Neuroplasticity (also known as brain plasticity or brain malleability) is the brains ability to reorganise itself. New research shows this phenomenon continues throughout our adult life.
This is especially exciting when one part of the brain has been affected by injury or disease, then the other part of the brain develops new neural pathways to take over the function. The brain reorganises and develops new neural pathways. The brain is able to reorganise to compensate for new situations or changes to the environment.
Neuroplasticity can also be beneficial to both physical and functional aspects of your brain and may be reorganised throughout life due to your environment, behaviour, thinking and emotions. Our brain is extremely resilient; not only does it reorganise itself after injury or being severed, enabling one to recover from a stroke, learning disabilities and other brain deficits. It allows us to learn a new musical instrument or a different language and overcome depression, addictions and reverse obsessive compulsive patterns. (There are some amazing stories and research you can read in the links below).
Dr. Michael Merzenich, a leading pioneer in brain plasticity research and co-founder of Posit Science, says: “there are steps people can take to tap into plasticity and reinvigorate that machinery,’ explains Merzenich. These circumstances include focused attention, determination, hard work and maintaining overall brain health.”
Here are some principles required that may to help reorganise your brain:
- Being switched on. By being ‘switched-on’, alert, focussed and ready for action, the brain turns on neurochemicals necessary to reorganise the brain.
- Intense focus. If you are intensely focussing on a task, with full undivided attention, the greater the change or reorganisation to your brain.
- Practice. The more you practice something, the stronger these connections develop and the greater the experience of change.
- Continuous flow. This enables your brain to know what comes next. By strengthening your connections, your brain is able to work seamlessly and not in fragmented pieces
- Visualisation. It is just as important to rehearse from memory as it is to make physical changes.
- Memory guides. When practicing a new skill, your brain reorganising and remembers the good attempts and discards the not-so-good attempts. It is therefore important not to focus on the one attempt that was not so good (as this reinforces poor attempts) and focus on the good attempts.
- Reducing the ‘noise’. Every time you practice a new skill, in attempting to reorganise your brain, you brain reduces the ‘noise’; the irrelevant patterns that occur at the same time. As you strengthen new pathways, you naturally weaken old pathways.
- Neuroplasticity goes both ways. It is important to remember these changes go both ways. It is just as easy to reorganise your brain to reinforcing or reorganising positive changes or negative patterns.
Initial changes are temporary however. Your brain determines whether what you are learning is to become a permanent change or not. This is why continual learning is important. It reinforces to the brain that the new behaviour is to be programmed and your brain reorganises to make this change.
Studies have also shown that resistance exercise also contributed to neuroplasticity and beneficial in reorganising the brain.
Arakan Martial Art® uses a systematic approach to learning. It follows the above neuroplasticity principles in reorganising your brain and does so positively. One must first be ‘switched on’, ready to learn. We give our undivided attention to the moment and have intense focus on what we are about to learn. Each lesson is structured to be experiential or ‘hands-on’ so that you get to practice the new skill set and technique. We practice, practice and practice the new skill set to recreate the new neural pathway.
Arakan Martial Art® is unique in its ability to flow, continuous movements from one to the other, becoming incredibly adaptable yet unpredictable when protecting ourselves on the street. We use visualisation when practicing our skills set and reinforce good behaviour. Each time we practice the new skill set or technique, we are reorganising a positive pattern, discarding what no longer serves.
Whether you are reorganising your brain positively or negatively, the effort is the same. So it may be best to focus your intention and energy into reorganising your brain in positive ways, rather than reinforcing negative patterns. Training Arakan Martial Art® may help your body and mind to become more adaptable, flexible and agile.
We are here to guide, coach, mentor and teach you Arakan Martial Art®. It is more than just learning kicking and striking, it goes beyond the physical. Our members gain greater focus, empowerment, discipline, self-awareness as well as learning self-protection techniques. Attributes which translate into other areas of our members lives.
Your child’s safety is our number one priority. Your child will learn and develop in a nurturing, positive, creative and fun environment. Our goal is to empower children. Not only do they learn practical self-defence skills, they also gain self-confidence, empowerment, focus and awareness. Attributes which will transition into greater areas of their life as they mature into adulthood.
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Arakan Martial Art® classes and private lessons are available. We offer a complimentary one hour private lesson to assess your child, their needs and create a program based on that assessment.
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This article is written solely with the express view of the author and is for information purposes only. We encourage you to conduct your own research.