Sicamous karate student Rebecca Erickson breaks two pine boards with an elbow strike Saturday during Provincial Martial Arts’ second annual board breaking event held in Salmon Arm’s Downtown Activity Centre.

Breaking board: PMA hosts second annual board-breaking event

Karate students given opportunity to show off skills

By Julie Bartusek, News contributor

Shouts of ‘kiai’ rang through the gymnasium as both children and adults broke through boards at the Provincial Martial Arts’ second annual board-breaking event held Saturday at the Downtown Activity Centre.

Students used  techniques such as the flying side kick, jump front kick or elbow strike.

“Anyone can break a board,” said Holly Raczynski, association coach for Salmon Arm, Enderby, and Sicamous. “It’s not about how strong you are. Even the smallest can break a board. It’s all about technique.”

Evje Knutson, 6, her brother Micah Knutson, 8, of Salmon Arm, and Jacob Sigvaldason, 6, of Sicamous, revealed the secret to a successful break.

They say you need to have a good stance, speed, lots of power and a loud kiai.

The kiai forces board breakers to exhale, which gives them more power.

Both brother and sister show focus before executing their moves. For the flying side kick, Evje takes a deep breath and runs full speed towards her target, leaping over an obstacle to execute her strike. It takes a couple of tries, but she succeeds and the board snaps. Micah explains his favourite move is the elbow strike because “it takes a lot of power and is a lot of fun.”

For Sigvaldason, it didn’t matter what type of technique he used; he broke 12 boards throughout the day including two stacked boards at a time.

To help with the event, Todd Johnston, Raczynski’s coach and the director of Provincial Martial Arts, as well as Josh Griffin, a PMA instructor, professional cage fighter and Raczynski’s training partner, came out from Calgary to support Saturday’s event by coaching participants on how to improve their skills.

Older students, as well as parents who practise karate with their children, helped by keeping track of each participant’s progress, shouting out encouragement and dating each board snapped in half.

The board-breaking event provides an opportunity for participants to show off their skills to family and friends.

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