breaking, etc.), then moves into accurately tracking targets and striking a moving target. Next, the student must increase the power of their strike (multiple board breaking is an invaluable tool here), and then combine power with accuracy by learning to strike a moving target without sacrificing too much power. Finally, the fighter is going to learn proper distancing, timing, deception and delivery of the technique so they can get it in past the opponent's defenses - - or, as I said before, knock them senseless with a quick technique, then take all the time needed for the power strike.

Board breaking helps to improve power, verifies there is power (even if it was developed without breaking), teaches pin-point accuracy, and muscle memory for full extension. The transition of those important skills to hitting a moving target is a secondary, albeit important, part of training. Learning to Break Boards is not inhibiting to one's ability to strike a live, moving target, it is a base skill which is then translated to combat phase by practicing hitting moving targets.

It is like learning to shoot a stationary target accurately with a BB-gun, then a .22, then a rifle, then an M-60 machine gun, then an armor piercing rocket launcher. After you get accurate on a stationary target with the more powerful weapon, you start learning to hit a moving target with the same power.

In conclusion, I will say that anyone who believes that Breaking Boards does not equate to breaking bones in the human body has simply not developed the skill of breaking or they would understand the comparison of power. Perhaps that person is lacking in experience in both breaking, and the knowledge of feeling bones break (their own, or someone else's). To a person who knows this feeling, there is no question or doubt about it.

If you don't think a breaker can translate that power and focus to quickly strike a moving target with the same power, you've never really encountered a skilled breaker in action (in my opinion). :ultracool

CM D.J. Eisenhart
 

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Great posts CM E, thank you Sir!
On a tangent, do you know the correct Hangul for Kyupka? I've been a avid fan of brick breaking for over 20 years and I'd love to do some artwork based around that. Also, do you know if there is reference made to specific materials, or if it is all covered by the single word?

Back to the thread, I'd add, but CME and zDom already have covered the points more than adequately.
 

exile

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I think maybe one way to convey the value of board breaking (at least to someone with a certain amount of atheletic experience) is bring up the difference between subjective experiences of athletic performances on the one hand vs. what actual measurements show. When I was a ski racer, I sometimes did trial runs through slalom gates that I was convinced were the best I'd ever done... but the clock showed in fact that they were sometimes slower than previous performances which I'd actually felt out-and-out sluggish on! I could never figure that out, but I came to accept that the subjective sensation of a great ski run wasn't necessarily reflected in what the objective record showed. And I've talked with tennis players (service speed) and sprinters (time over a 100m dash) who had experience with those parameters that was very similar. It's clear that no matter what kind of sensations you experience in any physical activity, you can't actually quantify your performance reliably based on those sensations.

Now apply that lesson to power generation in a strike. How hard are you hitting? Can you tell? If my and many other people's athletic experiences are any guide, you can't. You need some way to quantify that. Well, you could go for a specially constructed heavy bag hooked up to a strain guage or some more advanced electronic analogue, to give you an objective reading of force delivery from a leg or arm tech, if you have six figures that you don't have anything else you'd rather do with. OR, you can get some 1x10x12 boards and try to break them, using opimal technique (don't try this at home, unless you've already had some careful guidance by an experienced instructor who knows how to break safely and has worked with you on that task). The fact is that as your technique and power generation improves, you will know it, not on the basis of vague subjective impressions, but on the basis of the number of boards you can break in a given fixed physical setup. A board is, in the first place, a (relatively) constant unit that you can use to identify how effectively you can deliver force to a target—a matter of some interest to a martial artist, no?—in exactly the same way that the amount of weight you can bench-press tells you how strong your upper body is relative to your previous bench-press numbers. Like weight lifting, board-breaking both measures a certain capability and assists in the efficient development of that ability. Each board in the breaking stack is an objective measure of technically correct force delivery, just as every 45lb wheel on a barbell that you can bench is an objective measure of explosive strength.

