Taekwondo uses many spinning kicks. There are certain physical forces at work while body parts rotate around a central point.
Watch skaters and ballet dancers during their spins. In ballet, students are taught to keep the eyes fixed on a certain point while spinning, rotating the head very quickly around to look at the same point on each revolution. In skating, during very fast, long spins, skaters turn their heads with the rest of the body and blur their vision, as not to focus on any one point. In Taekwondo, we rarely spin more than 360 degrees and focus is usually only on one opponent at a time. So the ballet method of turning the head sharply and focusing on one point is best used in spinning kicks. Also, Taekwondo students learn that the eyes must see the target before it is struck so as to prevent injuries while sparring. Also spinning means that the back is turned to the opponent for a moment. During that moment, the opponent may counter-attack so the eyes must get around first so they may detect any counter-attack.
Skaters and ballet dancers control their centrifugal forces while spinning. Centrifugal force (tending from the center) is a term that describes the force of rotation around a central/pivotal point. Here are a few points to consider relating to this force:
- During a spin, the closer the mass is to the center/pivot point, the faster the rotation will be. Think about an ice skater as she brings her arms in and out during a spin.
- The closer the mass is to the pivot point, the more easily that mass may be controlled. Notice that it is easier for a thin person to balance that for a fat person of the same height.
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