Action, Kickboxing

Initial Reactions to Kickboxing!

This week marks my second kickboxing session of the year. What an experience! This has probably been one of the most challenging aspects of my CAS experience as a whole that it seems interesting to be facing it so close to exams and TOK finals and whatnot.

Given that I am still fresh to the activity, I will be taking this time to kind of explain or reflect on my initial reactions in regards to my three learning outcomes.

1. Increased awareness of your strengths and areas for growth
Initially, what I’ve become aware of are the two levels of strengths/areas for growth that are involved in kickboxing, or at least my personal fitness experience. The first is physical fitness while the other is a sort of mental strength and capacity for fitness.
In terms of the actual kickboxing, I have identified kicking and kneeing as two areas which I hope to focus on in the following sessions. I think that I have relatively strong punches and that my positioning for punches is quite good for a beginner but what I am really struggling with is leg work. I hurt my leg the other day which is going to teach me to persevere.
As I mentioned, I think that one of my biggest problems with fitness is kind of underestimating myself and not feeling that I am prepared. This is something that I will definitely need to focus on and what I appreciate about these trainings is that we are a small group to encourage and support each other.

2. Undertaking new challenges 
As I have mentioned many times, this is my first time ever kickboxing! As I reflect, however, I am also realizing that this will be my first time engaging in a non-team activity or a small-sized training-focused activity. While I participated in competitive swimming when I was younger which required a great deal of training, the larger size of the group was much less intimidating as I did not feel I needed to focus on myself so much as I was not being focused on per say. With kickboxing, a new challenge that I am facing aside from the hard work itself is being in an environment as personal as this. I think that this will be a great experience in this sense because in university I doubt that I will be engaging in volleyball or any team sports so I will need to conduct a similar exercise regimen to ensure my fitness stays a priority.

3. Develop new skills
I think that what I’ve mentioned previously regarding “undertaking new challenges” resonates strongly with the idea of “developing new skills” for a number of reasons. Each of the challenges mentioned in some way requires new skills to be developed which I should hope to achieve.
On a superficial level, I will be developing kickboxing skills such as punching, kicking, kneeing, and increased cardiovascular endurance. On the other hand however, I am improving my skills when it comes to fitness and exercise in terms of understanding my body and how much exercise it can handle and how to approach this exercise. This skill is perhaps the most valuable as it will teach me what my body requires in terms of food and water and even energy levels for a good and efficient training program.
On another note, it was very interesting when the instructor mentioned what we were doing in a practical setting last week because that had not even occurred to me. I suppose another great benefit of this activity could be the development of self-defense skills!

To finish things off, I’ve attached a lovely photo below of me drenched in sweat after a great kickboxing session – complete with the fierce facial expression!

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cas project, Creativity, Service

Compost Beginnings!!!!!

SO today, I essentially began the implementation phase of the Twiga Compost Initiative. So far, I have

  • Put up posters
  • Located a bin
  • Communicated with the canteen and local staff
  • Located potential areas for the larger compost
  • Generated slight community awareness

What I learned from all this work today is the incredible amounts of work that this initiative will require in terms of contacting and agreeing with the school! Given this information, I need to now do the following

  • Meet with Mr. Smith regarding a possible location for the larger compost bin
  • Build the larger compost bin with Mr. Patrick
  • Buy the following supplies: buckets, green spray paint

The second point here is what I see as being the most challenging given that I  am not very strong. This will therefore require me to advertise this as a potential creativity/action activity for students to take part in over one weekend. I will do this ASAP through the daily bulletin as soon as I have determined a location.

Please find my incredible posters on ManageBac as I am incredibly proud of them!

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Action, Volleyball

Reflecting on ISSEA 2016

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Above is a photo of the IST ISSEA Girls Volleyball team AKA Twigas AKA IST Chihuahuas. I was so happy and fortunate to be able to spend four days in Johannesburg playing with such a wonderful team! Overall, we came in 5th place in the tournament but I was amazed and so proud of how we played! It hurts to think that I know we could have done so much better (the game that basically set us up for doom against AISJ was won on a penalty in the third set after being capped), but there was so much more that I gained from this experience than a trophy or medal…

  • Great new relationships
    This season, I’ve gotten to become much closer with so many girls at IST who I would have barely interacted with otherwise. This became even more apparent at ISSEA when we were spending lots of time together, making inside jokes, and sticking together through the highs and lows. ISSEA also grants the opportunity to socialize with people from around the different schools and while I felt this wasn’t as strong at AISJ, I was able to catch up with people I had met the previous year or a few new people as well. It was especially interesting talking to the girls from ICS about the current politics in Ethiopia!
  • A stronger sense of team work
    I suppose that this builds off of my previous point. As I said, we were together through the highs and lows and became very close. Because of this I felt that we became much more of a team than previous people who I had played with. This was certainly obvious on court along with our little jokes (see IST Chihuahuas comment above ;)) 
  • Ability to perform well under pressure
    This, to me, is the most intense and obvious thing gained from tournaments. While I often involve myself in lots of public speaking and debate oriented activities, I find the pressure from sports to be a lot more intense. We’re working as a team and a sort of network and while that idea can be really overwhelming sometimes, it’s important to stay calm and collected.
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Service

Reflecting on TGO Career Fair

As I mentioned in my proposal, the learning outcomes I anticipated were as followed the second, third and fourth. Below, I reflect on this experience through these lenses.

