In the Taekwon-do martial art, and in Karate, one of the skillsets learnt by the advancing student is how to use his hands, elbows and feet in offense (for defence). One of the disciplines in which these skillsets are played out, in sporting competition, is ‘power breaking’. This is where boards (whether made of wood or acrylic materials) are placed together like laminates and held firm in a framed structure called a horse. Then the competitor punches, strikes or kicks (whatever is the particular format of the given event) and the winner is he who breaks through most.
One board, it is generally accepted, offers the resilient strength of one rib of an adult male. First Dan black belts (and above) generally, will break multiple boards; champions will strike through four and more boards.
One of the other things learnt is where to strike a human attacker for a desired effect. These places are called ‘vital points’, and there are 280 vital points on the whole body. A full power attack to many of them can result in unconsciousness or paralysis, and there are approximately 11 points where fatality can result.1
So it is with a small measure of irony that the Dangerous Weapons Act 2013 defines a ‘dangerous weapon’ as ‘any object, other than a firearm, capable of causing death or inflicting serious bodily harm, if it were used for an unlawful purpose’.2