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Author Topic: breaking  (Read 3235 times)

Bryant

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breaking
« on: February 27, 2008, 10:34:48 AM »

I have read some tales and heard some descriptions of impressive board breaks...

1. hold a board yourself and break it
2. break a board thrown at you
3. break a board floating in water (heard a Pakua master was able to do this)
4. break a board with a 1 inch punch
5. break a board with a finger thrust

I have seen #'s 1,2,5 performed in an old late 70's early 80's documentary called BUDO
it featured many Japanese martial arts (Go-Ju Karate, Judo , Naginata , Ken-jutsu , Bo-Jutsu, Sumo,Aikido, etc)

although curious, I have never done any board breaking
does any SFC member advocate this mode of training
any comments on the benefits of this training
any recommendations for a training regimen
thanks
B.
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Dawg

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Re: breaking
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2008, 04:24:23 PM »

When I studied TKD, Shito-Ryu and Mu Duk Kwan, board breaking was a requirement for advancement. In Mu Duk Kwan, you had to be able to break a board that you had been holding yourself with a ridge hand strike. Although I no longer train for this, I see nothing wrong in doing so. There is a major risk of injury to your hands (or feet) and I try to avoid that as much as possible these days due to my current occupation.
I was told that the benefit of breaking boards (and bricks) was to develop power, focus and accuracy.
Believe it or not, the only training regimen we followed was lots of knuckle push ups on a hardwood floor (never belonged to a dojo with mats in the '80's!) and breaking boards. You'd start out striking a single board, and when you were finally successful with that, you'd gradually attempt breaks on two and so on.
Even though I no longer practice breaking stuff (other than training partners and sticks ::)) I still do finger strikes and punches into a bucket of sand for conditioning purposes. Oh yeah...and I still do lots of knuckle push ups!

As a side note...I've been working very hard the past two years to replace my use of the ridge hand and shuto strikes with hammerfists and reverse hammerfists. Nothing wrong with the aforementioned techniques when used against soft targets, but I have to agree with Hock that the hammerfist is less likely to get damaged in CQC.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do! I do remember I had a lot of fun doing that stuff. ;D
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Hock

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Re: breaking
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2008, 05:31:07 PM »

One of my worst hand injuries came from breaking, but not how you might think.

I was holding a board high for a someone to do a high spinning kick and break the board, in a regular karate class in the 1980s. He pretty much, mostly kicked my hand and it HURT! For a while. This guy was good too! The only time I ever saw him fail and miss was the time I was holding the wood. Gives me the Willie Nelsons just to remember it.

I think its a okay, worthy subject, up and until the thickness of the wood surpases the practical thickness of the common targets of the human body. Then it becomes superfluious. Gambling for injury. I have a friend with hairline fracture up his arm from hitting to much thickness and pushing the limits

I have very little experience doing it, but a think a little of it is fine.

Hock

Boar Man

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Re: breaking
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2008, 09:59:54 PM »

I think the key is training for it.

Conditioning the hands for the impact is very important as well as proper body alignment with the target etc. etc.

It can be very benifical if done right and trained for, however if it's not trained or practiced right I'd forget due to the damage that can result.

I never trained for breaking and we did very little of it in my instructor's dojo so I don't teach it to the TKD classes I teach.  The following story made an huge impact on me.

I was working out with a Amercian Karate (kickboxing) school (in another state) about 20 years ago.  They didn't teach breaking, or really much of the traditional aspects of "karate" it was a kick boxing school.  But for the students BB test they had to do a three board break with a fist (hand technique) or a kick.  I saw one student with no real training try and break a three board break with a roundhouse kick as if they were sparring with the top of their foot.

 CRACK .....AAARRGHH!  Good you broke one, only two more to go come on it is your BB test CRACK .....AAARRGHHH!  I think the person broke their foot in the process.

Next up was a guy who tried to use a hook punch for his three board break.  Same thing happened.  The loud crack that was the single board breaking and probably his hand (cause he came to dinner that night in a cast after a visit to the hospital) and the encouragement to do it again to earn his BB.

All three of the students broke their boards after several attempts and I believe all three injured themselves doing it.

This was insane but it was tradition to do these breaks.  Which is why you must train for it and train your student for it and know what you are doing before you require anyone to do breaking. 

And I hate to say it but I had to help hold the boards for these students as they hurt themselves. 
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juszczec

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Re: breaking
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2008, 06:21:35 AM »

IMO, its not worth it in the long run.

Yeah, its an ego boost - heaven knows I felt it when I broke stuff.  But there's alot that can go wrong, despite your best efforts.

