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The “Breaking the Board” Principle

Aside from the obvious physical aspect, training in Kuk Sool instils many good virtues and habits into you; a good, positive attitude, self-discipline, mental strength and more besides. However, today I just want to talk about one small thing I learned which has had a big impact on various things in my life.

It’s something which I took to calling Breaking the Board. As you know, Kuk Sool requires you to break boards every so often – notably during a grading. One of the things that held me back earlier on was being afraid of how much it would hurt when I kicked the board. However, I soon learned that it hurts an awful lot less when you successfully break the board than when you don’t. I eventually managed to develop a way of pushing that fear to one side so that I could kick the board at full force, giving me a much greater chance at breaking it. I knew I could break it – I just needed to focus rather than let doubt creep in.

So how does this apply to other things? You likely won’t encounter any actual boards that need breaking outside of martial arts, but if we look at this in a more symbolic way, it makes more sense. The board is a challenge; a hurdle or a barrier. The board is a project or a deadline – something you’re nervous about or something that’s outside of your comfort zone. Sooner or later, that board will be in front of you and if you let fear or doubt set in, it’s going to hold you back. On the other hand, if you go in with 100% conviction, you are much more likely to smash through that board.

This lesson helped a lot with my education and career. Be it a test, exam or the presentation of a semester’s work at uni in front of my peers and tutors, I knew that I needed to go in with a focused mind. If I fully committed to the delivery of that presentation rather than letting nerves take charge, it would always go much more smoothly, which would reflect better on my work than a doubtful or less convincing display.

That’s just one example. What are YOUR boards and what will it take for you to break them?

– JKN Joe

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