Taekwondo or Tae Kwon Do is a martial art that was founded in Korea in the year of 1945 (Morris) and it was only in the year 2000 that it was announced to be an Olympic sport. ‘Tae’ meaning foot ‘Kwon’ meaning fist and ‘do’ meaning the way of, therefore, Taekwondo means the way of the hand and the foot. Taekwondo is a highly challenging martial art form, which is mainly composed using your legs and feet in the form of kicks. These kicks require the perfect technique and flexibility to perform correctly or else these kicks would lack power and speed.
Goal and Global context
I have chosen ‘Fairness and Development’ as my global context for the personal project. The reason that this is important to me is because of the misconception about martial arts which are usually portrayed as being violent as seen in many movies. Although it is proven that discipline and controlled behaviors can actually make teenagers less aggressive (Dolan). Every martial art has a code of honour. The reason I chose this particular global context is that the duty and goal of any taekwondo practitioner is to stand up for those who cannot, conflict resolution, to create equal opportunities for every single person and bring about peace. An example of someone who has already illustrated this success is Jaydeep Kadam, a man from Mumbai who teaches slum kids Taekwondo. He has brought peace in his slum. However, I would like to use an online method, which has a wider range to global communities to bring about the same peace and conflict resolution (refer to appendix A).
Five tenants of Taekwondo
- Courtesy – To show kindness to other in and out of the Dojang (Taekwondo school)
- Integrity – To be to tell the difference between right and wrong;
- Perseverance – The willingness of a student to continue training under pressure;
- Self-control – taking control of your emotions and to never let it get the best of you;
- Indomitable spirit – Standing up for yourself even if the odds are against you; (Victorymartialarts.ca, 2019)
These five tenants above demonstrate the responsibilities of a taekwondo practitioner.
My goal for the personal project is to educate people basic Taekwondo techniques and philosophies using YouTube videos and to influence the younger audience (aged 11-13) to take up any form of martial art. Teenagers often suffer from anxiety, stress, depression eight times higher than they were in 1970 (Monroe) and spend a lot of time indoors which becomes a lifetime habit, as they move into more stressful environments such as university they struggle. I wanted to help them cope with stressful situations using martial arts. The problem with available tutorials on YouTube is that they cater to people who have some prior experience with martial arts and do not encourage the younger audience to take up a martial art. In order for me to achieve my goal, I will need to plan my content carefully which I will need to include in my video, keeping in mind that I want to encourage the younger audience to take up any form of martial art. I would then need to write a script for the videos, film and edit the videos. The biggest challenge for me would be the way that I phrase my explanations in order for the audience to understand, while keeping the video engaging. Teaching in person is completely different to teaching through online videos. When teaching using an online method you are not interacting with the audience so they cannot ask you any questions directly, therefore, no engagement between the audience and me. The topic is also challenging as I am trying to create awareness and interest and to those who need to learn this from the basic level.
I have been doing this type of martial art for over 7 years and I have achieved the rank of a 1st degree black belt. Through this time, I have gained proficiency of many different aspects of Taekwondo.
Since I had absolutely no coaching experience prior to this project, I have had to sign up as an assistant to my coaches at my dojang throughout the summer vacation in 2018 where I had to help beginners from all ages to improve their Taekwondo kicks and patterns (refer to appendix B). This recent experience to coach will help me achieve my goal because it gives me a very good sense of what younger kids need to focus and areas that they struggle with when they first start this martial art. I can use the knowledge that I have acquired from coaching at my current dojang to tailor my video, which will aimed keeping what a beginner would need.
When it comes to creating videos, I will use my previous knowledge that I have gained in Digital Design. In year 9-10 we were required to make a video for our project where I learned how to effectively edit a video and what techniques could be used in order to keep the audience immersed. Apart from this in year 9 we had an English unit about media, where we learned about different camera angles and when/where they should be used. Prior learning in the Biology classes such as using the hip and other abdominal muscles twist provide extra force and momentum when kicking, thus leading to a more powerful kick (Lange). Concepts in Physics such as center of mass is very important while kicking in Taekwondo as in order to avoid losing balance the center of mass must be on the center of the foot. The heel of the foot must never leave the ground while impact, this is vital for balance as well as power when kicking (Lange).
