Yesterday I wrote and published an article, Neuroplasticity, Small Successes and Learning / Relearning Skill Sets. Click on the link to read the article.
In response to the article, I received a comment and a request.
The comment and request
“It would be extremely helpful for those trying to best utilize the neuroplasticity, 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 in a comment and then decided that answering the comment and request through an article would serve many.
Today, I will reply to the comment and request in my below article, Martial Arts, Repetitive Mirrored Movements, and Brain Injury Recovery
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.
In my experience, I have learned how to use different martial art disciplines in ways that have worked and continue to work for me.
Little did I know that I began using the principle of neuroplasticity, long before the principle was coined. Little did I know that I was creating new neural pathways and brain reorganization through engaging in repetitive mirrored movements.
My Journey and Process
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”.
Executing the same skill on my dominant and non dominant sides of my body
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 have 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:
Using Repetitive Mirrored Movements to Enhance Your LIfe
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.
What I have learned through my journey. The journey is more important than the destination. What you learn along the way is more valuable than any destination.
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 merely 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.
“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.” Bruce Lee
How I Use the Principle of Neuroplasticity to create new Neural Pathways and Brain Reorganization
The Goal — Being a Work in Progress
The goal has been to improve my ability to mirror the same abilities on both the non-dominant side (left side) of my body with the dominant side (right side) of my body. As in the below demonstrations, I engage both sides of my body (my hands, arms, elbows, legs, knees, and feet).
I engage both sides of my body to improve my gross, fine motor skills and muscle memory. I engage both sides of my body to improve my dexterity, hand-eye coordination, agility, balance, stamina, precision, focus and awareness. I engage both sides of my body to improve my skills and abilities.
I engage both sides of my body to improve and enhance the quality of my life and well-being.
I engage both sides of my body to create.
Create Your Own Program
In the event that you have not begun, I would encourage you to create a program. Create a program that will empower you to create neural pathways and brain reorganization. Brain reorganization through repetitive mirrored movements on your dominant and non-dominant sides of your body. Brain reorganization to improve and enhance your quality of life and well-being.
Neuroplasticity through Martial Arts 2013
Neuroplasticity Demonstration August 2014
Brain Injury, Neuroplasticity and Personal Gains August 2015
Balance and Coordination through Repetitive Mirrored Movement 2016
Brain Injury Recovery and Repetitive Mirrored Movements 2017
Improving Our Brain and Body’s Ability to Excel after Brain Injury 2018
Due to a shoulder injury I was unable to create a video presentation in 2019. Due to Covid I was unable to create a video presentation in 2020.
Stick Fighting, Knife, Western Boxing &Wing Chun Drills
Created September 2, 2021
Transition Drills to Improve Agility, Focus, Speed & Coordination
Created September 6, 2021
Hand Eye Coordination and Precision Drills using Fine Motor Skills
Created September 12, 2021
Below are links to short video presentations showing the progression of how the concept of neuroplasticity through repetitive mirrored movements have benefited my mind and body. The progress made spans over each of the past 8 years.
I have been training in different martial art disciplines over the course of the past 25 years.
Click on the below links and they will open for you on YouTube.
Below is a link to a powerpoint presentation that I created and am available to present at coming conferences
Below is a link to the slideshow presentation that I created surrounding the topic of neuroplasticity
You have my permission to share my articles and or video presentations with anyone you believe could benefit, however, I maintain ownership of the intellectual property AND my articles, video presentations and eBooks are not to be considered OPEN SOURCE. Please also provide a link back to Second Chance to Live. In the event that you have questions, please send those questions to me. All questions are good questions. I look forward to hearing from you. More Information: Copyright 2007 -2021