The practice of mirror movement development (MMD) is as old as the bilateral design of our human bodies. Considering that it has been practiced and promoted by some of history’s most notable geniuses and advanced cultures, today’s educational systems would greatly benefit from its modern adoption.
Benjamin Franklin, the Founding Father and polymath who started the University of Pennsylvania, wrote an essay in 1779 titled, “A Petition of the Left Hand.” The essay addresses “Those Who Have the Superintendency of Education” regarding the “injurious distinction” of developing just one hand, equal design of both hands, and benefits of dual-development.
Franklin wittingly paints a sad scene of the body’s propensity to fall into calamity and equally needing both ‘sisters’ (the left and right hands); “Must not the regret of our parents be excessive, at having placed so great a difference between sisters who are so perfectly equal?” Recognizing the left hand as a mirrored member of equal design, with ability to achieve equal use, Franklin writes, “Condescend, sirs, to make my parents sensible of the injustice of an exclusive tenderness, and of the necessity of distributing their care and affection among all their children equally.”
MMD was practiced by the ancient Greeks, Easter Islanders, and Ottoman Empire through their forms of mirrored writing.
Spatial awareness genius, Harry Houdini, who claimed to be ambidextrous, urged for teaching children the practice of developing ambidexterity (aka, MMD).
The brain of Albert Einstein was abnormally symmetric, something typically found in the ambidextrous.
Plato, the 4th-century Greek philosopher, physician, and father of Western medicine, urged his patients to “practice all the operations, performing them with each hand and with both together—for they are both alike—your object being ready to attain ability, grace, speed, painlessness, elegance and readiness.”
Leonardo da Vinci wrote in traditional, mirrored, and inverted directions. Why wouldn’t teachers want to instruct us in the same practice as history’s greatest genius? Da Vinci also said, “the mirror is our teacher, giving us a fresh eye.”
MMD was also taught in parts of the United States and Great Britain during the turn of the 20th Century, thanks to the Ambidextral Culture Society. The organizations’ Founder and Honorary Secretary, John Jackson, wrote the book, Ambidexterity: Or, Two-Handedness and Two-Brainedness, with a focus on natural development and “rational education.” Jackson also founded of the System of Upright Penmanship and wrote various other books, including The Theory and Practice of Handwriting, A Practical Arithmetic, and The Shorthand of Arithmetic. Perhaps not surprising, Jackson was a teacher and grammar school principal.
MMD correlates with brain growth and body alignment. Since peak performance and top potential are natural byproducts of MMD, educational systems around the world can benefit from it’s incorporation.
Today, the Veena Vadini School in India teaches students to become ambidextrous. Their 300 students develop writing with both hands, in different languages, at the same time. The school’s founder, Virangat Prasad Sharma, says, “When a new student comes, I let them settle in for two to three days and after that I ask them to write. For 15 minutes, I observe them and then urge them to use both hands. In some days, they usually get adept at writing with both hands. And now, our students can write different subjects simultaneously with each hand.” Sharma says he got inspiration for the school from India’s first President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, who was also ambidextrous.
In 2014, Diego Irigoyen, author of Creative Brain Training, designed a course on ambidextrous development in penmanship and drawing. He taught at California State University, San Bernardino for two years. Irigoyen reported fascinating results from his students.
Irigoyen received inspiration from Michael J. Lavery, author of Whole Brain Power, who has spent over 25 years educating and working with clients on the benefits of ambidextrous development (MMD).
Classes in MMD can be simple, focusing on mirror reading, writing, sports, and other everyday activities, in addition to studying the science and history of MMD. So, why isn’t MMD already a part of our general education? For one thing, most of us have become so accustomed to doing everything one-sided that we function as such automatically, even though a simple look in the mirror can remind us that we are bilateral creatures made for MMD. Interestingly enough, when the benefits of MMD are explained to the average adult, they are easily understood. It’s the amount of work to develop MMD for the average adult that is the major deterrent; requiring nearly 10 ten years of practice.
On the other hand, children instinctively practice MMD and can pick it up much quicker. MLB’s first modern-era ambidextrous pitcher, Pat Venditte, is a great example of this; being taught by his dad to throw a baseball with both hands since the age of three.