Martial Arts of Life

A recent incident with CMD Malaysia Trainer, Patrick, put him and his friend’s life on the line and earned him a well deserved recognition of being an “everyday hero”.

How much of your training, your ability to remain calm under pressure and knowing how to respond when the safety of your friend is at imminent danger?

Patrick’s experience reminds me of the old Samurai philosophy that the sword can be a taker or giver of life. In this example, martial arts and medical pre-emptive training and positive stress inoculation proved to be an effective and successful combination of important life skills. Used positively, it had a successful and positive outcome for everyone involved.

*************** Keep Calm and Monkey on *********************

Just a little something i wanted to share with everyone…

A while back around November a dear friend of mine collapsed in his bedroom from a sudden stroke, hitting his head on the bedside dresser and falling to the floor more than a foot off the bed, ending up chest down and sprawled out at an angle.

He’s a very large guy, significantly heftier than me (and i’m not exactly small) and his wife was panicking and unable to move him. She managed to get a hold of me as I lived nearby and when I arrived he was barely conscious and unable to move – at the time no one was sure as to what had exactly happened, but it was obvious that he was having extreme difficulty breathing. I was also afraid that his neck might be injured or that he was severely concussed from the fall, and that in his position he might choke on his on saliva. Given the heavy slurring of speech and his indication that he could not move his arm I deduced (correctly it turned out) that he had suffered a stroke.

Normally, you shouldn’t move the body but given the situation I took it upon myself to turn him as the ambulance was a good 30-45 minutes away. I slid my shin parallel to his torso, underhooked his arm, hooked his knee with my foot, and craddled his head almost like one would set up a back mount/choke in order to minimize the movement of his head and neck. Using this I managed to right him up into a sitting position similar to a back mount (minus the hooks of course) and lay him down gently, carefully placing a towel under his neck to tilt his head and allow him to breathe easily. I then focussed on trying to keep his heart rate down and relaxed.

Long story short, the paras arrived and he was hospitalized – and it all worked out ok. He indeed had a severe stroke (bleeding in the brain) and a mild concussion. His speech was heavily slurred and he was unable to move his right side. He needed about 3 months of recovery after which he managed to regain 95%+ of his facilities and movement.

I have no doubt that thanks to my level of fitness, and knowledge of leverage due to training BJJ/wrestling that Iwas able to successfully move him quickly, safely and (relatively) easily despite him being almost twice my weight. Lemme just say as well, a limp non-resisting body is actually tougher to move carefully!

I guess i just wanted to say that the skills you learn really are useful on and OFF the mat, and general fitness should never be taken for granted – self-defence aside, at the very least you have to have the technical knowledge and FITNESS to be able to pull yourself and/or other people out of physical danger at any time, otherwise an otherwise good ending might have ended up being far more complicated or worse.

Physical capability aside, don’t ever neglect the knowledge portion as well, I would also very much advocate that everyone take a reputable First Aid/Responder course (or refresher yearly) – I have been doing so ever since I was a Cub Scout and to this date I have had to use these skills no less than ELEVEN times in the intervening years, 4 of them in very serious situations like the above. A little knowledge and making the right call go A LONG WAY!

In contrast, I have only, luckily, been in 3 physical altercations (all relatively minor) in the same amount of time.

In the case of a stroke, i managed to remember F.A.S.T. from my first aid training and correctly identify the condition and the seriousness of it -> Face (drooping) Arm (weakness) Speech (difficulty/slurring) Time (to call 999 in Malaysia).

When was the last time you did a First Aid course? Really recommend that all gyms provide and promote this.

Stay safe everyone!