Board Breaking in Martial Arts

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Board breaking is often exhibited as an incredible talent performed by martial artists at demonstrations or tournaments in order to show off strength. This isn’t true, however, as breaking is an illustrated example of a perfected technique as one would use in a real situation. The accuracy, strength, and power of these techniques is demonstrated through the break. Many people are amazed by breaking, but don’t fully understand how truly easy it is. Breaking can be explained by both the physics behind the act and the mental aspects of the preparation of the break. Breaking really isn’t as hard as people make it to be. It is all determined by the precision of the technique used and the mental preparation of the person. Physical strength actually has nothing much to do with a break, it’s all about focus. There have been kids as young as seven years old that have broken concrete. Children as young as ten years old have broken multiple concrete blocks as well (Whitfield). The reason this is possible, though it seems unlikely that a first grader could break a piece of concrete, is that the human hand is actually much stronger than a board, or even concrete, by 40 times. A cylinder of bone that is 23 inches long and an inch in diameter is able to withstand a force of 25,000 Newtons without breaking. In comparison, it takes an average of 1,900 Newtons to split a typical concrete block. Hands and feet are much stronger because of the ligaments, muscles, tendons, bones and cartilage that absorbs the impact of the strike. This means that a perfectly positioned and properly thrown kick can absorb 2,000 times the amount of force as the concrete. Mentally there is a lot of preparation for a break. One’s mind must be able to conquer the fears... ... middle of paper ... ...idence and helping them complete the break. In the martial arts there are many uses for breaking. The main reason is to show the real life application of a technique. For example a forefist punch, one of the basic techniques taught at white belt, demonstrates the ability to shatter bone with a single hit. This proves to the instructor that the student understands the technique and it can be used in a situation on the street. The focus that is necessary to complete a break exhibits the amount of time and energy some one has trained for, in particular children. An instructor is able to see that a student is able to focus their mind and body to complete the break. The confidence a student receives from completing breaks that are hard (or are considered hard for their rank, age, or size) boosts a students morale and pushes them to work harder in their training.

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