If you train martial arts no matter how careful you are, or what protection you wear, at some point you are going to get hurt. Bruises, strains, sore muscles and the occasional bloody nose are all part of the life that we choose. As a matter of fact, if you’ve been training for years and have been completely injury free, you may need to take a look at what you’re doing. So it isn’t how not to get injured, but what to do when it happens.
Western medicine is great for many things, (I had lasik about 13 years ago and it changed my life) but for the most part when it comes to dealing with common injuries, especially without surgery or pills, they tend to be lacking.
I spent over a decade with Western doctors in the U.S. and Germany trying to get mobility back in my injured hips. After X-rays and MRI’s, physical therapy and shots of cortisone, I was no better off than when I started. By the time I was in my late 30‘s I had tight shoulders, knee pain, and a very tight and painful lower back. I was told I had one leg shorter than the other (something told to many people suffering from the same issues) and that there was nothing to be done other than wearing an insert in my shoe to “balance” out the legs, or get an operation. I can tell you now this is not true, not only for me, but most people and I know it because I now feel better now than I did at 22; and it's all because of holistic practices such as Dorn Method, Yoga and Bowen Therapy. See my video for some basic exercises for knee, lower back and hips.
This is just one story, of one injury, but I have countless others. The point is: That as martial artists we should strive to learn as much about healing, as we do about hurting. Many ancient practices are still as useful today as they were hundreds, or even thousands of years ago. This isn’t about holding on to tradition. This is about finding things that work and have little or no side effects; something modern medicine seems to neglect. I can’t tell you how many people have been helped from my Kung Fu style’s bruise medicine (Dit Da Jow), by using clay to treat pains, cuts and upset stomach and using 8 Pieces of
Brocade Qigong to that decades old shoulder and neck issues. These practices are just as valuable as the martial ones and unfortunately are also in danger of vanishing. Just like in Kung Fu, you need to research before you take a step, especially regarding your health. However, I have definitely found more good than bad in my search and what I have learned is now a part of my training and teaching. True Kung Fu is not just the martial. So take some time to learn how to heal and you will be rewarded for it.
Thank you for reading. Feel free to leave a comment below.
~ Sifu Edward Tomaine