Previously I mentioned that when I was in college I worked at a restaurant. Let me fill in the details a bit. The restaurant was in Stockton CA. A crime-ridden central valley city. Stockton regularly rates in the top 10 worst cities in the US. Like any central valley town, there are very nice parts. But mixed in are a lot of really rough areas. Some parts seem almost third world. It can be scary.
The restaurant I worked at transformed into a nightclub after 9 PM. Often I would get off work very late. When the nightclub was in full swing. There were lots of drunks and there were lots of fights.
I had seen one of the bouncers handle these situations pretty effortlessly. A fight would break out and he’d quickly handle it. He moved with a certain grace. Not like the other guys. Not common thuggery. More like a dancer than a fighter. And with this strange, dance like technique, he handled every fight. Every skirmish. Every threat. Usually without letting anyone get hurt.
I often left work very late. Carrying the cash I had earned. It made me nervous. I wanted to know how to protect myself. So I asked about the dance-like fighting skills. Could I learn them?
The first time I asked, I was shrugged off. But I was persistent. I brought it up over and over.
Finally, my bouncer friend agreed. We met the next day and he drove me downtown.
This was the bad part of town. An eight-foot-tall razor wire fence protected a business selling used tires. The homeless had cardboard shelters built in the alleys. Drug dealers were everywhere.
We parked in front of a plain white building. It looked like it had been condemned. The windows were blacked out. In the corner of one was a small hand-painted sign that read “martial arts”. We went inside and I was introduced. The place was filled with men training. I recognized the graceful dance-like motions they practiced. Dance like motions with devastating power. Just like my bouncer friend had used.
I didn’t see any women.
These men were all from dangerous backgrounds. Police officers, military, bouncers, and bodyguards. All training for the violence that they regularly faced. This was not like any martial art school I had ever seen. No clean modern facilities (with clean bathrooms). No children. No windows. No chairs for watching. It was just training. And serious training.
I was accepted and I began my training. It was hard. But it was exciting. I loved it.
I learned that, even with my small size, with the right moves, I could overpower a much bigger man.
That knowledge changed me.
Leaving the studio at night was a little unsettling. There was the worst of activities going on right outside. But the head of the school or one or more of the other guys always walked me out. They knew when I was coming and watched for me coming. These were men. I felt safe.
I look back on that time with a great deal of gratitude. I grew from being afraid to being strong. My own transformation was inspiring. So inspiring that years later I found myself running my own school.
I found that I enjoyed helping others transform their lives as well.
Changed Brains, Changed Lives
Word got out and my school grew. We had all types, at the time, all adult. But mostly women. Over 60% of the students were women. This was a big change from the past.
I noticed something interesting about a lot of them.
Many were very sheepish when they started. They wanted to learn but they were also easily discouraged. The slightest failure and they went running.
I also noticed something about a lot of the men. They had very little direction. They seemed broken from lack of confidence. They wanted to learn. But they were also easily discouraged.
But the strong community we had built always brought them back.
The most common thing that sent them running was... not being able to remember the moves. Over and over I heard the same thing. They said they couldn’t even remember the names of the moves. Let alone how to do them. Over and over it was as if they were telling me that they were too stupid to learn.
At the time I didn’t understand what was going on. Now I understand it all too well.
With a lot of encouragement, these people stayed. And they trained. And there always seemed to be the same progression.
- At about three months they stopped complaining about not being able to remember.
- At about six months they had gotten past their emotional hurdles and were now training harder than ever.
- At about nine months they started to want to help others.
During this period they would also talk about other things that were happening in their lives. Positive things. Things like getting a better job or a job promotion. Or like finally starting some activity that they had always wanted to do. Or very commonly, like leaving a very unhealthy relationship.
Their lives were changing and it seemed to me their brains were changing also.
Now, not only could they remember their moves, but countless variations on the moves also. Not only had memory become a non-issue but they loved learning. They ate it up. Over and over I saw life transformations. I saw them become not only more confident. They seemed different in many ways. They seemed smarter. They were able to remember hundreds of techniques when previously they couldn’t remember a half dozen. They enjoyed learning. They made better life choices.
I didn’t think a whole lot about it. I saw it happening and just accepted that the training worked. I didn’t know why.
That is, until I met Jacqueline.
We had recently started taking younger students. Previously we were an adult focussed school. But we decided it was time to bring the benefits of our training to children also.
Jacqueline was 12. At her age she should have been placed in kids group. But she was nearly 6 feet tall. At that towering height, I couldn’t see her training with children literally half her size. So we put her in with the adults.
To say that Jacqueline was not coordinated is an understatement. She possessed very little control over her lanky body. Grace and beauty were not words one would apply to Jacqueline. Growing to nearly six feet tall by age 12 tends to do that to a person.
But Jacqueline’s coordination was to change.
Over time Jacqueline learned to coordinate her body extremely well. Her movement became strong. She became confident. Everything about her changed.
She actually became so skilled that the men students feared her. I don’t know if it was the bruises that they hated or the fact that those bruises were given to them by a 12-year-old girl. Certainly, that bruised their egos a bit.
