For my entrance into the Leadership Club at Lowell Taekwondo I was required to do a Creative Break.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4PyKBiNvr0
I thought long and hard about what type of break I could do that emphasized my strong suit which is power. ( I joke that I was given a double serving of power but only a half serving of grace) If you saw me doing my forms you might mistake it for Drunken Kung Fu...My moves are strong and explosive but oh so very not pretty.
The last 6 years of my martial arts life I had done nothing but Muay Thai and Jujitsu so I struggle terrible with getting into the right stances and throwing strikes that hit only air.
I am committed to getting better and thanks to my extremely knowledgeable and patient instructor... (Thanks Mr. Walker) I am confident (at least hopeful) that someday I will look half as smooth and artistic as my 7 year old son who just tested for his red/black belt. He had the honor of starting with Mr. Walker at 5 years old and must have gotten grace from his Mom because I sure don't have it.
Anyways...I really wanted to come up with something really cool and truly creative.
I have broken black rebreakable boards with all the basic strikes without difficulty.
I thought about setting up multiple stations or breaking all the boards in the school with speed breaks but none of those ideas really got me overly excited.
My son and I were watching a Cubs game (go Cubs) and someone snapped a bat.
Apparently right at that moment...something must have snapped in my brain as well because I immediately knew that I wanted to break a bat.
Thus...the wheels were in motion...
First I had to convince my Wife that I would in fact be able to break a bat and still be able to go to work the next day. (I'm a Paramedic so I really should know better but I am a big believer in not showing up to my funeral without a few scars and wear marks.)
Next...the setup...I was very concerned about not wanting anyone holding a bat for me to kick.
I knew full well for me to be successful that the only thing in my mind at the time of the break could only be the break.
I didn't want to think about anyone taking a flying jagged shard of baseball bat to the neck.
I turned to Mr. Walker for help one night after class and we drew up a design for a holder that would keep the bat still and give me the swing through that I needed to turn my hips over into the kick.
Lastly the training and prep...We did a good deal of explosive and power work at the dojang and I kicked my heavy bags at home more times than I could even count.
A large part of the preparation was mental....working on getting my mind into the right place knowing that there is no attempt or partial try.
Anyone who has ever broken a board knows that breaking a board hurts some and not breaking a board hurts alot more. I was pretty sure it was going to hurt alot when I broke those bats and even more sure that I'd break my leg if I did not.
Now I have never had an issue with not committing 100% of all my power, focus and intensity into a break....but hey...I never tried to kick through a baseball bat before so I went over and over in my mind the sequence of how it would all go, so that when the time came...I would be single minded in purpose and commit.
Break time...the break was done at the end of testing, so with a room full of people out comes the bat holding contraption and the baseball bats. No one other than Mr. Walker and a couple others knew that I had planned on breaking baseball bats for my creative break. My Wife said there were a bunch of ooohhhss and aahhhhsss but honestly my hearing was shut off and I don't remember any of that.
I bowed in and immediately broke the bats to gasps and a couple small screams.
Did it hurt?...yes the second one especially...even though my feet were in the right position, I didn't get the full turn over in my hips that I needed.
From my Muay Thai training, my leg kicks have a slight upward travel.
Fortunately (I guess) My shins have taken quite the beating over the years.
I did put on a couple of socks over my shin so jagged hunk of bat wouldn't slice me open.
Overall I couldn't have been more pleased...The kids loved it...the audience got a cool show and I feel like I had made my Instructor proud.
I now have the Honor of being one of the newest member of Lowell Taekwondo Leadership Team!