It is not a coincidence that I just spent time with a very successful woman in her fifties who shared her powerful testimony of how martial arts played a crucial role in her healing from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. As November begins and the official month of Breast Cancer Awareness ends, let us not forget the many variations and severity of cancers that impact almost every family in America one way or another. One does not have to look far to find someone close who has been dramatically affected by this horrible disease that affects different parts of the body, at different ages, and is not gender-specific.
Whether a personal battle, a family member struggling, a friend, someone at church, or a report of an unexpected diagnosis for a child, it is no wonder so many have empathy for all those affected. Some have struggled and overcome, those who fought the good fight but were lost to cancer, and those currently in the fight. This story inspired me and opened my eyes to a new side of martial arts I had not considered before. Let us be compassionate with one another and always sensitive to others\’ stories.
The Healing of Martial Arts Focus
This powerful personal story is not the only one like it. Although I have written many blogs about the numerous health benefits of martial arts and being a healthy lifestyle choice, this fresh perspective offers a new angle. Having faced this truth early, having lived through this part of her journey over the past thirty years, there existed a consistent reliance on exceptional dojos to keep her focused and moving forward. Since martial arts, especially at experienced studios, allows those in training to set personal goals and progress at their own pace, this incredible survivor never felt behind or outcast for the times she needed more practice. She speaks highly of the focus and ability to redirect her mind on the techniques and skills while negating unhealthy thoughts.
A Survivor’s Story of Healing
The survivor, of whom I am sharing this story, was diagnosed in her twenties with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. A devastating blow to her, her family, and her dreams for her future became an undeniable reality. Experiencing diagnosis at this young age meant a hysterectomy. In turn, this preventative procedure meant being unable to have children through natural childbirth. Through martial arts training, her mindset changed from what a typical twenty-year-old might be consumed with to how do I survive and keep living through this? Over the years and undergoing many treatments and surgeries, she is finally on the other side. Able to take a step back and give credit to her personal lifestyle choices during this time led to her sharing her story and the unshakeable belief the focus of martial arts was essential to getting through this incredibly trying time. Martial arts continue to be an outlet for her today. She holds a fifth-degree black belt, still regularly attending and working on her skills, and keeping a healthy mindset. Recognizing the value of being with others during visits to the dojo often kept her connected and still does today. Some of her best friends were in training with her both during her treatments and beyond.
The Right Martial Arts Dojo for Healing
Finding an established dojo with the professionalism, compassion, and instructors to support and encourage people through any trial is a gift. SwiftKick founder, Brian Cowell, sees every single person as a unique and precious individual. He trains his instructors to see areas where each person can realize potential and find ways to apply these skills to all areas of their lives. Offering a variety of training disciplines within martial arts, Brain’s team of instructors combines Kickboxing, Jiu-Jitsu, Krav Maga, Karate, and more to provide those in training with the most well-rounded martial arts experience.
The survivor I met with could not say enough about how martial arts healed her – both in mind and spirit. Recalling days when she could barely do anything, she showed up and worked to her ability. Repeatedly she felt encouraged and was reminded of her strength. She strongly advocates for the focus required in martial arts training and how it is a tool to get thoughts back on track and look ahead to the next goal. To say it was inspiring to hear her story is an understatement. To meet someone so successful in their career, be so accomplished in martial arts, and look ahead to retirement is quite extraordinary. If you face health issues or know someone who is, might I recommend suggesting martial arts training? Finding the right dojo and instructors is critical, so SwiftKick encourages a free class. SwiftKick has two studios in San Diego County – Carlsbad and Rancho Bernardo.
As we lift up others in body and spirit, life’s challenges seem more tolerable. Building relationships with others, with their own stories, allows for meaningful connections. The incredible story of survival includes feeling included, relevant, and capable. All these things kept loneliness and a defeatist attitude successfully at bay.