Secret to Breaking

People sometimes ask me for the secret to breaking. Such questions as, ‘Is it all in your mind?’ or, ‘Have you broken your hand a lot?’ are common. The secret to real breaking is the combination of conditioning and technique. Both are important, but one may pass with inferior technique if the conditioning is excellent. The reverse does not work quite as well.

Dedication is the secret to most skills. You must adhere to correct training principles, but once these are understood, the deciding factor is in the dedication to consistent training. Consistency is the single most important consideration to this method of conditioning.

Focus, skill and technique are all necessary, but the main requirement for advanced breaking is the physical hardening of the anatomical weapons.

Many beginners are very concerned over the consequences of losing focus and failing a break. They fear the resulting injury. This is indicative of over extending your ability. There are always exceptions, but one should be able to strike a target with breaking force and suffer no injury even when the break fails. This is due to conditioning. It also allows one to put forth full effort without fear of injury.

At early stages, new breaks can be intimidating. The anatomical weapons are not yet fully hardened and the practitioners are not yet comfortable judging the limits of their ability. There is the fear of exerting too much force and breaking the hand. This is definitely a possibility. Unfortunately, this is often a cause for hesitation which can, itself, result in injury.

Doubting yourself and holding back leads to problems. A technique executed halfheartedly almost always results in failure, increasing the chance of injury. What is worse, each failure is another discouragement to your confidence and progress. This is very psychologically damaging in the early attempts at breaking. Then again, you should not just blindly swing with all your might and hope that the break is within your capability.

If your strike is more powerful than your hand is able to withstand, a failed attempt will certainly damage you. Breaking a bone will delay your progress for months. The bone may never be as good as new and even if it heals well, you may have to start your training from the beginning. If this happens, have faith in training and take things slower the second time around.

Benefit of Breaking

The practice of tameshiwari is a very effective method of increasing striking power. Without the ability to deliver maximum damage in an attack, much of the usefulness of a striking system is lost. Those who underrate the importance of power find themselves extremely susceptible to being tackled. Imagine yourself firing a gun at a charging attacker, only to realize that the clip is empty. At this point it is too late to rework your game plan. If you have never questioned or tested the effectiveness of your strikes, you probably do not have any backup because you never thought you would need an alternative.

Striking is the first range of combat, so it is a shame to waste it by skipping directly to grappling. It is also more than simply a method of distraction before the fight goes to the ground. In order to finish a fight on the feet, your strikes must be executed with maximum effect. That means you need damaging force. In order to use force without sustaining injury to yourself, you must have conditioning.