Filipino 'memory athletes' promote mental gymnastics

By Marjorie Gorospe

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA— For Robert Racasa and Johann Randall, Filipinos can become competitive with the world’s best when it comes to memory competitions.

Racasa and Abrina are the very first Filipino memory athletes to represent the country in the prestigious United Kingdom Open International Memory Championships in London last year.

Basically, memory athletes test their skills in memorizing as much information as possible within a given period of time.

Despite being a newcomer in the international arena, the Philippine team was able to take home the silver medal in the “Speed Cards,” one of the categories in the international event.

The team also competed in the “binary digits” event where the athlete needs to memorize a set number of binary digit within the least possible time.

Racasa and Abrina are currently preparing for this year’s memory championships. Both say mental gymnastics is not yet popular in the country.

The two founded Utak Power Learning, a center that provides the latest system in enhancing one’s memory skills.

“There is no such thing as poor memory. We feel that everyone needs to properly exercise their memory skills even if they are not mental athletes,” Racasa says.

However, most Filipinos often have problems in retrieving or retaining information from their memory.

Racasa says the older persons usually lose their memory as part of the aging phase. Students always tend to lose interest in subjects that deal with numbers and memorization.

“These excuses are unnecessary if only they can get to learn how to give their memory skill the proper exercise,” Racasa says, noting that like the body, the brain too, needs some stretching to get fit.

Racasa says one of the techniques that they teach in Utak Power Learning is the association of numbers or other materials to persons or things which the person can closely relate to.

“The technique can be tailored depending on the person’s choice of association,” he says.

Racasa and Abrina believe that there are always fun ways for students to memorize lessons such as Chemistry and Mathematics.

Racasa shares that schools in other countries like the United Kingdom now have Mental Gymnastics as part of the curriculum. He says Utak Power Learning also aims to promote mental gymnastics to local schools.

***

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