PAN AM Taekwondo Footwork

pan am taekwondo          In Taekwondo, kicking is the most important technique. They are prolific in variety and can defeat an opponent in a single strike.  Kicks to the head score the most points.  After the ritual bow, the combatant moves into his initial stance. From that position, he launches into an arsenal of forceful footwork. This martial artist can rapidly shift his weight, alternating legs performing in quick succession: a Spin Kick, a Straight Kick, a Jump Kick, a Jump Spin Kick, Double and Triple Kicks.  Apparently, there are even fake kicks.

The foot is at its height of combative power in these knock-out moves.  Depending on which kick he executes, the fighter uses various parts of his foot.

The Heel is used in the penetrating Side Kick. Its relative toughness is also suited to landing a punishing KO on the opponent’s head with the Axe Kick or the Hook Kick.

The Ball of the Foot, the area directly underneath the toes, is exposed when they are pulled back. This area is engaged in Frontal, Snapping Kicks and aimed at the opponent’s solar plexus, stomach or chin. The toes must be pulled back in Front Snapping Kicks or they could be broken on impact.

The Instep, at the top of the foot, is exposed when the toes are pointed forward.  It is a useful surface for kicking the side of an opponent’s body or head. Turning Kicks or Roundhouses engage the instep.

The Edge of the foot is prepared for striking by turning the foot down so the sole lies horizontal to the leg. The outside edge can then be used as a striking surface in Side Kicks much like the heel. Due to the small surface area of the edge of the foot, a more painful kick can be inflicted with this slightly more advanced technique. The edge of the foot is often used to snap boards in displays of Taekwondo breaking.

The Sole of the foot provides a big surface area and is mostly used in Taekwondo to force the opponent backwards. In this way, Pushing Kicks are more of a defensive maneuver. Nevertheless, a well-timed pushing kick can knock the wind out of an attacker.

The Knee is banned for use in Taekwondo competitions for good reason. The knee is a formidable weapon and can knock an opponent out in a single, low-risk strike. Knee techniques may be taught in Taekwondo as part of self-defense. (1)

Go to –

Resources: (1)

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)



PAN AM Cycling – Road Footwork

cycling road      Road cyclists are avid, even over-the-top enthusiasts for their sport.  Nose to tail, they seem to ride in packs. Drafting is all part of the competition. They move through air turbulence together, sharing the benefits.

Roadies have a handle on what is happening technically and biomechanically as they pedal their bikes. They know how to increase energy and efficiency by engaging new muscles and ‘spreading the load’.  They purposefully ride vortices in wakes.  Based on the cadence (RPM), they adjust to high- or low-heel pedaling techniques. They demonstrate how effort in pedaling combined with gravity affects acceleration and deceleration. As experienced bicyclists, they can transfer power and avoid ‘the dead spot’. They’ve revived talk of ‘ankling’, an old technique. It entails “drawing force across the bottom of the revolution arc and upwards to the start of the downward thrust”. (1)  Roadies’ ‘talking the walk/ride’ feeds their own enthusiasm.

However, coaches offering advice to pro-racers on road bikes will often set aside the advanced level talk in favour of simple visual cues:

On the upwards stroke:

  • “As the foot nears the top, think about pushing your knee toward the handlebar”.

On the downwards stroke:

  • “Pretend you’re scraping mud off the sole of your shoe”.

These cues are ‘activated’ well in advance of when the foot is actually at the top or bottom of the pedaling action. (2)  The roadies are on it!

Go to –

Resources:  (1) (2)

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)


PAN AM Kayaking Footwork

pan am canoe kayak slalom      Apparently, kayaking is like riding a bike – once you find the balance, you have it forever. This comparison may not work for mistakes en route. An ‘Eskimo Roll’ is an altogether different recovery after capsizing in a kayak compared to falling off a bike and getting back on.

