Karate and taiko: good for turning on the right side of your brain. Not. Good for whole-brain exercise.

In a post about turning on your right brain, one of Martha Beck’s suggestions is to learn new moves. I immediately thought that practitioners of karate and Japanese drum players therefore must have the right sides of their brains permanently turned to on.

However, when learning new moves in karate, say a new kata, I doubt whether it turns on only the right side of my brain. I find that it’s more of a pushing and stretching of both sides of my brain to actually try and work together. Although I must admit that sometimes moves on one side of the body are much easier than doing the same moves on the other side.

It’s the same with taiko (the playing of Japanese drums). Especially in the beginning:
Take the plain and simple don do ko rhythm. Boem boem-boem.
We get taught the “right way”: Right hand, right hand-left hand. So the first Boem is with the right hand, the first boem of the boem-boem is also with the right hand and the second boem of the boem-boem is with the left hand. With me?

We spend like a month or even longer (okay, I may be exaggerating for special effects, here, but bear with me) to perfect our right-handed Boem boem-boem.

Then, surprise-surprise, we get taught another “right way”: now starting with the left hand, which is quite frustrating to left-handed players after having gone through the trouble of learning how to NOT play with their naturally leading left hand first!

After a month (or even longer) of perfecting now both ways of playing Boem boem-boem, we find out that there is still another way of doing it: The Swing. You start with the right hand leading, but then switch to the left hand. [Actually, The Switch might have been a more appropriate name.]

Long story, short: Try to learn some new moves to turn on the right side of your brain. Chances are good, though, that you’ll end up exercising both sides of your brain. A win-win situation, if you ask me.


Right Brain’s ego took a knock or two

Oh heavens. I took the leap last Wednesday: submitted the first draft of the research proposal. And I just received back the first batch of comments.
Now I wonder whether people whose work I’ve edited feel the same way as I do now: a bit deflated :-).
There are things that I agree with, things that I noticed after I’ve sent in the proposal. There are things that I did not think of that should be added. And then there are things that I really thought about, which should be left out. And some of my reasons for doing things need some firmer scientific foundation…
Interestingly enough I recently read a blog about editing your own work.
Writing is supposedly done by the right side of the brain and the editing part by the left side of the brain. Therese Walsh suggests the following to make sure the right brain does not throw her toys out of the cot when the left side starts suggesting and making changes:

  • Create a safety net by keeping the original and working on a copy.
  • Start big by focusing on big blocks of text rather than messing with the words.
  • Comment rather than delete.
  • Print out and use loops, circles and visual aids.

In this way I will obtain Right Brain’s approval of Left Brain’s unexpected creative streak and the rework will be acknowledged as an improvement…

Fortunately for me a) I have my safety net and b) the reviewer of my proposal adhered to starting big and commenting rather than deleting. But Right Brain is still a bit offended because she didn’t think of everything herself. 🙂