The attitude to injuries in the dojo I attended was quite cavalier. If you sustained an injury, you were helped from the training floor and you sat in the office, holding a bag of frozen peas on whatever body part you happened to have injured, until someone could attend to you. The frozen peas were one approach to injuries; the other was electrical tape. You had a choice of colours: black or red. The mantra was "if you can stand on it, it isn't broken". I remember one of my senseis telling me that if I had the presence of mind to ask for her permission to faint from pain before fainting, I wouldn't need to faint. I even saw the wisdom in this piece of advice.
As time passed and the dojo crowd aged and became more injury-prone, the attitude changed. The young turks who instructed us began to attend university and were now increasingly encouraged to study physiotherapy or kinesiology so they could help us with our injuries. One by one they graduated from frozen peas to icepacks and from dispensing electrical tape to giving diagnoses and advice on injury care and management. It was in this environment that my interest in energy healing took root.
I had spent five years learning to break people, I reasoned, and it was now time to learn how to fix them.
But where was there to go to learn to something as esoteric as energy healing? My first stop was qi gong at a place called Emerge Internal Arts. I trained for about six months before I figured out that what I was interested in learning, Medical Qi Gong, would take years of study and an investment of thousands upon thousands of dollars. Since I was already investing the years of study and the thousands upon thousands of dollars in martial arts training, I was a bit stymied.
Then came reiki. I found an ad for a one-day reiki course in a health magazine. What could I lose? It cost one hundred dollars, it would take a day of my life, and I was willing to be open-minded and curious, while at the same time cultivating a healthy dose of scepticism. So off I went, along with four other seekers, to a west-end apartment in the city, where all five of us were initiated into the mysteries of reiki.
And now here comes the strange part: that halfway through the day, after the first initiation, something indeed happened. There was a distinct sensation of having gone from one place to another, from a place of not knowing to a place of knowing, as if I had stepped through a door. And that afternoon, as we were practicing, and I was treating a man who was lying on a massage table, that massage table started to move noticeably in rhythm to an invisible heart beat. And when I pointed this out to my reiki teacher, she in turn pointed out to me that the leaves of the ficus benjamina behind me were also shaking. My reiki teacher attributed the movement of both the massage table and the leaves to the invisible energy flow.
The oddest thing was that I had no control over the energy. Whenever I was partnered with someone in karate class and we were practicing holds that could potentially cause hurt or pain, the energy would suddenly turn on, and I would be healing them without intending to do any such thing at the same time. One time during weapons practice the energy "jumped" into my weapon and it started to vibrate so strongly that I almost dropped it. That was spooky. I also had a hard time sleeping at night because anytime my hand touched my body, it would feel like fire and wake me up. This was nothing like the "little bit of warmth" that many other reiki students spoke of feeling.
Once I got spooked enough, it calmed down, but the trade-off was that it became less effective. I then had to learn other things to bring the effectiveness back. In 2003 I learned Quantum Touch, which was said to "turbo-charge" reiki. It did. In 2007 I met Dr. William Bengston, who had used energy healing to cure mice of cancer. Over the year and a half he mentored me we held six workshops in his method in the Toronto area. In 2009 and 2010 I learned Matrix Energetics with Richard Bartlett and the Domancic Method with Zoran Hochstatter. The most recent method I added to my toolkit is "Russian New Knowledge". I now use all these methods singly and in combination to facilitate healing.