Golden Leopard Kempo

A Smashing Good Time

Review of Grand Master Olivier's Breaking Seminar

Grand Master Olivier began his seminar with a brief history of breaking. He highlighted the following points.

  • Tibetan monks started art of breaking.
  • Shaolin monks continued developing the art.
  • GM Olivier's breaking art comes from Shorinji Kempo system.

According to the Grandmaster, warfare is the key element to the martial way. Without warfare, the need to develop weapons is non-existent. Therefore, the martial way is about warfare.

Grandmaster said a breaking artist must develop the hand (and body) as a weapon. They must have proper physical development prior to breaking. This development conditions the body for impact. It prevents injury. He warns against break training when you have injuries, infections, or other problems. The training may aggravate the injury.

A bowl of Dit Da Jow was passed around for the students to massage into their hands. Grandmaster continued with his seminar by describing Chi.

  • The center of chi is the tan tien (Japanese: Hara or the fuel center) just below the navel
  • The cunoleny is the most powerful source of chi located near the tailbone area
  • There are seven points, the 7 chakras, as centers of chi in the body
  • Chakra is wheel of energy, a magnetic field just like waves

The chi energy is like sound waves (as in chanting). Grandmaster said low frequency waves are the most destructive. The monks used these techniques to fight with. These techniques became legendary, known as:

  • The vibrating palm
  • The poison hand
  • The death touch (dim mak)

Breaking is potential dangerous. You must break properly or you'll become injured. He warns against learning or practicing breaking without a proper instructor and guide. If you do become injured or wish to learn the restorative aspects of "breaking", seek chi based healing. Grandmaster said Reiki healing is excellent, as is acupuncture healing.

Conditioning (iron fist method)

Here is Grandmaster Olivier's Iron Fist Training Method.

  1. Get a 24" diameter, 10" deep bucket. Fill it with sand.
  2. Pound (punch) the sand with your strike for 10-15 minutes non-stop for five days. Be sure to train your other side too.
  3. Do this for one week.

The next level, use frozen peas or pinto beans.

  1. Pound the beans for 10-15 minutes non-stop for five days. Be sure to train your other side too.
  2. Do this for 1 week.

Intermediate Levels:

  1. The next level is two weeks long, using a mix of 50% gravel and 50% beans.
  2. The next two weeks will be all gravel.
  3. The next two weeks, the mixture is 50% gravel / 50% buckshot or BB pellets.
  4. The final two weeks is all BB pellets.

Prior to each work out, rub your hands with benzene (tough skin), benadine or brine. Be sure to cover and coat the knuckle area thoroughly. As always, consult your instructor for proper technique.

The ten-week regiment is complete. You should have a properly trained iron fist. You can practice your breaking drills and such. Grandmaster suggests you break no more than once every three days. This'll allow your body to heal.

At the higher levels, you need a cocoa fiber mat wrapped around a post. This is a makiwara pad. For three months, punch the mat for 500 times. Turn the mat around to the bristly side and punch the mat 500 times for the next three months.

You'll want to heat the Dit Da Jow to 102° and soak your fist for 5 minutes on each side for this type of heavy workout. You can soak in room temperature Dit Da Jow for regular workouts. The warmth increases the blood flow to your fists.


Dit Da Jow shouldn't have almonds in it. That mixture is poisonous. Dit Da Jow must be two years old before using. It'll cost $25-$30 locally, pre-made. It's cheaper to get the ingredients and make it yourself. Store in a moderate temperature storeroom or garage.


To break effectively, you must be *well* rested. Always meditate prior to breaking. Use proper circular breathing (belly breathing).

Visualization is key

Grandmaster Olivier suggested the following scene for your meditative visualization.

The boy throwing rocks into the pond, but there are no ripples.
Just be in this place. See and experience what happens. There is no wrong or right image. See what happens when the boy throws the rocks into the pond without splashes.

After this meditation, do this:

  1. Breathe in right nostril, out through mouth with the tongue on the upper palette. Repeat three times.
  2. Breathe in left nostril, out through mouth with the tongue on the upper palette. Repeat three times.
  3. Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth with the tongue on the upper palette. Repeat three times.

Return to regular circular breathing (#3) with this visualization:

A silver dollar black spot is on your Hara. It shrinks and compacts to the size of a quarter as you breathe. Breathe in and visualize the dot rising up your body to your upper chakra. Breathe out through the mouth as the dot descends to your palm. Continue breathing. The dot should become heavy. Now, breathe in. The dot should rise up the body to the upper chakra. Breathe out as the dot descends to the Hara.

This is the actual visualization used in breaking. Use the dot to regulate breath and chi flow. When you contact the object to break, the dot should rest in your hand. Prior to and after the break, the dot should rest in the Hara. You must practice this daily to develop this mental coordination.

The Fun Part

Grandmaster Olivier demonstrated several types of breaks.

The three students who broke only the bottom brick.
  1. Two boards on supports. A third board on top against the grain. He broke the bottom two only with a quick snap reverse punch.
  2. He broke the bottom brick of four using a springy palm strike. There was a cloth on the top brick to absorb some of the chi.
  3. Grandmaster then popped the ends of bottles out. They were filled up to the neck with water. A cloth was wrapped tightly around the neck. A palm heel strike was delivered to the mouth of the bottle. Pop, the ends burst open.
  4. Speed breaking was next. A thin lattice piece was placed on a table with paper holding it down. A quick shuto strike broke the wood. The remaining piece should remain on the table under the newspaper.
  5. He showed the burning brick break. Three bricks with spacers were lit on fire using cigarette lighter fluid. Grandmaster broke the bricks with ease. He warned against having sleeves and other flammable items on the arms to prevent burning.
  6. Grandmaster demonstrated brick and rock breaking on an anvil or railroad track. He started by holding a brick in the left and performing a shuto with the right. Several bricks were broke and two rocks were broke.
  7. A phone book was placed on his assistant's stomach. Grandmaster willow palmed his assistant through the phone book. When the assistant lifted his shirt, a red handprint could be seen. It got darker as the day progressed.

Grandmaster Wilson demonstrated several breaks to the crowd also. The crowd gasped in unison when he broke several large rocks with his bare hands. He discussed some of the training routines from Shaolin Goju system. A rare treat indeed.

The atmosphere of comradery and excitement was charged by the guidance of the three attending Grandmasters (Olivier, Wilson and Fugate). Everyone had a great time learning the art of breaking. The parking lot was littered with splintered boards and crumbling bricks.

The Grandmaster tempted the audience with a coconut break at the next breaking seminar. I'm sure the students will return to learn from this breaking master.

COPYRIGHT © 1999 Bryan Bagnas

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