We’ve had several repeat visitors at the Center, and I had the pleasure of meeting Mike last November. The first things you’ll notice about him are his limp and his positive disposition. Not wanting to be rude, I didn’t ask him what happened until I got to know him better. He was more than happy to talk about his past. Mike is middle aged now, but when he was in his late teens, he was in a horrible motorcycle accident which doctors said he should not have survived. The accident left him hemiplegic, which is the paralysis of the arm, leg, and trunk on the same side of the body. The doctors said he would never walk again and he believed this for a while. A while later, he decided to try to prove them wrong and slowly gained back the ability to walk and move his arm.
Mike credits Taijiquan and Qigong to helping him make improvements in regaining motion on the paralyzed side of his body. As many of us know, Taijiquan and Qigong help practitioners develop flexibility, balance/stability, strength, breath control, Qi circulation, the understanding of body alignment, the ability to relax, and other health benefits. Mike is very thankful to have been exposed to to the practices and he plans to come back to the Center as often as possible, for both summer seminars and during regular training.
Mike inspires me. I would often see him coming back from walking the mountain. He didn’t do the full length, but even parts of it are steeper than what most people are used to. He didn’t walk very fast, but he did it. The Yang Style Taijiquan Long Form is enough of a challenge for those who aren’t injured, but it didn’t stop him from practicing as often as he could. When Mike wasn’t practicing, he was watching Taijiquan and Qigong DVDs to better understand the material.
We often take our physical condition for granted until we get injured. When injury occurs, it’s easy to become depressed. When Mike talks about what happened to him and how his training is, there is not one ounce of bitterness. Not only is there acceptance, but there is also gratefulness that he can practice something he enjoys so much. Taijiquan and Qigong continues to give back to him.