Monday, June 11, 2012

A Thousand Front Kicks

By Eric Evans, 1st dan

Recently a co-worker and I were discussing a project his son had.  In origami it is considered a rite of passage.  His son was tasked with folding 1000 paper cranes.  As an off hand comment, he stated that I should try it sometime.  So I have.  Around 100 cranes in I started to notice something.  I was getting faster with each crane I made.  I was able to modify the size or make the folds more efficiently.  I also noticed that the majority of the folds for the crane are used in other origami figures.  If any of the initial folds were not crisp, the overall quality of the final product was skewed.

In Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo, this is similar to our front kicks.  It takes the perfect practice of over a thousand front kicks to become proficient.  The more we practice, the faster we are able to execute the kick. Each front kick can also be broken down into individual components.  Similar to individual folds.  If any of the moves are not crisp, the overall front kick will lack quality and finality.
A front kick must start from a good stance.
The eyes and upper body must be aligned correctly.
Weight is shifted to the front leg.
The knees must rub together as the back knee is raised to the chest.
The kicking foot is brought up towards the back as the knee is raised.
The focus hand is used to provide a target for the kicking foot.
As the Kicking foot is extended, the knee continues to raise.
The ball of the foot is extended as the foot reaches the target.
The leg is re-chambered. This allows for another kick.
Then the leg is placed intentionally back into the starting stance.
These key components of a front kick carry over into the roundhouse.  In a roundhouse kick, stance, eyes, balance, knee position, foot position and re-chambering are all important.  The roundhouse adds complexity by adding a pivot and opening the hips rather than rubbing the knees like the front kick.

Front Kick at the Falls at Camp MSK
The building blocks do not stop there.  The components of a front kick and round house are used in a side kick.  Each of the three basic kicks are then used as the foundation of advance kicks.  This is why it is so important to focus on the basics.  If I attempted to fold the most difficult origami in sculpture, I would most likely fail if I had not practiced the basics over and over.  The same is true for advanced kicks. Thousands of repetitions must be put in place using dedicated effort before a student will be successful at more advanced kicks.

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