Re: a student's experience
Training with you and within your classes was extraordinary- you have a great deal more to offer your students than any of your martial peers that I encountered. It was truly a privilege to train with you at this point in my life. The thing I respect the most about you is that you were adept enough to heal your own serious back injury via the tools that you have mastered. I also greatly respect your devotion to the martial and healing arts. I actually used your Self-healing as an example to inspire a friend of mine who was in a motorcycle accident. Anyways, be well. =)
Posture and Taoist breathing used to avoid back surgery!
Although I have hundreds of cases that I have worked with personally that I could cite as testimony to the value of posture and breath training, the most dramatic case I know of is my own. Almost a year ago to the day as I write this note I suffered a very serious back injury. The pain was incredible. For the first month, crawling was difficult and standing or even being transported in a car was impossible—After the first month or so, I was able to be driven (and at the time, taught classes mostly while lying down). Over the next several months, my healing slowly progressed. However, still for the longest time, sitting down on any type of chair was near impossible. I used every trick I had learned over my last 35 years of study to heal myself. I practiced Taoist breathing and posture exercises. I also kept a positive mind-set and prayed a lot. Eventually through breathing, posture, prayer and positive attitude (and the help of a gentle "Mind and Intention" based chiropractor—click here for more details), I began to recover. At first, I was able to stand a little at a time. Eventually I could walk with a cane. I was finally able to have an MRI and see a surgeon. After reviewing the damage to the disc revealed through the MRI (the damage was obvious—and I strongly suspect that it was worse in earlier months), I was approved as a "good candidate" for back surgery.
At the time the doctor recommended surgery, I had a feeling that I should put off, at least for the time being and see if I could continue to heal on my own. After all, I did feel that I was healing a little bit more each day. Around the same time it was reassuring that one of my private clients, an anesthesiologist, was the first (other than the chiropractor) to suggest that he thought that I seemed to be improving, and that I might consider not having surgery.
A month or so later I saw the surgeon again...this time I was moving better. The surgeon, did not know how I was able to heal. I tried to explain it to him through drawings (the diagrams I drew which illustrated my theory, for the surgeon, seemed to far outside his scope of experinece). He did know that I was improving. He ordered another set of MRIs. After a second set of MRIs, I again was evaluated by a surgeon. After the second set, the surgeon agreed. Although he couldn’t explain how the disc had improved over the four months between the MRIs, the second set provided objective evidence that the disc was healing. According to the surgeon, in all of his years of experience, literally treating thousands of patients, he had not seen one example where a patient with such a condition such as mine healed without surgery. (I will be placing both MRIs in my second book, which is in the works). An example of me performing martial arts 10 months after the back injury is in the second video on the streaming videos page.
Healing yourself, although as my case shows, is possible, it is not easy. There was a lot of pain and frustration to deal with. Patience is required, and the principles of "suspension" I teach have to be constantly paid attention to. It has taken me a year to begin to exercise again. Now the hardest part is the getting the weight off from the last year of inactivity.