Sunday, May 10, 2009

Interview with Bill Hubert on Bal-A-Vis-X

Recently I had the pleasure to interview Bill Hubert, founder of Bal-A-Vis-X (BAVX), which is a system of exercises that improve balance, hearing, vision, and brain/body integration.

Bal-A-Vis-X seems deceivingly simple. It involves a coordinated, rhythmic tossing of a beanbag or a ball. How does it all work?

In my book, RESONANCE: Elise and Other Bal-A-Vis-X Stories, I put it this way: Bal-A-Vis-X consists of multiple thousands of physical/auditory/visual midline crossings in three dimensions, crossings that are steadily rhythmic and auditorily-based, their pace the natural outcome of proper physical technique. In distilled essence, Bal-A-Vis-X enables the entire mind-body system to experience the natural symmetrical flow of a pendulum.

How did BAVX all start?

It began 30 years ago in my trial-and-error search for some way to "reach" those 1st graders who, year after year, for whatever reason or syndrome of reasons, were not receptive to instruction.

I am impressed with how many different kinds of problems BAVX can help, from visual problems, to ADD/ADHD, to psychiatric disorders. Any audience from young children to senior citizens in a group home can see meaningful improvements. What are the benefits of these exercises?

I can't prove it in a medical or scientific context, but I believe a single fundamental condition contributes similarly to the prevailing dysfunction among these, and other, groups: lack of rhythm. This arhythmicality manifests both cognitively and physically. BAVX addresses this issue each moment of every session.

What kinds of schools are adopting this type of therapeutic work?

Public schools, pre-schools, parochial schools, charter schools, Waldorf schools, Montessori schools, alternative schools. Beyond school settings are OT / PT / rehab facilities and assisted living/nursing homes.

Kids seem to like doing it and it offers a well-deserved break after sitting in a desk. They don’t seem to realize the cognitive and physical benefits they are getting from doing it. How is BAVX presented to students?

Initially I present BAVX to students the same way I present martial arts (which I taught for 16 years): this is interesting, it's not a game, and in all ways it's good for you, especially for your brain. As a rule, by the third session no enticement is necessary--they're eager to begin and not pleased about stopping.

How do motor skill improvements translate to academic improvements?

Over the past decade the core principle that cognitive activity is rooted in / dependent on / springs from physical activity--that the cognitive and physical are one thoroughly interrelated system, that physical movement is key to cognitive excellence--is making its way into mainstream consciousness. Read the books of Dr. John Ratey, Dr. John Medina, Dr. Norman Doidge. See the work of Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita and Dr. Edward Taub, of Dr. Paul Dennison and Dr. Carla Hannaford. All have contributed significantly to our understanding that to compartmentalize the physical and the cognitive is to imperil the brain's ability to function at its best. BAVX's contribution is our 100% focus on rhythm--not from an outside source, such as matching a beat, but from within oneself, occurring naturally as a result of proper physical technique. Our BAVX training consists of teaching these techniques to others, who can then use them in their own work with people of all ages.

How can schools or organizations provide training for their staff to implement BAVX programs?

For general information read through our website [ ]. For a schedule of our trainings, ask for one via email []. Note that in BAVX's nine years of existence we've never once advertised. Our website exists only for informational purposes. We don't set trainings ourselves--we simply respond to invitations. Ask us. We'll come to you.

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