Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Amazing research proves that training works !

In an experiment published by the Oxford Journal, British neuroscientists from the Centre for Neuroscience, Imperial College London compared the behavior and brain structure of a control group of individuals  - never involved with Martial Arts - with a group of karate black belts.

"Using 3D motion tracking, we investigated whether the ability to control ballistic arm movements was associated with differences in white matter microstructure. We found that karate experts are better able than novices to coordinate the timing of inter-segmental joint velocities" (in Individual Differences in Expert Motor Coordination Associated with White Matter Microstructure in the Cerebellum)

Translation : The Karateka punch faster...

Ouch !

Now this is amazing, Training works... If it were only for that, that study would represent a waste of lots of money and effort. There is an interesting aspect to this though : " the ability to control ballistic arm movements was associated with differences in white matter microstructure. " Translation : Training  locally modifies the structure of white matter in the brain. 

There are in the brain 2 types of matter : Grey and White, and apparently, the structure of that White matter is modified by training.

Then in another study published by the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, research found that Medittion involved changes in the white matter.

"In our work, we found that a form of mindfulness meditation, integrative body–mind training (IBMT), improved FA in areas surrounding the anterior cingulate cortex after 4-wk training more than controls given relaxation training. " (in Mechanisms of white matter changes induced by meditation)

Translation : Meditation changes the way white matter operates

Note that they don't say that the structure is changed, but that there are changes in the Way White matter operates. I tend to believe that changes in Functions are generally related to changes in Form - but I then, am no neuroscientist.

It is nevertheless interesting to link both information : 
  • Training in Martial Arts modifies - locally - the structure of White matter in the Brain, and 
  • Training in Meditation modifies the way This White matter operates.

This could mean that meditation is profitable to Martial Artists, and explain why some famous Sword masters were also practicing Zen (Miyamoto Musashi, Yamaoka Tesshu, Yagyu Munenori...)

This is also a good indication that practicing Martial Arts (or other physical activity developing speed and accuracy) would be profitable to Meditators...

Get off your butts...


Doclink said...

Maybe some day we could have a Meditiation seminar, similar to the laido classes you are doing. I am very ignorant to the whole zen and meditation aspect of eastern cultures. Osu!

Frederic Lecut said...

We actually also practice Zen meditation here in Dothan, AL. If you are interested in an introduction to Zen, please let me know. I can help. I am a disciple of Zen Master Michael Elliston Roshi, Abbot of the Atlanta Soto Zen Center and have practiced under him for quite a few years. Where are you located ?