Concrete breaking material. What does everyone use now days???

dcsma

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Hey everyone Just have a question on concrete breaking material. What does everyone use for demonstrations now days??? I'm looking ahead at a demonstration that we are doing next year and getting back into breaking concrete but don't know what is the norm. In the past I've use patio size bricks that where cinder blocks. So along them lines what does everyone use for demonstrations and or testing???
 

Bill Mattocks

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Hey everyone Just have a question on concrete breaking material. What does everyone use for demonstrations now days??? I'm looking ahead at a demonstration that we are doing next year and getting back into breaking concrete but don't know what is the norm. In the past I've use patio size bricks that where cinder blocks. So along them lines what does everyone use for demonstrations and or testing???

We do not break very often in my dojo; maybe twice a year or so. And we don't do demos, nor do we require breaking for promotions.

But when we do break, we break your typical 2x8x16 cement pavers they sell at the local big-box hardware stores like Lowes or Home Depot. We don't do anything special to them, but we do try to avoid the wet ones that have been sitting outside before we buy them.

We do not use spacers between pavers, we stack them one on top of the other. We put them on top of two cinderblocks that we place on their ends, so the pavers are maybe 12 inches or so from the floor. We put a duct-taped phone book on top of the concrete pavers. We break with the palm of our hands, with what we call a 'soft break'. We stand, breathe, raise the striking hand, and try to let it fall like an elephant's trunk while kneeling at the same time so that we're level with the pavers when the hand strikes, more or less. If we broke one paver the previous time, the next time we have to break two, and so on. I am currently trying to break three pavers; can't seem to do it. Our Sensei has broken seven, it is reported. I have seen him break four with my own eyes. I have also seen him break two with the back of his hand from a indian-style sitting position, just dropping his hand on the pavers almost in slow motion, bending only from the elbow, and just demolishing them. They look like they've exploded when he goes through them. Amazing stuff.
 

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I use the regular old 16x8x2 concrete pavers. I don't do anything to them. Bill points out that they try to avoid wet ones, but honestly I haven't noticed any difference. At our last demo (at a school where one of our students teaches) I did a stack of 7 for 7 different groups. Some of the bricks had sat outside in the rain the day and night before, some had been in the garage. I could not tell any difference in how they broke.
 

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I use the regular old 16x8x2 concrete pavers. I don't do anything to them. Bill points out that they try to avoid wet ones, but honestly I haven't noticed any difference. At our last demo (at a school where one of our students teaches) I did a stack of 7 for 7 different groups. Some of the bricks had sat outside in the rain the day and night before, some had been in the garage. I could not tell any difference in how they broke.

You can break seven of them? Awesome!
 

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Never broken bricks. I can understand why you might, but I don't feel any need to do it personally, and risk hurting myself for pride or to prove the power of my punch/chop/however you're breaking the bricks.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Never broken bricks. I can understand why you might, but I don't feel any need to do it personally, and risk hurting myself for pride or to prove the power of my punch/chop/however you're breaking the bricks.

In our case, it's more like a test of our ki flow, whatever that is. We don't use power or speed to break. It definitely gives us a confidence boost. But we don't do it much, and we don't demo it for outsiders, so it's just something we do for ourselves. Definitely not a showing off thing.
 

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You can break seven of them? Awesome!

Most I've done with the "soft break" such as you describe is 2. I haven't tried 3 yet. My personal best as a power break is 10. There are plenty of people who can do more.

We do breaking as a way to practice generating and delivering power at levels beyond what you'd want to do when sparring, and as a way to build confidence in new students. And it's traditional in TKD. :)
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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In our case, it's more like a test of our ki flow, whatever that is. We don't use power or speed to break. It definitely gives us a confidence boost. But we don't do it much, and we don't demo it for outsiders, so it's just something we do for ourselves. Definitely not a showing off thing.
Thats mainly what I figured..not many martial artists that i know would brag about something like that, but is a nice test/confidence booster :) Just personally not a fan, mainly because of hurting myself (and possibly a lack of confidence in my punches)
 

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Most I've done with the "soft break" such as you describe is 2. I haven't tried 3 yet. My personal best as a power break is 10. There are plenty of people who can do more.

