Board Breaking

Board breaking is a part of Taekwondo and other martial arts demonstrations and competitions whether the breaking be boards, tiles or bricks.

What did the board ever do to you to meet such a demise?

The reason for board breaking is actually quite practical and simple: a broken board costs less than broken ribs. Breaking a board with a jumping side kick shows skill which, done on a human being, could cause injury or even death. Using a material like wood, brick or tile demonstrates the speed and power that could not be safely shown otherwise. Besides, it’s really cool!

In board breaking, the Taekwondo student or master demonstrates:

  • Speed
  • Power
  • Targeting ability (focusing ones technique on a single point)
  • Various techniques – including some of the famous moves that make Taekwondo famous

What can be broken:

  • Boards
  • Bricks
  • Tile
  • Shingles
  • Whatever else your instructor deems appropriate

How to practice for breaking:

The first thing you must do is know the technique that you are going use. Deciding to use a flying side kick (yup chaggi) having never done one before in your life wouldn’t be practical. Practice the technique thoroughly, in the air or with a kicking target. Sometimes you can practice on plastic boards that can be re-broken.

Then, working with your instructor, practice with a board holder – usually a senior student or black belt who understands the breaking technique and has training in holding boards. Practicing with a holder gives you a chance to understand the distance and spacing that you need. During this time, using a kicking paddle or practice board may help you get ready.

Finally, break the board!

Suggestions for breaking:

Practice, practice, practice… nothing gets you ready for breaking like practice.

Focus on your breathing. When you get ready to break, exhale and kihap (give the spirit yell), set yourself, and then give another kihap as you execute the technique. The kihap will actually help you tighten your core – the center of your body – and can help you focus your mind as well.

Focus on hitting four to six inches past the board. Do not hit the board; hit the area behind the board. This way the power from your technique will go through the board at full speed.

Thank your holders by bowing to them. A good board holder is VERY important to a successful break. What if you miss and you hit the holder’s hands? Well, it’s OK… just don’t do it again!

If you get the chance to compete in board breaking at a tournament, good luck!

And, if you ever get the opportunity to do a break during a demonstration, enjoy it!

Taekwondo Instructors and Schools: Link your school website to as a resource for your students.

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