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FCS Kali San Diego - Established September 25th, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Neurophysiologic Basis of Motor Learning in FMA

Neurophysiologic Basis of Motor Learning in FMA
 as posted by Simeon Lao from FCS Kali Facebook

As practitioners of FMA primarily are always going through the process of learning, carrying out drills, templates, sumbradas  as in any other martial art who may have forms, katas etc. I thought it would be appropriate to reinforce Ka Ron post on the scientific basis of motor learning, in our case skills acquisition. Often times when martial skills are taught - it would vary from one teacher to another, and unlike the class room setting where ideas are imparted. In the the area of martial skills we have to take the next step of physically being able to execute the intended skill being learned. That is why when an instructor demonstrates, as student we attempt to mirror or mimic. Ofcourse our repetition of the perceived motor or movement pattern may not be completely accurate because of individual interpretation. As we go through our motion of drills, templates and sumbradas we need to consider carefully the  purpose of our drills, and not to get stuck in the rut of performing a drill for the sake of it but to establish a goal, delivery of the components with the appropriate energy and intent. We also have to take into consideration that in the engagement of combat or conflict there will be numerous external factors affecting our delivery. The more we can simulate the environment of which we may have to execute these movements the better our chances of being succesful in our endeavor. These various environments will train our neurophysiologic system both motor, sensory and cognitive. Our perception of the incoming strike will be challenged as we  try to maintain our balance on the gravel ground we are standing on. Below is an outline of Motor skills and the development of motor skills from neurophysiologic perspective. This is current published data and not merely an opinion, we can safely say that it has solid basis on published peer reviewed material from the research & medical communities.
Pre-requisites of motor control 
• Musculoskeletal system
• Sensory-motor control system
• Cognitive processes

Pre-requisites of sensory-motor learning:
• Ability of the nervous system to adapt (Neuroplasticity)
• Practice
• Cognitive and psychological application

What factors influence sensory-motor learning?
• Physical
– Sensory feedback – sight, hearing, proprioception
– Musculoskeletal: Muscle framework, strength and posture
– Neurological processing & connectivity and co-ordination
• Psychological
– Pleasure - pain
– Motivation, drive and desire – boredom, failure, anxiety
• Cognitive
– Decision making
– Sequencing - planning
– Reasoning
– Concentration and attention
– Language and comprehension – ability to understand instructions

Neuroplasticity - behavioural level
• Associative learning – reward, pleasure, pain – Pavlov’s dog
• Non-associative learning – reflex – habituation / sensitisation
• Declarative or explicit memory / learning (consciously aware of
remembering e.g. facts) learning is very rapid
• Non-declarative  or implicit  memory / learning – motor skills
(demonstrated by ‘doing’)

Practice -
• Simple repetition is not enough
• Context: goal orientated, relevant, real vs. imagined (Ching-yi
Wu Arch Phys med 2000)  or simulated (Hu-ing Ma. Am J OT 1999)
• Varied - Random vs. block (Hanlon RE, Arch Phys Med Aug 96)
• Feedback: encouragement
• Learning approaches e.g. Implicit vs. Explicit (Boyd LA,  and
Winstein CJ, Physical Therapy 2003)
• Attention to the task – motivation, success

International Neurorehabilitation Symposium  2009 University of Zurich
Ericsson KA et al. The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert
performance. Psych rev 1993 Vol 100; 3; 363-406Skill acquisition: Implicit and Explic

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