Striking through the Board
Probably one of the most popularized feats of martial arts prowess is breaking something. Typically, that something is a wooden board. To those who view the spectacle, it can appear effortless or labored. The board is usually placed above the ground with the ends supported by two platforms or columns to allow for the martial artist to strike through the target. Than, the show begins for the viewing audience.
One of two presentations may occur for those in attendance. The first may be a cautious approach by an anxious striker. He or she comes up to the platform. He or she measures the distance of the hand or foot to the object. Then, deep breathing and focused attention build to a crescendo. A pause in all motion hovers over the event. Then, the presenter explodes into action.
The second kind of demonstration follows a similar path with a few key distinguishing changes. First, the martial artist does approach the target. Focused attention begins before the participant reaches the board. He or she looks almost enraged at the offending object. Breathing and arm rise together in unison. Then with one pass between arm and board, the strike is delivered.
If given a similar situation, which of the two martial artists do you identify with in this described situation? Do you think that you are cautious or intense? Both of the following situations show a picture of resolution. But, is either preferable to the other?
Resolve can be looked at as "decided." When you have resolve, you are committed to something or action. You have resolve to complete a task, project or responsibility. In the examples, both individuals had the resolve to break the board. You may notice from the previous scenes described that I never mentioned result.
Is resolve impacted by result? Should we be influenced by the perceived outcome? Some things seem so frightening that they can definitely diminish confidence and make any person question his or her resolve. How can resolve persevere in the presence of feared failure?
Funny thought, I have a good friend who has done several amazing breaks. He has even broken ten boards at once with his palm! He said something once that really gives pause for thought. He said, "If you break only one thing or several, the distance you travel is the same-it's always start to finish." Distance is defined by two things in an action always- beginning and end.
So, how does that work in your life? Whether you are cautious or confident, or if you are quiet or loud, success can follow your actions. Both approaches work. I am sure that there are several videos of breaks on the internet that show either type of individual crushing objects with contact. With events outside of a dojo, actions with continued resolve lead to change and ultimately some form of gain.
A detractor might point out a simple concern of "What happens if you don't reach your goal or if the unexpected or negative events follow an action?" No matter the outcome, an individual gains experience and more knowledge to improve future decisions due to increased awareness of possibility.
Maybe one last way to view the idea of resolve and outcome is to look at the relationship of a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. No matter how skilled an archer may be in his or her talent or effort, each archer relies on the same fundamental equipment. No matter how well the form of pulling the bow back before a shot, the archer can only control the arrow while it is in contact with his or her bow. Once fired, the best shot may have influences that cannot be controlled by the archer like wind or obstacles falling in the flight path. An errant shot does not denote the merit of the event, it just leads to further exploration of how to improve the process to aid in future shots. Resolve and outcome are separated by distance like the bow and arrow.
So, take heart and be resolved to improvement. If you miss or make, find joy in the process and never forget that even in unforeseen situations you are always move to gain more knowledge of event and self. You much like your technique are refined by your resolve. Remember, look at the board or boards in front of you and don't count the inches or feet to cross to break them, the distance is always only start to finish!
The M.A.D. Dad
About the author
I call myself the M.A.D. Dad. M.A.D. stands for Martial Arts Direction. I want to help others battle the forces that threaten our peace with lessons that I have been blessed to discover through my experiences in both Martial Arts and Life.