K is for Kick

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During April, I’m writing 26 posts for the A to Z Blog Challenge. I’m combining my skills as a writer, a life coach, and a martial artist (2nd degree black belt in ITF Taekwondo) to create a series of posts about applying aspects of TKD to life outside of martial arts. Whenever possible, I’ll include a little Taekwondoodle to illustrate what I’m talking about.

(I am probably going to revise this post later, I have the devil’s own cold today so I am taking it easy and writing quickly)

You knew, of course, that I wasn’t going to write an alphabet of posts about Taekwondo and not mention kicking.

K is indeed for kick. Kicking, and kicking well, is a fundamental component of TKD. In fact, the words Tae Kwon Do mean the art of kicking and punching so we make a big deal out of getting it right.

If your kick isn’t landing properly in TKD, your instructor will not just look at your foot. They will look at your leg, your hip, how far you have leaned back, what you are doing with your supporting leg, and how you have turned your supporting foot. They will ask you to execute the kick over and over to see how you are setting yourself up for the kick.

A blue ink drawing on dot-graph paper of a person with shoulder length hair who is wearing a martial arts uniform. They are doing a sidekick - their left foot is on the ground, toes pointing the left, their right leg is extended and their foot is in the air, toes pointing downward. Their right arm is extended, hand in a fist. Their left arm is bent in towards their body.

Even tiny feet like these can create devastating kicks when you use them correctly.

TKD instructors know that a lot of different movements contribute to the success of a kick and they can help you tweak each one.*

Sure, as the recipient of the list of tweaks, things can get a little baffling, but it is an impressive array of knowledge that you just have to put into practice, one thing at a time until you get it.

That same thing is true of tweaks in your regular life as well.

The issue you are trying to resolve is not just made up of the result you see. It involves all kinds of other ‘moving’ parts that may need to be tweaked.

A side kick that doesn’t land properly may have started with the person not turning their other foot away from the kicking direction.

A missed appointment might start with you not having a regular time to fill up your car with gas.

The two pieces don’t really seem connected until you recognize that they are both part of a greater system that you have to keep in order if you want things to work out the way that you like.

Your turned foot sets the mechanics in motion to ensure that your kick will reach its target. Your regular fill-up time ensures that you always have gas when you need it and you don’t need to make extra time on the way to an appointment.

When you find you are facing a similar issue over and over in your daily routine, it’s a good idea to backtrack through your ‘and thens’** and make some adjustments for the next time you have to do that thing.

If you can’t find where the tweaks can be made – ask someone who had to LEARN how to do that thing to point them out to you.

(If you ask someone who does it naturally, they may not be able to break it down for you.)

And please, be kind to yourself while you figure it out.

Organizing routines, schedules, and even self-care takes just as much practice as perfecting a kick.



*An interesting thing that has developed as I have been learning to help instruct in TKD classes. At first, I could see that a student was doing *something* wrong but I couldn’t necessarily tell what it was. As my instructing abilities grew, I began to see at what point the issue occurred but I couldn’t necessarily tell them how to fix it. I am now at the point where I can often help students get started in addressing the issue and then my advice gets refined by a higher ranking instructor. It’s cool to see my own growth as an instructor as time goes along.

**You know, this went wrong and then I couldn’t do that and then I forgot that and then…