6 posts / 0 new
Last post
Finlay's picture

I haven't done breaking in a long long time but i used to be really in to it, i guess it is sort of a young guy kudos thing. These days i see less and less value in doing very big breaking practice, by big i mean lining up board and trying to kick or punch thorugh as many as you can. i do see some benefit in it in some way though. kinda like:

breaking single boards quickly no line up

yeah maybe to practice genrating power quickly, but lacking combinations, maybe good for conditioning hands

breaking boards with line up and getting ready 

 um, i guess there could be an arguement for mental conditonaing, but there are better ways of doing this i guess

breaking large amounts of boards

looks good and is an indication of power generations, but you are hitting wood or stone, that don;t really bend very mcuh before they snap. very different from hitting  person

so, does anyone practice breaking as a main part of their art, what are your thoguhts on it?

also does anyone know where the breaking aspect came from? was it part of traditional practice that like so many things got specialised into a competition, or is it a fairly recent addition?

Katz's picture

In my studio, although we never practice breaking, it's a required part of testing.

The way I see it, a big part of breaking is about confidence, especially as you begin your training. You can see it in how shy students have more trouble breaking. I find it very interesting how when you can't break, it looks like the board is never gonna break, but when you actually make it, it almost feels like the board broke on its own.

As you get better, and you get into speed breaks and jumping techniques break, breaking becomes more about skill. As you say, hitting a board is very different from hitting a person. However, it gives you great feedback as to your targeting. Yes, you can work on targeting by hitting practice targets, but you don't get as much feedback. With a board, if it doesn't break, you didn't hit right. If you hit a target wrong, it's harder to see it.

Finally, although I said we never practice breaking, it is not the way we say it. Yes, we only break boards (and occasionally bricks) at testing and parties,  but  we practice breaking all the time: In drills, in forms, etc. Only we don't have boards in front of us. But power and targeting should still be there. Breaking is not  training on its own (unless you want to condition your hands...), I see it more as a way to measure where you are in your training.

michael rosenbaum
michael rosenbaum's picture

When I was younger I pracitced breaking a lot, along with makiwara training.  I've got a lot of respect for those who do, for it takes skill.  However, the long term damage inflicted on your hands isn't (imo) worth it. Moreover with a bag you can work combinations, both feet and hands, where as with breaking and makiwara training its a one strike deal.  Damaging the hands has been a big concern throughout the fighting arts history.  When gloves were introduced to bare knuckles boxing it revolutionized the fighting art because fighter's hands stayed in better shape which allowed them to fight longer and use punches that would have normally been considered risky. 

Always train smart because the long term damage resulting from improper training, or using out dated training methods, is hard to reverse. And as you age the effects of improper training  intensify.  Never have childern work the makiwara, or do breaking because its to hard on young hands which are not fully developed. And, if you are breaking don't make it the focal point of your training.  There's more important things  to concentrate on.

Just my 2 cents!



Gavin Mulholland
Gavin Mulholland's picture

We have students break at Green Belt, Brown Belt and Black belt.

It is partly symbolic as these are really the 'level' grades and as such, done as the last part of the grading represents smashing through to a new level; and partly to test courage, as to hit a solid object takes guts.

The only other time we break is the occasional demo as people like to see it and it as sacry to do. We did one at the back end of last year and as I was making some of the students break more than they had ever done (no one is allowed to practice the break) I elected to do the same myself and attempt a break I'd never done before - the baseball bat.

Thankfully it broke and my shin didn't but I don't mind admitting that facing off and kicking the bat took an enormous amount of will-power.

For me, this is one of the many benefits of Tameshiwara. You have to push down the demons. In my mind, I had a lot to lose on that break. I'd never done anything like it before, it was a public demo and being filmed, I had a lot of my students there, and there were many different clubs in attendance also doing various demos. In my minds eye I could see me breaking my leg over the bat, being carried off, and the footage being on YouTube immediately. My reputation would be in tatters and I would be a laughing stock, etc, etc.

But of course, those thoughts are just ego and demons and we have to fight those two familiars every day don't we.

 In that respect, I do see direct fighting application. When you face off with someone and you know you need to act, you are often beset with similar demons - all of which act to inhibit or delay you and so need to be pushed down to enable you to act decisively.

Personally, I see a lot of benefit in breaking as long as the breaks are hard to do.

Tau's picture

I had to break for three of my TKD gradings, although not black. I agree that it can be a test of courage and focus. But I don't see any other benefit particularly. I concede that it can be fun.

karate10's picture

I enjoy breaking when I was in my early teen years when I began my Martial Art Journey in TKD, but It was not only part of testing, but It was also to be enjoyed or having fun with It.

Today as an adult, just like the recent comment made by Gavin, I feel that tameshiwara breaking is not only facing your demons, fears, e.t.c..., but, it also giving yourself a chance to reflect on the effects of training your mind and body after a long yearly process of training and commitment.....I for one in favor of tameshiwara, but for personal attributes only, not Public show so you can prove to the world that you're Iron Man.