On ‘flatwater’ or in ‘whitewater’, kayakers sit in a cockpit – the kayak’s only opening.  Their legs are stretched out and their feet are stabilized on foot pedals or braces at the front of the kayak.  Kayakers use a double-bladed paddle on both sides of these narrow, light-weight boats. A rudder is under the hull to steer the kayak. The kayaker’s feet control the rudder.

“Push Feet and Paddle for Power”

A good kayak stroke starts at the feet. Feet ignite the power for forward movement. The ball of the foot on the stroke-side pushes firmly against the foot pedal, straightening that leg. The rudder responds by steering in that direction.  The paddler uncoils his torso and spears the water with his blade. Then the next side, alternating. The body of a kayaker is like an engine, driving off the foot pedal, legs pushing and pulling to generate power with the stroke.

Go to –


Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)


PAN AM Canoeing Footwork

pan am canoe kayak sprint     The sprint events for canoeists are also called ‘flat water canoeing’.  They differ from the more daunting slalom events which require maneuvering through gates on fast moving ‘white water’. The canoes for each event are also different; the sprint canoe is an open boat – a ‘Canadian Canoe’, whereas the slalom canoe is ‘decked’ with a partial front covering.  There are no rudders under the hull of a canoe. Hence, the canoeist is responsible for steering the craft with the single blade paddle.  The paddler provides stability and power.

Hidden from view, what role do feet play?

Slalom: “Balance the Knees; Balance the Boat”

In slalom canoes, canoeists must kneel on both knees while they paddle. No sitting. In this upright position, they have a higher centre of gravity and get a better reading of the river.

On the forward stroke, the canoeist ‘gets a grip on the water’ pulling his body up to it.  As the blade goes in the water, the canoeist’s knees lightly bear his evenly distributed body weight. He pushes from his hips. His pelvis tilts backward with pressure on the buttocks. He pushes forward from the iliac bones (“sit bones”). His final push with his knees finishes with a straight upper arm. These coordinated moves keep the boat running as straight as possible.

Sprint: “Triangle Position for Stability”

In sprint events, the canoeist kneels on one knee and maintains a ‘high posture’. Her other foot is out in front for balance.  The ‘triangle’ or three points of contact is formed by her knee, back foot and front foot. The wider her triangle is, the more stability she has.

In the paddling motion, she transfers weight through the kneeling knee. Her front foot helps counteract movement and helps steer the canoe.  Changing the pressure of her front foot helps tilt the canoe and assist with steering.  Her back foot stabilizes the transmission of power through her shoulders, back and arms. Her paddle enters the water in line with her front foot, is buried to give her stroke full power and exits near her hip.  Over-reaching her toes would slow the canoe.

Go to –


Thanks also to the Ontario Whitewater Association, Port Perry ON

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)


PAN AM Bowling Footwork

pan am bowling    While ‘Walking the Line’ in bowling is not a sobriety test, the two are comparable. Participants in both activities take each step as carefully and as naturally as possible. Just as one might tend to drift, so might the other. Holding, swinging and delivering a bowling ball to hit the target of ten pins down a narrow lane would put any normal gait off-balance. (Not to mention the awkwardness of angling for a ‘spare’.) To achieve or retrieve that balance, bowlers train by walking consistent lines at the same pace with every shot. This consistency ensures that their pendulum arm swing and release of the ball is controlled and accurate.

Steps in the approach: The number is determined by the bowler’s height and type of swing.  Typically, there are four or five steps from the initial stance of parallel feet to the final glide at the foul line. Each step is centered to the body. One foot overlaps (at a height of no more than two inches) in front of the other, not unlike a tightrope acrobat.

The first step:  Like a short walking step, the foot moves from heel to toe and assumes the weight of the body.

The second step:  The ball is placed into swing with the movement of this key short step. The bowler controls and begins to place the ball.

The third step:  Taken heel-toe with a longer stride.  Momentum builds.

The fourth step: Maintaining heel-toe approach with a slightly longer stride and increased momentum.

