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Breaking Boards is STUPID!

Brothers and sisters, the moment of redemption is at hand...... Wait a second, no it isn't. Sorry folks, I get carried away sometimes. Here is the question I have for the day. That question is (insert drum roll) do you break boards at your school? I don't. I have never felt the need to try it either. A lot of folks look at board-breaking as some kind of miracle feat, or exhibition of power. That is all fine and dandy if that keeps your school enrollment up I guess. But to me I only think, "dang, how hard can it be if kids can do it?" There is not a whole lot of things that adults should be impressed with, if their kids can do it. Maybe doing the splits, or somersaults is worthy of your admiration. But board breaking? Come on now. That is martial marketing, NOT martial arts. Striking WITH the grain of a pine board is not a big deal. Try striking against the grain. It becomes a much more interesting proposition. Or take away the spacers in-between the boards. Or for goodness sakes, just realize that if our bones were not more dense than the boards, our hands would break instead of the wood.

I don't mean to pee in anyone's pool, but this really makes me mad. People look at board breaking as a sign of martial arts mastery, and it is anything but that. It is an event in most compettions, and I think that it is pathetic. We need to do more recycling anyhow, so breaking boards is more of an ecological waste, than it is anything else. If I may quote Bruce Lee," boards don't hit back." How true is that statement? 100% of the cases I have seen involved the boards NOT hitting back. Besides, with all of the chi focusing, and heavy breathing that goes on with board breaking, it is really a waste of time. If somebody has to prepare themselves for two minutes so that they can break the wood, where is the practical value? Do you really think that you opponent is going to sit for two minutes while you get ready to shatter their limbs? If you do, I have this nice beachfront condo in Arkansas that I know that you will love. If you cannot generate enough power to do real damage immediately, than maybe you should take up boxing instead.

Wait..... what is that buzzing sound? Oh, I can hear it a little more clearly now. "Breaking helps kids build confidence. It gives them something to shoot for." Well call me silly(and some of you have) but I know that there are a lot of ways to build confidence that do not involve lumber. How about maybe increasing the difficulty of basic drills? How about helping your students achieve a full split? How about teaching them how to use a classical weapon? Those thing would work just fine I imagine. Or, and you might want to hold on to your hat here, make achieving rank in your school difficult? If your students are being promoted in a legitimately difficult curiculuum, then that will build confidence like nothing else. How about when you look your student in the eyes as you put a stripe on their belt and say," I remember when you couldn't even throw a correct front kick. Now you are able to throw a front kick, roundhouse kick, and follow it with a spinning back kick." I will bet dollars to donuts( and I love my donuts) that their confidence level will jump big time.

See, I am a firm believer in what is real. For the schools that tout breaking as a highly valued skill, let me lend you my 2 pesos. I have seen a lot of kids do a breaking demo, and then later on carry their trophy around as if they defeated Bruce Lee, Mas Oyama, and Helio Gracie all at the same time. It is pitiful, really pitiful. If I may quote Bruce Lee just once more today," Boards don't hit back." Breaking boards doesn't make you a champion. It teaches you how to break something that anyone can break if they have the correct training. Not worth the effort in my book. If you can give me a really practical reason to break boards, I would love to hear it. I will be sitting right here, waiting...........

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