Kyukpa Is Not “The Art Of Destruction”

        Before I even started martial arts seriously I had always heard that “Karate masters” break boards. Breaking boards is a common thing in martial arts, especially Taekwondo. Not only breaking boards, but bricks and tiles and other such things. When I was a kid I always called it board breaking, and everyone else I heard talk about it called it board breaking as well. When I started Taekwondo I learned that the Korean word that means board breaking is called kyukpa, but it also refers to breaking various things as already mentioned. At Taekwondo tournaments sometimes they had a “kyukpa event.” It was also called “board breaking competition.” Never once did I hear people say, “Hey are you going to participate in destruction?” Seriously, what the heck does that mean? Why yes, I am going to participate in destroying things, in ultimate destruction. It sounds so badass!!! Grrr!!

        When people started calling it destruction it was usually the mcdojangs in town who called it that. Then when the internet got popular a few random Taekwondo groups called it destruction as well. I personally think calling kyukpa “destruction” sounds stupid. It makes me feel like I am going to participate in destroying the world and everything in it, and all people and just destroy! Destroy!! Destroooyyyoouuuu!!!! or something to that effect. I recently saw an online Taekwondo article on a website call it “the art of destruction.” It said you should “participate in the art of destruction.” What do you mean? Participate in death metal music and break guitars or burn down buildings and blow bridges up? Is the art of destruction an anti-world anti-life philosophical outlook on life? Or does it mean being a demolition man at a construction site who sets up TNT and other explosives in order to implode a building so it can be rebuilt later in a much better way? So if you are a master board breaker does that mean you are a “master in the art of destruction?” It sounds so stupid.

1. When you break boards nothing was made out of them or constructed out of them. So therefore you cannot “participate in destruction” with them since you are not tearing down a house or fence built with the wood. You cannot destroy the boards themselves either since all you are doing is breaking them in half. Now if you could bust them up into 100 pieces of wood maybe I would acknowledge that the board had in fact been destroyed. But then you would have to use those crappy “balsa wood” thin demo boards for children to try to come close. It is the same with bricks.

2. Technically all you are doing when kicking or punching through boards, bricks, tiles, ice etc. is breaking them. You are simply breaking it. It is a more proper and accurate term to call it breaking. I don’t think anyone actually destroys a board or brick when doing kyukpa.

        The English dictionary defines “destruction” as the condition of being destroyed; demolition; annihilation. This is hardly anything that happens when doing kyukpa.

        It defines “breaking” as to smash, split, or divide into parts violently; reduce to pieces or fragments. This sounds completely like what happens when doing kyukpa and is the accurate term and does not sound stupid.  

        I believe the Korean word “kyukpa” simply means “breaking” or “breaking method” when translated into English. It does not mean “destruction” or “destroying method.”

Man that board has been totally DESTROYED!! Look at it! Destroyed maaan!

But I guess all the cool mcdojang kids are using the term destruction now days because it sounds so cool and makes their Taekwondo performance sound so hardcore!!! DESTRUCTION MAN!! TAEKWONDO DESTRUCTION!!

  1. Tuong Vuu (@v_sauce) says:

    I know this is an obvious thing, but besides the purpose of testing our accuracy and power, is there anything else more “symbolic” in breaking boards?

    • White Dragon says:

      I think board breaking is basically testing accuracy and power and proper technique. How bad your hurt your wrist or hand depends on your technique.
      Bricks are a display of power more than accuracy but you still have to be accurate to break them.

      I like board breaking and bricks and think its cool but I just think it should not be called “destruction.”

  2. Meyer says:

    I remember for my 1st degree test I elected to do a speed break with an upset hammerfist. I did great in practice, then testing day had nerves and didn’t accelerate at the right moment. Wound up sending the board flying within about 8 inches of an instructors face. Flawless break on the second try, but that instructor still gives me crap to this day.

    • White Dragon says:

      So he was mad at you for it or butthurt over it? I dont get it. He should be smart enough to hold the board right.

      • Meyer says:

        No, it was my fault. It was a speed break as in the board was held only by a corner. He wasn’t mad, he actually laughed right after it landed on the ground.

  3. dobokdude says:

    Hello white Dragon dojang. Things are going well with my training. Last week was Olympic sparring and the kids were actually trying. It wasn’t that dancing crap the ATA does. And yesterday we were working on boxing punches and knee strikes. He says reverse punch instead of straight or cross. So yeah this dojang teaches the martial art side of taekwondo which is why we will be working on kickboxing sometimes. But yeah just because a board is broken doesn’t mean you nuked the damn thing. Also have you read A Killing Art yourself? It said taekwondo is justice pumped on steroids but I didn’t quite get that.

    • White Dragon says:

      I have not read that book yet. Its expensive and I dont want to pay that kind of money.

      Its good you are getting decent training and having fun.

  4. MesYang88 says:

    Kyukpa (격파) is often translated “to smash” or even “to crush.” The ideograms associated with the word are 撃破. Maybe this will help you on your understanding of how people translate 격파.

    • White Dragon says:

      Crushing and smashing a board does not have the same connotations in English as destroy. Koreans use it to refer to breaking a board. Saying “hey do you practice destruction” makes no sense. Saying “Do you practice breaking things” makes way more sense.

      If you want to pretend you are somehow a Hangul expert then by that definition we should call it “broad crushing” and we both know that sounds stupid. “Hey are you going to compete in crushing?”

    • White Dragon says:

      Also according to several translators online it says what you typed: “격파” means defeated, not crush or smash. Maybe, gasp, you are wrong?

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