But unlike my skiing stopwatch, or the electronic measurement of a tennis serve, or the hypothetical heavy bag with embedded electronic sensors, or even an attempted benchpress at a certain weight, a stack of boards punishes you for incorrect technique. Misalign a punching break on a serious stack without dividers (as I did a couple of years ago) and you spend four months with your hand in a spint (as I did a couple of years ago). Even if you don't break anything, you face a good deal of discomfort in delivering a sharp, hard strike that fails to break the stack. So this is not only an effective way to quantify your performance, and develop technique for that performance, it also gives you a very good incentive for learning the right way of carrying out the performance.

The intimidation factor has a positive payoff: it forces you to rise to the occasion. If you can overcome that intimidation to deliver a consistently successful strike to a stack of boards—and this can be learned, with practice and careful oversight—you know you've acquired a major technical skill in striking that you can turn against an attacker at will. That is a very good feeling to have. But there's nothing wrong with not doing it, Odin. I see rejection of breaking the same way I see rejection of kata/hyungs/etc.: it's your choice, and if you don't want to take advantage of the skill development that accompanies learning to break, on the one hand, and learning the effective combat techs encoded in the forms, on the other... it's all the same to me, or anyone else.
 

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Phenomenal post exile, very well put.
I think that was a great way to relate it outside of the arts, an analogy that really makes sense.
 

terryl965

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I think maybe one way to convey the value of board breaking (at least to someone with a certain amount of atheletic experience) is bring up the difference between subjective experiences of athletic performances on the one hand vs. what actual measurements show. When I was a ski racer, I sometimes did trial runs through slalom gates that I was convinced were the best I'd ever done... but the clock showed in fact that they were sometimes slower than previous performances which I'd actually felt out-and-out sluggish on! I could never figure that out, but I came to accept that the subjective sensation of a great ski run wasn't necessarily reflected in what the objective record showed. And I've talked with tennis players (service speed) and sprinters (time over a 100m dash) who had experience with those parameters that was very similar. It's clear that no matter what kind of sensations you experience in any physical activity, you can't actually quantify your performance reliably based on those sensations.

Now apply that lesson to power generation in a strike. How hard are you hitting? Can you tell? If my and many other people's athletic experiences are any guide, you can't. You need some way to quantify that. Well, you could go for a specially constructed heavy bag hooked up to a strain guage or some more advanced electronic analogue, to give you an objective reading of force delivery from a leg or arm tech, if you have six figures that you don't have anything else you'd rather do with. OR, you can get some 1x10x12 boards and try to break them, using opimal technique (don't try this at home, unless you've already had some careful guidance by an experienced instructor who knows how to break safely and has worked with you on that task). The fact is that as your technique and power generation improves, you will know it, not on the basis of vague subjective impressions, but on the basis of the number of boards you can break in a given fixed physical setup. A board is, in the first place, a (relatively) constant unit that you can use to identify how effectively you can deliver force to a target—a matter of some interest to a martial artist, no?—in exactly the same way that the amount of weight you can bench-press tells you how strong your upper body is relative to your previous bench-press numbers. Like weight lifting, board-breaking both measures a certain capability and assists in the efficient development of that ability. Each board in the breaking stack is an objective measure of technically correct force delivery, just as every 45lb wheel on a barbell that you can bench is an objective measure of explosive strength.

But unlike my skiing stopwatch, or the electronic measurement of a tennis serve, or the hypothetical heavy bag with embedded electronic sensors, or even an attempted benchpress at a certain weight, a stack of boards punishes you for incorrect technique. Misalign a punching break on a serious stack without dividers (as I did a couple of years ago) and you spend four months with your hand in a spint (as I did a couple of years ago). Even if you don't break anything, you face a good deal of discomfort in delivering a sharp, hard strike that fails to break the stack. So this is not only an effective way to quantify your performance, and develop technique for that performance, it also gives you a very good incentive for learning the right way of carrying out the performance.

The intimidation factor has a positive payoff: it forces you to rise to the occasion. If you can overcome that intimidation to deliver a consistently successful strike to a stack of boards—and this can be learned, with practice and careful oversight—you know you've acquired a major technical skill in striking that you can turn against an attacker at will. That is a very good feeling to have. But there's nothing wrong with not doing it, Odin. I see rejection of breaking the same way I see rejection of kata/hyungs/etc.: it's your choice, and if you don't want to take advantage of the skill development that accompanies learning to break, on the one hand, and learning the effective combat techs encoded in the forms, on the other... it's all the same to me, or anyone else.


