Black Belt - - BLACK BELT TIMES - ³ )OR\G %XUN

$ccom­plish­ments fn part for his work with the cane and his found­ing of Cane Masters, Mark Shuey Sr. was named Black %HOW·V 2003 Weapons In­struc­tor of the Year.

$ging and $bilit\ By the time he turned 4MI phuey had been in the mar­tial arts for 20 years. ´I al­ways did pretty well on the tour­na­ment cir­cuit,” he says. ´Then I woke up one morn­ing and couldn’t stand up. I had to crawl. I went to doc­tors, and they all told me my back was out and f needed surgery.

“Be­ing a mar­tial artistI f knew there had to be a bet­ter way. I chose to go to Hawaii and live at a yoga camp. I prac­ticed yoga six to eight hours a day. I was into my fifth week and — voilà! — all my pain was gone!” ee no longer had to use a cane to walk.

phuey at­tributes his rapid re­cov­ery to the style of yoga he learnedI which was a com­bi­na­tion of eathaI fyen­gar and Ash­tanga. ´I fell in love with it, so I stayed an ex­tra four months do­ing noth­ing but yoga and some mar­tial arts,” he says.

phuey in­sists that prac­tic­ing yoga saved his mar­tial arts ca­reer. He no­ticed in­creased strengthI im­proved bal­ance and sharper fo­cus. ´I also found my weapon of choice: the cane,” he says.

Found his weapon of choice? Let’s back up a bit. Mark Shuey was an ac­com­plished mar­tial artist and com­peti­tor long be­fore he started us­ing a cane to get around. By the time his yoga ses­sions healed his body, he’d un­cov­ered the link be­tween self-de­fense and the curved walk­ing stick.

When he was 52, he won his first grand cham­pi­onship us­ing the cane as a weapon. It was fol­lowed by eight more vic­to­ries. ´I was No. 1 in my divi­sion four years run­ning on the NASKA, KRANE, IMAC and GSKA tour­na­ment cir­cuits,” he says. ´Un­for­tu­nately, I got crashed into by a drunk driverI and it shelved my com­pe­ti­tion.”

lnce againI how­ev­erI the cane came to his res­cue as a mo­bil­ity aid. Now in his SMsI phuey still teaches and trains with the cane. ´I love do­ing mar­tial arts and of­fer­ing my ex­pe­ri­ences to help the mar­tial arts com­mu­nity,” he says.

$dvice foU $Utists “Try to make it to class three days a week,” he says. “mrac­tice what you learned in class two hours a day at home. Al­ways do your best in classI even when you feel lazy and don’t want to be there. 'o your kata with all your heart be­cause they are im­por­tant. f hated kata and did them only be­cause f had to. In fact, I failed my first red-belt test be­cause I didn’t do my kata right. Now, how­ever, I hold more than 10 world and na­tional ti­tles in kata.

“Also learn some goodI hard yoga to help your mar­tial arts and your life. It will keep you healthy.”

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