Maneuver: Breaking a Board 4LMag July 1, 2014 Defense, Fitness by Joe Lytch This practice helps a person become more efficient and powerful with their strikes. Some martial arts schools use these types of demonstrations to attract new students, and they would also use the ability to break boards or bricks to promote the student to the next level. Whatever the purpose, it just looks pretty cool. CHOOSING YOUR BOARD – Pick a light material such as pine wood so that you don’t injure yourself. – A 12×12-inch board is optimal as it is easy to hold and has a sweet spot. – Use a board that is one-inch thick so it presents a challenge but doesn’t increase the risk of injury. – Make sure the board does not have a lot of knots because those can cause injuries. THE HOLDER 01 Fingers should be tucked with the board braced on the heel of the palms, on either side away from the strike. 02 The board should be held with the lines (grain) of the board going from top to bottom, not side to side. 03 Pressure should be applied as if pulling apart the board from side to side so, when the board is broken, the two pieces will be pulled outward away from their body. 04 Have the head turned to the side with eyes closed to protect from possible flying debris as well as keeping the board steady. 05 Don’t anticipate the strike. 06 Have a sturdy stance so not to fall down after the strike. THE STRIKE Palm Strike: This method utilizes the heel of your hand with your fingers extended as far back toward you as possible. This method is easier and hurts less, so it’s usually preferred for beginners. Fist Strike: You keep your thumb tucked underneath your fingers with a straight wrist. You should use your index finger knuckle and your middle finger knuckle for the strike. If you use your ring finger knuckle and your pinky finger knuckle, you have a good chance of breaking your hand, commonly known as a “boxer’s fracture.” When you hit the board, you want to punch through it. Imagine that your fist is going to go an additional four inches past the board. If you are just thinking of hitting the board only, you will end up tapping it without breaking it. Warning: Breaking a board can be dangerous. It can cause serious injury or permanent damage. This is informational and for entertainment purposes only. If you are not a trained expert, please do not attempt.