“The Art of Breaking”- by Master Drew Serrano
The Art of Breaking, or “Tameshiwari”, is a part of many Martial Arts styles across the World (Karate, Tang Soo Do, Kun Tao, and Tae Kwon Do to name a few). It has gained more exposure through organizations such as the World Breaking Association and the United States Breaking Association, and through televised competitions such as ESPN2’s coverage of the US Open World Martial Arts Championships. Breaking has taken center stage on informative programming such as Discovery Channel’s “Time Warp” and “Xtreme Martial Arts”, and National Geographic Channel’s “Fight Science”. It has also become the topic of various Talk and Variety shows. The inclusion of breaking competitions at many Martial Arts’ venues has increased the interest in breaking and has opened the doors for new competitors of all ages, ranks, and genders. It is becoming increasingly more popular as a way to test the progression of technique and focus. The general public’s appreciation is also growing, even though many view it as a spectacle. So what is the purpose behind the destruction of these varied inanimate objects?
Throughout the history of Martial Arts, or any system of combat, there have always been limits to the extent at which some techniques or theories could be practiced and tested safely. Although an instructor can teach techniques, focus, and “Chi” or “Ki”, the true essence of many Martial Arts’ styles is not realized until the presence of an actual real life situation where there are no limits put on the areas trained. With this in mind, there are only a limited number of ways to test the practicality of techniques and concepts learned through some Martial Arts styles.
A practitioner could be put in a situation where his/her training is used in actual combat through organized combative sports or a life-threatening event. In both of these scenarios one or more of the participants are very likely to get hurt, and the person inflicting the injury has to live with the consequences of their actions. In many styles this is not conducive to the “martial way of life”. This is not to say that some of us, as Martial Artists, do not train for that one moment in which our training could save our life. If that day comes we hope that it all clicks and we walk away unscathed, but depending on the extent of the situation and the actions we take the traumatic memory of such an incident can scar us for life.
Breaking can provide a way to test the effectiveness and power of a technique without the danger of hurting someone else. This is especially important in the Dojo where our training partners are many times our friends as well. Although there is always a risk of injury to the breaking practitioner, in most cases he or she does not have to worry about hurting anyone else but themselves.
As stated earlier, breaking provides a way of realizing steps of progression in many ways. The first of these steps, the beginner level, is to overcome the natural fear of injury. Even a basic board break presents the possibility of injury if not performed correctly and with the right mindset. Getting over this first hurdle is sometimes the hardest part of breaking. There is a great sense of accomplishment attained. This is also the first step toward the focus of the powerful inner energy called “Ki”.
The next level of breaking, the intermediate level, usually comes with the practitioner increasing the amount of material broken. This comes with increased confidence in the power and effectiveness of the Martial Artists’ abilities. Obviously a greater amount of material requires both more power and mental focus. At this level a practitioner can sometimes power through a break even though they have not tapped into the full potential of their “Ki”. The greatest risk of injury is possible at this level in which a practitioner has the confidence and possibly the physical ability, but is still in the process of being able to channel the energy necessary to protect the body from harm. Instructors must take great care in guiding their students through this level.
As the practitioner continues to train and learn, their abilities increase and they become more in touch with that which makes a great Martial Artist. Mental focus, body awareness, and Martial Art technique become more efficient. With this increase in knowledge and ability comes greater awareness of “Ki” and how it can be focused. This is the advanced level and the practitioner will experience a great increase in their breaking ability. They will be able to attempt harder materials, larger stacks, and more intricate techniques and routines. Even though the practitioner may not be successful at all attempts the incidence of injury is considerably lower than previous levels. The advanced level represents the beginning of truly understanding the power and force that can be generated by the human body. It is quite an awakening for many Martial Arts practitioners.
The last level attained, Master’s level, is true control of “Ki” and the body’s ability to generate power, speed, and force at will. This level is not easily attained and it can take decades to actually “feel” this change, but once it is accomplished it becomes second nature. At this level injury is usually caused by lack of focus more than any other reason. A breaker that reaches this level is often humbled because they realize the true potential of the human body. It is empowering, but at the same time frightening to know what the human body is capable of.
Breaking can be incorporated into any style of Martial Art, either as a competitive endeavor or as a measure of progression. Even the simplest break can provide a great sense of accomplishment. At the highest levels it is an asset that can be utilized throughout a practitioner’s training and life outside the dojo.
I love karate, but I’m a girl and everyone (parents, friends, BFs) thinks I should just drop out.
Tell your parents and friends you don’t see the point wasting time and money on dance lessons when you’d rather be learning leg kicks and power punches. Explain to them that karate is a great form of mental and physical exercise, which is practiced by thousands of girls around the world. Most importantly, taking karate lessons is a healthy activity that you want to do! Talk to them respectfully and intelligently and they should be open-minded. If they still think it’s not girlish to take karate, unleash some of your martial arts maneuvers, and give their ideas a kick back to the 1800s, where they belong.
Read more: Kids Sports & Fitness Advice | Girls Sports | Tomboys | Parent Teen Relationship | Martial Arts | Karate http://www.kidzworld.com/article/4068-quiz-the-coach-i-like-karate-not-dancing#ixzz1kP9pXxhB
Karate is about more than just breaking boards or being able to defend yourself. It’s a martial art that can help you strenghten yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s also a great way to reduce stress and build self confidence. If you’d like to get started in karate, most areas of the US have private karate schools and you can also look into karate programs at your local community center or YMCA.
Read more: Karate | Kids | Pictures | Moves | History | Beginner | Martial Arts http://www.kidzworld.com/article/4918-martial-arts-karate#ixzz1kP77LgXl
The best way — in fact the only way — to prepare yourself to fight off an attacker is to take a self-defense class. We’d love to give you all the right moves in an article, but some things you just have to learn in person.
