IceBreakerG, on 13 December 2012 - 22:12, said:
Interesting. I haven't gotten my black belt yet (probably never will at this point), but we don't use weapons or break boards in my style (Okinawan Goju-Ryu). We're mainly defensive, but still cool to see. However, similarly to you, at this point, martial arts is my back up. My .45 is my primary lol.
We don't use weapons at all either, except for very rarely we will practice with what we call "short sticks", which are basically a very very short bow staff. Other than that we're totally hand to hand. We do break boards starting at red belt to emphasize proper technique. All the way up to red belt you get pointers in person when you belt test, and people can "tell" you what you're doing wrong, but you'd be amazed at how much a student's technique will improve if they face the prospect of pain at their own hands if they don't have good technique. All of a sudden punching in a straight line and driving side-kicks with your heel become a lot more important, plus when they do break the board, it's a very impressive demonstration for the parents and friends that come to watch them belt test. We used to use "re-breakable" boards that were made of plastic and snapped together, but they cost a lot of money, the plastic wears out, they were more difficult than a pine board of equal size, and it just doesn't look as cool if you don't actually break a piece of wood and send half of it flying across the room. Also some people accused us of "cheating" because it was a plastic re-breakable board, so I just started going to Lowes and buying big sheets of 12" pine shelving or similar material, and cutting it into sections of the desired width whenever we have a belt test.
warwagon, on 13 December 2012 - 22:31, said:
Now turn the board the other direction and go against the grain.
It's actually not any more difficult no matter how you turn it, if you have proper technique and don't anticipate the pain and pull back, breaking 1 board is a piece of cake. The problem some people have when breaking a board is that they see it as something of unworldly difficulty because they've really only seen it done in movies, and they think it will hurt, so sometimes they hold back to try and reduce how much it hurts, but when they hold back, the board won't break and it "will" hurt. If you psyche yourself out and just follow through with everything you've got, the board will break, and although you might end up with a scrape from your skin passing through the board, it won't hurt nearly as much as failing to break it. I've broken boards that were a square 12x12 inches and never cared whether I was going with or against the grain. You're driving with your front two knuckles only, so all of the force of your punch is being concentrated into that point instead of across your entire fist. Breaking boards doesn't really get difficult until you start stacking multiple boards together. When you do that, it doesn't just multiply difficulty by the number of boards, because the boards will support each other as well. I've punched through three 12"x12"x1" boards stacked together before, but it took me 2 or 3 tries and I skinned up my knuckles pretty good. I failed the first two times because I hesitated and was unsure of myself because I'd never done it before, but I got psyched out when I saw my own blood after the 2nd try.