Depth: 0.6cm / 0.9cm / 1.2cm / 1.5cm / 1.8cm / 2.0cm / 2.5cm / 3.0cm (0.9cm depth is the most popular one)
One of the four elements fo taekwondo (besides sparring, styleforms and self-defence) is the breaktest. It is a obligatory part of the black-belt exam and is a popular element of taekwondo demonstrations.
Breaking an object is a good way to practise concentration, power, focus, speed and precision on non-living objects, without injuring oneself or another. It is very important to realise that a proper technique is needed and a breaking technique within your limits, because without it you can easily injure yourself, sometimes even permanently!
Practising breaking objects helps you to realise that your body itself is a very strong weapon. It also helps you to understand that during practise with a partner, you have to be very careful.
The material that is most often used for breaking techniques is wood since it can be easily broken with either hand or foot. Other materials include bricks, tiles and sometimes even baseball bats!
Breaking objects can be performed with any rigid part of the body. In taekwondo, the most common are the hand or the foot, but breaking can also be done by using the elbow, the knee and even the head. (The photo show GM Moon of the Hwalmoo Hapkido federation, performing a break-technique with his head)
In order to break an object, it is best to start light. Use an object that is easy to break, instead of directly trying to break a thick board, and start with a technique in which you feel confident. Use your techniques as they are taught to you and try to be as releaxed as possible. When starting practising breaking techniques, it might help you to focus a few inches behind the actual point of impact.
The physics behind a breaktest:
Dry board are more brittle than wet ones and will break more easily.
If a board does not reak, a large force is transmitted back to your body for a relative long time. This might hurt: O) Break boards with the grain. It is much easier! When breaking a board, make sure that the persons who hold the board have a firm grip. If the board moves during your technique, it will soften your technique.
Other factors not coverd: Angle of strike, size of attacking tool.