2. Undertake new challenges
Although this was not my first time in a leadership position, there was something that made this task distinct from my role in MUN or Cancer Initiative. The first aspect of this was the complete and utter responsibility which I will go deeper into in the following learning outcome. The second was the language barrier as there were some girls who did not speak English as fluently and I was worried that they were not completely understanding and therefore benefitting from the advice and formatting tips. What was interesting about this however is that I found myself benefitting even more strongly from the advice that I was sharing as I had to focus on communicating effectively regardless of barriers through diction and pronunciation.

3. Plan and initiate activities
While at first I was ecstatic to be taking part in this event, as the deadline approached I realize it was the first time that I was planning an activity like this completely alone. The only information that I really had to work with was that the workshop would be 20 minutes long following the theme of public speaking. To my surprise, I had great feedback from the girls and while it was not as interactive a 20 minutes as I’d like, I suppose the responses from those involved is really what mattered!

4. Work collaboratively with others
I think that perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of this event and my participation was the opportunity to collaborate with people who I would not normally have the chance to. What pleased me the most was the way in which at the end of each session girls would take my notes and transform them into own speeches. As they discussed issues like environmental awareness and women’s rights I realized that despite coming from different places and leading very different lives to my own, we have incredible amounts in common in terms of our interests and passions.

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Action, Volleyball

First Volleyball Tournament

Saturday marked my first volleyball tournament in my senior year. This was an incredible experience as I was able to gain a great deal of insight regarding my personal strengths and weaknesses along with those of my team. In order to reflect best, I thought it would help to write the following in bullet points so as to address goals individually.

My Strengths:

  1. Movement
    I think that where I did really well in the games on Saturday, especially when playing more difficult teams like Makango, was in the way I was moving. I felt that I was following the ball and anticipating their attacks quite well. This is something that is going to be vital in ISSEA against teams with incredibly strong attacks and so what I’m going to need is to be consistent in what I had done here.
  2. Receiving
    Although I think that this relates pretty strongly to movement, receiving is another thing that I am proud of from this game. In the final set against Makongo, I was in the back court for a significant part. This meant that I had to be low and counted on in order to properly play the game and continue the rally. I think that I did a pretty good job at this and one better than what I had expected. What I realized is that in order to maintain this I just need to remember to sacrifice as the worse that can happen is a simple bruise or scrape!

My Weaknesses:

  1. Attitude
    I noticed early on in the tournament that my attitude greatly affected the way that I was playing. Not playing the first game along with Fernanda, I wasn’t as comfortable in the way that I was warmed up to play a more challenging team. This was obvious as I wasn’t playing as well as I could and then began to stress. Luckily, Maya just casually told me to chill out and not worry a couple of times and it was really amazing how that changed how I felt and subsequently how I played.
  2. Setting
    The irony of being a setter is the fact that I haven’t felt very confident in my setting lately. There were moments during the games where I felt great however I think that consistency is key and the best way to practice this is by helping the team with hitting drills before games along with generally practicing with Millie and Denym.

Notes in the regards to the team:

  • As I said before, it was incredible seeing the encouragement from Maya and how that completely change the way I played. I’m happy to say that this year I feel that we’re a much more encouraging and warmer team than before and so I hope that we keep this up!
  • Our main weakness I think though is laziness. We need to really work on our positioning and moving for the ball. It won’t simply come to individual players and so I hope that by practicing with Jenny or other coaches, we’ll feel more pushed.
  • Along with this, an issue that we certainly have is calling. I think that the easiest way to fix this is by developing the habit during drills but I know that I do that and it’s really helped me.
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Action, Volleyball

First volleyball game of the season!

Today I played the first volleyball game of the season and, incredibly enough, the first game of senior year. It’s been really amazing to see my transitions and improvements as a player from 9th grade and seeing how some things have even stayed the same.

In 9th grade, I can remember just how terrified I was in the first volleyball practice. Given that I was new to IST, I hardly knew anyone and being the only freshman trying out, I felt seriously out of place. Looking back to 3 years ago, I can see all the amazing friendships I’ve actually made during volleyball and just how much of an integral part its become of my high school experience overall.

It’s funny thinking about how overjoyed and anxious I was reading the list of the first cut outside of Batterby’s office and comparing it to the feeling of making ISSEA teams in the following years. I suppose I’ve gotten more confident in my abilities to make the team but what I really realized today is the fact that I’ve worked for that confidence. Today’s game was incredible in the sense that we were really being worked in terms of defence and general stamina. I’m really proud of the points we were playing even though we didn’t necessarily win all of them. Off of this game, I’ve realized that I need to be more confident in my serve as well as work more on attack. Overall though, this season came to a great start and I can’t wait to *hopefully* bring amazing competition to ISSEA in my final year with some of my closest friends!

*written on 25/08/16, not uploaded because of technical issues*

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