Category Archives: Ambidexterity



Chinlone is the traditional sport of Myanmar (Burma). Chinlone is a combination of sport and dance, a team sport with no opposing team. In essence chinlone is non-competitive, yet it’s as demanding as the most competitive ball games. The focus is not on winning or losing, but how beautifully one plays the game.

A team of six players pass the ball back and forth with their feet and knees as they walk around a circle. One player goes into the center to solo, creating a dance of various moves strung together. The soloist is supported by the other players who try to pass the ball back with one kick. When the ball drops to the ground it’s dead, and the play starts again.

Chinlone means “cane-ball” in Burmese. The ball is woven from rattan, and makes a distinctive clicking sound when kicked that is part of the aesthetic of the game. Players use six points of contact with the ball: the top of the toes, the inner and outer sides of the foot, the sole, the heel, and the knee. The game is played barefoot or in chinlone shoes that allow the players to feel the ball and the ground as directly as possible. The typical playing circle is 6.7 meters (22 feet) in diameter. The ideal playing surface is dry, hard packed dirt, but almost any flat surface will do.

Chinlone is over 1,500 years old and was once played for Myanmar royalty. Over the centuries, players have developed more than 200 different ways of kicking the ball. Many of the moves are similar to those of Myanmar dance and martial art. Some of the most difficult strokes are done behind the back without seeing the ball as it is kicked. Form is all important in chinlone, there is a correct way to position the hands, arms, torso, and head during the moves. A move is considered to have been done well only if the form is good.

Myanmar is a predominately Buddhist country, and chinlone games are a featured part of the many Buddhist festivals that take place during the year. The largest of these festivals goes on for more than a month with up to a thousand teams. An announcer calls out the names of the moves and entertains the audience with clever wordplay. Live music from a traditional orchestra inspires the players and shapes the style and rhythm of their play. The players play in time to the music and the musicians accent the kicks.

Both men and women play chinlone, often on the same team. Adults and children can play on the same team, and it’s not unusual to see elders in their 80’s playing.

In addition to the team style of chinlone, which is called “wein kat” or circle kick, there is also a solo performance style called “tapandaing”. This solo style is only performed by women.

To play chinlone well, the whole team must be absolutely in the moment – their minds cannot wander or the ball will drop. All serious players experience an intensely focused state of mind, similar to that achieved in Zen meditation, which they refer to as jhana.

More . . .


Myths & Logic Of Shaolin Monks

Myths & Logic Of Shaolin Monks Pt 1

Myths & Logic Of Shaolin Monks Pt 2

Myths & Logic Of Shaolin Monks Pt 3

Myths & Logic Of Shaolin Monks Pt 4

Myths & Logic Of Shaolin Monks Pt 5

How it feels to have a stroke

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 about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.

Intuflow Joint Mobility

Intuflow Joint Mobility Beginner Part 1

Intuflow Joint Mobility Beginner Part 2

Intuflow Joint Mobility Beginner Part 3

Intuflow Joint Mobility Beginner Part 4

Intuflow Joint Mobility Beginner Part 5

Intuflow Joint Mobility Beginner Part 6

Taming the body, taming the mind…

Below is a great blog post that I stumbled upon in my research. I found it to be very inspiring as I continue to struggle with keeping a daily practice. As the title suggests, it touches on the body mind connection, a topic that I hope to expand on very soon. I hope you enjoy this post, and be sure to visit the original source for more.

