myelin, habit formation, deliberate practice

How do we learn?

How do we get better at our chosen art?

Why does one person seems to progress faster than another?

Can we improve the quality of our practice?

Here are three reads to consider as you continue to plumb the depths of these questions in your practice:

1. The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

Excerpt:

The talent code is built on revolutionary scientific discoveries involving a neural insulator called myelin, which some neurologists now consider to be the holy grail of acquiring skill. Here’s why. Every human skill, whether it’s playing baseball or playing Bach, is created by chains of nerve fibers carrying a tiny electrical impulse – basically, a signal traveling through a circuit. Myelin’s vital role is to wrap those nerve fibers the same way that rubber insulation wraps a a copper wire, making the signal stronger and faster by preventing the electrical impulses from leaking out. When we fire our circuits in the right way – when we practice swinging that bat or playing that note – our myelin responds by wrapping layers of insulation around that neural circuit, each new layer adding a bit more skill and speed. The thicker the myelin gets, the better it insulates, and the faster and more accurate our movement and thoughts become.

Read more about the Talent Code at Coyle’s website: http://thetalentcode.com/

See a slide show about how myelin works on this page: http://thetalentcode.com/myelin/

2. Can you Become a Creature of New Habits?

article by  JANET RAE-DUPREE  Published: May 4, 2008 In the New York Times:

 Excerpt:

“…brain researchers have discovered that when we consciously develop new habits, we create parallel synaptic paths, and even entirely new brain cells, that can jump our trains of thought onto new, innovative tracks.

Rather than dismissing ourselves as unchangeable creatures of habit, we can instead direct our own change by consciously developing new habits. In fact, the more new things we try — the more we step outside our comfort zone — the more inherently creative we become, both in the workplace and in our personal lives.

But don’t bother trying to kill off old habits; once those ruts of procedure are worn into the hippocampus, they’re there to stay. Instead, the new habits we deliberately ingrain into ourselves create parallel pathways that can bypass those old roads.”

read more at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/04/business/04unbox.html?_r=1

 

3. Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin

“One of the most important questions about greatness surrounds the difficulty of delinberate practice. The chief constratint is mental, regardless of the field – evn in sports, where we might think the physical demands are the hardest. Across realms, the required concentration is so intense that it’s exhausting.  If deliberate practice is so hard – if in most cases it’s “not inherently enjoyable,” as some of the top reserchers say – then why do some people put themselves through it day after day for decades, while most do not? Where does the necessary passion come from? That turns out to be quite a deep question. But answers re truning up.”

read more from Colvin’s book at Amazon.com 

Keep learning, practice with attention and thrive!

Understanding Human Movement Dec. 7-9, 2012

Understanding Human Movement

Understanding Human Movement (UHM) is a three part, 45 hour course that presents a
comprehensive and functional view of human movement drawn from Darrell Bluhm’s 40 years
of martial arts training, bodywork experience and anatomy study. Each segment of the course
will include:
– Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement lessons from the “Evolution of Movement” series,
developed by Frank Wildman.
– Presentation and discussion of Functional Anatomy (via video, use of skeleton and
demonstration).
– Movement activities drawn from Aikido, Tai Chi Chuan, Mime and other disciplines.

The course will approach movement as one component of Human Action along with sensing,
feeling and thinking. Movement will be studied in the context of the evolutionary history of our
species with the recognition that all human action arises from a dynamic integration of brain,
body and environment. Well-organized movement will be understood as having certain qualities:
reversibility, even distribution of effort, freedom of breath, gravitational force transmitted
through the skeleton. The focus will be on how bones and joints shape movement, seeking
global patterns involving the coordination of the whole muscular skeletal system rather than a
muscle by muscle breakdown of action.

The course is structured around a theory of “Action Systems” developed by Edward Reed
(Encountering the World : Toward an Ecological Psychology). Each segment will consist of 15
hours of class time devoted to the exploration of two action systems.

First Segment (15 hours)
Focus: Orienting System and Perceptual Systems
Actions: bending and turning
Anatomy: spine, head and sensory organs

Second Segment (15 hours)
Focus: Appetitive System and Locomotion System
Actions: breathing, eating, walking and running
Anatomy: diaphragm, ribs, abdomen, pelvis, legs and feet

Third Segment (15 hours)
Focus: Manipulative System and Expressive Systems
Actions: throwing, tool use, non-verbal expression and speaking
Anatomy: shoulder girdle, arms, hands, face and vocal apparatus

Texts utilized in developing the course:
The Thinking Body, Mabel Elsworth Todd
Awareness Through Movement, Moshe Feldenkrais
Encountering the World: Toward an Ecological Psychology, Edward Reed
A Dynamic Relationship to Gravity, Vol. 1 and 2, Edward Maupin
The Body3, Tom Myers

Becoming Animal, David Abram
Anatomy of Movement, Blandine Calais-Germain
Anatomy of the Moving Body, Theodore Dimon Jr.

Visual Material:
Acland’s DVD Atlas of Human Anatomy
Youtube sites

The time has come for the second Understanding Human Movement session, Dec 7-9, 2012.  It is not required to attend the first segment in order to attend this second segment. Hopefully we can make this an annual gathering. Darrell Bluhm is prepared to come and continue sharing his years of experience and knowledge with us. 

Second Segment (15 hours), Dec 7-9, Sequim WA

 [It is not required to attend the first segment in order to attend this second segment.]

Focus: Appetitive System and Locomotion System

Actions: breathing, eating, walking and running

Anatomy: diaphragm, ribs, abdomen, pelvis, legs and feet

Fees: $220
Dates: Dec. 7-9th
Location: 281 Toad Road, Sequim WA 98382
Schedule:
Friday 6-9pm
Saturday Feel free to come watch Aikido classes from 9-11:45am
Saturday 2-7:30pm, includes a 30 min break
Sunday 9-12pm
Sunday 2-6:30pm, includes a 30 min break

Space is limited. Please contact Neilu via email or phone if you are thinking about attending.

Neilu Naini, pa.aikido@gmail.com  360-477-5301