Over time, Jacqueline, the ugly duckling, blossomed into the beautiful swan. In more ways than one.
We were pretty proud of our accomplishments with Jacqueline. But what happened next was what was to amaze us for years to come.
What we learned from training Jacqueline... was what was to become... the magic ingredient in the Learning Success System. This one piece of information is what has allowed us to change the lives of so many who struggle with reading.
What we discovered was:
We are not doomed to live with the brain we were born with. We can change our brain just like we can change our body.
Is it easy?
Well yes and no.
Generally, the methods are fairly easy. But you have to do them. It won’t happen on it’s own.
Not everyone is willing to do that. Since you have read this far I’m pretty sure you are someone who will do the work.
But worse than not doing, is not even knowing you can.
So many people are not given this information. So many just give up and assume they are stupid. Or accept the limitations of a diagnosis. Every day I talk to people who have lived their whole life with this assumption. And the outcome of just living with it is not good. People who assume they have little worth choose bad relationships. People who assume they are stupid choose jobs that are below them. People who do not get help lead lives that are pale shadows of their potential.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I’ve seen hundreds change. Lives transformed. With tiny little steps. Little steps that add up.
That’s why we designed the Learning Success System with tiny steps. Because that’s what works. A little bit at a time.
The Magic Pill For Easier Learning
What we discovered through Jacqueline is a magic pill in a way. The magic pill that enhances learning skills.
So Jacqueline’s new found grace and coordination skills paid off. She excelled in school and eventually went off to pursue her dream in music. Which included performances at Carnegie Hall. She attended Sonoma State University and is now happily married with a beautiful child.
See, I told you this would date me.
But the really interesting thing is what her father realized. Jacqueline’s father, Jack, was an elementary school principal.
Now, I’ve met school principals, and I’ve met school principles.
And after so many years of interacting with the school system. After seeing that some schools run with the benefit of their students in mind. And others don’t. I have to say that Jack was the best elementary school principal I’ve ever seen. He had a way with the kids. They respected him. They knew he cared. And even the worst troublemakers carried a great deal of respect for him. They cared about what he thought of them.
Jack put programs in the school that greatly enriched their education. Exposing them to wonderful things.
Sadly, years after his retirement, those programs have been run into the ground.
I’m sad for that.
But he did raise Jacqueline well.
Jack realized the changes in his daughter. But it was no surprise to him. Jack had had a plan all along. He had been an educator for 40 something years. Over a long career of observing countless children’s education in their formative years, he knew what worked.
Jack knew that the absolute best thing you can do to increase learning capabilities is to develop proprioception.
You can do this through bilateral coordination exercises and other exercises that take a little concentration. BCE’s are physical exercises that have two special things going on.
- They are cross lateral.
- They teach new ways of coordinating the body.
This does a couple things. Things that are critical to learning
Bilateral motions. Motions where a limb crosses the body. These motions strengthen the corpus callosum. The corpus callosum is the connecting point in between the two brain hemispheres.
If you remember from previous posts, I mention that there were micro-skills. That these micro-skills had to be connected to one another for learning to occur. I also mentioned that these micro-skills were centered in different parts of the brain. Well, it just so happens that many of these centers...where these micro-skills live...are in opposite sides of the brain. And they need to communicate with each other really well to work.
You might remember I called it an auditory-visual disconnect. So not only do you need to build up auditory and visual skills. You also need to build up the connection between them. That’s what BCE’s do. They build up that corpus callosum. The connector between the two sides. So you have the language centers on one side of the brain and you have these auditory and visual centers on the other side. If they don’t connect. Then reading is going to be really tough.
Because we need... ALL THE SKILLS TO WORK TOGETHER TO READ.
So connect is what we do.
Jack Noticed The Magic First
While Jack was watching Jacqueline’s training he noticed something really important about what we were teaching. He noticed that the art we taught was full of very unusual BCE's He had seen Bilateral motions in other activities, but he had never seen an activity that had three at a time. Our art did. We were doing coordination exercises he had never seen.
To us it was just kung fu, to him it was an amazing brain building tool.
Instead of doing a single cross-lateral motion at a time, we were doing up to three at a time. This was something totally new, even with his 40 years of teaching experience.
Jack was thrilled!
These exercises worked the brain like crazy. Building up a super strong corpus callosum. And developing proprioception. Jack had never seen anything like it. To say the least, Jack was excited.
Jack started sending us lots and lots of new students for our classes. All of them struggling in school. Every time he had a conference with a parent he recommended us. And most did what he said. Everyone knew, that Jack knew his stuff.
Pretty soon our martial arts school was full of kids who struggled in school.
- We had dyslexic kids.
- We had dyscalculic kids.
- We had dysgraphic kids.
- We had ADD and ADHD kids.
- We had Asperger's kids.
To say the least, we got an education.
We started being able to recognize how a certain coordination or spatial problem related to a learning difficulty. We also saw that when we fixed that coordination or spatial skill that child started learning better.
Since then we’ve done a lot of research on the subject.
Well actually we had to wait a few decades. Because we were discovering this long before the research scientists were onto it. But now that they are...well now there is some amazing research around proprioception and learning.
