An important part of the Rock and Water 3 Day training is the very last exercise, where participants break a piece of wood with their fist. Why do this?
The wood break must be seen in the context of the training. For three days, participants have challenged themselves. They have re-assessed what it means to stand strong, have a voice, challenge limitations and set goals as they gain new understandings about the power of breath and the amazing physical, mental and emotional possibilities that go with really knowing your centre.
The culmination for the newly accredited Rock and Water teacher is the board break. It is a rite of passage, a challenge to do something that seems to be quite difficult at first thought. Freerk Ykema wrote, “This board means that you can follow your path, supported by a positive conviction and self- image. A path that is sometimes difficult, because it will involve many difficult decisions that you will have to take yourself, on your own.”
The participants write a personal goal on the board. Breaking the board symbolises the strength and perseverance needed to reach that goal. In this way, it forms a powerful mental anchor. Participants then work in pairs, with a partner to encourage, count together, shout together and also celebrate the achievement. To have a witness to one’s effort can be a powerful affirmation and help promote a deep memory of this achievement, which anchors one in future moments of personal doubt.
Many teachers, inspired by the experience, include the board break in student programs. Although a powerful conclusion to a Rock and Water program, teachers must be mindful that younger hands are soft and it would be wise to use thinner boards that are more appropriate to the age of the student. Many teachers prefer not to do the board break and encourage students to complete some other assignment that demonstrates their authentic understandings of the Rock and Water journey. For the Rock and Water teacher, however, the board break can be a powerful affirmation. As one participant wrote, “ I can’t believe I broke the wood! At first, I thought that I would refuse to try it, it looked so crazy. It is one of the best things I have ever done. I feel now that I could do anything I set my mind to.”