The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

February 8, 2013

‘I will break you,’ said the student to the board

By Ian Faulkner, Staff Writer
SNAP

Friday, February 8, 2013 — There are many types of clinics: academic, health or work. What about a board breaking clinic?

Albemarle TaeKwonDo hosted a board breaking clinic Feb. 1 for its students.

“We’ll start on targets, show them the technique and make sure they got it down, go through the process, before we go for the boards,” said Brian Alexander, head instructor at Albemarle TaeKwonDo.

When asked if he goes by a title like “sifu” or “sensei” Alexander said no, he just usually goes by Mr. Alexander, to try and instill proper manners in the younger students.

TaeKwonDo is a standing up form of martial arts, hailing from Korea, that utilizes kicks and punches, Alexander said. In addition to sparring, they teach forms and patterns to help students better learn kicks, blocks and punches.

“The program itself is great for kids. It’s good for kids with attention problems; it teaches them how to focus,” Alexander said.

He also said TaeKwonDo had the potential to turn negative, destructive energy into positive, constructive energy.

“It helps with school work because it teaches how to focus,” Alexander said.

He expanded on the clinic, relaying that they have a couple different clinics throughout the year.

“We usually do the boards once a year,” he said.

Twelve students attended the clinic, from ages 5 to 13.

“I’m excited about the clinic tonight,” said Virginia Jones, 13, a student at North Stanly Middle School.

“This is my first time breaking boards. I’m not nervous. I’m probably not going to have any problems breaking boards.”

The first technique they learned was the stepping sidekick. After watching a demonstration of the technique, students practiced on targets with a partner.

Once the technique was correct, students got in two lines. At the other end of the line, Alexander stood with a board. On the opposite line, his assistant Connor Martin stood with a board.

When it was their turn, students approached the board and took a couple of practice swings, to ensure proper form, and then with a shout they struck the boards.

Wood is no match for the power of human determination and many a board met its demise at the end of a small, yet powerful foot.

“Keep on target. Remember to yell, it will make you a little more powerful,” Alexander said.

Students also learned a palm strike and the hammer fist technique. After practicing both, they were allowed to test these strikes against the wood.

Again, many good boards lost their lives on this evening. Snapped and tossed to the side, students took home their wooden victims as trophies.

“We’ve been working on these techniques,” Alexander said.

He went on to say that the clinics serve a double purpose: to teach techniques and self-control.

“The stepping sidekick is dangerous. You can break ribs with it. They don’t realize they have that much power until they see it for themselves,” he said.

Albemarle TaeKwonDo hosts classes Monday through Friday for ages 4 through adult. For more information, visit albemarletkd.com.