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Robert J. Woodbine

New York, NY

When I was 14 years old (1965), I had an injury to my left patella and subsequently to my left hip while running track for DeWitt Clinton High School. These were nothing that seemingly required medical attention at the time. I should mention that in my mid-twenties, I developed a stress fracture of the right fifth metatarsal that ended my marathon aspirations as well. Together with a couple of motor vehicle accidents in ensuing years, I believe my right side over compensated somehow and I found myself living with chronic right hip pain.

The only relief from the pain, albeit temporary, was from practicing Tai Chi and Qigong which I started in 1985. In the early 1990's, I took x-rays and had an MRI, but neither showed anything I should be concerned about at that time. Unfortunately, as time passed, the wear and tear of my active lifestyle teaching and practicing martial arts took its toll.

There came a time in early 2013 when my limp (which I bravely tried to hide from my students) became publicly obvious. The pain and discomfort progressed rapidly thereafter and no matter what I did to alleviate it did not work. I could not stand or sit for long. My sleep was affected.

A colleague recommended I see Dr. Michael Parks for an evaluation. I laughed at the sight of my x-rays because the extent of the deterioration of the head of my femur was so obvious. No wonder my instep was literally falling--there was no support in the hip to hold the structure in alignment. I thoroughly enjoyed the frank conversation I had with Dr. Parks about my status and his ability to help. It filled me with confidence to proceed with the Total Hip Replacement on July 11, 2013.

It's amazing how the body can accommodate to pain. I didn't appreciate how much pain I had been in for so many years until I had awakened from the surgery and was pain free. Yes, part of that was the effects of the medication. However, I KNEW there was something remarkably different and better because that old pain was GONE!

I had to go through the pains of rehabilitation at home, but I welcomed that compared to how I had lived previously. When my six months passed, Dr. Parks cleared me to resume normal activities (minus running a marathon) and scheduled my follow-up for eighteen months. I wasn't able to see him until this last month, nearly four years exactly since my surgery. All is well!!!

In the past three years I resumed my training and teaching and am now able to do things with my body I was unable to do previously. I have more flexibility and strength in my right leg than before as well as the confidence to move without trepidation (common sense always prevails).

Last year I began a three year, full-time residential training program in Tai Chi and Qigong with my teacher, Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming in Northern California. At sixty-six years of age, I am the oldest student and more than capable of keeping up with the rigorous daily 7-8 hours of training. I just began my second year of training here at the Retreat Center a few days ago and all is going well. I'll graduate in 2019 and resume teaching others how to maximize their potentials by being the example of this myself. Being pain-free through Dr. Parks' grace and skills has made this possible and I am forever grateful to him and HSS.

The photos are of me training with a kettlebell and battle ropes the summer prior to leaving for California. The other photos are of me at the Retreat Center this past winter climbing a thirty foot rope and training on bricks. The video is a short drill sequence in reaction training.