Demonstrating Research Skills
For my research, I have chosen to interview Master Grant Randall, a fourth-degree black belt in Taekwondo and ex-military personnel. I had asked Mr Randall “What do most people struggle with when they start Taekwondo?” He replied, “When people start Taekwondo, they struggle a lot with their kicks and flexibility, however, when training with us for a short amount of time, they actually improve rapidly. However, with beginners, you have to keep a constant eye on them when kicking in order to teach them the correct technique. I also had to conduct some secondary research in order to enhance my video editing skills, as they were rusty before I had started the project. To do this I had mainly used online tutorials to clear up any doubts that I had and to further improve the quality of my video. I inquired about some advanced techniques to use when editing a video such as how to improve visuals by adding video effects. I also had to read up on articles online on how to teach children martial arts, since children have an extremely low attention span (Klein), it is very hard to capture their minds and ask them to focus on a task. However, by utilizing positive reinforcement or by making the task engaging children will show much more focus. My time as an assistant coach also helped me understand the weakness of beginners; I can use this information when making my product (Refer to Appendix C for OPVL).
Plan and Record Development Process
I wanted to plan my personal project as early as possible because I wanted to get a head start. I had started to brainstorm my personal project as early as June 2018 to understand what I would need to do and the holidays. To keep track of my progress I used my process journal, I wrote down whatever progress I had made over the summer holidays. This allowed me to jot down any ideas and questions I had.
The creation of my action plan (refer to Appendix E) helped me keep track of any upcoming deadlines that I set for myself. The action plan helped me stick to my deadlines as it contains start and end dates, which I can follow in order to manage my time well and finish the personal project in time. One of the main difficulties that I foresee would be trying to finish everything on time studying for my exams, attending my regular taekwondo classes as well as finishing any other schoolwork that is given.
Before the year 11 academic year had started, I had started the research process for my personal project. Even though I had completed a small part of my project before the school academic year started, it became harder to manage my time due to the increased workload. However, using the action plan, I was able to plan my work throughout year 11. To organize all my files, photos and video I used OneDrive. This had helped me keep all my important files in one place and allowed me to access them whenever necessary (Refer to appendix F). I used Windows calendar on my computer to remind me to email my supervisor allowing me to stay on track (refer to appendix G)
Before selecting this specific topic for my personal project, I was conflicted with two topics in mind. I used my teachers and peers to critically look at each of the two topics in order to see which one was more appropriate and challenging. This topic needed me to be effective at coaching younger age groups, with no prior teaching experience I had to therefore go for a whole month during my summer holidays and act as an assistant coach to my Taekwondo teacher to get this valuable experience. What was complicating matters further during the summer holidays we were to travel so that meant I would lose some time to coach for those days and I wanted to get as much coaching experience before our travel. That is when I decided to get to my dojang early every day of the week so that I could continue my learning in this area. Even though this had got to be exhausting and fatiguing, I still had a positive outlook and have benefitted through this experience as it was encouraging to be seen as a mentor by younger teenagers.
I was able to reflect on my report and improve it where needed. I took my work to many different people like friends, teachers and even my parents. I analyzed the strengths and weaknesses and improved on my weaknesses. During my time coaching at my Dojang I made many mistakes as it was the first-time teaching students. Sometimes wasn’t paying attention to each child in the class and could not pick up those using the wrong technique, while I was sometimes using terminology that was for adults and that was confusing some of the students. Although with time I was able to communicate my message effectively to students and effectively picked out those that needed my help to improve their Taekwondo. I did this through reflecting on my mistakes and by constantly observing my superiors.
Process of Creating the product
To create my product there were many different stages of production. These stages included the layout of the project, preparing myself to deliver this in areas which included my own development as a coach, planning/designing of the content, filming, video and photo editing. To edit the videos and the photos the software that was used was Sony Vegas Pro 13, to film the video a normal phone camera with a resolution of 1920×1080 and a frame rate of 60 was used.
The video format was heavily inspired by modern YouTube videos from online martial art personalities such as Aaron Fraser and Shane Fazen. Both of these personalities upload tutorials for improving various martial art techniques. I created one video that showcases the very basic Taekwondo kicks as that is more relevant to my target audience. A script had to be created before starting to film (refer to appendix H)
The video started out with an introduction. In this, I introduced myself and explained my relation with Taekwondo. Then I stated the names of the kicks I will be teaching in that video.
A medium shot was used in the introduction to capture only my body and face. However, a long shot was used for the remainder of the video excluding the outro. The reason for this is because I needed to capture my entire body in order to properly execute/teach the kick.
Three kicks that were demonstrated and taught in the video. These kicks are the very basic kicks in Taekwondo. I filmed the kicks with the help of my father. The kicks are the front snap kick, the roundhouse kick and the side kick. In my time volunteering these three kicks were the first ones to be taught to the teenagers. Before kicking I had to include a warm up which is very important to prevent injury and to improve the quality of the kicking techniques. The warm up consisted of ballistic and static stretches. The ballistic stretches (stretches that require the bouncing movements to stretch the muscle) that were used was the butterfly stretch and the standing hamstring stretch. The static stretches (holding a stretch to the maximum point for a set amount of time) (Blahnik) that were used were the hurdler hamstring stretch and the seated hamstring stretch. To make it simple I broke down all the kicks into 3 different movements. I then explained the practical use of the techniques on a kicking target so that the audience knew where and how to apply these kicks. While editing I gave commentary, or a voice over to all the kicking techniques in order to explain the technique more into depth.
