Although Haft might not be as famous as Kleist's previous subjects, his tale of survival by any means is equally enthralling. Sports fans and history readers, teen and up, will find this mesmerizing. Help Centre. Track My Order. My Wishlist Sign In Join.
- The Boxer: The True Story of Holocaust Survivor Harry Haft by Reinhard Kleist.
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The Boxer by Kathleen Karr
Industry Reviews "Kleist's narrative is set in a perfect visual landscape. In Stock. Animal Farm : The Graphic Novel. Tokyo Ghoul Volume 1. Fun Home A Family Tragicomic. To Kill a Mockingbird The stunning graphic novel adaptation. So I was moving John's left arm and his left hand and I was talking to him, and he was endeavouring to converse with me.
And then as I was doing that I had what I would call conversational observations, and I said, 'Well, John, move your right arm at the same time that I am moving your left arm,' and he was able to do that. And I just built upon that process of movement, more movement, and making it more and more complex. And the literature refers to that as a complex housing situation and also talks about hard goals and stretch goals and hard work, and I in fact was applying that, and that came through my Goju karate training.
And John already had established his capacity for stretch goals and hard goals and working hard. Ragnar Purje : You're anything that you're doing and you see it as a goal and you extend it and it's hard work. Stretch goals is that you've achieved a result and then you look beyond that and you say I have achieved…let's say I've achieved 10 movements with my left hand, I will now do Once I've achieved 15, I will now do So you are always stretching beyond what you were achieving.
Glenys Famechon : As the weeks went on, after I got home from work we would do our exercises that Ragnar had done that week, and then he would increase them the next week, change some, increase them, make them harder. And he would be using his arms and counting backwards from It was very involved, and the brain was just…you could see, the brain was working. And after the first week, I saw changes. I said Johnny is so much stronger. John's brain was just firing and working, and his speech was still very soft and his chin down on his chest, I never thought he would have the strength to lift his chin up again, but Ragnar got it up.
And then he would have him sitting here in the rumpus room and I'd be in the kitchen and John would have to project his voice to talk to me in the kitchen. And then John's voice all of a sudden got stronger. And it was amazing. And doing things, things like crawling around, using the knees, using the hands, and lying on your back, like upside down riding a bike, but counting as well. Lynne Malcolm : I'd like to hear from John about his memories of doing those exercises.
What is it like to do those exercises, John? Johnny Famechon : What she said is true because it's very difficult for me to recall all that was happening. Lynne Malcolm : And I believe you also used movements that would have been somehow familiar to John from his boxing days. Ragnar Purje : Well, initially no, Lynne, that came later. John made it clear to me early that he wasn't interested in doing anything to do with his boxing, but I kept that in the back of my mind simply with a view to saying, look, it would be beneficial if John was doing boxing movement because the complexity of that is self-evident, and he'd be also drawing upon movements that…he was of course the world champion, that he'd be able to draw upon.
And one particular Saturday we had done rolling and crawling, and a lot of rolling and crawling took place. And as he was standing up he did this wonderful poetic movement that simply brought back to me his ringcraft, and I saw that and I said to John, 'You've just done this beautiful, wonderful, poetic defensive move.
And once he was more efficient in his walking and movement, that progressed to where he was riding a stationary bicycle. Then I said, 'John, we'll now start to do your boxing movements. But let me also say, prior to that, Lynne, there was the time that John actually ran as well, and that was a time in his backyard that he was walking quite rapidly.
So he took it to a situation where I thought that he may be able to run because running is far more complex than walking, and this came out in the backyard and I said, 'Look, I think we are doing something special here. So that was another extraordinary event that had taken place. Lynne Malcolm : Ragnar Purje, whose movement therapy with John Famechon eventually enabled John to achieve one of his most precious goals.
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Lynne Malcolm : Glenys, that must have been an amazing time for you too, to have been through all that and get to the point of marriage. Glenys Famechon : Oh yes, yes, it was a wonderful day, absolutely wonderful. John walked down the aisle with me, and it was lovely. We had a lot of people there and it was really, really good.
And it was Ragnar who taught him how to do those steps. We had to have lots and lots of practice.
