Taekwondo movements: Breaking
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Breaking is easily the most recognisable move in taekwondo, and it involves practitioners kicking a wooden board with their feet or striking it with their hands.
Image credit: SportSG
There are several ways to break a board using kicks in taekwondo, with the most common being the side kick. The side kick impacts the board at the heel of the foot, and should be done with a straight leg being thrust towards the board. Before attempting to break the board, you should have your legs wide apart and slightly bent at the knee, with your dominant leg closer to the board. Aim towards the middle of the board when executing the kick.
Another common kick employed in breaking is the front kick. Unlike the side kick, the point of impact should be the ball of your feet. Get into the joon-bi stance – legs shoulder width apart, clenched fists at the hips – so that your weight is evenly distributed. Next, raise your dominant leg with your knee bent, before releasing your knees so that your feet goes up and in contact with the board. As with side kick, aim towards the middle of the board.
By hand blows
The front elbow strike is one of the best ways of board breaking, as the forearms provide a great amount of power. However, contrary to what the name suggests, the point of impact is not the elbow, but the forearm region several inches above the elbow. Start by keeping the arms close to the body while moving the elbow upwards. At the same time, twist your hand inwards so that your elbow is is brought to the front of your chest.
Chopping is also a very popular move to use in breaking, with most breaking demonstrations involving this method. Keep your palm open, with your fingers at a slight bend and arms outstretched. Unlike karate, chop strikes in taekwondo are not completely vertical movements, but done at a downward angle. One tip to ensure you don’t get injured while chopping is to make certain that the little finger does not go over the edge of the board.
Another method to break boards is to simply punch it. The front fist is one great method of punching and breaking. Make sure to hold your dominant arm out in front of you and clench your fist. Next, align the index and middle knuckle with your shoulder. Return to the joon-bi stance, with your clenched fist at your hips knuckles-down. Bring your arm outwards and thrust your fist forward, aiming for the middle of the board.
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