Circus strongmen used to PROVE how strong they were by performing feats of strength that average men could not match… bending steel bars, straightening horseshoes and such.
So how can you prove what martial arts has taught you? Through Board Breaking of course!!! General Choi said that to impress non martial artists demonstrations should consist of techniques and breaking that non martial artists should not be able to duplicate.
Power board breaking shows the devastation our strikes and kicks can generate. As your hand or foot smashes through the wood, plastic or cement leaving you unharmed and ready to go again, others can only imagine what damage you could inflict on a human body.
Hold a board loosely in one hand or toss it into the air then strike it so fast that you are able to break it before it is pushed away from you. Add a second board and or a spin before to the break to if you really want to impress them with your speed and timing.
When we jump up and break a target with our feet we show the strength and explosiveness of our moves that nobody untrained in the Martial arts can duplicate. The higher and fancier the kick the more impressive we look. A big untrained person with an aggressive attitude can break some boards sure, but they are not going to be able to fly and do it with their feet , especially if the target is above their head.
Anyone who watches a martial artist leap into the air and simultaneously break two or more boards in various directions before touching the ground is amazed. While it’s unlikely, a fit non-martial artist MAY be lucky enough to break a board with a flying high or overhead kick they certainly will not have the coordination to break two separate targets while in the air.
Nelson Mandela said “courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.“ The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
Of course you are worried about hurting yourself when you attempt to break your limit in height, distance, or number of boards but you go for it anyways. Most people will not attempt to break even a single board once in their lifetime, you have and continue to do it.
To paraphrase a Grand Master famous for his breaking demonstrations “I am not impressed with someone who breaks successfully every time but someone who doesn’t break and can keep going”. Of course, you are often going to fail when you break, (unless you are using fake material or are breaking under your ability), but you keep training until you ARE successful.
Consistent breaking requires that you condition your striking tools. This takes constant training and requires commitment. I knew a master who (when he was much younger) won the ITF world power breaking for Reverse Turning Kick, he prepared for this one technique for such a long time and built up the muscles, tendons and callus on his foot that he had to wear one shoe that was ½ size bigger than the other foot before and for a year or so after the championship.
Almost everybody hates public speaking, even when that is a controlled situation with a pre-written speech. Martial artists get up in front of an audience and attempt a board break knowing that despite all the preparation and training they still might fail, yet they give it their best shot anyways and accept the outcome with grace and pride.
Board Breaking is the ULTIMATE non-violent method of proving your martial art skills to others in an exciting and concrete way that even non martial artists can appreciate.