My Journey to Here and Now
Ten years ago I began my journey to consciously start living healthy while trying to become a better person. It was the evening of my thirtieth birthday when I took my first official tai chi class. I had some idea about what I was doing as I had followed an instructional video for a few years trying to grasp the concept of the movements and postures but I finally came the conclusion that I needed professional hands on instruction. I would spend the next two and a half years studying under Sifu Muri Parsons at the Dragon’s Den in Calgary, Alberta, Canada learning the Cheng Man Ching short Yang style tai chi form along with martial applications for self defense. I would also begin training in baguazhang; eight trigram palms. An elite style of counter fighting which was reserved only for the Emperor of China’s elite palace house guard a century ago. I was going into this a complete mess. A lower back injury from years earlier had left me in pretty bad shape with the inner upper and lower ligaments of my hips lacerated. My left leg with nerve damage that won’t even respond to a reflex test with the hammer to the soft part just below the knee. To make matters worse everything I was shoveling into my body in the form of food was making me sick and I didn’t know why. Within the first six months of my gung fu training my teacher introduced me to one of his black sashes from the old school who was a professional spinal therapist as well as his personal nutritionist. Sifu Muri also put me on a special rehabilitation program over and above what I was learning in class to strengthen my legs. He told me that if I gave him two years he would see me rebuild my legs from the feet up. Let me tell you that those two years were hell.
The first thing the nutritionist told me to do was eliminate gluten and dairy products from my diet. I thought I was going to die! I did not know what my alternatives were. I lived on fast food and restaurant burgers, not to mention soda pop as the staple of my diet. Overshadowing all of this was a crushing weight of depression.
There is no way I would have been able to do any of it had I not come to the place where I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired. I knew I had to make changes in my life. I was becoming desperate. So I started the program and I stuck with it.
The diet changes, the spinal therapy, the gung fu of tai chi and baguazhang. All of it became a daily effort which I would adopt as a lifestyle. Eighteen months almost to the day that I started I realized that I did not need to wrap my knees anymore. My legs were not quivering as much. In fact I could train for hours and I felt strong with no lower back pain for the first time in years. I knew opened palmed combat. I was familiar with the sword. It felt absolutely amazing. I had begun a new lease on life and it was great. The last thing my teacher told me just before he moved away from Calgary was to start teaching and passing my skills on to others. I cannot begin to express how good that felt to know that my instructor had the confidence in me to do just that.