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These following breaking methods outline the actual techniques used once you have properly conditioned your hands. Conditioning allows your hands to withstand impact but these techniques give you the ability to break objects. These techniques are my personal variations on the standard methods. Use these methods with caution and proceed at your own risk.

When beginning to practice breaking or when breaking extremely strong or rough materials, you may want to place a small folded towel on the striking surface as a safety precaution. When practicing extensive breaking, a wrist brace is a also good idea.

Palm heel and straight punch- The palm heel use usually the first technique learned because it is powerful and has the least chance of injury. The punch is advanced due to the hard bone contact and need for superior conditioning. Both of these weapons use the same thrusting movement. The only difference is the contact surface and how you hold your hand. Of course, you must make contact with only the first two knuckles (next to the thumb) when using the fist. People untrained in karate tend to make contact with either the last two knuckles or the entire hand. All you have to do is look at the size of the first two knuckles to realize that they are better for breaking. These two knuckles are also in line with the bones of the wrist and arm, providing the necessary support structure to absorb impact.

Observe the standard dictates of karate punching for both the fist and palm heel. Utilize hip movement to add power to your strike. Remember to keep your elbow close to your side at all times in order to preserve linear movement. To help with this, just keep your arm so that it brushes against your side as you strike. The faster you move, the better your chances are of breaking.

Above all else, make sure the movement you are making feels powerful. Everyone's structure is a little different. Guidelines are only there to help you find what works best for you.

Tegatana (shuto or knifehand)- This is the classically recognized "karate chop." See this technique, and you know you are watching martial arts in action. For this reason, it is the first technique that I practiced for breaking and is still my favorite technique for breaking with spacers. It is superb for penetrating strikes. I personally never preferred the palm heel or hammerfist because they do not seem like classy techniques to me (but hey, whatever works best). I devoted my first two years of breaking to perfecting my knifehand. Its combat applications are also fantastic.

This are the outlines of my techniques (hammerfist may be substituted):

Traditional technique

1. Stand with your feet at a 45 degree angle to the break with your body rotated away at a 90 degree angle. The lead leg is opposite to the breaking hand.

2. Pull back across your body to the hip with the free hand.

3. Follow by turning your body to face the break. Do not rotate past the break.

4. Bring the elbow of the breaking arm up above the head, fully extending the tricep an d pointing the elbow tip to the ceiling.

5. Pull down forcefully with the tricep and the muscles running down the side of the torso.

6. Direct the force out towards the fingertips while pulling the elbow down towards your side. The outward momentum plus the pulling down and in with the elbow will load the hand with blood and energy, translating to speed. The large swinging motion rapidly condenses into a smaller, tighter pull of the arm which will generate power.

Modified Technique (the one I use)

Many of the previous steps apply with two variations:

1. Face the break with the lead leg on the same side as the breaking hand.

2. Bring the arm around and over your head,rotating into the break. You may follow through by striking past the outside of the lead leg in order to add speed.




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