Great post as always.
 

exile

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Great post as always.

Hey Dave, Terry, I appreciate the compliments! :asian:

I really think people could do themselves a big favor by giving the `breaking' concept a chance. It would be a serious addition to their development as martial artists... and certainly has helped me in the domain of striking. It might not be for everyone, but they should at least appreciate the real value it adds to systematic training.
 

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I couldn't agree more exile. For myself, doing things that seemed almost beyond belief, was part of the draw to the martial arts in the outset. I wanted to be able to do... I guess more? Finding that absolute nothing right before I break, that odd state of quiet, then that explosion into that tiny point of impact... Even after so long, I find myself in wonder.

Of course sometimes it's simply a quick 'destroy target' mode, but then I think every time I break, there are some aspects that are unique.

I found this river rock, about 16-18 inches across, about 4 inches thick... I'm going to break that thing heh, but we'll see when. I think I'll go back and read Mas Oyama's section on stone breaking. Might not hurt to find a longer/thinner stone first heh. Get used to the transition and how the materials speed/power/mass transfer feels.
 

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Yes, YOU might find it difficult to compare. I would not expect someone who lacks advanced training in this skill to understand how it compares. However, here it is in a nutshell. Rather than trying to think "bones are difficult to break, thus I don't see how breaking boards could help," try to understand some basic facts:

1. Bones can and do break.

2. Many times, bones are broken by accident under very basic circumstances in sports and other physical activities.

3. It really does not take as much force to break these long round anatomical structures, padded by muscle, fat, tendons, ligaments, and skin as many people think (if you have had experience with breaking other people's bones, or your own bones as I have, you might realize this - they are not that difficult to break).

4. The amount of FORCE required to break a square, flat board, held firmly in people's hands, or in a sturdy board holder, is still measurable as to the amount of force the student is capable of delivering - regardless of the target.
- - Fact: A student who can NOT break one board has not developed their technique properly, thus is not yet capable of delivering the force necessary to break any major bones.
- - Fact: A student who CAN break 3 boards, has improved their ability to deliver the force necessary to break some bones. Translating that ability to practical application is another part of training, but it is a necessary ability, whether you gain that ability by breaking boards or through some other method.
- - Fact: A student who can demonstrate breaking 6 boards with some concentration and focus, will be better able to whip quickly through 3 or 4 boards without having to think about it, or take time to focus. Thus, that student will break a person's bone without hesitation, or stopping to focus on the person's body. It will become a quick, natural reflexive action.



Here is a major misunderstanding about distance, penetration, momentum, acceleration, and muscle memory. While I'm not going to go into an in-depth lesson on how to break boards properly, I will attempt to correct some errors in thinking about the bag vs. breaking. The bag is not bad, it just serves a different part of training. Techniques that strike a bag resembles what happens when you hit a person's body (good training - for certain purposes).

Conversely, the technique that strikes nothing but air, completes the full use of muscles without interruption. This creates a muscle memory that is valuable when improving striking power, and the penetration of a target. This is one reason why most fighters (including boxers) will "shadow box." There are benefits to teaching your brain to "think" the technique will be completed. This is why a golfer completes the follow through on his swing, even though the ball has already left the club. If the golfer plans to stop a few inches after the ball has departed, his brain is already sending signals to the muscles to stop before he has hit the ball, thus affecting the power of the swing.

Breaking boards accomplishes two very important muscle memory skills. It teaches the brain how to prepare for an impact (as opposed to just shadow boxing), yet forces the brain to accelerate and continue to drive the technique through and beyond the target, allowing the muscles to go ahead and complete the technique to the end (as opposed to punching a bag). It might be difficult for a "non-breaker" to understand the full benefit of this training, but it is a fact that it is an invaluable skill achieved only through breaking.

Now, understand this - - there are a few schools of thought on this.

A. Breaking has no value, can not improve power, and does not translate to real life combat or self defense.

B. Breaking can improve power, but the same power can be attained without practicing breaking.

C. Breaking is a necessary part of developing power, therefore maximum striking power can not be achieved without breaking practice.