Ragnar's dedicated work with John since he was struck by a fast moving car in has paid off. John Famechon's improvement both physically and cognitively has been remarkable. More than two decades after John's accident, Ragnar Purje is undertaking a PhD at Central Queensland University in Rockhampton to investigate his use of movement as therapy for acquired brain injury, based on his success with John. Ragnar Purje : The literature provides immense information in a wide variety of individual studies. And what we've discovered is that a brain derived neurotrophic factor which is a protein plays a significant role.
And there are wide ranging glial and neural transmissions that are taking place, and the purpose of which is to bring as much complexity in the brain as possible with a view to creating a rich, thick, deep and highly complex connection that allows neurotransmissions and gliotransmissions and electrical transmissions to flow, which creates the power which brings about cognitive change potential and also of course, in John's case, movement potential that changes his behaviour from being incapacitated to recovering.
Lynne Malcolm : So what's behind it is if you get people to do these particular movements over and over again, that creates the brain activity to make changes, both cognitively and physically. Ragnar Purje : That certainly is in the realm of what we are talking about, but the literature clearly indicates that complex activity, novel activity, immense array of movement is what is required because prior to me starting, for 14 months John had been receiving physiotherapy and hydrotherapy treatment, and when I met John and Glenys in December , John was in fact regressing.
And my intention was always simply to focus on John's brain, again, with no background in that field, it was just intuitive that John needed to move and the movement needed to be complex and as difficult as possible. And the more complex the movement, we started to see that John's physical condition was changing.
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His thinking became faster and he started to feel good about himself as a result of that. And the research indicates that once dopamine and serotonin are flowing, a person starts to feel better about themselves, which influences the pre-frontal cortex which enhances thinking processes as well. Lynne Malcolm : So what was the difference between the movement that he was doing in the conventional physiotherapy that didn't seem to be making any difference and the type of movement that you were getting John to do?
Ragnar Purje : Look, I didn't witness any of John's physiotherapy movement, but I was adding movements as much as possible with a view to creating as much stimulation neurologically as possible, which my hypothesis was that this would bring about broad-based physical potential, and that has been the case which has resulted in John walking and living what one would call a much more normal life.
Lynne Malcolm : Ragnar Purje has applied his study in neuroscience to how ordinary people can aspire to developing elite performance brains. It can begin, he says, in the classroom. Ragnar Purje : The idea is this, look, if a child feels empowered, they are more likely to do things more likely for themselves, and the literature informs us that if we feel happy, dopamine and serotonin is flowing, the prefrontal cortex is engaged, learning is enhanced, and I try and encourage children to understand that they are responsible for their thinking, they've got power over their thinking.
They are responsible for their behaviour, they have got power over their behaviour, they are responsible for their learning and they've got power over their learning. And I found that this has led to circumstances where children begin to plan out and move in directions that are very, very beneficial for them academically and socially. So I see that as elite performance.
The Boxer and the Spy
And elite performance in my view is relative in relation to what that person is achieving. Lynne Malcolm : Ragnar Purje has been asked by the airline company Emirates to advise them on their pilot training programs, and the requirements for elite performance. Ragnar Purje : We need 3 to 5 hours of hard work every day for at least 10, hours or 10 years to achieve elite performance. And it doesn't matter what the field or discipline is, the brain operates the same way, it just creates a specific brain in relation to the skill that is being practised. For example, I would have what I would determine to be a Goju karate brain, and the pilots have a pilot training brain.
And I was talking to them and saying there are no short cuts to achieving elite skills, it's hard work, and it needs to be very specific and done in a highly specific way, with a view to creating the neurological connections that create the elite skills I was talking about, that in relation to what needs to be considered when pilot recruitment is taking place. And that also led me to being invited to their simulator pilot recruitment and training and my role there was to observe in fact the recruiters in relation to what they were doing and observe the pilots to work out whether what the recruiters was doing was bringing the best out of the pilots so that they could see that the pilots that they were selecting would be the pilots that they want to have with Emirates, which are the best pilots in the world.
Lynne Malcolm : So how might this theory and what you've seen that has worked in practice with John, how might that be taken into everybody's lives? Ragnar Purje : The important thing is to have small goals.