Chad Netherland has become a breaking champion the old-fashioned way—he’s earned it.

“You are void of self-doubt; will I do it or not. You are void of fear; fear of failing or looking foolish in front of a large crowd.”

ImageMost people avoid breaking things but Chad Netherland, 10-time Guinness World Record holder in strength and martial arts, goes out of his way to break.
And when he does, he breaks hard and fast. In fact, his philosophy is that “anything is breakable”. And by anything, he literally means anything. Netherland holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest time (19.26 seconds) to break 50 blocks of ice and the most ice (20 blocks/16-foot wall of ice) broken in a single strike.

But this martial artist doesn’t just break; he bends, propels, and rips as well. Netherland, who currently holds the record for the fastest time (21.13 seconds) to bend 10 nails, drives nails through boards by hand and rips apart phone books and full decks of cards.

How did he become successful and accomplished in his art?
His greatest inspiration was his father, Dr. Dan Netherland, who is also a multi-Guinness World Record holder in breaking.
“He is one of the greatest martial artists of our time,” says the younger Netherland. “He is the one who taught me, inspired me, and ultimately brought me to where I am today.” 

The Championship Workout
Netherland trains rigorously five days a week. The type of training he does depends on the record he is attempting to break. His training generally consists of makiwara or “a method of supplementary conditioning,” such as striking pads, blocks wrapped with rope, or different mediums of wood and steel, to strengthen the area with which he will use to break.

“Conditioning is not about power; it’s about repetition and building up stamina,” declares Netherland. “You are hardening the surface to maximize your potential power and minimize your injuries.” 

Netherland maintains the major do’s and don’ts of successful breaking are learning proper set-up for a break and never hitting anything without suitable training. He claims that a proper set-up can increase the break’s effectiveness as much as 30 percent.  

Psychological preparation is also essential in breaking. He does what the Japanese call, mushin or “without mind”.

“You are void of self-doubt; will I do it or not,” he explains. “You are void of fear; fear of failing or looking foolish in front of a large crowd. It opens the door and allows all of your training, ability, and energy to come together and into whatever martial art you are practicing. It is the thread that ties all great martial artists together no matter what the art.” 


Secret to his Success
What role has martial arts played in the breaker’s career?
“Martial arts is the only reason I am a world champion breaker. Everything I can do and have done is directly related to years of training in the martial arts.” 
Netherland is teaching his four-step course, “How to Break like a Pro” on the I Do Martial Arts’ Web site (, a new online martial arts learning program that is revolutionizing the way people learn martial arts.

“They will learn there are four crucial parts that make up a good breaking course: conditioning, proper technique, set-up, and follow through. One without the other is almost pointless,” he says. “You need to have all four to be a great breaker. It also teaches focus, mindset, and determination. It can be challenging and very rewarding—guaranteed to improve your martial art breaking ability.”

Novel Approach
Netherland’s world records and outstanding background in martial arts were the main reasons he was chosen as an I Do Martial Arts’ instructor. But what were Netherland’s reasons for participating in the online teaching program?
“I was very excited about being a part of the I Do Martial Arts’ project because it’s a first-rate operation,” maintains Netherland. “The creators as well as the teachers are the ‘real deal’. I think it will change the martial arts in a huge way primarily because it will give you the ability to search, study, and learn about any style of martial arts you can think of.

“At no time in history has this ever been possible,” he adds. “Its president and founder, Werner Leuschner, is one of the most devoted people I have ever met when it comes to the martial arts. His concept that anyone can view, research, and learn martial arts online is brilliant. He is making history and is a great pioneer for martial arts in the 21st century.”

Netherland is excited to be apart of that history and describes the huge advantages of training on the online program. 

“You are training from some of the best in the world. So that gives you an unbelievable amount of knowledge right at your fingertips,” notes Netherland. “Also, it gives you the flexibility to train anywhere in the world.”


Behind His Motivation
How has breaking helped the Guinness record holder in his life?
“Breaking and the martial arts in general have helped me in all aspects of my life,” he admits. “It’s helped me in problem solving as well as confidence and the ability to see something through. Breaking world records is hard, but life is sometimes harder.”  

