Friday, August 10, 2007

Breaking

Among the things that people tend to enjoy at karate demonstrations are the breaks. But there is frequently a question as to what exactly is the point? In the Bruce Lee classic Enter The Dragon, Lee looks at someone who breaks a board and says, contemptuously, "boards don't hit back." Some look at that and think it makes sense - why would you bother?

We bother because it teaches us to do techniques with power, focus, and correct form. There's only so much that you can learn from throwing a punch at the air, or a bag. You don't know what your technique is worth if you haven't broken something with it.
When you try the speed and strength your daily training has given you in breaking boards, tiles or bricks, you are doing more than just measuring your own ability; you are also giving yourself a chance to reflect on the effects your training has had on both your mind and your body. When you seee for yourself that you can break these objects, you know that your body is possessed of the speed and strength you were striving for. A karate that ignores breaking practice is no more useful than a fruit tree that bears no fruit.

- Masutatsu Oyama, What is Karate?

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