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The Fighter & Healer: A retrospective narrative on a seemingly unlikely combo



Over the years many clients and patients were fascinated to learn I was a 3 time Muay Thai Champion under the renowned trainer #kruphilnurse in NYC. In turn those in the fight community were surprised to learn I am also an NYU Doctor of Physical Therapy. It may be such an oxymoron to be a healer and a destroyer simultaneously but I felt having identities in the two at high levels actually lent themselves to helping the other.


My unique journey began well before physical therapy school at NYU. After my own injury (a traumatic fracture to my fibula from basketball) right before my senior year on the HS varsity team, my mom enrolled me in Karate with my younger brother which sparked my obsession with martial arts. Dabbling in the San Shou and the BJJ club at UC Davis, I eventually joined #UrijahFaber 's Ultimate Fitness in Sacramento, which was an MMA gym, By the time I moved to NYC to pursue my doctorate at NYU, I had already been in the ring a couple times for "smokers" which were exhibition fights for up and coming fighters.


As I began taking coursework in Histology and Anatomy the first summer of PT school, I found a home at @thewatnyc as a way to continue training in Muay Thai to take my mind off of the stress of a rigorous doctorate program. As many athletes can concur, I found it very difficult to function in school without the structure of athletics. Within a year of training, I returned to the ring during my first clinical rotation at Metropolitan Hospital. I trained my butt off while trying to pass my clinicals and won my first amateur fight in New Brunswick at The Warriors Cup, a show that eventually hosted elite professional champions promoted by the friendly Chris Tran. 2 weeks later I competed at the WKA tournament in Virginia and got 2nd place in the novice division.

It may be such an oxymoron to be a healer and a destroyer simultaneously but I felt having identities in the two at the high levels actually lent themselves to helping the other.

Although I was conflicted with fighting during PT school as there was always the risk of injury, not to mention the demands of NYU's DPT program required your full attention. It was not easy but I always felt that chasing my passion at the time was important for my spirit. For the first time in my life my Chinese tiger mom felt proud that I was a fighter as she saw I was maturing as a person through martial arts. My father, also an Chinese immigrant who came to America to get an MD, PhD felt that he worked hard to get out of a poor country through schooling so he felt my education was more important, not to mention the inherent risks.


I felt that being a fighter was more about my own spiritual journey than it was about hurting someone else. As you all know I am the most laid back person you'll meet. Being a physical therapist and CSCS (Strength and conditioning specialist) allowed me to fully understand the physical aspect of fighting and train for my competitions intelligently. From programming my training, to nutrition, to understanding the beautiful movement coordination and choreography behind combinations that Phil would teach us. My patients genuinely appreciated that I could fully understand their injuries because day in and day out I was working through my own while training for competitions. Athletes and martial artists began to seek my help due to the fact that I understood the demands of training with injuries.


Before I knew it, I had 20 amateur fights, over 10 exhibition "smokers" and had defended my championship title 2 times, becoming the Main Event on multiple NYC Muay Thai shows. Additionally I had received my Blue belt from Julio Rivera at Omni Martial arts under Vitor Shaolin BJJ and would train Judo and BJJ simultaneously.


I don't just understand fighting and healing. It pounds in my heart deeply. It is who I am.


Now that I have moved away from fighting for now, I have really been able to put 100% of my energy into healing. Into healing my own body, mind, and spirit. Into healing my exclusive client's body, mind, and spirit.


I truly feel like I was blessed with a special gift and I want to share it with the world!


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Stay tuned for @davemmeyer 's #Injuredtoelitepodcast where I go into my story in more depth!


Book a consult with me so we can get YOU to your fitness goals!


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