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How to Use Karate to Break a Board

If you're wondering if you're strong and fast enough to break a board, you might be surprised.


  • : Attempting to break boards is potentially dangerous and may result in injury. Try it at your own risk and use caution, especially if you are not formally trained.
  • Step 1: Get the right wood Use a board with grain that runs the width of the board instead of the length.
  • TIP: It will take practice to gain the strength, speed, and accuracy you'll need. A plastic training board can help you before you try to break an actual board.
  • Step 2: Get a partner Have someone hold the wood lengthwise at either end with their arms extended and feet apart, ready to take the force of the blow.
  • TIP: If you don't have a partner, set the board between two cinder blocks.
  • Step 3: Position yourself Stand with your dominant foot forward, hand balled into a fist.
  • TIP: Visualize hitting an imaginary point a few inches behind the center of the board so you will follow through instead of stopping at the board.
  • Step 4: Warm up Practice making several blows without actually hitting the board to warm up.
  • Step 5: Strike Pull back your arm and tighten your core. Then strike through the board with the heel of your hand or the side of your fist.
  • Step 6: Stack multiple boards Stack two or more boards separated by pencils and break them using the same technique.
  • Step 7: Side kick it Learn to break the board with your foot. Execute a side kick by standing sideways, kicking your leg straight out, and landing your heel in the center of the board.
  • FACT: Karate champion Leif Becker broke 415 boards in 1 minute on David Letterman's television show in 2004. He's since broken his own record with 487 boards in a single minute.

You Will Need

  • 12-in. long
  • 3/4-in. thick pine boards
  • Partner
  • Pencils
  • 2 cinder blocks (optional)
  • Visualization techniques (optional)
  • Plastic training board (optional)

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