Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Warrior and the Healer

Back in Northern California in the mid-90s, they had a traditional JiuJitsu dojo not too far from where I lived. The guy who got me into Thai boxing told me I had to learn wrestling too, and JiuJitsu was the best form of wrestling. So I took some JiuJitsu classes with them.

They weren't the best wrestling dojo I've been to. They weren't even the best in town, but I joined them because they offered one thing that nobody else in town offered - massage. I was already injured, having torn cartilage in both of my knees from a sloppy football tackle (done by me, entirely my fault). That's another story for later though. I had no medical insurance at the time, so I just dealt with the daily pain and tried my best to ignore it.

Now, a lot of warrior types are hot-headed meat-heads. I won't deny that. They saw massage as a waste of time, especially the young ones. Usually when the class ended and the optional massage class began, everyone under thirty except me would take off. Sometimes I'd get the instructor one on one and man, that guy knew how to loosen up your muscles.

Massage is a healing art, as is acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and some others. Many people scoff at healing arts, dismissing them as New Age garbage, but I'm sold, especially when an acupuncturist a few years later healed my knees to 100% where American doctors offered surgery. Unless I'm dying, I'm not going under the knife.

Most medical insurances barely cover healing arts and some don't at all. The current plan I have covers $500 of massage a year, with me only paying a $10 deductible. You can bet your heiny I'm taking advantage of that.

Well, as my luck had it, almost a decade later, we moved back to that same small town and I was excited to go back to that dojo. I immediately signed up for a month by month membership and guess what? The old instructors were all gone and the new ones didn't do the massage part of class anymore.

See, this is the beef I have with the warriors. They neglect healing, until they're in their thirties and forties. I see it all the time on fighter's message boards. "Hey, anyone know a good chiropractor in Ventura County? All these years of boxing and being a plumber I think have hurt my back." Well, no ****, Rocky. Maybe if you took healing seriously when you were younger, you wouldn't have severe back problems today.

On the other side of the fence, a lot of healer types are hippies, who usually dismiss the warrior spirit as something outdated and evil. They wrongly think we can solve all the world's problems with diplomacy. I won't argue this here, for you know how I feel about violence and war. They have their place.

Why can't someone be both? Why does everyone have to be one or the other? Not only that, why must one mock the other? Can't people realize that both are just as important?


Blogger Miranda said...

That is a rather peculiar thing.
I've often wondered why people have
such different beliefs and views about how things ought to be when physically we all require very similiar things. There's just something inside us that makes us inclined to break off into factions.

*Grin* But the problem in your post is dealt with a lot in Babylon 5.

8/20/2005 3:24 PM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

I have great confidence in the healing arts. But then again, I also think that a healty mind leads to a healthy body (which some people think is a load of crap). I don't scoff at the "warrior" types, but it's definitely not my style. However, there have been a few times in my life when I wished I knew how to fight. :-P

8/20/2005 3:28 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

That's why I love the eastern philosphies - fight only when you must.

As for massages - A lot of men don't look at them as healing, they look at them as a hot chick rubbing you with oil - and make jokes about the "happy finish"

Try a hot stone massage sometime. Had one in Hawaii and I will never have any other kind again.

8/20/2005 5:30 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Laura - I never had one of those. I usually go to a sports masseuse because they know how to ease the pain of injuries.

Jen - Not everyone has to be a warrior, just like not everyone has to be a healer. I'm just implying that both need to respect each other, and some people can be both.

Miranda - Babylon 5 is one reason I wouldn't mind having cable. I've seen a few episodes so far and they're not bad.

8/20/2005 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Michele said...

I know, you're right. When Levi and his sisters were little, I turned to homeopothy and herbs often to try and keep them off of the perpetual antibiotics kids can get on. So many alternative medicine practitioners are into ooga-booga, crystals, etc. It makes it hard to take them seriously, and these arts lose respect from the general public.

8/20/2005 9:24 PM  
Blogger Truman said...

Dude. The "Shaman" class in "World of Warcraft". Warrior and Healer. I'm a nerd.

8/21/2005 12:29 AM  
Blogger Miranda said...

Well, don't get cable just for that ;) I don't think they've shown B5 in some time. But you
really will have to see it some time, Slayer.

8/21/2005 1:08 AM  
Anonymous jesse said...

I was in a conversation with a guy who is studying acupuncture just a couple of weeks ago. In the vein of the warrior/healing arts thing, we both thought it would be really cool if you could do acupuncture from across the room. Kind of a darts meets physical therapy kind of thing.

My only real experience with eastern traditional healing methods wasn't very inspiring, though. I was in China and my guts decided that they weren't too happy about the American-style steak that, in a fit of nostalgia, I ate at the hotel. The Chinese suck at making steak. I'm sorry, but it is true. So at first it starts out that I am just doing the 4 yard dash in my hotel room every quarter hour or so, and then it turns into a full-blown couple days of knock-you-off-your-feet sick. One of the factory workers had pity on me and gave me some traditional Chinese herbal medicine. It came in little plastic vials in a box covered with strange looking leaves and chinese writing. Tasted like Vick's vap-o-rub. Nas-ty. But it did the trick.

Incidentally, if you are ever in China, the massages are very inexpensive. You will not even need to have your insurance cover it. But you have to be VERY explicit about what kind of massage you want, because more likely than not they will try to give you the happy-ending kind that laura was talking about.

Incidentally, have you ever checked out the cool Filipino martial arts like stick fighting?

8/21/2005 1:13 AM  
Blogger tshsmom said...

