Part 10 of 21 improvements BJJ has had on my life. This was inspired by Tangled Triangle: 21 Days of Improvement. You can read my Part 9 here!

10/21 Improvements from BJJ:  Keeping my brain young

There’s a lot of information out there about brain plasticity, or neuroplasticity. It has to do with aging and how sharp your mind is, etc. People used to think that the brain only changed when you were young, but now they’re learning that the mind can stay supple and young.

what recent research has shown is that under the right circumstances the older brain can grow, too. Although certain brain machinery tends to decline with age, there are steps people can take to tap into plasticity and reinvigorate that machinery. We just have to “exercise” the brain in the right way. –

I don’t speak science, but all the lay articles out there suggest that learning new tasks, and learning hard tasks, helps your brain fitness. Jiu jitsu is demanding on the body and the brain, and that learning can continue throughout your jiu jitsu career. I remember John Frankl telling how he was still learning. That’s amazing to me.

For me, the lesson here is not avoid things because I can’t do them well, but to seek them out so that my brain can continue to grow and evolve. What a wonderful sport I’ve discovered! Sure, I play brain games on my iPhone, such as Clockwork Brain, and I love downloading new brain game apps, but if I can challenge myself physically at the same time, I’d much prefer to do that.

Jiu Jiu’s Question: Do you feel jiu jitsu has helped your mental acuity? Do you do other brain games as well?