A good self-defense class can teach you how to size up a situation and decide what you should do. Self-defense classes can also teach special techniques for breaking an attacker’s grasp and other things you can do to get away. For example, attackers usually anticipate how their victim might react — that kick to the groin or jab to the eyes, for instance. A good self-defense class can teach you ways to surprise your attacker and catch him or her off guard.
One of the best things people take away from self-defense classes is self-confidence. The last thing you want to be thinking about during an attack is, “Can I really pull this self-defense tactic off?” It’s much easier to take action in an emergency if you’ve already had a few dry runs.
A self-defense class should give you a chance to practice your moves. If you take a class with a friend, you can continue practicing on each other to keep the moves fresh in your mind long after the class is over.
Check out your local YMCA, community hospital, or community center for classes. If they don’t have them, they may be able to tell you who does. Your PE teacher or school counselor may also be a great resource.
Another part of self-defense is doing things that can help you stay safe. Here are some tips from the National Crime Prevention Council and other experts:
Understand your surroundings. Walk or hang out in areas that are open, well lit, and well traveled. Become familiar with the buildings, parking lots, parks, and other places you walk. Pay particular attention to places where someone could hide — such as stairways and bushes.
Avoid shortcuts that take you through isolated areas.
If you’re going out at night, travel in a group.
Make sure your friends and parents know your daily schedule (classes, sports practice, club meetings, etc.). If you go on a date or with friends for an after-game snack, let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return.
Check out hangouts. Do they look safe? Are you comfortable being there? Ask yourself if the people around you seem to share your views on fun activities — if you think they’re being reckless, move on.
Be sure your body language shows a sense of confidence. Look like you know where you’re going and act alert.
When riding on public transportation, sit near the driver and stay awake. Attackers are looking for vulnerable targets.
Carry a cell phone if possible. Make sure it’s programmed with your parents’ phone number.
Be willing to report crimes in your neighborhood and school to the police.
Karate warm up exercises are an integral part of training.This is true not only for Karate, but for all martial arts and fighting styles too.Formally, these exercises were known as Calisthenics. It is essential that you always warm up for at least 15 minutes before starting your practice. These exercises are designed to strengthen and loosen your muscles.You should loosen the body, indulge in arm stretching, back stretching, leg swinging, leg stretching, leg spreading, trunk twisting, etc.But even before you start stretching your limbs, twisting your neck, and bending your trunk, you should increase your heart beat rate by doing some aerobic exercises. Aerobic Exercises For KarateProfessional boxers in every weight division — from the lightweight division right up to the heavyweight division — practice rope skipping before each training session.Rope skipping gives you endurance, increases your body coordination, and gives speed to your feet.One good thing about rope skipping is that you don’t need expensive equipment to do it. If you want to be fancy, of course, you can buy a state of the art skipping rope.Nevertheless, you do not need to do so. A simple rope will do, as long as it is heavy enough to jump with momentum (light ropes tend to be more difficult to handle). And if you have never done any skipping, it is very easy to learn. Try one jump and when you have gained confidence and perfection, attempt two jumps per revolution, until you get several in a row.Whenever you do this exercise, though, be mindful of doing it on a soft surface (on a rug, carpet or mat), as this will reduce the impact on your knees.
Basic Karate Stretching Exercises Forehead to KneeOnce you have increased your heart beat, you may proceed to your Karate warming up/stretching exercises.The first one consists of sitting on the ground, keeping your legs straight together, and bending your upper body with the intention of touching your knees with your forehead.Notice I’ve said “the intention”. Not everyone is flexible enough to accomplish this exercise, especially when you first begin to practice a martial art or any other sport.Some would even dare say that some people are naturally too stiff to ever be able to touch their knees with their foreheads… and that’s fine too.The objective of this karate warm up exercise is not to become a contortionist, but to expand the range of limb movement to avoid injury later on. One Leg StretchThis is a relatively easy Karate warm up exercise to do. It’s actually not an original Karate exercise.Many other sports encourage you to do it, as it accomplishes 2 things: First, it stregthens your quadriceps (your main leg muscles), and second, it stretches your other leg muscles.As you can see from the picture, the exercise consists of squatting on one leg as you stretch the other leg on the side.Be gentle. Don’t bounce on your knee, but control your weight downwards. If you have balance problems, you can use a chair to support yourself.
Leg RaiseThe leg raise is yet another basic Karate warm up exercise, which consists of “throwing” your leg upwards whilst keeping it straight.Don’t overdo it.Rather than risking injury by overstretching yourself, gradually throw a kick as high as you can without pain and discomfort.This is not really a kick. It’s a streching exercise.Do a few repetitions for each leg (10 to 15 for starters).
Attackers aren’t always strangers who jump out of dark alleys. Sadly, teens can be attacked by people they know. That’s where another important self-defense skill comes into play. This skill is something self-defense experts and negotiators call de-escalation.
De-escalating a situation means speaking or acting in a way that can prevent things from getting worse. The classic example of de-escalation is giving a robber your money rather than trying to fight or run. But de-escalation can work in other ways, too. For example, if someone harasses you when there’s no one else around, you can de-escalate things by agreeing with him or her. You don’t have to actually believe the taunts, of course, you’re just using words to get you out of a tight spot. Then you can redirect the bully’s focus (“Oops, I just heard the bell for third period”), and calmly walk away from the situation.
Something as simple as not losing your temper can de-escalate a situation. Learn how to manage your own anger effectively so that you can talk or walk away without using your fists or weapons.
Although de-escalation won’t always work, it can only help matters if you remain calm and don’t give the would-be attacker any extra ammunition. Whether it’s a stranger or someone you thought you could trust, saying and doing things that don’t threaten your attacker can give you some control.