What keeps him motivated in this hard profession?
 “Like most martial artists the drive to be the very best at what you do is very motivating,” he says. “I stay motivated by challenging myself and continually setting new goals and new world records to break.”  

Netherland considers his biggest accomplishment being featured in a “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” cartoon for breaking. Ripley’s has been creating cartoons for over 91 years and are featured in over 200 countries. 

His hardest record was the “Man vs. Machine,” in which he had to hold back two aircrafts from taking off. “I held back two Cessna 206 turbo prop (6-seater) airplanes for (1:00:66) one minute and 66/100 of a second. The record before was 54 seconds,” he said.

What are Netherland’s plans for the future?
“The future is looking very bright,” he admits. “There are lots of exciting projects in the works, including a new product line and a feature story in the new Ripley’s Believe It or Not book for 2010. I am currently gearing up to perform four new Guinness World Records this year for national TV. One of the records (Man vs. Machine 2) will be to hold back a Lamborghini (500 HP) sports car at full throttle for 14 seconds by hand. Others records include breaking the world largest stack of ice, which stands over 16-feet high and weighs 2,000 pounds. There are several endurance records like pushing a Hummer a mile in the fastest time (12 minutes) and more.”  

Netherland said his approach to breaking has changed over the years. “One of the main things that have changed is how I set up and approach a break. In the I Do Martial Arts’ course you will see there are things that you can do that will really give you a competitive advantage over someone who really doesn’t understand the dynamics of how breaking works.”   

  Netherland says there aren’t many instructors teaching the art of breaking, and he is accrediting I Do Martial Arts for raising awareness of the art.
“It will allow more people to see what it’s all about as well as enjoy their breaking accomplishments,” he maintains.
For those hoping to become champion breakers, Netherland offers this advice: “Follow the I Do Martial Arts’ course carefully – Train hard! Start out small, believe in yourself, and don’t be afraid of getting hurt. Most people never reach their goals in life, because they are afraid of failing and they allow fear to rob them from the potential that they had to be successful.” 
“Live without fear . . . live without limit,” advises Netherland. 

Break with Chad

Chad Netherland weighs in on the revolutionary I Do Martial Arts’ Web site.

INSIDE KUNG-FU: What do you teach on the I Do Martial Arts Web site?
CHAD NETHERLAND: I teach the art of breaking. It’s a four-step training course on how to break like a pro. You will learn everything from conditioning to proper technique, set-up and follow through. 

IKF: How do you feel about the IDMA Web site?
CN: IDMA is an excellent new way to research, study and learn various styles of the martial arts. With so many different videos on YouTube and the internet, IDMA will insure that what you’re learning is legitimate and the techniques are being done correctly.

IKF: What was the main reason for participating in the IDMA teaching program?

CN: I was very excited about being a part of the IDMA project because it’s a first-rate operation. The main reason I was asked to participate in IDMA was because of my world records and background in the martial arts.

IKF: How do you think the IDMA Web site will change martial arts?
CN: It will give you the ability to search, study and learn about any style of martial arts you can think of. At no time in history has this ever been possible.

IKF: What was your experience in filming your breaking course at the IDMA studio?
CN: I had a great time on the set of IDMA—seeing friends like Michael Jai White and Rachel Grant and getting to meet lot of other martial artists from around the world.

IKF: What are your thoughts on the president/founder of IDMA and his goal to make martial arts training available to anyone?  
CN: Werner Leuschner is one the most-devoted people I have ever met when it comes to the martial arts. His concept that anyone can view, research and learn martial arts online is brilliant.

IKF: What is the most important thing you want your users to learn from your IDMA program?
CN: I want my users to see that no matter how big or small you are, breaking can be a part of your martial arts. It teaches focus, mindset, and determination. It can be challenging and very rewarding.

Advantages to training on the IDMA online program? One of the best advantages of training online is that you are training from some of  the best in the world. So that gives you an unbelievable amount of knowledge right at your finger tips. Also it gives you the flex ability to train anywhere in the world.

IKF: What do you think is the best feature of IDMA?
CN: The ability to continue to learn by looking at different styles and principles. You can repeat the courses as many times as you like and you can learn at your own pace. You can ask questions and chart your progress and there is always something new and exciting to learn so you never get bored.