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We have scoured the Internet to find articles that might help you with your breaking techniques, increase your knowledge about breaking and even some physics behind breaking. If you have anything that you would like to add please send us the link or the article and we would be glad to include it if we find it helpful to our viewers.

Kyepka (Break test)

* Why perform breaktests?

* How to perform a breaktest

* The physics behind a break test

One of the four elements of taekwondo (besides sparring, styleforms and self-defence) is the breaktest. It is a obligatory part of the black-belt exam and is s popular element of taekwondo demonstrations.


Breaking an object is a good way to practice concentration, power, focus, speed and precision on non-living objects, without injuring oneself or another. It is very important to realize that a proper technique is needed and a breaking technique within your limits, because without it you can easily injure yourself, sometimes even permanently!

Practicing breaking objects helps you to realize that your body itself is a very strong weapon. It also helps you to understand that during practice with a partner, you have to be very careful.


The material that is most often used for breaking techniques is wood since it can be easily broken with either hand or foot. Other materials include bricks, tiles and sometimes even baseball bats!

GM. Moon Breaking objects can be performed with any rigid part of the body. In taekwondo, the most common are the hand or the foot, but breaking can also be done by using the elbow, the knee and even the head.

(The photo show GM Moon of the Hwalmoo Hapkido federation, performing a break-technique with his head)

In order to break an object, it is best to start light. Use an object that is easy to break, instead of directly trying to break a thick board, and start with a technique in which you feel confident. Use your techniques as they are taught to you and try to be as releaxed as possible. When starting practicing breaking techniques, it might help you to focus a few inches behind the actual point of impact.

The physics behind a breaktest

* Dry board are more brittle than wet ones and will break more easily

* If a board does not break, a large force is transmitted back to your body for a relative long time. This might hurt :o)

* Break boards with the grain. It is much easier!

* When breaking a board, make sure that the persons who hold the board have a firm grip. If the board moves during your technique, it will soften your technique.

* other factors not covered: angle of strike, size of attacking tool

Impulse = force (delivered by the strength of t=your muscles) times time (delivered by the speed of your movement). (The second law of Newton). Therefor, the shorter your contact with the board, the bigger the force component will be and therefor, the easier the board will break.

momentum = mass (weight) x velocity (speed in a certain direction), The change in momentum is the momentum when you hit the target minus the momentum when you come to a stop, which is determined by weight and speed (== impulse??)/ The force applied to stop a movement determines how quickly it is stopped, since we can say the the mass used to create the momentum will not change.

In order to break a board (or any kind of material), you must cause a shearing moment in the board that is larger than the critical moment for that type of material. When you try to break a board, the board itself is supported as both sides. If you perform your breaking technique well, you will hit the board in the center which leads to an equal distribution of force on the two parts. Both parts will supply a reverse force of half the initial force.

When the force meets the board, the top of the board will be in a state of compression and the bottom will be in tension. This will produce a torque on an axis through the middle of the board. If the torque is great enough the board will break.

Besides force other elements that are important are power and pressure.

The thicker the board, the harder it is to break the board. That is why often multiple smaller boards instead of one thicker one are used.

Copyright (c) 1994-2008 by Barry Nauta

Resolving Problems by Getting Your Distance

Pushing and bouncing are two issues that are commonly encountered when a tae kwon do student attempts to break boards. Both these problems often share a similar root cause – failure to stand the correct distance from the target.

This article is intended for any martial arts practitioner who has the supervision of a qualified instructor. This information is applies equally when breaking wood boards and plastic re-breakable boards.

Bouncing Off the Board

The most common problem when learning how to break is bouncing off the board when attempting to break it. There are two root causes to this problem. The first is standing the wrong distance from the board; the second is recoiling too early.

If you are standing too far away, your arm will not be able to extend far enough to break the board, resulting in a bounce or a hand slapping the board. Distance problems usually do not hurt because the striker is too far from the board to have much impact. A slapping sound and slight reddening of the palm or foot also indicates a distance issue.

The second cause of bouncing off the board is recoiling instead of accelerating through the board. Instead of driving the force through the board, the striker recoils and the energy is dispersed. Recoil is caused by a fear of hurting a hand or foot. The way to overcome this is to know that it is less painful to break the board than to fail.

When a practitioner is learning to break they should never recoil. Instead they should always accelerate through the board. Recoil is easy to spot because the hand jerks away from the board at the point of impact. Recoil can even cause the board to be missed entirely. If the striker recoils after contacting the board, a stinging sensation will accompany the striking surface (hand or foot) as it retreats from the board.

Pushing the Board

Pushing the board is another common issue with beginning breakers. Pushing the board results in the holder’s arms bending or their whole body being pushed back. Like bouncing off a board, pushing also has two common causes. The first is again distance, and the second is lack of acceleration.

If the striker is standing too close to the board when attempting to break, the arm cannot extend fully. When the hand reaches the board, the striker will push in an attempt to follow through. Pushing may or may not hurt, depending on the striker’s mass compared to the holder’s. If the holder does not move during a hand technique, pushing can result in a jammed wrist.

Standing too close is the most common reason for failure to break with all kicks. When kicking, the striker should stand a little farther back than they feel is necessary. A kick can always be extended by rotating the hips. When striking, the striker should resist the urge to step or scoot forward. This is often the reason for distance being off when kicking.

If the distance is correct and the striker is still pushing the board, there may be a failure to accelerate smoothly. This comes from an attempt to strike harder at the point of impact. The result is pushing instead of striking, dispersing the energy of the strike. To rectify this issue, the striker must accelerate smoothly throughout the strike.

Improved Breaking Techniques

Distance, acceleration and follow-through are all important parts of breaking. Learning to perfect these techniques will result in clean breaks every time.

Most martial arts will have you break boards when you get to the upper levels of training. Most hard style martial arts require that you successfully break a few boards when testing for your black belt. While other martial arts spend a lot more time learning to focus and break all kinds of things including boards, bricks, rocks and even metal. The style the I have spent most of my time training in is Karate (Kenpo, Tang So Do & Chun Kuk Do). All three of these styles require learning board breaking at various levels of training. We used to break pine boards that were cut at varying thicknesses. Once the boards were broke they were useless for training. So Martial Arts studios went through a lot of boards. Then the re-breakable plastic boards came out. They work real good for training and specifically learning to break boards. They also save the students as well as the schools a good chunk of change.


» Rounded Edges to Reduce Injuries

» Weight & Flexibility are Similar to Boards

» Safer than Wood Boards

» Economically & Environmentally sound to use

» Stackable For Power Breaking

» Re-Usable


These Re-breakable boards come in various colors. Each color represents the strength of the board. Generally the lighter the color the easier it is to break and the darker the color the more strength it has. For instance white boards are the thinnest and break very easy. Generally used with young students. Some of the other thinner boards are yellow and orange. Then you get into the stronger boards; Green, Blue, Brown and Black. Each representing a thicker board. The Re-breakable boards are real easy to use. Each board is simply two pieces that snap together. You just push the broken board together with your hands then slam it on the floor to lock it into place. Then you have a new board ready to be struck, kicked or elbowed once again. These days Re-breakable boards can be found in most studios around the world. I think this product was a great addition to the martial arts training gear. Now any student can learn to focus and break boards with no additional costs. Furthermore these boards are very well built and tend to last a long time. That being said there is a lot more to breaking Re-breakable boards than meets the eye. You’ll need the proper training and partner to hold the boards before using this product. Otherwise you end up with broken knuckles, sprained wrists and lots of bruises. I would recommend these Re-breakable boards to any serious martial artists or hard style studio.