Breaking a wooden board is one of the most common things you might associate with martial arts. This is the true test, right? Whether a martial artist can train their hands to break through something as tough as wood!
But what are these boards within Taekwondo – are they really solid wood? And if so, how can people be trained to break them?
If you’ve been wondering about this, then you’ve arrived at the right place.
We’re going to be exploring this practice through this article, explaining whether or not they’re meant to break easily, as well as going into some of the history behind board-breaking.
Boards In Taekwondo
In modern Taekwondo, breaking boards is both a tradition and a teaching tool. Breaking either boards or bricks is an old practice that has been used in both competition, learning and demonstrations.
It usually involves a martial artist using a single strike to break a wooden board to demonstrate their strength and form.
As said before, it’s most commonly practiced with wooden boards, but some schools practice this with cinder blocks, metal, or glass – though the latter is fairly dangerous and rarely used.
Boards used in Taekwondo breaking are traditionally made of pine wood, but there are a few different types of wood used.
They aren’t particularly thick, as anything too much would be physically impossible to break. Generally, boards used in Taekwondo are thick enough to be broken but not thin that they are easy.
The idea is to place an object before a student that will pose them a challenge, but – providing they have correct form and force – possible to break.
Is Board Breaking Real?
To somebody who has no experience in Martial Arts, it might appear that this practice has to be some kind of magic trick.
They can’t really be breaking through solid objects with just a kick, punch, or elbow – can they? Historically there have been a lot of fake martial artists, so it’s not an unreasonable assumption to make.
However, within modern Taekwondo it’s important to note that this practice is real – but probably a lot more simplistic than it seems.
We’re going to break down some of the science of this practice below:
- Technique – there is a spot on a board that if you strike it with the proper force and technique, will break in half. Taekwondo boards are brought to class with specifications that make them perfect for this test.
- Board Holder – the person holding the board (normally a coach) will know how to hold it in the proper position and keep it steady when the impact of a strike appears. This means that the student, mixed with the board holder, will work together to break it.
- Wood Composition – wood usually consists of a graining pattern. Boards are selected with horizontal grain meaning that they will break with the grain providing the strike comes from the right direction.
So when asking if board breaking is real or not, you have to realize that it’s a practice that allows Taekwondo students to explore their strengths.
That doesn’t mean you’ll see a Taekwondo student chopping a tree down with their bare hands, only that they have enough strength to snap a board in half under the right circumstances.
What Is The Value In Board Breaking?
Board breaking is a great teaching tool, especially when it comes to teaching junior students the importance of confidence, strength, and following through on an action.
Breaking a board is a difficult thing because it requires a lot of grit, especially for a little kid.
Take a look at the video below for an example of how this practice is used to teach. It also shows the difficulty involved in breaking a board for a junior student.
In the beginning, notice how the young student is unable to believe that he can break the board, but after a lot of insistence and a few stern words from his teacher, he finally follows through with the kick and snaps the board in half.
It is for this reason that the practice is used in Taekwondo and a lot of other martial arts (this video in particular is Karate).
Board breaking is a perfect way to teach lessons about confidence. Breaking a board may seem impossible at first, but with some dedication and commitment, it’s something that any student will be able to do.
So when trying to answer the question of whether or not boards in Taekwondo are meant to break easily – the answer is yes and no.
They are selected to break, but that’s not to say the process is easy. It usually requires some amount of practice and understanding of strength from a student.
It’s used as a teaching tool to show students some vital lessons in their martial art and facilitate their confidence for the future trials they’re likely to face (in both Taekwondo and in life.)
We hope that this article has given you all the knowledge you wanted to know about this question and that you now know more about board breaking within Taekwondo.
If you still have some questions, check the FAQ out below!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Hard Will It Be For Me To Break A Board In Taekwondo?
It’s important to note on this topic that it actually depends. Firstly on your level of competency and training, secondly on your physical attributes, and thirdly on the kind of board you’re trying to break.
Board breaking usually involves having somebody holding the board for you in the correct way, pinpointing the right location to strike, and then benign able to follow through with a suitable strike.
If you’re able to bring all of these aspects together, then you’re likely to be able to break a board!