We do breaking as a way to practice generating and delivering power at levels beyond what you'd want to do when sparring, and as a way to build confidence in new students. And it's traditional in TKD. :)

Sounds like we're roughly equivalent then, because I likewise have not managed to break 3 yet (but since I did 2, I am not allowed to keep breaking 2, I have to do 3 or nothing). We don't do the power breaks at all, so I have no idea on that one.

That whole ki flow thing is something I haven't quite figured out yet. I am not saying it is real, and I'm not saying it isn't real. But I've seen some things I can't quite explain, like our Sensei breaking concrete with the back of his hands, with a slow movement that appears to have no power to it at all - and the concrete just explodes. Or like when we've had some injuries in the dojo - a very light punch to the chest can end up with a broken rib or deep bruising; and everyone, even the person who was punched, has no idea how it happened.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Thats mainly what I figured..not many martial artists that i know would brag about something like that, but is a nice test/confidence booster :) Just personally not a fan, mainly because of hurting myself (and possibly a lack of confidence in my punches)

One thing we don't have to worry about is getting hurt doing these. We use the palm of the hand on a duct-taped phone book on top of the pavers; worst that will happen is a stinging palm if you slap it down and don't apply power to get through it (it's a 'slow' break, but you still have to power through it). These slow breaks are weird, because they don't seem to depend on body strength, but probably a lot on body mechanics. We have some women in our dojo who are slight of stature and definitely not 'strong' in the same sense as I am (for example), but they break more pavers than I do, consistently. We've got a big bruiser whom I know is a lot stronger than me, and hasn't even broken 2 pavers yet. I'm sure he will, but it just goes to show, it doesn't seem to be much related to 'strength' or 'muscle power' but something else.
 

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One thing we don't have to worry about is getting hurt doing these. We use the palm of the hand on a duct-taped phone book on top of the pavers; worst that will happen is a stinging palm if you slap it down and don't apply power to get through it (it's a 'slow' break, but you still have to power through it). These slow breaks are weird, because they don't seem to depend on body strength, but probably a lot on body mechanics. We have some women in our dojo who are slight of stature and definitely not 'strong' in the same sense as I am (for example), but they break more pavers than I do, consistently. We've got a big bruiser whom I know is a lot stronger than me, and hasn't even broken 2 pavers yet. I'm sure he will, but it just goes to show, it doesn't seem to be much related to 'strength' or 'muscle power' but something else.

hmm sounds really interesting! I've never heard of it, may ask my sensei if he has any experience with it the next time i see him. Thanks! :)
 

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hmm sounds really interesting! I've never heard of it, may ask my sensei if he has any experience with it the next time i see him. Thanks! :)

The video below is SOMEWHAT like what we do. Ours are on only one set of cinder blocks as supports instead of two, so we have to drop to one knee as we deliver the blow. And I believe these guys say they are using 'concrete ends' instead of cement pavers, whatever they are. But the concept is the same. Phone book or rag on top the bricks, palm strike, and not a monster crushing blow but a slow deliberate drop of the hand, as if it were holding a giant iron ball and just pulverizing the concrete. Some of the breaks in the video below just look effortless - this is how it looks when some of our guys (not me) do it. When done right, it looks effortless.

[video=youtube_share;jISZpvTTwLo]http://youtu.be/jISZpvTTwLo[/video]
 

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I became interested in trying the 'soft break' because of your stories, Bill. I didn't realise (or forgot - I am getting old...) that you were dropping to your knee during the strike. I've been doing it from a kneeling position; both knees on the floor. No body movement.
 

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I became interested in trying the 'soft break' because of your stories, Bill. I didn't realise (or forgot - I am getting old...) that you were dropping to your knee during the strike. I've been doing it from a kneeling position; both knees on the floor. No body movement.

