I always train with the same mindset: when the situation calls, be able to break it.
Breaking a board or brick is hard on its own. But when you begin adding multiple, it can get extremely difficult.
First, whether you’re trying to break by kicking or punching, you must develop good technique. This entails building speed, accuracy, power, twisting properly, dropping your weight, etc.
Once you develop a sound technique, it is important to deploy it consistently. A lot of times people will approach breaking something differently than sparring, fighting, hitting the heavy bag, or in patterns.
I tell students that they only have one reverse punch, one backfist, one knife hand, and one reverse knife-hand. Every time we throw a technique punch or kick, it needs to be trained to be the same.
Here’s my thinking: if I don’t punch the same way in my patterns as when I break a board or during sparring, how would I know what to use when I need to defend myself in the real world?
Training consistently not only takes the guesswork off the table, it ensures that if you ever do find yourself in a fight, you will be effective.
Once you can establish that consistency, you then have to begin toughening up your body.
Punching a board is not a smart thing to do if your hands and feet are not conditioned. That is why we always do push-ups on our knuckles. I also hit these things called “makiwara boards,” which toughen up the striking surface of your hands, feet, arms, shins, etc.
Back in the day, people used to punch sand, or even stones. I knew guys who used to soak their hands in brined water before training.
When you’re doing that, believe it or not, you are actually micro-fracturing your bones. As those microfractures heal, they come back thicker and stronger.
It’s the same principle as growing muscle. When you work out, you are actually damaging muscle fibers. To recover, your body recruits things called satellite cells to fuse with the damaged muscle fibers, increasing their size. This continuous cycle of damage and fusion is how people boost muscle capacity.
For me, the best way to condition the body was just hitting things with what you would normally hit them with, in as many different ways as possible.
At one point in my life, while I was doing a lot of breaking for demonstrations, I broke a bone in my hand. This warranted an X-ray. Many years later, I was still doing breaking demonstrations, but far less frequently with less rigid and dense materials. I eventually broke another bone, and they took another X-ray.
This time, the doctors compared the two x-rays and discovered that my bone density wasn’t the same. It made them nervous. I realized that in the first X-ray, while I was breaking more, I had thicker bones on the striking surfaces. If you have seen my knuckles, you know they’re huge. Imagine them even thicker!
The idea of perfecting your technique, deploying it consistently, and conditioning your hands and feet is to forge them into more than just hands and feet.
They become weapons.
Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do offers a trial program for individuals and families in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas that allows you to get a feel for the different classes, meet our instructors, and experience our dojang. It’s a great way to see if Tae Kwon-Do is right for you. To learn more or to sign up, visit the Contact Us page or call (716) 836-KICK (5425) and a member of our team will follow up with you on next steps. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Pil-Sung!