I would not go so far as to support theory "C," but I do believe, from my many years of experience as a breaker, that theory "A" is absolutely wrong, without foundation, and usually comes from a lack of experience on the subject (an "outsiders" point of view from the viewpoint of breakers). Breaking does provide a level of training that does not exist anywhere else, but this does not mean that you can not develop power without it.

quotes by Odin:

"I think breaking boards and bricks has nothing to do with teaching anything i think its more of a visual thing."

"again though how would breaking a sationary piece of wood relate to throwing a punch at a moving target?"

"Again a piece of wood is either held infront of you or is placed between to objects??? how does this tranlate to hitting specific points????"

It seems clear to me that you have more questions than answers, which shows that you are not experienced on this subject. It translates (in my opinion) as, "I don't know how to do it, thus I don't see how it could possibly work or be used in a real fight."

You think breaking boards does not teach anything. Consider the game of golf. Hit the long drive from the tee or the fairway, chip onto the green, and putt the ball into the hole. Rather than just always playing an 18 hole game, most golfers will spend time on a Driving Range. Then they will practice chipping shots onto a green, over and over. Finally, they will practice their putting game (a lot of time on this). All of the individual skills are put together for a good game.

Striking a target first involves learning the proper technique. Then, you must learn how to hit a target without missing. This begins with stationary accuracy (focus mitts, kicking target drills, bag work, single board breaking, etc.), then moves into accurately tracking targets and striking a moving target. Next, the student must increase the power of their strike (multiple board breaking is an invaluable tool here), and then combine power with accuracy by learning to strike a moving target without sacrificing too much power. Finally, the fighter is going to learn proper distancing, timing, deception and delivery of the technique so they can get it in past the opponent's defenses - - or, as I said before, knock them senseless with a quick technique, then take all the time needed for the power strike.

Board breaking helps to improve power, verifies there is power (even if it was developed without breaking), teaches pin-point accuracy, and muscle memory for full extension. The transition of those important skills to hitting a moving target is a secondary, albeit important, part of training. Learning to Break Boards is not inhibiting to one's ability to strike a live, moving target, it is a base skill which is then translated to combat phase by practicing hitting moving targets.

It is like learning to shoot a stationary target accurately with a BB-gun, then a .22, then a rifle, then an M-60 machine gun, then an armor piercing rocket launcher. After you get accurate on a stationary target with the more powerful weapon, you start learning to hit a moving target with the same power.

In conclusion, I will say that anyone who believes that Breaking Boards does not equate to breaking bones in the human body has simply not developed the skill of breaking or they would understand the comparison of power. Perhaps that person is lacking in experience in both breaking, and the knowledge of feeling bones break (their own, or someone else's). To a person who knows this feeling, there is no question or doubt about it.

If you don't think a breaker can translate that power and focus to quickly strike a moving target with the same power, you've never really encountered a skilled breaker in action (in my opinion). :ultracool

CM D.J. Eisenhart

To answer your question I am a thaiboxer I have been subjected to quite a few broken bones,some of which i have delivered and some of which i have been unfortunate to suffer, and to be honest because of the amount of full contact fighting i am involved in I do have quite a good knowledge of what the Human body can withstand.
your statment of '' you lack advance training, thus why you dont understand'' is lame i would have thought better of you, that sounds like a real mcdojo response, i will give the benifit of the doubt since you did explain what breaking consists of later in your posts.
Also there seem to be a couple jibes in your post which i shall ignore also ( since if i respond i can sense an argument will brew up )

I still dont think you fought a good enough case of how like bones boards are and after having a quick read i found this...

Breaking Boards - the physics of a karate chop


Discover, May, 2000 by Curtis Rist

Scientists say it's not a trick--it just takes blinding speed and a couple thousand newtons
ADVANCED DEGREES IN PHYSICS come in different varieties. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; students earn them by writing a dissertation. At the Karate Institute in midtown Manhattan, they earn them by breaking one-inch-thick pine boards. Lots of them.
Ben Paris, a fourth-degree black belt in tae kwon do, is happy to demonstrate his grasp of the scientific principles.

Rest of the article can be viewed here.


It seems to fall in the middle of what you were saying about focus and what i was sayng about bones.

but alas not wanting be a warmonger, I shall leave this one as a difference of opinion.

PEACE.
 
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