July 14, 2023

Breaking Class

Last night was “breaking class” at the karate school the kids and I attend.

Students bring in pine boards and try to break them with different punches and kicks to test their strength, speed, and accuracy.

As one of the more experienced students, my job was mostly to hold boards for younger students and coach them on how to successfully break their boards.

One student I was holding for was having a really hard time breaking through his board with a flying sidekick.

For those who don’t know, a flying sidekick is when you take two big running steps forward, launch yourself into the air, turn your hips over, and shoot your front leg out, hopefully breaking the board with your heel.

The trick to a flying sidekick is that you have to stand WAY back so that you have enough room to take your two steps and then extend your leg fully in the air to get maximum power into your heel.

My guy was starting too close, so by the time he got to the board his leg was still mostly in the cocked back, knee bent position so there was no strength to the kick.


Start farther back.

So I said things like:

But no matter what I said, he kept starting too close, over and over again.

Finally, the lightbulb went on in my head and I said:

“Start farther back.”

And guess what?

He finally started farther back, his kick got way better, and eventually he broke the board. YAY!

So, what did I learn?

I wasn’t being clear.


I was making observations and stating facts, but I wasn’t telling him what to do differently.

In other words, it was obvious to me that “you’re too jammed up” meant “start farther back” but it wasn’t obvious to the student.

Here’s the thing...

Your clients don’t know what you know.

They aren’t experts in what you do.

They usually can’t connect the dots between your observations and stated facts, and what they need to do differently.


If you want your clients to do something, tell them what to do in clear terms that anyone could understand.



P.S. Breaking class was a warm up for the annual “break-a-thon” charity fundraiser at our karate school.

This year, we will be donating to The Tomorrow Fund, which provides daily financial and emotional support to children with cancer.

If supporting this cause would put a smile on your face, it’s as simple as buying a few boards online:

Donate Now »

I’ll post video of flying sidekicks etc after the event if you’re interested 😀