Breaking is required for promotion. Some only break only because it is required for promotion. However, as explained below, there are other more reasons for breaking.
Speed, Focus, and Power. These elements are required in any successful break. Breaking training will increase each of these elements and thus improve other aspects of Taekwondo training. Techniques will be crisper, patterns will be sharper, sparring will score more, and self-defense tactics will be more effective. When used in self-defense situations, techniques must stop or injure the attacker. To develop this power, students must practice hitting solid objects. Striking a heavy bag accomplishes this but breaking gives the student instant feedback.
Balance. Techniques that seem balanced when performed in the air may not be balanced when executed against a solid object. Breaking forces students to maintain their balance while executing full power techniques.
Control. In sparring, techniques are controlled to not injure the opponent. In target or bag work, the techniques are controlled but there is little indication of the amount of control. In breaking, control must be used to break the object without striking a board holder or the floor under the object. Together, sparring, target/bag work, and breaking teach the precise control needed to respond to any self-defense situation.
Concentration. Breaking requires intense concentration. Concentration is always useful in Taekwondo training, such as when performing patterns. Concentration is also useful in all aspects of daily life, such as when driving in bad weather or taking school tests.
Confidence. A successful break increases and confirms a student’s belief in his or her abilities. In class, this confidence will manifest itself when performing patterns or sparring. In daily life, this confidence will be visible in the way one walks and acts. Others will respect this confidence and think twice before challenging it.
Discipline. Breaking requires a student to discipline his or herself. Successful breaks require persistence and dedication to purpose. One must train him or herself to overcome fears, pain, and failures. This, of course, is highly useful in daily life.
Forging. Forging is systematic training to toughen and strengthen body parts that are used for breaking. See the forging topic for more information.
Show off. Breaking is a way for people to show off and try to impress viewers with their ability to break something.
Entertainment. When watching breaking, you get to see the pride in a successful break, the dejection in a failure to break, and sometimes the agony in an injury; either way, it's entertaining to watch.