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Former Karate champion to launch Mind Clubs for young people

CLEVER MOVE: Neuroscience used to help BME young people in Brent train their minds for success

FORMER WORLD silver medallist and European Karate champion Mervyn Etienne is planning to launch Mind Clubs using neuroscience to help BME young people in Brent train their minds for success.

Etienne is now the founder of the Mind Training Company and is a leading cognitive performance coach and therapist. He and his business partner Michael Harris are currently trialling the programme with five to 16-year-olds for The People’s Project at the Unity Centre in Brent.

Mind Clubs will benefit BME children and young people who have been diagnosed with attention disorders, depression or anxiety.  It also enables those at risk of petty crime and gang behaviour  to learn how to control aggressive feelings and channel them more positively.

Etienne said: “When you are playing sport, for example taking a penalty, you need to be in a calm state and not be using too much energy by over thinking. This means being able to disengage and engage efficiently. When you are trained to have control over these states you are able to focus, do better at school, see a reduction in stress and even a decrease in medication use for conditions such as anxiety.”


Using neurofeedback technology, participants are trained to control their emotions by getting their brains into a calm and meditative state, commonly known in sports jargon as ‘the zone’.

Younger children play specialised meditation computer games, such as Float where you have to lift the ball by clearing your mind by focusing on that specific task. Another game is the Burning Barrel where the more you focus the faster the barrel burns, and eventually explodes.

At the more advanced level there is the Brainwave Visualiser, where sensors are attached to the skull and ears to read and monitor brain activity during set tasks, all of which appears on a computer screen. Children and young people report that they feel calmer and more self aware.

"We want to bring this technology and performance training to the community in Brent. Emotional regulation is essential when you consider what is going on in the area for BME young people. We want to give something back as the Mind Clubs are about how you can perform at your best - every day. We take what is considered a behavioural problem and turn it into a performance benefit,” Etienne added.

After the current trial at The Unity Centre Mind Clubs will be officially launched in Brent in September as a pilot with a view to roll out across London.

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