Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fencing on my Mind

Below is an excerpt from an article that appeared at the Washington Post. The full article may be read here.

This is your brain on fencing: How certain sports may aid the aging brain

By Emily Mullin

The two fencers pull on their mesh-front masks and face each other behind two “en garde” lines. At their coach’s signal, they raise their sabres and the practice bout begins in a flurry.
Michael DeManche, 69, is fencing his son Devin, 20, who not only has youth on his side but at 6-foot-5 also has a much longer reach.
Father and son move rapidly, advancing, retreating and attacking with precision. The skirmish continues until the score is tied at four points. Then in a flash, Devin prevails with a swift hit on his dad’s mask.
Despite their age difference, the two are well matched. Although Devin is more agile physically, Michael’s tactic for winning during their Wednesday night matches at the Royal Fencing Academy in Damascus, Md., is to outthink his son in moves and positioning. “When I’m fencing, I’m completely focused,” Michael says.
Science may be able to explain what’s going on in Michael’s aging brain when he’s on the fencing strip. A small but growing body of research suggests that fencing and other sports that require quick decision-making may improve cognition in both young and old people, and help stave off certain mental declines associated with aging.
In a study published in 2012, researchers led by Francesco Di Russo of the Foro Italico University of Rome hypothesized that sports in which participants must constantly move and adapt to changes around them might counteract age-related breakdowns in learning, memory and processing speeds. They found that fencing, “which requires fast decisions and . . . places high demands on visual attention and flexibility,” was associated with improvement of certain cognitive functions, such as attention and processing, that naturally decline with aging.




Compass Architect said...

This is a good post. ...

Zacky Chan said...

Very interesting! I wonder how this would relate to kyudo where this is no outside changes to react to. Maybe staying young while adjusting to the chaotic inner changes? Cool post.