The most difficult of the Martial Arts Breaking Techniques, many dedicated martial artists believe, is the board break with the single. This is a break wherein you use only pointing finger. Obviously, this requires dedicated training of the highest discipline, and there is a lot of risk to it.
The history of this strike is most interesting. There used to be over fifty martial artists on Taiwan, all capable of breaking at least a single inch of pine board with a straight finger, and I have heard that, because of a scarcity of material, these artists used to break bricks with their single digit. The reason there were so many on Taiwan is because the communist Chinese killed martial artists during their great Cultural Revolution, and so may fled to the island republic.
Interestingly, there aren’t enough students of the caliber needed to perpetuate this ability, and so the technique has largely died out. You need a large population to find the few with sufficient talent. Still, the ability to thrust a finger through a board is incredible and signifies high ability.
I first heard of the single finger break when I began Karate at the Kang Duk Won. The lower belts would jab their fingers into sand for a bit of time, and, finally, around the time of Brown Belt,they would break a board with a spear hand. By the time of black belt and they would start doing push ups on fewer fingers until they could do the technique with two digits.
One day one of the upper belts, a student by the name of Ted, decided to part two boards with a spear hand. He set up the boards, focused his intention, and, broke his hand. Being rather typical of the students at the Kang Duk Won, he completed the break with his other hand.
My instructor, however, was the best at this single finger thing. On one occasion one of the students held held up a piece of plywood. It wasn’t too thick, only an eighth of an inch, but plywood is crisscrossed. There is no grain to speak of, and, unless you feel like breaking your fingers, people just don’t break them.
The student was grinning, then Bob (my instructor) sunk weight, twisted hips, and his finger snapped like liquid lightening. The student holding the board felt no impact, was not pushed back, but when he looked at the board he found that Bob had left a hole in it. No break, just a hole, and feeling of incredible power leaving the room.
There are a lot of breaking tricks, but this is one of the highest. If you can leave a hole in a board with a single finger, you have arrived at the top of the heap. But I always advise people to train excessively before even thinking about this ultimate martial arts breaking technique.