Monday, 7 July 2014

Micro Post How to break bricks like the north koreans do

If you see the whole clip and especially the last 30 seconds or so you will discover the legendary north korean method of breaking like they do in their incredibly awsome demonstrations. Of course they are cheating instead of showing how true Taekwondo can be used for breaking so I have just lost all respect for the north Korean demonstration team....

I have written about breaking before and its role in Taekwondo and I still say that I am more impressed by those who do it less flashy but with proper technique and hard breaking materials than this flashy cheating stuff..


  1. Agreed, that is pretty pathetic. One person who's breaking has always awed me is Grandmaster Kyu Hyung Lee. If you've ever seen a few of his breaks on youtube, it is quite amazing to watch.

  2. I don't find the content in the video surprising nor controversial as it is common knowledge (at least I believe) that bricks are baked to remove the elasticity created by the glutenous paste that holds it all together. I have broken the 12" *2" gardening bricks they sell at the hardware stores (e.g. home depot) and if you don't remove the resistance by baking, the brick would be like punching a big elastic band.

    Personally, it took me 21 years to overcome my fear of bricks and the expectation on me to break at least 3 terrified my so much. For my 1st Poom I broke 4 boards because I was 11 and could get away with not breaking bricks. For 2nd Dan, I broke all 3 on my first try and was disappointed because I knew I could break 4. Terrified of using my feet still.

    My friend tried for 5 on his 2nd Dan and broke 3 successfully and could not break the rest. I could tell he psyched himself out. Physically he is 6'2 and at least 180 muscular pounds so he should have been Hulking through them. He kicked ass on his 3rd Dan test though. :D

    For most I believe, overcoming the mental anguish and fear is the victory, not the breaking itself.

    1. For once I do not agree With you Starfish (but if everyone is thinking alike nobody is thinking or something like that). In my organisation we break bricks but I do not remember seeing more than one. On the other hand we DO NOT bake them but still we break them. In my eyes baking them is cheating and when I see stuff like in the Clip above I ask myself how much of it is real and how much is false? Are all the Boards sawed almost in half? Are the roof tiles also baked? Are all the bricks baked? Are they Hollow for easier breaking? And then if you bake them so much as the North Koreans did where you can see that one brick shattered in two pieces just by a touch (the top one breaks by touch even before he was supposed to break his stack) what is really the point? Why do we break in Taekwondo? I can see no martial context in breaking "powder bricks". There is no test of Power, proper technique or mental intent in such a cheating break, there is only "Magic show".

      You say that for "most overcoming the mental anguish and fear is the victory, not the breaking itself." and I agree With it so much that I would like to use that as NeXT months quote of the month:-) But what mental anguish and fear do you overcome if you have baked the bricks so much as in this Clip where they literally break by touching them?

    2. PS My organisation most often uses roof tiles as breaking material allthough we also sometimes use bricks. The roof tiles are bought at the store as is, and then broken as is. No baking or drying or anything.

    3. In the link you will find and accurate picture of what I broke during my test:
      Format 2"x8"x16"

      Other people will break the same or variant colours.

      These bricks acclimate to the moisture in the air. If you are breaking them in a wet place they will be wet or in a dry Dojang they will be dry.

    4. I don't mind that you disagree, Ørjan. It is refreshing to have another point of view. :-)

      ** People cheat as we are not all following a romanticized code of ethics, martial or otherwise. **

      Baking is cheating. I agree. I baked 1 Concrete Patio Slab as an experiment in my fathers pizza oven at 325F and after a little over 2 days I touched it and it split in 2. That experience helps me understand why North Korea breaking is BS in that video. There is no moisture and the tile was pretty much dust.

      The process that is recommended with Concrete Patio Slabs is to acclimate them in a cool yet dry place so that they keep their weight (diffuculty to break, test of power and technique) but become rigid enough to snap in 2. That is the ideal combination. If you compare wood, you can't really snap a branch from a weeping willow, but a board of rigid pine will break when hit in the center.

      Personally, my right palm will attest to the resistance offered by Concrete Patio Slabs in question. If I am a cheater, so be it. As for "Magicians"... don't they specialize in illusions of anguish? I never thought they did anything real. :D

      PS: Please feel free to use my comment next month. It would be my honor.

    5. I don't mean to write so much but I don't think I have answered your questions. As far as cheating I have witnessed:

      1) over baking of bricks (bricks have cracks in them already)
      2) choosing boards with a natural weakness in the center based on an embedded brown ring that appears in wood.
      3) hitting or bending boards to weaken them
      4) dropping concrete slabs on the floor to weaken them

      Cheating I haven't witnessed but read/heard about:

      1) sawing into boards to create weakness
      2) already broken bricks/boards (similar to video)

      If you Google you will find a enough literature from breaking skeptics that essentially label it a magic show much like you did.

      I don't know how much is real and how much is fake in terms of demonstrations or in terms of percentages.

    6. It does not seem that we are disagreeing that much after all. We both believe that baking is cheating from Your last comments. We do not let the bricks and rooftiles sit out in mother nature but store them in a cool dry Place. Breaking should be tough but there is no point setting yourself up to an epic fail either. Keeping the materials dry is not cheating in my view. Baking them or heating them very much to make them brittle is.

      And thanks for Your permission on the quote:-) I will have it published around August the 15th:-)