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A powerful punch comes from the brain

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A powerful punch comes from the brain

Postby Carina Rei » Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:20 pm

Coordination Associated with White Matter Microstructure in the Cerebellum
Compliments to Oxford Journals

Recent investigations into the neural basis of elite sporting performance have focused on whether cortical activity might characterize individual differences in ability. However, very little is understood about how changes in brain structure might contribute to individual differences in expert motor control. We compared the behavior and brain structure of healthy controls with a group of karate black belts, an expert group who are able to perform rapid, complex movements that require years of training. 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. Diffusion tensor imaging revealed significant differences between the groups in the microstructure of white matter in the superior cerebellar peduncles (SCPs) and primary motor cortex—brain regions that are critical to the voluntary control of movement. Motor coordination, the amount of experience, and the age at which training began were all associated with individual differences in white matter integrity in the cerebellum within the karate groups. These findings suggest a role for the white matter pathways of the SCPs in motor expertise.

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Re: A powerful punch comes from the brain

Postby AAUSA » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:35 am

The statement above is unproven, and is based on extremely limited studies by scientists who probably have had little or no experience in martial art psychology, applied studies or philosophy. Much more study is needed to form any basis for definitive statements like this one. Until then, only confusion, debate and doubt will be the dubious fruits of continuing this course of dialogue.

While there is no argument that thought precedes behavior, it is not always conscious thought in action that we should focus on. The subconscious mind is the repository of the repetitive training experiences, that form the basis for faster response to known stimuli and situational awareness, allowing for the formation of habits that provide for instantaneous response under stress. Conscious thought would be too late.

It is a shame that the study did not include assessing the role of muscle memory for the entire body, particularly the hips, abdomen and legs, in delivering specific acts of performance. The effective thrust or punch is the result of all these factors, not only from the brain, even as a raging river is not the direct product of a mountain stream high up in the clouds, but the accumulation of factors that impact its entire course of flow.
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