Breaking Introduction

(click here for the rules)

Breaking has been a very secluded sport for many years, partly due to the fact that students are not familiar with the training and sacrifices breaking requires, but most of all because instructors are not knowledgeable enough to teach breaking to their students. This document will hopefully give you new insight to the art of breaking, not only from a participants view, but also from an instructor’s view.

There are various forms of breaking, but in South Africa we concentrate on the two major types namely, Power Breaking and Creative Breaking.

Lets look at Power breaking.

With the focus on power, power breaking is performed with a single downward strike, usually with the elbow. The breaker only gets one chance to perform the break and maximum effort must be put into the action. In South Africa we make use of roof tiles (specifications under material) packed and spaced in a specific way to provide enough resistance, but also to allow the possibility of a break. Obviously when competing in breaking the objective is to break something and therefore breakable items should be used. The stance and technique will be explained in more detail at a later stage.

Creative Breaking.

By far the most complex of all types of breaking. The breaker sets up a maximum of 5 stations with 3 breaks at each station. The sequence can be done with music and verbal crowd participation is a must. The breaker can break anything NOT harmful to himself or a danger to the audience and/or judges. Glass and fire is obviously not allowed. Being creative is what it is all about.


For power breaking we make use of a flat surfaced roof tile that can be purchased from any hardware store (for practicing purposes). Size is 415mm x 325mm. The tile has a one-side ridge for roof applications; therefore we make use of a 9mm wooden strip to space and balance the opposite sides. The roof tiles must be stacked on cement H block building blocks. The large size blocks of 190×380 is our standard size. The distance between the H-blocks is 235mm.

In creative breaking there are no limitations to the material used, except for that it should be safe and not harmful to surrounding spectators. No glass or fire is permitted. No material is allowed to leave the stage during a break. Any injury to spectators will result in disqualification. Materials other than what is supplied by NMA-ISKA are the competitor’s own responsibility. But NO tampering will be allowed whatsoever!!

ALL ROOF TILES to be used in all divisions of breaking must be ordered and purchased through the NMA-ISKA. This is a quality control method and no other materials privately obtained will be allowed for Power or Speed breaking.

Orders for material must be placed with NMA-ISKA breaking commissioner, Sensei Karel van der Merwe, on, 2 weeks prior to Destiny. NO LATE ORDERS OR ENTRIES WILL BE ACCEPTED.

Power breaking:

  • H-blocks must be packed with the holes horizontally aligned with a gap of 235mm between the blocks. The first tile must be packed with a spacer on the right and the tile flush with the H-blocks on the breaker side. Spacers are only used one side per row and must be alternated from left to right. Thus every tile will be switched head to tails.




  • For protection against cuts a thin piece of material may be placed over the top tile but not for padding purposes.
  • No padding is allowed over the arm for men.
  • The person with the highest percentage break from the highest amount of tiles will win. In other words 14/15 will beat 14/16. But 14/14 is a 100% break and will take the honour.

Power breaking posture/stance:

For power breaking the competitor will take a side stance next to the stack in a manner that will allow the elbow to move freely downwards to strike the stack in the center from the top. The elbow movement must be big and over the shoulder to secure a perfect downward strike onto the center of the stack. Tiles should be stacked in order for the competitor to strike down and not having a strike next to his own shoulder. In other words the height of the highest tile must be comfortably reachable.


Creative breaking:

  • The competitor must set up a sequence with a maximum of 5 stations with 3 events per station and a minimum of 4 stations with 2 events per station. The 3 events at a station does not have to be the same material, but must clearly be “related” as one station.
  • A total event time limit of 12 minutes will be strictly enforced. The clock will start running as soon as the competitor’s team steps onto the stage and time will stop once all rubble and related materials have been removed from the stage. Time will be paused if the actual show takes place long after the setup. But the total time will be calculated and will be enforced. Failure to stick to the time limit will result in points being deducted from the overall score.

Weight Divisions:

Division: Power Tiles

Men – 3 Weight Divisions

  • Under 75kg
  • >75 – 90kg
  • Over 90kg

Women – 3 Weight Divisions

  • Under 60kg
  • >60 – 70kg
  • Over 70kg

Division: Creative

Men – 3 Weight Divisions

  • Under 75kg
  • >75 – 90kg
  • Over 90kg

Women – 2 Weight Divisions

  • 65kg and under
  • Over 65kg

Junior Power Breaking:  

Plastic tiles will be provided by NMA-ISKA for juniors (6 – 14 yrs) to break in a downward strike power breaking fashion. Plastic tiles will be set up where after juniors will perform one single downward elbow strike to determine who breaks the most amount of plastic tiles. Setup will be on H-blocks turned on the side (for safety reasons) and with a 15mm lip of the tile touching on both sides. Thus the inner gap of the H-blocks must be 215mm.

Junior age divisions and material:     

  • Under 8yrs – Red, curved plastic re-breakable
  • 8 & 9 yrs – Red, curved plastic re-breakable
  • 10 to 12 yrs – Red, curved plastic re-breakable
  • 13 to 14 yrs – Flat Pink/Red Taekwondo boards
  • 15 to 17 yrs – Concrete roof tiles.

Junior scoring:   

The competitor with the most amount of tiles broken or highest ratio will win.


Junior Creative Breaking:   

Junior Creative breaking rules are the same as the senior creative. Age groups are 12 to 14 and 15 to 17 for both boys and girls. No juniors of 11 and under are allowed to do creative breaking.