In today's 10K Club Interview, we introduce a passionate Taekwon-do trainer, and his very first contribution to our LEGO Ideas community - TX Master Games. Andrzej says that he believes in the educational value of LEGO bricks and so he came up with the idea for a unique board game.
- Who are you?
My name is Andrzej (Andrew) Undro.
- Where are you from?
- How old are you?
I'm 60 years old.
- What do you do for a living?
I am a professional Taekwon-do instructor with over 30 years of experience.
- What hobbies do you have?
I am interested in creating puzzles and games for children, movies, music, and diving.
- Have you created any LEGO MOCs (my own creations) that you’re particularly proud of? What is it, why are you proud it and do you have a photo of it?
Back in the times when my own children played LEGO bricks we used to build exceptional and unique constructions, usually robots and amazing vehicles! Now I am passionate about deploying hundreds of games that utilize wonderful LEGO bricks. I successfully incorporated such games into children’s, youth’s, and adults’ training!
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
I began my interest for LEGO products 30 years ago when I was a father. This fascination was a bit smaller than now. 3 years ago it increased drastically when I realized that only LEGO bricks’ color, quality, precision, and versatility will satisfy my requirements to apply them into hundreds, maybe even thousands of games that I created over 20 years ago. Now they finally reached their final form thanks to LEGO.
- What is LEGO for you? What does it mean for you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play the games or 'just' watch the cartoons.
Although I am 60 years old, LEGO is my second greatest passion, just right after Taekwon-do training! I think it is a big chance for me to show all children of the world these amazing LEGO games that teach, entertain, show how to deal with successes and failures (just as in Taekwon-do). On many training sessions, tournaments, and sports camps I showed this incredible and unique power of connecting sports and competition with LEGO bricks. I find this idea to be a great chance for the whole world of sports.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
My favourite LEGO themes are LEGO CITY and BIONICLE.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
This is definitely the LEGO BIONICLE set because it allows manipulating characters’ kinetics in many different ways.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
To be honest, I like all LEGO elements, because I think each one of them can be used creatively.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
There is no designer that particularly inspires me. The only thing that motivates me to do what I am doing is the high expectations from children. Additionally, I take a lot of inspiration from their ideas and suggestions.
ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
It is my will to show to Taekwon-do adepts (but not only to them) the possibility to exercise, compete, cooperate, develop thinking of cause-and-effect and concentration. I want to show this in a new way that is completely different from well-trodden training patterns. This is a form of playing LEGO bricks by constructing new games. There is no game anywhere that has so many possibilities. According to experts, this set has over 9 billion combinations!
- How long was the process of making the project did, and what did you have to research as well. What kind of prep, research and design phases did you go through to produce your creation?
I was observing my youngest adepts for thousands of hours, during training and sports camps. I was observing what was particularly difficult for them to learn and understand. I organized hundreds of showcases, phone calls, discussions, competitions, and experiments with various game rules.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
I had no frustrating moments because I noticed that the quality, colours, and versatility of LEGO bricks were perfect for my needs and for the needs of the project I created 20 years ago!
- If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell him/her? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
I regret that I managed to combine LEGO and Taekwon-do only when I was 60. But better late than never. Millions of people train Taekwon-do worldwide, there are hundreds of thousands of instructors out there, but only I came up with such an idea to combine sports and bricks.
- How long did it take to complete the model? Did you finish it fairly quickly, or did it take a long time? And how did the build time compare to the time you spent promoting your Product Idea to reach 10,000 supporters?
TX MASTER generally took over 20 years to be fully formed, but the process of incorporating its principles into LEGO took… maybe one week. It was a surprise. I was preparing for training one day and when I was digging inside my wardrobe I stumbled upon a LEGO bricks box that my sons used to play with when they were younger (now they are 26 and 30). I took the box, scattered its contents on the floor and I was shocked. Everything seemed to fit into my project, and I was struggling with it for 20 years. It had been difficult for me to find the right material with clear colours and to find elements that could be easily joined into something larger. I was experimenting with some counters, but they were not as adorable and appealing as LEGO Minifigures!
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
I was filled with joy and happiness. 10 000 votes took about a year. During this time I was travelling to international tournaments, visiting other training clubs in Poland and abroad. I was organizing demos, constructing gadgets. I had speeches on instructors’ seminars, I was organizing numerous meetings with parents of children who train Taekwon-do. I was making thousands of photos and over a dozen movies that I was sending to many Taekwon-do clubs all around the globe. I was also demonstrating TX MASTER GAMES in mathematics classes in different schools and in nursing homes.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
Between 300 to 500 elements.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
I like to dig deep in my fantasy, maybe do some trial and error. I enjoy being driven by the need to create something that could visualize difficult and abstract concepts for the youngest that find such concepts hard to understand.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I did not use digital building software.
- If you used custom stickers or prints for your design, how did you create them or where did you get them?
I created gadgets, printed stickers all by myself. I bought thousands of bricks and dozens of boards also by myself.
ABOUT LEGO IDEAS
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
You need to believe in success, work hard, be patient, have a unique project, and find supporting friends wherever you are on the planet.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
I made a movie, thousands of photos, Facebook posts, phone calls, visited tournaments, training sessions at many clubs, demos, discussions with children, youth, contestants, and parents.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
There are a lot of Product Ideas that I like, there is no particular winner. I treated other ideas with respect and I left my vote for most of them.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea?
I would recommend inventing something that might bring joy, mostly for children of course. They can’t wait to meet and play! The look of happiness they make when they enjoy their time is absolutely priceless.
- Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint what that might be?
My dream is to work for the LEGO Group and invent the next games that utilize these wonderful bricks. My upcoming ideas are TX MASTER 2, TX MASTER 3, TX MASTER 4, TX MASTER 5, and so on, as long as my life will last!
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