Why can't people understand that life(nature) is a balance; ESPECIALLY our bodies?

I can sympathize. I spent all day yesterday, on my crappy knees, working on our bedroom floor. We don't get paid time off either, so we have to be careful!

8/21/2005 5:54 AM  
Blogger The Zombie Lama said...

The problem with a lot of the modern warriors is, they focus strictly on the fighting aspect. This, to me, defeats the purpose of learning any martial art. The fighting aspect really is just a very small part of it.

The warriors of old focused on honor, balance, and even enlightenment. Unfortunately, these ideals are scoffed at by most these days. The concept of the "Peaceful Warrior" is something that has become cliche, thanks to hollywood, and so is often misunderstood.

I'm also a firm believer in massage. Like Michele said though, too many practitioners go for the ooga-booga method, which is a shame.

8/21/2005 9:25 AM  
Blogger Shawn said...

I went to an accupuncturist out in California. It was great. I always left feeling better, which was more than I could say for traditional medicine.

I once had a friend do cranial-sacral masssage on me as a trade off for me doing a traditional massage on her. After she was done, I thought I got ripped off on the deal...the next day though, I felt awesome. It seriously felt like I was 16 again. Unfortunately, it didn't last...

It's hard to find that kind of stuff out here... Even health food stores are still looked at with suspicion...

8/21/2005 10:16 AM  
Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Another terrific post, ZS. You actually avoided surgery with acupuncture?? If so I'm off to one of those spots.

Sorry to hear about the philosophical turn of your old dojo. I was in a good karate dojo at one time, but sucked mightily at the karate part and could not bring myself to do the yelling part (keyay or however you spell that). Didn't realize how very Eastern that place was--they were doing it right, I just wasn't ready for it.

Never tried Chinese meds, but hey how bad can it be...?

8/21/2005 6:57 PM  
Blogger Bridget Jones said...

p.s. Zomb, I tagged you on my blog....

8/21/2005 7:44 PM  
Blogger savage said...

I've had Chinese medicine. The one I had tasted like some 'do-not-eat-this' chemical, 'it-will-melt-your-insides'…
It worked, but I have to be practically ready to sign my will before I take it again.

8/21/2005 11:37 PM  
Blogger clothosfate said...

Hmmmm. I deeply identify with both the warrior and the healer. I always have and it would bother me the same way it does you, to see one not recognizing the importance of the other. To truly heal you must be a warrior willing to fight for it with all that you have. To be a real warrior, you must be willing to heal when it is necessary. Good post!

8/22/2005 12:34 AM  
Blogger hutytito said...

"To truly heal you must be a warrior willing to fight for it with all that you have. To be a real warrior, you must be willing to heal when it is necessary."


8/22/2005 9:44 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Michele - True, the stuff like crystals and the "power of the pyramid" do a lot to discredit the healing arts.

Truman - I need to play that game. :)

Miranda - I will. A lot of people watch too much TV, I don't watch enough.

Jesse - Only Americans could make a decent state. As for Kali/Escrima, yeah, studied it for two years. If I'm feeling brave, I might go down to the see the Dog Brothers and might even participate. I'll come back bruised and bloodied, but it will still be fun.

Tshsmom - That reminds me, I need to start stretching again. There's a saying among some martial artists that the older you get, the more you wish you had streched more when you were younger.

ZL - Honor's becoming a word of the past, and when someone nowadays brings up honor, they'll be someone else mocking him. It's really sad. Or maybe I've lived in the West Coast for too long.

Shawn - I had a wonderful accupuncturist in Seattle. I miss her. As for that kind of massage, never even heard of it, but I bet it will be stress relieving. Ever had reflexology? I had a Chinese lady do my feet and told me everything wrong with me. I was in shock. How did she know I had those maladies by touching my feet? (She was right).

Bridget - a combination of acupuncture and ultrasound, and yucky stuff like shark cartilage. Yeah, and it worked. My ligaments were actually slightly torn and I would have had to get surgery done. It took her nine months to fix me, but my knees are 100% again.

As for the tag, I'll see it tonight. I was out all weekend. :)

Savage - The stuff works. Go to House of Rice downtown. That guy's a true healer. Mrs. Z had bronchitis and with some of his drugs, it was gone in two days.

Clothosfate - Very well said. Thanks.

8/22/2005 9:48 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Toreadorpants - Whoops, just missed ya. Welcome. Yes, Clothosfate's quite wise. I love reading her stuff.

8/22/2005 9:51 AM  
Blogger dusty said...

I have two herniated discs in my lower back. After years and years of being on and off pain meds i tried worked! and i am now a devout believer in it an other forms of eastern healing thru herbs, etc.massage is a great thing and the last company I worked for actually had a massuesse come in once a week, it was freaking fantastic and helped alot of the stress and things that accompany a highpaying high stress job.

8/23/2005 1:37 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Massages are good because the pain/pleasure sensations cause a release of endorphines in your system which your brain loves and becomes addicted to. With the release of endorphines and adrenaline, your body is temporarily "high"...

However, massage does nothing as far as physically helping you. Studies have been done that massage does nothing to reduce soreness or shorten healing durations.

But hey, placebo is a powerful thing. If it works, do it.

8/23/2005 9:42 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Joe - Heh. That's all right, I'll still get them. I love the feeling then and there, and afterwards, I just feel loose.

Dusty - Yeah, since getting into the software field, work has been high stress too and massage will put me in a different, and better, zone. Good you had your back healed with acupuncture. I'm sold. She fixed my knees.

8/23/2005 10:57 AM  

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