February 1

Blog #12 – Almost the End

This week, I went to Taekwondo and my Instructor told me that he would like it if I was able to do a four directional Tornado kick for my belt test, while breaking boards at the same time. So, that’s exactly what I practiced throughout the week. I also continued to practice my combination Tornado and Roundhouse kick, as I will also have to do it in my belt test (that is next week!!). But for the most part, I started to begin planning my final Genius Hour presentation. I’ve been continuously working on the final video for my presentation (I did a lot of progress this week), and a Google slides to go along with it. I’ve also started writing my script. Oh and something that I was surprised to learn was that doing a turning kick after jumping is harder than it looks! My turning kicks kept looking like front kicks because I wasn’t turning my hip enough, so I’ll have to work on that some more.

Here’s this week’s video:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vRB8Y6vJvQh4xW-YTywfeI3q76aDqJPx/view?usp=drivesdk

See you next blog!

January 26

Blog #11 – Help from an Expert!

Per usual, this weekend I had Taekwondo. My expert (my Taekwondo instructor) did not reply to my email, but thankfully in class, he told me that he had seen it but hadn’t had time to reply. So after class, he helped me improve my Tornado kick. Now, you may be wondering why I’m going back to the Tornado kick after already successfully doing it, but I assure you, there are a couple of reasons why.

Remember how I said I had good news last week? I said I’d tell you towards the end of Genius Hour, however, it looks like I’ll have to tell you now. Well, I have a belt test coming up soon (February 11th). I am testing for my black stripe (one belt away from black!), and I am required to do a combination kick/special kick in the test! This is great news because I have already been practicing my Tornado kick for the past couple of months!! I will be using the Tornado kick as my special kick, and to follow it I’ll be doing a roundhouse kick (which makes it a combination kick). I am really happy that I chose to do kicking as my Genius Hour (and that our class ended up doing Genius Hour at all), as this is a huge benefit for me (thanks Mrs. Englot!). Instead of learning a kick in a month and not being able to do it confidently/correctly, I will be going into the belt test with 3 months of experience, along with confidence. Although, this does mean that I will have to drastically alter my plans. Since my belt test is coming up so soon (and so is the end of Genius Hour), I want to have as much time as possible to practice the kick that I will actually be using in it. I will not be using the Cheat 900/720 for my belt test, and I would like to instead improve and perfect the kick that I will be using in it, so unfortunately, I will have to take a pause in learning the Cheat 900/720. So for the next couple of weeks, I’ll be working on my Tornado kick followed by the roundhouse kick (combination kick), with the help of my instructor. Oh, and don’t be fooled, in the past weeks of learning the Cheat 900/720, my body seems to have forgotten how to do the Tornado kick like it did before. So in a sense, I’m kind of starting a new kick again.

Here’s the video of my instructor helping me.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tTdFy6DTd1LYvyOhOAQX3_FcMO6X1ARO/view?usp=sharing

How has he helped me so far?

  • The actual kick itself is the jumping-turning kick. The kick that I was doing was a jumping-front kick when I really was supposed to do the jumping-turning kick. So, he suggested I turn my hip more. He saw my mistake and pointed it out to me so I was able to see what I was doing wrong and improve.
  • After I was able to do the Tornado kick decently enough, he came over and showed me the roundhouse kick and then showed me how to do the Tornado into roundhouse kick combination.

See you next blog!

January 18

Blog #10 – Elevator Pitch Planning

In today’s blog, I spent the entirety of it just continuously working on the email that I will be sending to my expert. After talking it over with Mrs. Englot, she has allowed my expert to be my Taekwondo instructor of almost 7 years. I’ve read over the email many times, but I will also be seeking the advice of Mrs. Englot to improve it even further. Also, 2 weeks ago, Taekwondo class resumed after being given a break from it for almost a month due to some trouble with the dojo. Despite that, I have been practicing my kicks at least 2-3 times a week, because I do not want to throw away the promise I made to myself at the beginning of Genius Hour. I think (and I hope) this practice has been paying off. Anyways, I will also be talking to my instructor about needing his help next week in class.

Here is my practice email:

Ms. Englot said that I should probably suggest a time when he’s able to help me because without that, it wouldn’t be clear. I agree, because if I hadn’t suggested a time in my email, he might’ve just said “okay” and forgotten about it.

Here is my new email:

See you next blog!

January 11

Blog #9 – Reflection

Today, I spent the block reflecting on the plan that I made a couple of months ago. Like I said I would do, I started with a simple but difficult kick, which was the Tordnado kick. I managed to be successful, so I followed my plan once again and I made my way up on the difficulty scale when I moved onto the Cheat 900/720. However, in my plan, I repeatedly say that if I feel as though I have accomplished my goal, I’ll move on to something else. It seems as though I was a tad bit overconfident about how much time it would actually require to learn and successfully do these kicks. Though, that is not a problem, because if I continue working on the kick again and again over the next 5 weeks, I am hoping that I will be successful in the end. As for all the steps I promised I would take, I think I’ve done all of them. I have a nice, big open space to practice and I record my kicks (yes, even the fails). Although, I must admit, some weeks I was either lazy or busy, and I didn’t practice my kicks as much as I hoped to. But I am happy to say that that happened much less than I thought it would, and I managed to fulfill this promise as well. I also have some good news on how doing this Genius Hour is going to help me! However, I’ll be sharing that news at the very end of Genius Hour. Also, for the rest of the week, I will be practicing the Cheat 900/720 (not recorded.)

See you next blog!

