“Board Don’t Hit Back”…But Bruce Lee Used Them Anyway!

You Tuber:

“boards don’t hit back” Bruce Lee


Is this all you can come up with? Why don’t you look at the picture on page 38 of the book entitled Jeet Kune Do: Bruce Lee’s Commentaries on the Martial Way, by Bruce Lee and John Little and tell me what is Bruce Lee doing in the picture? Breaking boards. Or why don’t you pick up a copy of Bruce Lee: The Incomparable Fighter, by M. Uyehara, turn to page 29 and read. What does Bruce Lee talk about in detail? Breaking boards. What did Bruce Lee use to demonstrate his one-inch punch? Boards. What about his one-finger board breaks? Boards again. Photographs and footage of Lee also include him using heavy bags, speed bags, kicking shields, oh and of course the wooden dummy, none of which can “hit back.” Do we throw all of these training aids into the garbage just because they can’t “hit back?” Calasanz wanted his Super Break to be different from the multiple breaks that he had been seeing in martial arts tournaments. Usually someone stands over a pile of bricks, boards or cinder blocks and stares at them before finally delivering he final blow with a fist, elbow or foot. Instead, Calasanz would first perform a kata and then use some of the basics from the kata in a 30-minute, non-stop breaking session. Part of it was to demonstrate his stamina, which is crucial in martial arts, especially for fighters. The other reason for Super Break was to entertain audiences who enjoyed the martial arts. So while the quote about boards not “hitting back” is attributed to Lee, it seems that when it was convenient for him to further his career through demonstrations, he had no problem with board breaking. Aren’t other martial artists free to do the same?

My Side of the Story: Martial Arts Mistakes, Breaking Failures, and Bloopers

One of my students found this video on You Tube – The “expert” that is narrating in the video is Michael Kinney – He must have been a competitor or a spectator, filmed or gotten a hold of the demonstration video, and decided to go on cable access in Florida and use my performance as an example of bad martial arts. In his TV, as well as his You Tube comments he lied, about me and the results of the demonstration. Here’s the video, his You Tube comments, and my response.

Michael Kinney’s You Tube Comments:

the reason I included the clip of the guy in red pants was because of the simplicity, redundancy, and his never ending array of breaks. I think that one good break, would have been just as effective. His judgement was impaired. His routine was scored in last place of 21 competitors for these reasons.
Thanks again. Check out my channel on youtube: michaelkinney

My Response:

The purpose of Calasanz Super Break was to demonstrate stamina, which is crucial in martial arts, especially for fighters. The other purpose was to entertain audiences who enjoyed the martial arts. The materials (bats, bricks, boards) for Calasanz Super Break were all purchased that morning and there was no tampering with any of these materials. The judges were told that Calasanz had tampered with the materials, which was a blatant lie. The judges were also shown materials that had been tampered with that did not belong to Calasanz. There was plenty of debris all over the place that day and the situation was easily manipulated. Calasanz won 3rd place, which turned into a big controversy that night, due to the sabotage that took place. When the winner was announced, Calasanz, his 33 students who came to assist him and many members of the audience were stunned with the results, some becoming very angry and aggressive. Calasanz did a lot of damage control that day to avoid a fiasco and graciously accepted 3rd place. While Kinney may view Calasanz Super Break as “redundant” and “simplistic” there are still people coming through Calasanz doors that enjoyed Super Break and considered that experience enough to train with him, to enroll their children in his school and to recommend him to friends and family.

Calasanz Kickboxing Breaks

In this video, there are segments of Calasanz practicing some controlled sparring, and working out. It also includes a segment from a television program featuring some board breaking and a scene from the movie, Crossing the Line. Calasanz famous “Super Break” during a karate tournament is shown at the end.