Breaking Wood Boards

Tips and Advice for When Holding Wood/Breaks Boards

Holding wood or break boards is just as much of a skill as breaking correctly. It is a lot harder than it looks and a very important job and holders need to be trained. If you do not know what you are doing it can go horribly wrong. Holding wood is quite a dangerous position to be in hopefully knowing some key points will help:

  • To reduce bruising put the palm heels behind the board and push forward, keeping your fingers as far out of the way as possible. Try and curl them into the side, so that if they do get hit, it won’t be as serious.
  • Always turn your head away in case the board breaks and catches you in the face. Really from a health and safety point of view you should wear goggles when holding wood. They also make headgear with face shields you can use.
  • Always lock your arms and keep elbows straight. If there is any ‘give’ in your arms the board won’t break, so lock your arms and push forward.
  • Take a forward stance where possible and get some weight behind the board. It depends on the thickness really but having maximum weight behind it will help a lot.
  • A way to test the board is to push against it. There should be no movement from the holder and the board should be firm. A quick, clean break means the force dissipates with the breaking wood instead of being transferred too much into your hands.
  • Always stand clear of people and obstacles such as mirrors and glass. It is very likely that if the wood breaks the holder may let go and the wood could fly anywhere. If the direction of your kick is aimed towards a crowd there’s a good chance the wood could injure someone. Use your brain and be careful.
  • This is very important! Always ensure that the grain of the wood is the right way! Otherwise it doesn’t matter how hard you kick it won’t break. Ask your instructor to show you.

How To Break Wood


Here are a few tips on how to break wood or break boards.


  • Always get your distance right. Remember you are focusing and trying to break through the board not on it, so you need to be closer than normal. Focus your technique on the other side of the board not on the board itself.
  • Make sure that the wood is being held properly. It’s your foot or hand that is at stake so make sure your partner is holding the board in the right position.
  • Always take a few attempts lightly to get your distance correct. Never try and break straight away. Having a few practise goes gives you the chance to make adjustments if need be.
  • Always aim for the exact centre of the board. The wood will break a lot easier there.
  • Only ever attempt to break wood when you are 100% happy with your technique. Any slight niggles or your weapon formation not being exact could cause you a serious injury. Practise on pads first and easy break boards and build your way up.
  • Juniors should not break thick wood as their bones are still growing and it can cause serious injury.


Remember breaking is not about muscles and brute strength it’s about technique, speed and breathing control. If you do want to practise breaking, like everything in Taekwondo build up slowly and start on thin boards first.