My apologies if I was not clear! Our Sensei demonstrates a 'back hand' soft break with him sitting cross-legged on the floor, but the rest of us kneel as we drop. However, when I first reported these breaks, I was having knee problems (still do, can't get back up easily from a one-knee position in Kusanku, for example), so I did mine while kneeling. When I broke two pavers, I did it from a kneeling position. Since that time, I have been able to try the 'drop to one knee' method with three pavers, but no luck yet.
 

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My apologies if I was not clear! Our Sensei demonstrates a 'back hand' soft break with him sitting cross-legged on the floor, but the rest of us kneel as we drop. However, when I first reported these breaks, I was having knee problems (still do, can't get back up easily from a one-knee position in Kusanku, for example), so I did mine while kneeling. When I broke two pavers, I did it from a kneeling position. Since that time, I have been able to try the 'drop to one knee' method with three pavers, but no luck yet.

It's an interesting way to practice delivering power. I'll have to see if I've got some more bricks in the garage and try the knee drop.

Of course, I don't even know if I'm actually doing it right, since it's not a technique taught in our school.

Have you tried it with boards?
 

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It's an interesting way to practice delivering power. I'll have to see if I've got some more bricks in the garage and try the knee drop.

Of course, I don't even know if I'm actually doing it right, since it's not a technique taught in our school.

Have you tried it with boards?

No, we don't break boards in our dojo.

If I recall the instructions we are given correctly, it is this:

1) Loosen any tight clothing and/or remove obi.
2) Visualize reaching past the concrete to the floor below (sometimes Sensei will put a dollar under the bricks and tell us too imagine we're just reaching for it).
3) Raise hand overhead and let it fall like an elephant's trunk or a waterfall (I have lots of trouble doing this).
4) As the arm comes down, drop to one knee, leaning forward. The blow gets delivered with the arm out and the head tucked down.
5) Visualize the hand holding a giant iron ball bearing or something like that, which you visualize crashing through the concrete.

Sensei notes that if the sound is a deep dull thud, that's correct. If it makes a slapping noise, that's not correct. It is not unusual for the bottom brick to break, leaving the top bricks. It may or may not fall down, but you can see it fractured.

I've seen big bruisers unable to break two bricks and petite ladies who broke 3 and 4. When it is done right, it looks effortless and generally catches the person who did it by surprise. One thing I always notice is that their hand never rebounds from the bricks; when they break, the arm goes straight through them and you end up with some cement on your arms. It's pretty clear that they are aiming through the bricks, even if they don't realize it.

I'm no expert! And like I said, we only do it a couple times a year, when Sensei is in the mood.
 

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No, we don't break boards in our dojo.

If I recall the instructions we are given correctly, it is this:

1) Loosen any tight clothing and/or remove obi.
2) Visualize reaching past the concrete to the floor below (sometimes Sensei will put a dollar under the bricks and tell us too imagine we're just reaching for it).
3) Raise hand overhead and let it fall like an elephant's trunk or a waterfall (I have lots of trouble doing this).
4) As the arm comes down, drop to one knee, leaning forward. The blow gets delivered with the arm out and the head tucked down.
5) Visualize the hand holding a giant iron ball bearing or something like that, which you visualize crashing through the concrete.

Sensei notes that if the sound is a deep dull thud, that's correct. If it makes a slapping noise, that's not correct. It is not unusual for the bottom brick to break, leaving the top bricks. It may or may not fall down, but you can see it fractured.

I've seen big bruisers unable to break two bricks and petite ladies who broke 3 and 4. When it is done right, it looks effortless and generally catches the person who did it by surprise. One thing I always notice is that their hand never rebounds from the bricks; when they break, the arm goes straight through them and you end up with some cement on your arms. It's pretty clear that they are aiming through the bricks, even if they don't realize it.

I'm no expert! And like I said, we only do it a couple times a year, when Sensei is in the mood.

He ought to do this after you test, and put your next belt under the bricks. :D

Other than dropping to your knee (as opposed to being on both knees before hand) this sounds much like I do it. I'll see what I've got around here to break and see about getting a video online. You can tell me if I'm going it the way you're taught.
 
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