And what the research says is pretty simple. If you want to develop learning ability, develop proprioception.
One study, which tested BCE’s against phonics programs, showed much larger and more significant differences in reading skills with BCE’s. That’s right, BCE’s beat phonics, by huge margins.
Strange isn’t it? Building coordination skills can improve reading more than a reading program. Strange but amazingly cool. And the amazing thing is that it doesn’t seem to matter if a kid seems highly athletic or not. Learning BCE’s enhances learning, no matter if a child is coordinated or not.
But there’s more.
What’s even more exciting than BCE’s are BUBCE’s. Body United Bilateral Coordination Exercises.
That’s a whole lot to say so I just call them Bubsies.
Let me tell you about Bubsies.
Bubsies are body movements in which the motion that the body is doing is united with the limbs. Everything is moving together in a very coordinated manner.
Remember back to my graceful bouncer friend? This united motion is what gave him his graceful moves. Remember how Jacqueline went from the uncoordinated, no body awareness, pre-teen to the beautiful swan. Same thing.
What Bubsies develop is proprioception. That’s a fancy $25 word that simply means knowing where your body is in space.
When you hear people talking about “mind-body” exercises they are talking about the same thing. Call it whichever you like. Mind-body. Proprioception. Bubsies. Doesn’t matter. Just get your child to do them.
What research has found out about Bubsies is even more amazing. Bubsies cause the hippocampus to grow and they cause the amygdala to shrink.
And that’s a really good thing. Especially for someone struggling with reading.
The hippocampus is the part of the brain where logical thinking occurs. It’s the “smart” part of the brain.
So we want to grow that part.
Remember from this post. Where I talked about the “amygdala hijack”. Yes, the amygdala is the “not smart” part of the brain.
When that amygdala takes over we lose our smarts real fast.
Well being body aware (proprioception) causes the smart part to grow and the “freak out” part to shrink.
Pretty amazing huh?
Can you tell I get really excited about Bubsies?
Oh, and before I forget. One more thing about Bubsies.
Bubsies can change our emotions in a positive way.
Bubsies are very powerful, open body motions. An interesting study by Amy Cuddy, Phd has shown that the way we hold our bodies can trigger positive (or negative) emotional states.
So when your child is not super excited about homework time. Well, a few bubsies will help get her in the mood.
If you want to know more about power positions you might check out this article on them
or this Ted talk by Amy Cuddy.
(It’s approaching 30,000,000 views. Crazy huh?
Btw, Amy Cuddy suffered from a brain injury, lost considerable IQ points but then recovered. So she knows a little about this.
I could go on and on about them. But instead, I’ll let you just check those out.
Let’s keep going.
So remember back to when I was talking about how the adults in my classes had a hard time remembering things. But later their memory and learning skills skyrocketed?
Well that was because of Bubsies
Remember how the kids in our classes started doing really well in school? That was Bubsies. What was happening is that they were going home after martial arts class and doing their homework. They had been primed for learning.
- New brain cells had just grown from the Bubsies (neurogenesis)
- Those brain cells were ready to make new connections (neuroplasticity)
- They were in much better moods from the Bubsies. So no amygdala hijack.
- They had improved confidence. (most kids who suffer from learning difficulties also suffer from lack of confidence)
A brain ready for learning...New brain cells... New connections... Better moods. ..Improved confidence.
That adds up to much better learning. And learn they did.
Bubsies are a very important part of the Learning Success System. And no other system has them. But we didn’t stop there.
You probably remember that I mentioned micro-skills.
Micro-skills are the fundamental building blocks of learning. There are 16 of them.
We don’t have the time to go into each and every one of them (The Learning Success System does). But real quick let me tell you about them.
Micro-skills are built up with simple little exercises. Some are memory exercises. Some are auditory exercises. Some are visual exercises. And all kinds of combinations.
Some of these exercises might seem like simple little games. They are not academic in any way. Not like homework. They are so basic and easy that they are deceiving.
But they build up the micro-skills. The skills that are the building blocks of learning.
The Learning Success System combines Bubsies and micro-skill building exercises.
And it does it at a pace that is appropriate.
Taking it slow is important. You can’t just jump in and go full steam. Especially if there has been learning trouble in the past. You’ll get a lot of push back if you do. And that won’t help.
Build up a tiny bit each day.
That’s why the Learning Success System is sent by email. That way you get a little dripped out at a time. Nobody gets overwhelmed.
Take it slow. That’s the secret. That’s how you change the future. A little at a time.
The reading problems ship has momentum. You can’t turn it on a dime. But if you guide it just a little, then at the end of the journey, it will be in a different port.
Use some Bubsies to change learning ability and attitude. Use some micro-skill exercises to build up the building blocks of learning. So your child can go on to get great grades and have a wonderful life. (Not to mention the stress relief you'll get.
All that is in the Learning Success System. It makes it easy to be an informed parent who can easily get their child through this. A parent with the right tools to help their child live up to their potential. I call that a huge win!
So if you are as excited as I am about the Learning Success System. Get your copy now.
I’ll see you in the private members portal.
Do You Need help with a Learning Difficulty?
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