THUNDERSPEAKS

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Wow, where to start... Well it's been a little over a year since I started this journey; fifteen months to be exact, and I am proud to say it was the best decision I ever made.

It was winter, 2007, and the holidays were fast approaching. The foods, lack of sunlight, and cold were all weighing me down. (Some literally) I was 417 pounds and hating everything about myself. My wife was really starting to get worried and even I understood the level of depression I was experiencing. I had been there before, you see, and was able to recognise the warning signs. I had to do something and soon.

Across the street from our Condo there is a shopping plaza. It is your standard strip mall attached to a grocery store. One day a sign popped up over one of the vacant spots, "Martial Arts", and my wife became interested. She asked if we could go and look into what they were offering. I had trained in Martial Arts for eleven years, prior to our getting married, so I had some idea what I wanted from a school. So I agreed to check it out... for her.

I contacted the school and spoke to the owner, John Tiano. He was very polite and an easy person to talk to. We scheduled a time to meet with him and discuss the posibility of taking classes and we set a day and time to get together. We both went, but I was not there intending to join myself you see. I was looking into the school for my wife. I thought that there would be no way I could take these classes in the condition I was in or the with all the weight I was carrying around. I was wrong.

I met with Mr. Tiano (He's Sensei Tiano to me now by the way) and we discussed the goals of the school, the art he was teaching, and his credentials as a teacher. I am pretty picky about my MA schools, having had some bad experiences with teachers that really had no business selling fast food let alone teach someone combat skills.

We spoke for over two hours and by the end of the meeting we finally agreed on two important things. 1. I needed to lose weight and gain health, and 2. This class was exactly what I needed to do just that. Dammit if he wasn't a persuasive bastard. He had to be all respectful, polite, and knowledgible about his art. I found myself respecting this guy that was almost ten years my younger. My wife and I signed up that very day.

The classes were brutal. 417 pounds is not an easy thing to move, especially in a combat situation. That first week I felt I may have made a mistake, but I couldn't help shake the feeling I was doing something right for a change, and that motivated me. Every class, each week, the pain never went away, it only moved. Class after class, the sweat pouring off me, soaking the only clothes I could fit into to work out with. What the hell was I doing!?

Then it happened... the clothes I wore to class stopped fitting me. They were too big and often got caught up in the self defense moves we practiced. Little by little, inch by inch, the weight started to dissolve. Before I knew it, I was actually able to fit into the the largest size uniform they could order. My teacher was so supportive, he was actually going to have a uniform tailored for me at no additional cost. I politely declined and said that it was just something I could work for... my first goal. Well here I was, walking into class in my crisp, brand new, uniform and no longer feeling like I had made a mistake.

Through my experiences with the school, the support of my wife, and the encouragement of a teacher that I felt really cared about my situation, I was able to take the hardest step I ever had to take. Surgery.

The weight loss was moving rather well but my health problems were far from over. Still vastly overweight, and in danger from other related conditions, I needed the right tools to bring myself to a healthy existence as soon as possible. With my Doctor's advice, I decided to move forward with Gastric Bypass Surgery. I went to meeting after meeting, and waded through page after page of information on the subject. Finally we had a date and I was ready for it. With my wife scared out of her mind and a school praying for a safe return, I took that last leap of faith... and WON!

The surgery went perfectly. I was in the hospital on a Thursday and back to work the following Monday. I happen to have a very high pain tolerance, so I didn't need any of the pain meds they gave me, and as a result, my recovery was that much quicker because of it. They told me to stay out of class for at least a couple of months but I told the doctor that wasn't an option. We finally agreed I would wait three weeks, which I did, hating it the whole time.

Three weeks went by and I was chomping at the bit. I was excited to get back to class and they were happy to have me. It was slow work at first, almost as bad as when I first started. My middle body strength was pretty weak, so that was even slower work. It took at least a month and a half before I felt comfortable doing abdominal exercises again, but I was a man on a mission, and pain isn't anything I wasn't used to, so I pushed. I kept pushing, fighting for the life I wanted to lead, to be the man my wife originally married, to have the prospect of seeing old age surrounded by children I didn't think I deserved. Those were my goals and dammit, I was going to meet them!

Through a few private lessons and some extra weekly classes, I was able to keep up with my test rotation, and managed to not even miss a beat. I joined a gym because working the techniques in class, really highlighted where my weaknesses were and I was eager to address them. Working out became routine and I was loving it.

So here I am, a little over a year later, happier, healthier, and farther down the road I wanted to travel than I ever thought I could. At 276 pounds, I am so much healthier, I can't even explain how I feel sometimes. My blood pressure is in the normal range, my joints no longer hurt (though my muscles always do!) and for the first time in a long time, I feel I still have a future to look forward to.

"Life's lessons often go unheard and unheeded, but when thunder speaks, we have no choice but to listen."


Member Since: 3/16/2009

Fitness Minutes: 0

My Goals:
To be healthy and happy making it happen.


My Program:
Krav Maga at least three times a week.

Gym to supplement the Martial Arts training.



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