Only a few things demonstrate the wonders of physics as much as a karate chop. However, how martial artists use the technique to break boards and bricks can leave you wondering if it is true or just a gimmick. How is it possible to karate chop a brick?

Karate chopping a brick is possible as your hand generates enough force to shatter it. The shape of your hand during a karate chop reduces the level of damage to your fingers and bones. The way you set up the bricks also determines how successful your karate chop will be.

This article will show you the ins and outs of karate-chopping a brick and how this technique is possible.

What Is A Karate Chop?

A karate chop is a chopping mechanism, as the name suggests. You harden your hand like a knife and hit the object or your opponent with it. You may also form a knife-hand by tucking your thumb inside your hand. 

Despite its name, karate chop is common in other martial arts such as aikido, taekwondo, and Kung Fu. There was even a time when practitioners used the “chop” in judo training! Though judo classes no longer teach striking. 

4 Facts About Karate Chopping a Brick

How is it possible to karate chop a brick?

To help you understand the answer, I’ll show you four facts about the technique. As it turns out, it doesn’t require any trick. It’s only a precise application of physics.

Your Hand Generates Enough Force To Chop the Brick

Karate chops are a strong martial arts attack that you can deliver in various directions, including inside and outward. Chopping reduces wind resistance and allows you to move more fluidly.

According to Ronald McNair and Michael Feld, an average karate student chops at around 20 feet (6.09 meters) per second.  On the other hand, a black belt may reach 50 feet (15.24 meters) per second!

Based on this stat, here’s what happens when a hand slams against a brick or block of wood: an 11.5 lb (5.21 kg) hand (about the size of an average man’s hand) can produce 2800 Newtons of force. It only takes around 1,900 newtons to split an average concrete slab 11/2 inches (13.97 cm) thick.

With this finding, Ronald and Michael demonstrated that a karate expert could effortlessly chop bricks and slabs beyond doubt.

You Have To Set Up the Bricks So That They Can Break

The way you set your bricks also helps ensure they break easily. For example, if you place the bricks on the floor, they won’t break because there’ll be no flex. You may also end up hurting your hand.

Now, the trick is to raise and peg the bricks slightly. Pegging allows the bricks to break each other. 

The force from your knife hand shatters the first brick and drives downward through the rest of the bricks. 

The bigger the gap, the easier the subsequent bricks will break since the shattered brick fragments will fall for longer. These fragments gain velocity and exert a greater force on the next lower layer of brick.

Your Hands Suffer Less Damage During a Karate Chop

One of the best things about karate chops is that damage is almost negligible. The section of your pinky finger that connects to your wrist is pretty robust and inflexible.

The hand has several tiny, delicate bones, and when you customarily strike an object, you may shatter 14 of these bones. The karate chop reduces most of the danger.

As a result, the possibilities of self-harm are pretty slim. With a karate chop, you shatter the brick while remaining safe.

You Must Use the Right Technique in a Karate Chop

Performing a karate chop requires the correct stance, momentum, and speed. A combination of these three allows you to produce the most potent strike.

Many martial artists make the mistake of using shoulder power to chop bricks. However, to break bricks effectively, you need to use the power of your wrist. It requires you to use your elbow as a pivot and spin it to produce enough torque.

With this method, you can control the movement of your hand. Also, a locked elbow allows you to hit the first brick’s center of gravity, making it easier to smash through the rest of them.

Final Thoughts

Many people wonder: how is it possible to karate chop a brick? It doesn’t require any unique technique. However, you need to get your stance right, form your knife hand perfectly, and set your bricks up correctly.

When done correctly, a karate chop doesn’t cause any damage to the hand.

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