NEURON-DO® is simply “the way of the neuron.”
Thanks to our brain, we are all unique individuals. Our brain is made up of billions of cells called neurons that connect to one another based on our genetics and by the way we interact with our environment. With this vast amount of cells and variability, it is easy to see that we can have an infinite amount of ways these neurons can connect. We used to think that the neurons we were born with and the connections they made during our childhood were fixed, hard wired, and not able to be changed. Now, science has been showing us that not only do these connections between neurons change throughout our lifetime, we can also create new neurons! This implies that every day presents us with an opportunity to grasp hold of our destiny and follow “the way of the neuron.”
NEURON-DO® functions differently for each individual student but each student is taught the same Martial Arts curriculum (adaptations are based on development and ability of the student). As the student begins their training, NEURON-DO® reveals itself through the integration of concrete physical movements of the martial arts with abstract concepts of cognitive strategies leading to the ultimate ideal, that NEURON-DO® really means “the way of you.”
What are these concrete physical movements? The movements used in NEURON-DO® come from the Korean martial art Tae Kwon Do. Students will learn basic kicks, blocks, punches, and other hand techniques that correspond with their Rank’s Form (patterned sequence of movements) and Sparring Skills (a set of self-defense techniques). Once the student obtains proficiency in their rank level they progress through the belt system.
The kicks, blocks, and punches taught are all natural movements that help to develop the body and brain. Students that learn NEURON-DO® can notice improvements in their balance, coordination, posture, “core” strength as well as develop discriminatory processing, attention, visual spatial, memory, sequencing, and motor planning. This is because NEURON-DO® instructors understand the fundamental principle that action is the primary source of all knowledge. The student learns how to perform the movements in accordance with their body’s structure, nervous system, and development. This provides life long lessons on how to move in a safe way so as to reduce risk of injury.
The Forms in NEURON-DO® are an adaptation of the original Tae Kwon Do forms designed by founder of Tae Kwon Do General Choi Hong Hi. These adaptations are necessary in order to follow the natural cycle of the right and left hemispheres of the brain as well as a crucial part in developing cognitive strategies. NEURON-DO®’s way of teaching the forms is unique because it provides both a concrete guideline to developing the student’s physical skills while at the same time frees the martial artist’s mind and creative spirit.
The Sparring Skills are defensive techniques demonstrated against an attack, in which the student performs choreographed blocks and strikes with a partner. There is no contact made with the strikes and students learn to take turns with their partner while keeping a safe distance as they develop control over their techniques. These sparring skills also correspond with each Rank’s Form, and Kicks, Blocks, and Strikes maintaining consistency within the NEURON-DO® curriculum and help to ready the student for free sparring and more advanced self-defense techniques.
What are the abstract cognitive strategies and how are they integrated with the physical movements?
Cognitive strategies are abstract tools used by the mind to help the student organize, summarize, remember, associate, and apply the learned material to solve problems. Common examples of cognitive strategies are mnemonics, cuing, repetition, chunking and linking information together, logic, and reasoning. Most of the time we consider these to be academic but the building blocks of these cognitive strategies are embedded in our physical movements; which has sparked a new field of study called motor cognition.
NEURON-DO® creates opportunities to improve learning through exploring new movements. Through practicing these new movements new connections are made in the brain in order to lay the foundation for these cognitive strategies to develop; but just learning the movements are not enough! The perception of the movement (action) needs to be brought to the awareness of the student so higher levels of cognition can be achieved. Basically, in order to support higher levels of cognition, you will need to perform more complex movements. NEURON-DO® provides the student with the most variety of complex movements integrated with understanding of the perception necessary to support such cognitive processes. Furthermore, there is greater knowledge that transcends words and is only revealed to the student by physically practicing NEURON-DO®.