Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to have you around my table. Yesterday I wrote and published an article, Neuroplasticity, Small Successes and Learning / Relearning Skill Sets. In response to the article, I received a comment and a request. “
In response to the article, I received a comment and a request.
“It would be extremely helpful for those trying to best utilize the neuro plasticity, maybe you could be more specific as to which martial arts training works best for what. It would be greatly helpful to even post a regimen for those who practice a martial art or seeking to and have a brain injury.”
I began to answer this question and then decided that answering the comment and request through this article would serve many.
Let me first say that I have trained in various martial arts post injury with safety as a priority.
I am not suggesting that a person recovering from a brain injury start training in martial arts. Please consult with your Dr. before beginning training in any martial art discipline. Martial arts have and continue to be a part of my journey and recovery process. What I will share in this article; is, what I have learned and found that works best for me. As my martial arts instructor (Sensei) shared with me many times, “What works for me may not work for you.”, I do not know which martial art style or regimen would work best for each individual, given their specific brain injury. I can only share the benefits that I have gained through the styles that I have pursued as a martial artist.
With this being said, I have been interested in martial arts for many years. I started training in judo and some shotokan karate when I was a teenager. Since that time I dabbled in other martial art disciplines and styles. Through my investigation, I discovered muay Thai kickboxing. I started training and drilling in muay Thai and found that the style helped me to work on training large muscle groups and motor skills. Training in muay Thai uses hands, elbows, knees and round kicks (shin) being the point of contact. Learning how to “throw” different types of elbows and knees strikes helps with coordination of large muscle groups. Training and drilling in muay Thai involves timing and torch. The principle in muay Thai is to “open the hinge and bring through the “weapon”.
Through my training at a martial arts school I learned how to throw a correct jab, cross, uppercut, hook and overhand punch as used in western boxing. Training in different martial art styles and weapons during the time that I trained at the school helped to improve my balance, hand eye coordination, agility, focus and discipline. Since leaving the school — due to several meniscus tears in my right knee — I have rehabbed my knee and worked on polishing my skills and combination of skills. I have since used the principle of “opening the hinge (gate) and bringing through the weapon” in other martial art styles of interest. My training in modern arnis — using single and double sticks — have proved to enhance my boxing and open hand skills in wing chun, kali and jeet kune do.
My training in muay Thai, western boxing, modern arnis, wing chun, kali and jeet kune do has also helped to improve my foot work and ability to be agile. To become proficient in the use of any of the weapon (hands, elbows, knees and kicks) necessitates doing the individual strikes a bazillion times. Bruce Lee stated that he did not fear a man who has done 10,000 kicks, but a man who has done 1 kick 10,000 times. After learning the individual strikes, then learn how to combine the individual strikes into combinations of strikes. In my experience, this process of learning individual strikes to combine those strikes in combinations has taken many years. I am still in the process of tweaking individual hand, elbow, knee and kick combinations. I share the above for this reason:
To answer the comment and question that was sent to me in response to my article, Neuroplasticity, Small Successes and Learning / Relearning Skill Sets, as with my journey in the martial arts, stay open. Research different martial art styles to find one that fits what you want to accomplish. There are many different “hard” and “soft” styles of martial arts that can be incorporated to improve motor skills, hand eye coordination and other transferable skill sets. My encouragement would be that you research different martial art styles. Speak to the individuals who train in the style of your choice. Once you have done the research and spoken to individuals, take several classes in that style. If the classes help you, continue; if that style does not fit you, keep searching.
Keep searching for a style that fits you needs — as I did — until you find a martial art or arts that appeal to you. One (s) that helps you to build upon your skills to create new neural paths to enhance brain reorganization. One (s) that helps you to use the skills you learn through training and drilling to increase your quality of life, in other areas of your life. Increase your quality of life beyond your training in the martial arts.
Note: I have trained in judo, shotokan karate, aikido, taekwondo, jujitsu, muay Thai, different weapons, modern arnis, wing chun, kali, components of jeet kune do and a mix of other styles in my journey to find what works best for me. l share this information with you to encourage you to keep searching for what works best for you. And as my Sensei and Sho-sensei shared with me, remember that a “belt” is mere some thing that holds up your pants. What you learn on your journey as a martial artist is what shapes you as a martial artist, not the color of a belt. Enjoy the process and the journey my friend. The journey is more important than the destination.
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