Nev Sagiba pick: “Stroke of insight: Jill Bolte Taylor on TED.com”

“Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened — as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding — she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story of recovery and awareness — of how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.”

Click here to view video.


  1. bruce baker says:

    Although Bell’s Palsy is not as bad as having a massive stroke, in it’s own way .. it resembles much of what I read that Jill Bolt Taylor went through. Having had the left side of my body numb out in 2000 then a year later having the right side numb out in 2001, I feel I understand the struggle it takes to over come the palsy and pain.

    Yes, most people never get the opportunity to be trapped in their body that disconnects and revolts as it fights whatever disfunction that is going on with whatever condition that causes malfunction of the brain controlling the body, let alone the brain itself failing to connect with the information it has stored and learned that becomes .. you .. the person .. the functioning human being.

    The up side of this tragedy is that you learn, at least I learned in a practical way, to Relearn and reconnect information so that the functioning human being survives.

    In some small way, as you age, your body tells “you the brain” we can’t do this anymore, whatever that physical activity is. If you listen, you find yourself adapting or giving less effort to those things that are harmful or dangerous and adapting to another form or movement and … of thinking. Is this the wisdom of old age? Maybe … maybe it is.

    For a young person, a young adult … the adaptations of who you were as a child into adult are the changes of mind, body, and spirit as you reach your potential in each of those areas and .. maybe .. as the years progress .. go beyond the average potential, but for sure .. until you have had the experience of disconnection you won’t understand.

    Suffice to say, to achieve the highest potential of your training .. you must use an adaptation of this experience to connect all the levels of thought going on inside your brain,and to reach the full potential of what you body can do for whatever decade of life you are in. To be sure, for each decade of living .. you body will change, your thinking will change, and your approach to adapting to a situation will change because .. that is what we do.

    My survival is based upon planting generalities, guide-lines which may not remember all the details but none-the-less GUIDE me in a general way back to functionality.

    One important mention in this article is the observed function of what the left side of the brain does for you. You would do well to observe your own behaviors and be aware of how your brain is revealing either a balanced personality or an unbalanced personality. The first step to modification is to recognize imbalance, and I guess .. that becomes the point of the article.

    Even in your training .. recognition of your faults as well as your strengths is the first step in correction and evolution to a better you. The mind, the brain, is just as important as your physical body .. give it some thought, will ya?

  2. neuroplasticity. to some extent the brain and nervous system can heal by kludging around the injury. also, if for some reason the connections weren’t made quite right in the first place, the system can be retrained. training works wonders. i’ve seen examples.

  3. Brett Jackson says:

    Hi Nev, thanks for posting this video. Let me try to connect some dots from the video to martial arts. We practice to have and keep a clear mind, to quiet the internal dialogue. This kind of practice seems common not only to martial arts but also to sports and of course meditation and perhaps some religious experiences as well. Seems like the practice of quieting our minds allows, per the video, the right brain to take over. With the right brain being dominant that seems to unleash confidence, empathy, and the holistic perception and “radar” that we need to prevail in situations where there is some negative energy or potential violence. Usually of course, apparently the left brain is dominant and we are captured by that dualistic, atomistic mode of thinking, us vs. them, etc that keeps us from seeing the forest and makes our reactions slow and is a obstacle to the confidence we need to excel in whatever physical activity we pursue. If she is right about the right brain vs left brain “personalities,” then right brain dominance is where we want to be. Being there will make us better at randori/jiyu-waza and no doubt high-speed kendo as well. It’s a struggle of course to keep that intrusive left brain under control. More practice.

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