Adisa Banjoko has been busy even though the hip-hop chess icon retired the Hip-Hop Chess Federation in 2019. He has launched a new company called 64 Blocks, LLC. Many in The Chess Drum community may remember the Hip-Hop Chess Federation’s beginnings in 2006.
There was the historic Kings Invitational, the events featuring hip-hop and martial arts celebrities, speaking at universities, and curating museum exhibits at the World Chess Hall of Fame and the Oakland Museum of California. All of this happened in a relatively short period of time. However, the HHCF had run its course and Banjoko is embarking on another project.
Having been shuttling between the U.S. and England teaching Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), Banjoko is trying to execute the same “life strategies” mantra that made his HHCF brand so powerful. After reflecting on the lessons learned in his HHCF days, he now has a more direct approach.
My goal with 64 Blocks is to use BJJ to help kids get physically coordinated. Then we use chess to cultivate the mind. Finally we use the impact of short meditation sessions to be the living bridge between the students’ physical and mental exercises. There will never be a magic pill to fix all of America’s education needs. Nevertheless, I really believe in the power of this fusion. In the early days, BJJ was too new to be assessed. I was authentically ahead of my time. But now we have a few studies to look at.~Adisa Banjoko on 64 Blocks mission
Banjoko has recently penned a very interesting essay titled, “Neurological Benefits of BJJ, Meditation & Chess,” where he cites a number of empirical studies on the benefits of martial arts training and chess activity on cognitive development. It is a fascinating read and it appears that we are seeing the scientific aspect of Banjoko’s ideas as opposed to the artistic ideas prevalent during his HHCF initiatives. Welcome to the 64 Blocks!
Read 64 Blocks,
Neuroscience Benefits of BJJ, Meditation & Chess
Adisa Banjoko @real64blocks on IG