To read more about my process and journey as a person living with the impact of a traumatic brain injury and an invisible disability during the past 46 years, please click on this link: About Page.
During a keynote presentation on October 9 — at the Southwest Conference on Disability 2013 — I shared that I discovered that I needed to be healed in my mind, body, and spirit. I also shared that I discovered different ways in which I found healing in my mind, body, and spirit. My training in martial arts has been one of the ways that have been used to bring about healing in my mind, body, and spirit.
Several lessons that I learned through my journey in the martial arts have changed the way in which I live and experience my life. One lesson is the metaphor of the process. The process is more important than the destination – ranking or belt color. What I gain through the process of learning and discovery is what changes my life, not the destination. The second lesson is found in what my Sensei shared with me early on in my training at the martial arts school. He said, “What I do is give you ingredients. Your job is to use those ingredients to bake a cake and in the process become a black belt.
As I have trained in various martial arts disciplines – focusing on mirroring my dominant and non-dominant sides of my body — I have experienced ongoing improvement in my balance, hand-eye coordination, body coordination, speed, agility and body awareness on both the dominant and non-dominant sides of my body. My training and drilling during the course of the past 16 years in muay Thai kickboxing, components of western boxing, wing Chun, kali, jeet Kune do and modern arnis (single and double sticks) have all helped me to develop as a martial artist and an individual beyond my training in the martial arts. I have subsequently been able to do and accomplish things with my dominant and non-dominant sides of my body that I never dreamed possible.
My encouragement to you my friend would be to start – if you have not already begun – a process of neuroplasticity – the brain’s natural ability to form new connections in order to compensate for injury or changes in one’s environment” (Dictionary.com). Do something to train and mirror your dominant and non-dominant sides of your body. Stay committed to your process as you discover, combine and gather more ingredients. And as has been my experience — over time — you will learn how to use and combine those ingredients to bake different cakes — accomplish different goals. In the process, you will find that you are able to accomplish things that you never dreamed possible.
During my keynote presentation, I included a short video presentation to share how the concept of neuroplasticity has been helping me to improve my dominant and non-dominant motor and fine motor skills on both sides of my body. My motivation is to encourage you to start a regimen – if you have not already begun – to improve your dominant and non-dominant motor and fine motor skills on both sides of your body. Don’t worry how the ingredients are going to fit together. They will in time. This has been my experience, as I have stayed committed to my process.
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
Strategies for Achieving the Goals we Set through Using the Principles of Neuroplasticity
Below is a link to a power point presentation that I created and am available to present at coming conferences
Neuroplasticity, Setting Goals and Creating Hope After Brain Injury and Stroke Power Point Presentation
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