The fifth step:  Similar to length of fourth step.  Foot begins to slide, finishing up by pointing somewhat to the target, remaining there for several seconds until fully balanced.

Some bowlers use a toe-first power step on their penultimate move, giving a strong push off to the final glide. Each bowler finds her own successful, consistent stride. Without looking, you would recognize a bowler for the repetitive cadence or beat of her footsteps.

Go to –


Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.   1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)


Barefoot on Holy Ground – A Lesson from the Torah


(Excerpt from: “Walking barefoot: Jewish lessons in leadership” by Rabbi Joel Seltzer / Jewish World blogger     | Jan. 6, 2013.)


“This whole barefoot theory is nothing new. No, quite to the contrary. In this past week’s Torah portion we read of the first time someone was advised to remove their shoes in order to be in touch with the ground more completely; the person who took off their shoes was Moses, and the advice-giver was God.

In this past week’s parasha, Parashat Shemot, Moses encounters the Presence of God for the first, but certainly not the last, time. While he is tending to his father-in-law’s flock, he stumbles upon Mt. Horev, and there Moses sees the miraculous vision of the burning bush. It is during this moment of theophany when God asks what may seem like an unusual request:

God says: “Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5)

The commentators are puzzled by this request. Why does God ask Moses to remove his shoes? Is it because there was a line in the sand? Is it because our shoes are naturally dirty and therefore unfit to be in the presence of God?

One possible answer comes from the Hasidic Rebbe, the “Ollalot Ephraim.” He writes:

         ‘The world beneath our feet is always filled with small stones and debris. When we wear shoes, we easily walk upon all sorts of small things which stand in our way; in fact we barely notice them. But, when we walk barefoot, we feel every single stone and pebble, every kotz vedardar, every thorn and every thistle, every last rock hurts us. And this then is the hinted meaning of the text: To Moses, the preeminent leader of the people Israel, God said: “Shal na’alekha” “take off your shoes,” meaning, the leader of each and every generation needs to be aware of every barrier, every experience of suffering that is placed upon the way. A leader must feel the pain of the people, and must be sensitive to their every suffering.’

This is the meaning of true leadership; understanding the power that comes when we walk barefoot through our lives. When, instead of ignoring the pain and suffering of others that abounds, we make ourselves vulnerable to it. When, instead of choosing a life of padding and cushion, we understand that we were meant to feel every rock and every pebble, every thorn and every thistle of the ground beneath our feet.”


For the full article, refer to:


Photo Source:

The Well-Heeled Heritage of Stilettos

“One of the best ways of damning a woman is saying she wears practical shoes,” said Elizabeth Semmelhack, senior curator at Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum. ‘On a Pedestal,’ a museum exhibit, examined two of the most extreme forms of Western footwear, the chopine and its successor, the high heel.

The sex appeal of the clunky chopine may not be immediately apparent, but it embodies the same ideals a pair of six-inch Louboutins do today, a simultaneous sense of power and that stalwart of femininity: impracticality. No sensible shoes here

Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum’s exhibition “On a Pedestal: From Renaissance Chopines to Baroque Heels” ran from November 19, 2009 to September 20, 2010.

(pictured below) Venetian chopines, 16th century, on loan from Museo Palazzo Mocenigo, Venice, Italy

The tallest chopines come from Venice. Some, such as this pair, have pedestals measuring over 50 cm in height. These chopines corroborate the visual and textual evidence suggesting that some women actually wore chopines of such towering heights. This pair has been conserved for this exhibition but will not be allowed to travel again. This pair has been conserved for this exhibition but will not be allowed to travel again.   Photograph © Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia



(pictured below) Milanese chopines, 16th century, on loan from Castello Sforzesco, Milan, Italy

These chopines are typically Italian in design. Their bases are of carved pine, tapering in the middle and flaring at the base to provide greater stability and are covered in white kid. The uppers are decorated with cutwork in patterns reminiscent of lace from the same period.  Civiche Raccolte d’Arte Applicata – Castello Sforzesco, Milan. All rights reserved