In Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, in a scene in which Alice and the Red Queen run vigorously but get nowhere, the Queen explains "Here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that."
If there is a secret to mastering taekwondo, it should be: Remember the Basics!
Taekwondo is composed of four physical components:
To have any chance of mastering the last three components, you must first master the basics. Basic techniques (stances, blocks, hand strikes, kicks, and body motion) are taught to all beginning students during their first few weeks of training. Then, over the years, they are taught to perform these basic techniques in patterns, sparring, and breaking.
Many students, of all ranks, think of a technique as just being a single technique. For example, when asked to perform a side kick, they execute a side kick, with no consideration given to the components parts of the kick that they learned during their first weeks of training. Because of this, when they use the side kick in a pattern, it looks sloppy; when they use it in sparring, it is always ineffective; and when they use it in breaking, the boards do not break. Then they get frustrated and try to force more speed and power into the kick, but the kick only gets worse. At this point, the instructor tells them to "remember the basics!"
When a side kick is performed using all the basic motions (high knee and foot chamber, proper foot shape, knee thrust and hip rollover, and high re-chamber) the kick works. Even when the side kick is performed with lighting speed, each of these motions is still present.