I have seen some brick breaking where the fractioned uses a large number of bricks, but only breaks the bottom one (the technique used is usually something like a downward palm). People have given me explanations that it is "energy projection" but I don't really buy it. I personally do not have much experience with brick breaking, so could you offer a possible physical explanation for this phenomenon? The practitioner has demonstrated that he can break the same amount of bricks all the way through (meaning, breaking through all of them, not just the bottom one). I have noticed a trend in using large (but ultimately long and thin proportionally) bricks for breaking. I guess it does look pretty impressive, but breaking a short, fat brick is probably a lot more difficult than breaking a longer one of the same mass. I am new to breaking and could use some guidance.
Actually, since I am a student of traditional Taekwondo, I have more of a connection with karate than I do with modern Taekwondo. Given the path that modern Taekwondo has taken (commercialized sport), if I had it to do over again, I would have probably stayed in karate. There are no traditional Taekwondo schools in my city/county, so I train at a school that comes the closest.
I haven’t researched the physics behind selected breaking, but I am sure there is a scientific explanation. Like all other supposed mystical things in the martial arts, I am sure this one is also just a stunt. As you have noticed, long and/or thin is always easier to break than short and/or thick. Ever see the demo where assistants break 2x4 boards over various parts of the “masters” body. The boards a always long and impact at the center of the board’s length. You do not see them trying the same thing with a baseball bat length board.
Selective breaking demos always use brittle, manmade objects One reason is probably because pliable, natural objects, such as wood, have numerous unpredictable factors that affect their breakability, whereas, manmade materials are consistent throughout and thus their breakability is predictable. It is also possible that objects are specially selected for certain characteristics, are placed in a particular way, or are pretreated in some way.
Extreme breaking is for entertainment; it has little beneficial value. Power breakers train for breaking and wowing the audience; that is their forte. However, basic breaking does have its benefits. Breaking gives students self-confidence, when it is successful, and encourages them to improve, when it is unsuccessful. It teaches students to use perfect technique since imperfection, such as punching with a limp wrist, can be painful. Breaking gives students direct feedback as to their power and perfection of technique.
Students testing for rank in our organization must break. I have seen many students satisfactorily complete all the other requirements but not complete all the required breaks, and thus fail the test and have to try again at the next testing. One woman, testing for 1st degree black belt, tested seven times before completing all her breaks. When she finally passed the test, the crowd when wild. At subsequent tests, she had no problem with the breaking.
Breaking is easy; it is more a mental exercise than a physical one. If the brain can get the body to perform as required, the target will break. Hit the target dead center, especially when using plastic re-breakable boards. Do not make practice attempts, just set up everything properly, and perform the break. Relax, do not try to punch or kick more powerfully; when you do, it causes your timing and body position to change, and the speed of the technique will be decreased. As you move, fully chamber the technique and execute it quickly, firing all muscles in sequence toward the target. Use perfect form with full extension, rotate the hips for power, and push from the floor upward and into the technique. Impact the target with perfect hand or foot shape and position, while using a powerful kiai from your lower abdomen. Focus everything into a point in space that is just behind the target, not on the surface. Do not concentrate on the target; pretend it is not there. Just perform a perfect technique to a point in space and the then snap the technique back instantly and re-chamber it before returning to your fighting stance.