Training After Serious Injury
by Andrew Homburg
Andrew (wearing glasses) judging the 2009 TCSL Tournament
After Linda posted my story on the site, she asked if I would like to add any details. Please read the summary in the link above and then come back here for the additional details:
From my crutches, I started watching small children learning to walk, because, after using the crutches for eight months, my body almost forgot how. I used the crutches to keep enough weight off to strengthen my legs until I could stand. Once standing, just like a child, I would train in santi with even weight until my legs were strong enough to eventually stand one legged. At that point I practiced wuxing while standing.
Eventually, my staff and my spear became my best friends. They pulled my center of gravity further away from my body, and my body began to get used to compensating for the changes as I continued standing practice of the five forces in wuxing. The pace of my staff and spear strokes increased, and in time I decided that I needed to begin applying the force to regain the ability to strike. But what to hit? That wheelchair in the garage isn't doing anyone any other good. That seems perfect.
Over many, many, months, as I began to cruise and toddle as a child, I also wore through several staves, targeting the joints and weak points of the wheelchair, and, one day, I walked half a mile. It was a big deal to me, so back off. A few days later, my staff started ripping through the aluminum of the chair. The chair became an irrepairable pile of scrap. I continued training until the staff cracked, and I turned that staff into the shaft of a cane that is now a symbol of my liberation from the symbol of my injury. With the brass top it makes a nice accessory, and it's stout enough to be a formidable weapon. Since then I've developed many of the skills I once had beyond where they were before, although some, like the dragon form and swallow form, I have not been able to do again yet. My fighting style has gone from one of a fast moving hawk to a stable and unmovable elephant, but it has it's advantages as well.
Seven years later, I still use a cane to walk sometimes, especailly when it rains, but I use it less frequently every month.
A martial artist's greatest challenge is always himself, and the only defeated practitioner is the one who stops trying.