The (Non)Battle Between Ninja and Healing Touch

Nicole Kasemir, RN, HN, HTCP/I,  Integrative Care Nurse at the Centre for Integrative Medicine.

One late afternoon in the spring of 2009, I happened to look out my backyard window to see my twenty two year old software engineer son, crawling on his elbows and knees in the grass. To my amused enquiry, he said he had started “Parkour” training in a gym in Boulder; it was ‘tough but fun’. I believe his first feat was to take the picture below all by bloghimself.  A few weeks later, he was invited to a competition in Denver. He placed first for Colorado, which earned him a trip to California for a chance to compete on a reality TV show.  There, the top 15 qualified to spend one week at boot camp. He “survived this grueling week” and with the 10 finalists, traveled to Japan to participate in the American Ninja Warrior (ANW) competition. The course, which he had never seen before was so intimidating! As a rookie, he was the first to run the “most difficult obstacle course in the world” (NBC).  Nevertheless, he was one of the two who ran the farthest of all the finalists. And that was the beginning of six years of pushing the limits of the sport, usually ranking in the top 3 champions, hence his nickname “Mister Consistency”.

One must realize that anyone can participate in this program (after providing a short video of their skills). The best runners of the previous year run last, after spending a cold night outside, watching over 100 Paul Kasemir by  Paul Kasemir  participants struggle and crash before them. The rule  of the game is that, at his first blunder, the participant is out of the race; he can reapply only the next year.

When Paul is asked what does it take to become an American Ninja


AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR — “Denver” — Pictured: Paul Kasemir — (Photo by: Adam Larkey/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)

Warrior, he replies with a smile: “Obviously, being in good physical shape helps; eating well and exercising – I practice at a Parkour Gym and go rock climbing for upper body strength, and dance for balance and flow of movements. Physical endurance and speed are great, but focus, confidence, good judgment, spatial awareness, imagination, lots of patience, humor, courage, forgiveness, and team support are also very important. The producer loves showmanship.”  To be handsome and “a little bit of luck does not hurt”. “I also like to visualize my race. Once the show starts, I watch the other runners to cheer them on and study their techniques. When it’s my turn, I greet the crowd, then close my eyes for a moment, take deep breaths to ground and center myself. When my run starts, everything seems to go dim, my sole focus becomes the course, one obstacle at a time, how to maneuver it, how to pace myself to get to the end as fast as possible to hit the red buzzer. I just am having fun!”

For a Healing Touch Practitioner as for the athlete, self-care and practice ‘makes perfect’. Proper nutrition, physical activity, rest, centering exercises, self-esteem, humour, respectful relationships and group support are all important elements to healthy living.  The HT provider is often the role model to his patients and will inspire trust if he walks his talk.

But it is not only the repetition of HT techniques or running through the Ninja course that makes a champion, it is also to be in the energy, to feel it flow and follow its own path through the body of the patient or from the spectators – the Ninjas often signal to the crowd to cheer them through a difficult obstacle.  Both need to listen to their intuition and wisdom to address a new situation/hurdle, to choose the proper sequence of techniques and to keep all their focus to attain their goal:  for the HT practitioner (HTP) to see the patient relax and feel better, or the Ninja to hit the buzzer at the end of the obstacle course.  Whether we are a HTP for over 25 years or an American Ninja Warrier for 6 years in a row, doing what we love and are passionate about is AWESOME!  Especially when it is successful…

blogIt is interesting to compare the qualities and philosophy of two seemingly very different occupations and to realize that they share a good number of universal principles. These help build individuals who positively influence people around them.  By their example of strength, dedication and integrity, they teach how to live a healthy and balanced life, to commit to self-care, to be in touch with dimensions beyond their physical body and to become more heart-centered in their interaction with others.  In using the tools of their trade, the Healing Touch Practitioner and the American Ninja Warrior are ‘healers’ in their community.

Special thank you to my son Paul, Mister Consistency, for bringing so much love and joy into my life.  He is truly a role model for me at all levels, making me a better Healing Touch Practitioner.



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