Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What is that crazy contraption?

Showing up to class last Friday, there was this ominous looking metal contraption in the corner with rubber straps and a pad on it.   It's new to the dojang and generated a "What is that thing?" from a couple of the students.  I don't have a picture of it and my google-fu is weak.  However, it turned out to be for board breaking.  There's a section that slides up and down and can be set with pins to adjust for height.  The boards are held in place in this section with the rubber straps against metal braces that are extended away from the core of the machine.  There is a pad where your foot and/or hand would eventually hit if you were to go through the board.

Normally, an instructor or fellow student holds a single practice board of varying strength (color coded to your belt level generally) while you attempt to break it.  I find that the practice boards are generally more difficult then real boards because the plastic teeth that keep the board together are way more stronger than whatever bonding wood molecules have with each other.  However, I can still break through a black board fairly easily.

Our board break this quarter is either a back-kick or the spin-hook kick.   We ended up practicing our back-kick on the machine.  The difference with the machine though is that it can be setup to hold multiple practice boards.  Our instructor hooked up a single black board and a yellow board (yellow being easiest).   After several attempts, me and the other adult partner kept breaking only the first board and not the second.   I mentioned to the instructor that there seemed to be some kind of intimidation factor going on in my head of "Oh noes....there is more than 1 board here."   He stopped the class and gave us a few pointers.  

First, when there are more than 1 board, there is a gap between the practice boards versus if you were holding multiple wood boards which are flush against each other.   The natural reaction to breaking a board is that when your foot and/or hand is hitting that first board and it starts to break, you immediately start your recoil because it's breaking.  The result is that you don't actually hit the board behind it with the power needed to break it.   Time and time again, we've been told to break through the board and "aim" for a point behind it.   I was getting lazy and not actually doing that.   He told me to try to hit the pad behind the  boards and see what happened.    That mental preparation of thinking about going through the target and hitting the pad behind was all I needed.    I barely even felt the boards as they snapped.


Bil said...

You = stud

shaggydoug said...

breaking boards is easier than you think