Get a heavy bag and hammer away at that..

But, if you must break stuff.  Remember dampness is your enemy, get people much bigger than you to hold whatever you are breaking and if you break stuff supported on risers on the floor keep in mind that a carpet can absorb the force you use.

One of the worst things I've seen and heard was a guy who dug up a red brick out of his backyard (absorbed lots of water and became a bit more flexible) rested the edges of it on 2 cinderblocks on a carpeted floor and punched it.

The brick was damp so it flexed a bit, the soft carpet absorbed the downward force his punch generated, the sound was kinda like Danny Devito hitting Billy Crystal in the head with a frying pan in Throw Momma From The Train and his hand swelled up to the size of a softball.

Mark

rutleddc

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Re: breaking
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2008, 08:08:39 AM »

I earned my BB from a very old school Moo Duk Kwan instructor in Harrisburg PA in the 1990s. We were proud that we broke much thicker boards and bricks than any other school in the region, for what it was worth. About once a year someone broke a hand bone during testing, but you went and did the breaks anyway to show you could overcome fear. On my black belt test I broke a cinder block using my sudo - knife hand, with that hand hurting for over a month.

I did get a serious injury during one test, but not to my hand. In those days I could really leap well, probably from so much street basketball in my younger days. Someone held two large boards about the height of my shoulder, I took a runnign start and broke both cleanly with a flying side kick. However, my right leg got tangled up in the boards and arms, and I landed on my left foot such that it bent almost 180 deg backward. I was sure it was broken and my foot and ankle soon swelled up to twice its normal size. Nevertheless, I was not dismaissed from the test and had to stand in formation with the others until it was over.  :o

It turns out that it was all soft tissue damage (I did not think that it could bend that much without breaking), but I missed months of training and never fully regained all of my flexibility. Because of these experiences I am not a fan of excessive breaking.

The amazing thing is that I continued to train there until I got my BB. I was either intensively motivated not to quit, delusional, proud of my school, psycho, or some combination therof.
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JimH

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Re: breaking
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2008, 09:20:43 AM »

Breaking today has no place in fighting ,control,power,it is a show only.

Way back when the armor an enemy soldier wore was made of wooden sticks,maybe hand conditioning was needed,but the ancient warriors did not break pieces of wood or slate tiles that took TIME to make for housing.

When I was a teenager starting martial arts we had to do breaking and I thought it was so great to break 12x12 in boards ,then break the 6x12 pieces.
I thought it Great the first time I broke a Brick and then two concrete slabs  with spacers.
Then I got into Real fights and those focused power punches delivered to the solar plexus area of the body did NOTHING to stop,maim or kill my opponent I knew that all that breaking and all the hype was useless in Reality.
People used to say that if you could break a board you could break a rib.(what a load)

I have Never seen anyone who could break multiple boards or bricks or blocks go into a fight and break ribs,penetrate the sternum with finger tips or crack a skull.
(while there are people who can generate such power,such as Nick Hughes,not many Breakers can do the same)

Fighting people does not relate to wood or brick breaking at all.

People are mostly water and that allows for absorbtion and distribution of energy,that is why it is preferable to attack areas of the body least covered in large muscle mass.

Tips for great shows of breaking:
When you break your wood make sure the grain runs the right way.
When you break more than one piece of wood amke sure all the grain of all the pieces run the same way.
If you can use spacers ,they allow gravity and physics to do the work for you.

Reality checks on Breaking:
When you think it is cool to break a board or multiple pieces going with the grain,then try one piece against the grain and see how many you break,or in multiples stagger the grain pattern and see what happens,lol.

Breaking is good for developing a false sense of ability.

Punch some one in the top of the head and see if all the breaking and conditioning makes a difference?

Anthony Robbins ,the Self Help Guru has people walking on hot coals and Breaking boards in one day of positive thinking ,so I would not take breaking too seriously.