December 14

Blog #8 – Cheat 900/720

Here’s the link that I used to pick out my kick: https://youtu.be/gXLHXfg-Qwo. It also includes a very helpful tutorial that I will be following. After watching this video I realized that I had been missing a super important step before practicing all my kicks. I had been forgetting to stretch prior to training, and that is definitely not good. As Master Chong says in the video, stretching and warming up before training are essential to making sure you prevent injuries and perform your very best. So, before training, I stretched and warmed up. Then everything went downhill pretty quickly. I started off by learning the basic steps in order to do the first motion in the kick. My attempts at it were not the best as you can see in the video, but they weren’t as bad as my attempt at the second motion—the spin. As I look back on my video and my attempts at the spin, I realized that my arms were in the wrong position the entire time. My arms should have been more horizontal, and more spread apart to look like an equal symbol. Also, I was relying on only one of my arms to create power/force, but instead, I should have been using both arms. Then, I moved on to the kick, just for fun. My first attempts at the Cheat 900/720 were absolutely horrendous. My motions were very choppy and slow, however, today is the first day trying this kick, so I’m not that upset about it. As I picked this kick, I expected it to be a lot more advanced than the tornado, as I wanted to build my skills even more by doing a harder kick, however, I certainly didn’t expect it to be this difficult.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_cqE9MFrIt0YMtJ2cSOIK8LwEE176Ydu/view?usp=sharing

Here are my arms while doing the spin:

Here is how they were supposed to look like:

See you next blog!

December 7

Blog #7 – Success!

Last blog, I practiced the swing leading into the kick, and that practice payed off, as I was able to do it pretty good (at least I think I did). After that, I practiced the rest of the kick, but I still had some things to say about myself. So, today I just practiced the kick again and again, determined to only stop when I felt I had actually acheived something. After 30 minutes of dedication, I did it. Well, to the best of my abilities, anyway. I was surprised to say that this kick was actually a lot harder than I thought. I did not expect it to take me this long to successfully do the kick! My kick certainly was not as fast as the tutorial, but I feel my technique and form is quite good. Also, in the tutorial, the boy did more of a crescent turning kick, but I’m doing more of a snapping one (this is on purpose), so I can see how that can make the kicks look different from each other. Now that I feel I have accomplished this task and successfully learnt the kick, I’ll be moving onto another kick. One that is harder, and more challenging for me.

Here’s the video of my successful attempt (and some not so successful attempts) at the tornado kick!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tcJlg1jeqpS6EDXrF2CbATJR0jf296lv/view?usp=sharing

See you next blog!

November 30

Blog #6 – Step by Step

Today, I tried perfecting the swing that leads into the actual kick. It took multiple tries to even get it somewhat good, but I actually ended up almost nailing it! After a couple attempts, I could really feel my swing momentum improving. After that, I put all of the steps together and practiced the kick a couple of times. Reflecting on myself, I think next time I should try not to pause before the kick that comes after the swing. Also, I should consider not swinging/flopping my arms around as much, and instead have them in a more controlled position. So, those are the things I will be working on next blog.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UGtZZtnXb5JdyW3JuN8gFP3dhi9a1BAl/view?usp=sharing

See you next blog!

November 23

Blog #5 – Tornado Kick

For today’s blog, I spent 30 minutes just practicing the tornado kick over and over again. Once again, I’ve linked a video compilation of a couple of my tries. I am surprised to say that this kick was a lot harder than I thought it’d be. It’s just a jumping turning kick (a super basic kick that I learned years ago), but in order to do it, you need to be able to get the right momentum and power. Getting my knee higher was still a problem, but today the problem got a little bit better, and some of my attempts at the tornado kicks were actually somewhat good. I think that I need to take this whole process a bit slower. I need to perfect the swing that leads into the kick first, and then only once I’ve got that mastered should I put it all together. These are some reflections I have made that are going to be useful for next blog.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1K4lonGjdQj3duvk5qgKJ8_xVLFyYS79L/view?usp=sharing

See you next blog!

November 16

Blog #4 – The Basics

In today’s genius hour block I began with practicing my basic Taekwondo kicks. These kicks include front kick, hammer kick, turning kick, side pressing kick, hooking kick, and back kick. Below, I’ve linked a video that has me doing all of these beginner kicks, because to do something hard, I need to get good at the basics. I watched some YouTube videos on these basic kicks to see if I could improve my form and technique. In the same video, I added myself trying out the tornado kick for the first time(s).

I tried the kick a couple of times, and I noticed that in order for me to successfully do this kick, my knee needs to be raised a little higher in order for my kick to be high as well. My current kick is low, because getting your knee up high is harder than it seems. Especially when you have to spin while doing it. Next blog, I will take these observations and judgments into consideration and apply the feedback to my new attempts at this advanced kick.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KpqAOSvJDbm6a4iAcrbswXsM7h_NbCKK/view?usp=sharing

Thank you for your time, and see you next blog!

November 9

Blog #3 – Launch

For today’s genius hour block, I watched several YouTube videos on some Taekwondo kicks I may be interested in. This is the YouTube video that I used to find my kick: https://youtu.be/cslIbZERhSc. As you can see, I had many options to choose from. However, I decided to go with the tornado kick. The reason as to why I picked this kick is because, in my plan, I had mentioned starting off with a kick that had a medium-level difficulty. This kick is just that. The tutorial that I will be using is https://youtu.be/tZ1ohiTliPM. In conclusion, I spent today’s block figuring out how exactly I am going to launch my genius hour project, and I have figured out just that.

See you next blog!