Friday, November 18, 2011

Board Breaking Hints

By William R. Jones, 5th dan

From a class presented at MSK Summer Expo XXV.

Board breaking is a way for the MSK martial artist to gauge their ability to focus and create power.  You can note your improvement by the successful breaks
Blindfolded Black Belt Breaking a Board
and the techniques you use.  We are covering two types of breaks;  power breaking - boards supported by holders, and speed breaking -  unsupported targets. The following information will help you improve your ability to break, which will coincide with the enjoyment of breaking.

1:  Practice your kicks and your focus against a target.  Make the focus point small and at a good height, for your kick to be at its best.  Work on improving your speed by involving good hip movement, fast chamber, correct chamber and re-chamber.

2:  Work in front of a mirror to see your foot position and body movement.  You should be using the whole body to create movement to the break.   Your punches and kicks should be finishing in a horizontal or vertical plane to be in alignment with the grains of your boards.

3:  Practice with light targets that bend.  This will help you note the contact point on the boards.  Cardboard or dense foam will leave markings to see if you are hitting the right point on the board for an easier break.

4:  Pick your wood.  Look at grain, density, bowing of wood, and knots.  Prep your boards so not to injury your holders.

5:  If breaking multiple boards, make sure they are tight together, grains in the correct direction. Make sure the grains are in the right direction for your selected break.

6:  Set up and check your holders.  They should hold the boards where you want them.  Make holders turn their heads for their protection and decrease the flinch factor.

7:  Pick experienced and strong holders for power breaks, less experienced can be use for speed breaks.   Make sure holders for shorter students are in deep front stances to keep the arms arm parallel with floor not pointing down.

8:  Plan your breaks in advance, have yourself prepared for what you are doing.  Be ready as soon as you get your holders set.  Do not give them time to get tired or move out of position.  Don’t do several practice kicks while your holders are ready.

9:  Condition your hands and feet.  The sin on the knuckle area is not very thick and must be conditioned for hand breaks.  Condition knife hands so you have the strongest and tightest hand for the break.  Same with the feet, your foot must be ready and tight for the contact.

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