Breaking is a show for the uninformed, a trick just like street magicians.
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Dawg

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Re: breaking
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2008, 12:37:43 PM »

JimH,
I always look forward to reading your posts; they're always informative and it's obvious you know what you're talking about.
For once, I'm going to have to disagree with you about breaking skills having no place in someone's fighting regimen.
Breaking develops confidence. I remember being told that if you could break a board you could break ribs. While that statement is not entirely true, what if you can't break a board, with the grain, that's properly dried, that's being held still for you while you prepare yourself mentally to muster all your force and bring it to bear on the target before you? Should you disregard this feedback and believe you can still deliver the necessary force to stun or diminish an assailant who is moving and trying to do you harm?I believe that learning to break boards can be a source of great positive feedback to the practitioner.
As with many other training methods, this one is often abused, misused and misrepresented to the point where the practice is no longer beneficial but actually a risk to the practitioner. I also agree that too much emphasis on breaking skills can give someone a false sense of security. However, this can be said of many training methods where people and whole organizations just seem to, as Hock would say, "lose their way."
I would also like to add, that while training and in some real-life altercations, I have dropped folks with shots to the solar plexus and the ribs. I have also broken the ribs of a couple of sparring partners (unintentionally! :o) and have had my own ribs broken during a match in a tournament (that was with a kick though, so I don't know if that's pertinent to this discussion). Different experiences give us different perspectives.
So, although this is not a tool I utilize in my own training any longer, I see nothing wrong with it when used properly. Once you've done it, it'll probably get old rather quickly. If it becomes your "thing", just remember the wise words of Bruce Lee, "Boards don't strike back" ("Enter the Dragon", IIRC?).
Train hard, train smart, and try to have some fun while you're at it, will ya'! 
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JimH

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Re: breaking
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2008, 02:47:50 PM »

Boxers knock people out with 10-20 oz. gloves on,break ribs and bones with gloves on and I doubt many ,if any, have ever had to break a board or brick.

I have been a guest to a few martial arts schools and have been asked to hold boards,to use pressure to assist in the breaking and or to thrust the board as the students attempt to strike and break,or they use cheap balsa wood which they ask you to snap at the moment of impact,all to give the student confidence in their ability.
(what ability?? lol)

Board and brick breaking began as the Mystical powers of the Martial arts became a selling point,they used breaking as the attraction,the advertising for the powers of the internal Art.(internal:power,focus chi/ki)

Look at the Breaks being done by "TEAM IMPACT",they make unbelievable breaks,not to improve focus or power ,not to enable one to break ribs or bones.
Most members are weight lifters,bodybuilders,football players,few have any martrial training/skill.
They use their Size/Tremendous breaking skills to ATTRACT people to them  to hear them talk about God.

I know people who have been made to do breaks in all their Martial arts promotional testing and Dojo/Dojang open house shows,they are 2nd,3rd and 4th degree Black Belts,Police Officers, and they have had street encounters in which they broke their hands in altercations.

When one has a static pile of building material they can get psyched up,measure ,remeasure,focus and go for the Break,on the street when two bodies or more are in motion that time and measure and focus are not available.

The dynamics of the right amount of energy at the right speed applied to a right point at the right time may enable a knock out to the jaw or sternum, knock the breath out of someone when delivered to the solar plexus,a break of a rib or a bone may be obtained,mostly by Luck instead of by desire.(unintentional breaks)

There are FEW guaranteed Intentional breaks seen in street fights or any fight and fewer still by those trained as Breakers.

Being able to break a board or brick does not translate to knockout ability nor to fighting/striking ability.

If breaking makes one feel better ,more confident that is fine.
If breaking makes one think that skill alone will make them a strong fighter with one punch knockout ability then they are wrong.

Just My Opinion.
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Dawg

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Re: breaking
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2008, 10:11:19 PM »

Being able to break a board or brick does not translate to knockout ability nor to fighting/striking ability.

Yep!

If breaking makes one feel better ,more confident that is fine.
If breaking makes one think that skill alone will make them a strong fighter with one punch knockout ability then they are wrong.

Yep (both counts!)!

When one has a static pile of building material they can get psyched up,measure ,remeasure,focus and go for the Break,on the street when two bodies or more are in motion that time and measure and focus are not available.

Absolutely!

The dynamics of the right amount of energy at the right speed applied to a right point at the right time may enable a knock out to the jaw or sternum, knock the breath out of someone when delivered to the solar plexus,a break of a rib or a bone may be obtained,mostly by Luck instead of by desire.(unintentional breaks)

I like to think I make my own luck, by training to deliver as much power as I can muster to my target as possible, and, as Uncle Nicky has told me, with finesse (I kind of like that!).
Breaking can be a useful tool, or it can be a useless one, depending on how one uses it.
Thankfully, I was never exposed to some of the negative training methods you mentioned; those are some dangerous methods that would undoubtedly set someone up for failure. When the "mysticism" flag is flying, you can be sure that ol' Dawg is running in the opposite direction as fast as he can!
As a side note, when I studied Okinawan Kenpo Karate in Hawaii, those were some of the hardest hitting guys I've ever trained with. No board breaking! Different strokes, for different folks!

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