Almost one year ago, inspired by H.H. Sakya Trizin´s Vajrayogini teachings in Spain, I started to practice yoga on a daily basis, and seeing the results in my body(more flexibility, strength and vitality) the desire to become a yoga teacher-practitioner developed, too. But what surprised me most was the endurance that yoga gives, and the fact that with this endurance, the body can easily stand longer hours of meditation without so many bodily aches and pains, and without feeling one has to move positions so often. The body’s activity is accompanied by the activity of the mind, and as a result I have found that I can bear new, uncomfortable situations in life with more peace and tranquillity. I don’t experience so much mental stress or anxiety because I trust things more and don’t react to them as I used to. This immediate benefit makes me want to get out of bed when it is so cosy and nice in there, and my mind would like to dwell in old habitual thinking patterns of laziness and procrastination. This is another effect of yoga, it has the power to ignite positive energy and enthusiasm in one´s day, while providing a stable platform on which to build new, healthy and positive habits for oneself. I like having yoga practice as my breakfast, as my travel companion everywhere, stretching at a bus stop or at airports. It feels as if a sudden breath of fresh air comes into my mind and makes me appreciate everything and everyone with a new light…it makes mind transformation easier when we can accompany it with the body, and we can become more agile and lighter in the process. It is so joyful to feel no pain in the body and to know, with meditation, that it is, after all, impermanent.

Indian Club Swinging Presentation

Indian Club Swinging Power point Via Google docs.

I am posting this as an experiment in the continued effort to utalize Cyberian resources for learning, sharing and collaborating on projects. Stay tuned!

<If you don’t see the Google Mini Presentation Module with the document displayed, read why in the comments.>

Exercises in Ambidexterity

These pen and ink sketches are drawn using both hands simultaneously. I have always been into ambidextrous exercises and ways of developing and using my whole brain. This kind of exercise can serve many purposes, the most obvious one is getting both sides of the brain fired up and connected. Another obvious use I noticed while drawing these is as a divinatory or/and automatic drawing method. Beginning with no plan or idea as to what I would draw, I focus on a specific topic, I begin to notice the drawing suggesting a very relevant message that pertains to what I am focusing on. If I am not focusing on anything, the drawing soon leads me to a focus that is significant for the moment. As I continue to draw this way I notice the drawings getting less scary and disturbing, perhaps some things are getting worked out through this process.

Aside from the therapeutic, free association quality this process has, I have used this ambidextrous method to come up with some great designs to elaborate on and change in more conventional medium and styles. I wonder what other ideas you might think of where this process could be of help.

Ambi series 20

Expressing the Unspeakable

Expressing the Unspeakable

by DJM

Art therapy is “especially helpful to those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)” (Spinner, 2007). The main focus of this paper is on combat veterans, because war is one of the most extreme traumas that can be experienced. If art therapy effectively treats wartime trauma, it will surely be effective in treating most other traumatic experiences. What is art therapy? Why and how does it affect PTSD? What do those who are receiving art therapy have to say about it and how has it helped them? Art therapy has been around for quite some time, but only now is beginning to catch on, being used more and in more diverse settings. “Art therapy can be an essential way to help individuals heal from trauma experiences.” (Holtman, 2006)

People have been expressing themselves trough art since prehistoric times. The meaning of our artistic expressions and the objects that are produced from them have evolved in over time. From cave paintings depicting a successful hunt to nervous doodles on a notebook, our artistic expressions vary widely in meaning, style and purpose. The use of art in therapeutic settings started in the early twentieth century and became more popular from the late sixties onward (Ahmed, 2006). “Art Therapy uses imagery to: Safely and effectively access traumatic memories, Reduce anxiety, depression, numbing, as well as other symptoms related to PTSD, and to Promote verbal processing” (Ayala)

Drawing, painting, sculpting, writing and other creative forms of expression can be used to “provide a vehicle for exploring concerns and conflicts, to gain access to traumatic images and memories, to help build a trusting therapeutic relationship between client and therapist, and to access and promote healing” (Bowers, 1992; Johnson, 1987; Oster & Gould, 1987; Salmon, 1993 in Glaister, 2000).

Perhaps as a quirk, malfunction or an evolutionary leftover, our bodies make recovery from trauma difficult. “During the fight or flight response, parts of the brain that are not required for survival are inhibited. Memory is affected in such a way during this response, that it is difficult to impossible to recall memories of the event and put them into words” (Holtman, 2006).

