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How to, And How to NOT, Break Down a Door

Doors are barriers. That’s what they do. But in an emergency, a barrier can mean life or death. But too many people are trying to break down doors the wrong way. Here’s how to properly break down a door without hurting yourself.

There are countless times you might need to break a door down. This can range from escaping a kidnapper to rescuing an injured person. And there are quite a few doors out in the world. Learning the proper way to break these doors down will open up (heh) new opportunities to save the day.

How to Break Down a Door

Firmly plant yourself. You need to be stable and in control of both your body and your weight. When you kick forward into the door, your back foot should have it’s heel supporting the force while your entire body throws your weight forward into your foot.

Stomp your kicking foot against the area right next to the doorknob. This is the weakest part of the door. Drive forward with your heel, maximizing force. Your goal isn’t to break through the wood as much as it’s to break the things attaching the door to the wall.

Be prepared to catch yourself with your kicking foot once the door swings open. With the force needed, you WILL be lunging forward.

What NOT To Do When Breaking Down a Door

There are some common mistakes that people make when trying to break doors down. This can lead to failure, bruised body parts, and if you’re not careful, a broken foot. Here’s what to avoid.

Don’t use your shoulder/hips/body. You want to focus all of your force into a small area, instead of spreading it out around the door. That’ll only make your strike less effective and probably bruise yourself.

Don’t jump kick. I know it’s cool looking and fun. But when you do that, you’re relying on your inertia, whereas a solid, on the ground kick adds bodyweight with your natural strength.

Know what you’re kicking. Trying to bust open a metal door on a metal frame is just a bad idea. Not impossible, but not nearly as easy as a wooden one.

Other Things to Remember

A crowbar, while not immediately available, will be just as effective, mildly less destructive, and a lot easier to use. Pry open the door if you can help it.

Door armor is a great way to keep people from breaking your own door down. Most people can install it themselves and it’s not that expensive. Here’s our article going in greater depth about the idea.

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