My goal for the personal project was to encourage kids and younger teens to take up a martial art because of its numerous benefits. My global context for my project was ‘Fairness and Development’. Everyone should have access to equal opportunities especially when it comes to defending themselves. According to Dr. Terrance Webster Doyle, we can reverse the terrible trend of violence the youth faces if they get proper training from martial arts that are for peace (Doyle). However, many people cannot afford martial art classes and rely on the internet to teach them techniques to defend themselves. Being an expert in martial arts gives an individual the confidence to avoid a hostile situation leading peace and conflict resolution.
Demonstrating Excellent Thinking Skills
During this project I have transferred and applied my existing knowledge to create a product. I used my existing knowledge of Digital design (DD) to edit and create a video. We had a unit on movie/video editing in DD where I was taught all the basics to editing software’s, I used this knowledge to help edit and create my videos. I have also identified the problem with online martial art tutorials, the problem is that they cater to people who are currently doing a martial art. There are hardly any videos that cater to beginners. I recognized this gap and decided to make a free YouTube video that teaches people how to perform basic Taekwondo techniques and is catered to young teenagers.
Demonstrate excellent Communication and Social Skills
Communication and social skills became a very important part in my project. This is because I was making a product that was supposed teaching someone a very challenging technique. These became fundamental skills in order for my project to be a success, as I spent time observing and collaborating with my coaches in order for me to gain experience with coaching so that I was coherent when making my product. I spent time observing how my Taekwondo coaches taught my audience, mainly young teenagers. Only after this did I actually start coaching. This experience has really helped me create a quality product that caters to young teenagers as I have been equipped with the experience to teach them. During my time coaching there were teenagers who were not as talented as others and learned a different way. For example, there were some teenagers who learned better moving around as they were kinaesthetic learners and some who were auditory learners. I had to adapt my way of teaching in order to cater to them. This is also one of the reasons I chose a video for my product instead of an E-book or a website, as a video this caters to visual, kinaesthetic and auditory learners.
Evaluating the quality of the product/outcome against the criteria
After spending many hours working on my personal project I am very happy with my product. The video is very coherent and can be understood by many different age groups, even though it was targeted at teenagers who are aged 11-13. This project has not only taught me skills such as video and photo editing but has also taught me time/self management and coaching skills.
My product can only be successful if it is graded against my criteria and If I receive a high grade. According to my survey results from my peers (refer to appendix I and J) and my own self-reflection this project deserves a 7. The reason for this is that the practicality, constructiveness and the content in the video were all meeting the level 7-8 level. The video effectively explains the kicking techniques in a way a beginner can understand how to execute these kicks properly.
However, my product does have its weaknesses. One of the weaknesses of my product is that the Aesthetics are not meeting the level 7-8 criteria. The video contained no transitions meaning that I could not get a mark for the 4th level 7-8 strand on the criteria. I also feel like I should have chosen a more neutral background. Another weakness is the video didn’t contain appropriate vocabulary for beginners. I should have used simpler vocabulary in order to cater to the younger audience.
This project has really helped me understand my passion, which is Taekwondo at a deeper level. I have always loved Taekwondo ever since I had started it. Making videos is also has been a very big passion of mine but I was never able to pursue it because I never felt confident enough. This project has allowed me to gain the confidence that I needed. I have also acquired a new life skill which is coaching. When coaching, or even just teaching my friends, I feel I have become clear and more concise. However, this project has also helped me to improve in certain subjects like DD.
This project has developed my knowledge even further on the global context ‘fairness and development’. Working on this topic has allowed me to further understand peace and conflict resolution and access to equal opportunities and how martial arts can aid this. Martial art’s prime goal is not offence but defence, martial arts promotes self-discipline which encourages students to avoid conflict unless absolutely necessary. With this being said the people who practice self-discipline contribute to conflict resolution.
Throughout this project I feel like I have become more of an inquirer and a risk taker. I have become a better inquirer because it was crucial for me to be one to complete this project. I had to conduct primary and secondary research to improve the quality of my project. Before this project I was always embarrassed of asking questions that I thought may be a little foolish. However, during my time as a coaching assistant I had to ask many questions in order to improve my coaching skills. I also had to conduct online research to enhance my video editing skills as they were really poor before I had started this project. Another learner profile I have developed is being a risk taker. I have always been a risk taker. However, with this project I feel like I had tried something that was out of my comfort zone which was to make a video with myself in it and post it online, I have never felt comfortable with this. Although, when I actually made my product, I realized that it was not uncomfortable and I actually enjoyed the process.
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