“Research has found that conventional methods of treatment may not be the best for treating trauma. One example of this is desensitization, which encourages the individual to explain or reenact their trauma experience repeatedly so as to “desensitize” them. In some cases this may actually trigger anxiety or a “flashback” and in effect, worsen the condition rather than heal it. (Holtman, 2006)

“Art therapy’s engaging and tactile process is ideal in treating trauma. The visceral process is able to activate and access the sensory parts of the brain in non-verbal ways, which supports the natural progression of the ‘stuck’ trauma memory. Expression of memories and feelings connected to a trauma in nonverbal ways can act as a bridge, connecting the activated abstract (non-verbal) and concrete sensory memories with the organizing areas of the brain, allowing for progress in the cognitive process” (Holtman, 2006).

The combination of the non-verbal with the verbal gives art therapy a valuable place in the treatment of PTSD as well a other trauma induced problems. Aside from allowing the traumatic experience to be more fully remembered and better understood, and helping in the development of coping skills, “the act of making art endows the individual with control of both materials and image formation, supporting an intra-psychic sense of regained power” (Holtman, 2006)

Veterans find art therapy to be an important part of their healing process, stating that art therapy is “relaxing, gives them focus, develops and encourages creativity, it is grounding, and helps in the comprehension of their experiences of war.” (Spinner, 2007) Judy A. Glaister (2000) in a case study of a woman named Clara, who suffers from posttraumatic response, finds that her:

Drawings helped [her] access and explore her self-concept, feelings, and behaviors . . . [she] believed that the drawings helped her gain insight and make changes . . . Drawings were useful . . . in these sessions mainly as a technique to help her explore hidden and new areas of herself . . . Through the exploration of her drawings, aspects of the self became more apparent, leading to new insights, new responses, and renewed growth (Betensky, 1995; Oster & Gould, 1987; Salmon, 1993). The drawings helped Clara recognize patterns, connections, and changes.
Despite the positive effect art therapy has on many veterans, “Veteran and military hospitals employ few art therapists and provide limited art therapy classes”
(Spinner, 2007).

This may be due to misconceptions about art therapy and the need for more research in the area. “Kate Collie and colleagues as a part of a larger effort within the American Art Therapy Association and the art therapy community to develop evidenced-based treatments for Veterans, particularly those with PTSD have:”
analyzed data on “best practices” in art therapy with combat-related PTSD, concluding that art therapy may be a treatment of choice with returning Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. In her summary, Collie notes,

“although art therapy has been understudied with Veterans, it shows promise in the treatment of hard-to-treat symptoms combat-related PTSD, such as avoidance behaviors and emotional numbing, while also addressing the psychological situations that give rise to these symptoms (American Art Therapy Association, Inc., 2007)

“In summary, art therapy can be an essential way to help individuals heal from trauma experiences”(Holtman, 2006). The visceral process of art therapy can help to bridge the non-verbal with the verbal parts of the brain and memory. Art therapy has been used and found effective by veterans and more research is being done so that it can be taken more seriously and be funded more widely.


Ahmed, S. H., & Siddiqi, M. N. (Dec 23, 2006). Healing through art therapy in disaster settings. The Lancet, 368, 9554. p.S28(2). Retrieved December 02, 2007, from General OneFile via Gale:

Ayala, K Art Therapy for Treating PTSD. (n.d.) Retrieved December 2,
2007, from The Center for Creativity Web site: http:/

Barker, E. (Nov 2006). The artist within: creating art can help you manage anger, grief, and other difficult emotions. (No talent required!). Natural Health, 36, 10. p.98(2). Retrieved November 30, 2007, from General OneFile via Gale:

Glaister, J A (Jan 2000). Four Years Later: Clara Revisited. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 36, 1. p.5. Retrieved November 30, 2007, from General OneFile via Gale:

Holtman, Jayne (2006). Art Therapy and New Perspectives in Treating Trauma. Retrieved November 30, 2007, from Main Line Health Web site:

Spinner, Jackie (2007, April 15). War’s Pain, Softened With a Brush Stroke. Washington Post, p. C01.

American Art Therapy Association, Inc. (Winter 2007). Art Therapy Shows Promise with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. American Art Therapy Association, Inc.
Newsletter, XI, Retrieved Nov. 30, 2007, from

Slackwire, Juggling, Kung Fu