There has always been an element of showmanship in Karate. They don’t call it a martial art for nothing. Brick-breaking and other crowd-pleasing demonstrations give Karate guys a perfect way to market the system to young, impressionable would-be tough guys all over the world who want to be feared and respected.
Say what you want about the other aspects of Karate — that it doesn’t teach you to fight very well, that the katas are mostly meaningless, etc. — you can’t deny that the raw power generated by their strikes is super impressive.
Karate guys do something that nobody else can do. You’ll never convince a pro boxer to try his hand (so to speak) at brick-breaking. The most flamboyant, in-your-face professional wrestler (who takes metal chairs to the face for a living) wouldn’t try this sort of breaking feat if you paid him. None of the loud-mouth, trash-talking MMA fighters will get anywhere near a brick with their bare fist.
So what do brick-smashing Karate guys have that everyone else doesn’t?
They are specialists.
These guys spent years developing this skill. It didn’t come overnight.
The two indispensable aspects of skill training are focused preparation and perfect technique.
The goal of breaking a brick with your bare hand isn’t one you can pursue part-time. This is the sort of thing you must work on constantly, and for a long, long time. It’s not a hobby, it’s an obsession.
Stick the hand of one of these powerful guys in an x-ray machine, and you’ll find that their bones are larger and more dense than normal. This osteoclerosis is the result of year after year of intense training.
Without long-term goal setting and the will and self-discipline to follow through, these powerful men would shatter their hands and wrists on the first attempt at cracking a brick.
It’s fine to dedicate yourself to a goal, but if you don’t punch properly, it won’t work.
Karate guys define their strikes down to the smallest detail. Nothing is left to chance. Of course, there are plenty of different opinions about what constitutes the perfect punch, but for their purposes, Karate punches work.
They know exactly how to move to get everything lined up properly so no power escapes in a useless force vector, and they know just what to do to maximize the strengths that they’ve developed over the years.
When years of conditioning are used to augment perfect technique, watch out!
Who cares about breaking bricks — I’m not a Karate guy
If this thought entered your head, you’re not alone.
Karate was once the dominant martial art, and there were lots of people who — probably mistakenly — believed that it was more effective in a street fight than wrestling, boxing, or other fighting systems. But lately it’s fallen out of favor.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t learn anything from these guys. After all, they can break bricks with their bare hands.
What you should take away from this is that all the conditioning and tough-guy attitude in the world won’t help you hit harder. But if you study and perfect your technique until it is defined down to the last detail, then you can use whatever level of conditioning you have to hit as powerfully, accurately, and effectively as possible.
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