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8 Steps for Breaking Through Any Obstacle

Breaking Boards

This weekend I came across a video of kids breaking through wooden boards with their hands. I was curious about the technique that these kids were taught in karate class so I started researching it.

The first page I found was at, which had an article called “How to Break a Board with Your Bare Hand.”

As I read through the steps, I was amazed at how similar the steps for breaking a board are to the steps for overcoming all other obstacles in life. Here are the steps, word for word from the WikiHow website:

How to Break a Board with Your Bare Hands

#1. Empty your mind. Relax. Don’t think about success or failure. Take a calming breath. Focus yourself first. Unless you are extremely weak or sick (in which case you shouldn’t be breaking boards at all), mental preparation is the most important aspect of the technique.

#2. Now focus on the target. Breaking effectively is less about the amount of force you apply than about putting all that force at the single point of your choice.

#3. Strike through the target. Don’t aim at the board itself; if you do that, your hand will tend to stop there. Aim your strike six inches beyond the board.

#4. Concentrate on speed, not power. You’re not trying to push the board away, you’re trying to hit it as fast as possible.

#5. Yell. The kiai that martial artists often emit when striking is not just for show, nor to startle the opponent. The contraction of the diaphragm and torso muscles can be used to put more power in your strike.

#6. Give it your all. Commit your strike. Don’t hesitate, don’t think, just do it.

#7. Follow through. Don’t try to stop your hand after the break; relax and let the motion end on its own. If you try to over-control, you will tense up and rob yourself of power. Mental knowledge is the key to a successful break.

#8. If you do prepare mentally, and commit your strike fully, you will succeed. Even prepubescent children have the physical capacity to break boards; for any adult in reasonable health, all the obstacles are mental.

Pretty amazing, right? These are the same steps I teach people in our courses at Successify!

#1 – Clear your mind of negative thinking and distractions.

#2 – Define your goal and focus on a target.

#3 – Envision yourself having achieved or exceeded your goal

#4 – Shorten the amount of time you allow yourself to complete your goal so your energy is concentrated.

#5 – Yell (Why not?)

#6 – Work towards your goal with all your energy.

#7 – Follow Through. Don’t stop or slow down until the goal is accomplished.

#8 – Believe in yourself, your preparation and your ability.

Whether breaking a board, breaking a habit or breaking through a barrier in life, the steps are the same. Focus, goal, work, believe. You can do this!


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