Social media is alive with commercials and excitement for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” that arrives in theaters today December 18, 2015. What does this have to do with Manual therapy or NAIOMT?
"A long time ago… in a galaxy far, far away”(called Portland), I was a ‘young’ 35 year old PT who attended my first NAIOMT class. Little did I know that the instructors of this class were Jedi Masters in the physical therapy world. As I sat in class, I knew that I wanted to become half as good as the instructors who were in front of me. The core values that they possessed were like that of the Jedi. NAIOMT’s faculty all displayed a ‘knowing’ or expertise including a strong work ethic, integrity and honesty that I could respect. They offered themselves as a mentor to this padewon and conveyed a genuine desire to share their physical therapy knowledge, experience and to give something of themselves back to the therapy world. It took no time to determine that I wanted to be trained up to become a Jedi adviser.
These instructors of NAIOMT let me know up front that the road to becoming an expert in manual therapy was not easy, however, it was very doable with the right level of perseverance and work ethic. They were down to earth and approachable and clearly wanted you to succeed in what you were doing. There was not a display of basking in the limelight or getting credit for it. Sound familiar? Cue in Obi Wan Kenobi or Yoda at any time.
After starting my fellowship and beginning my 1 on 1 hours, I learned that I wanted a good connection with both my patients and my mentor. I did not want my patients to lose any confidence in me as well as not get freaked out that another practitioner was going to be a part of the treatment. So, I would tell my patients that I am going through a three-year fellowship program, which included 150 hours with a mentor. My patient would usually look a little confused until I would give them my ‘Star Wars analogy.’ It would sound something like this: I am currently going through a fellowship program and this is somewhat like Jedi training. You see, Brett is like my Obi Wan Kenobi and I am like Luke. Then, the light goes on!!! They would say, “Oh I get it, this guy must be awesome if he is like Obi Wan of physical therapists and you want to be like him?” To which I would always give a resounding, “YES.” One can draw many comparisons between a manual therapy fellowship and Jedi training.
‘All mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults than we would like. It’s the only way we grow. ‘- Padme
Learning is not guaranteed to be easy, fun or all ‘positive.’ However, I know from experience that the more I place myself in positions where I am uncomfortable; my learning experience can double if not triple versus when I am in a comfortable place of knowing. As young manual therapists decide on a career path I can only urge them to follow the way of the FORCE, find a mentor, begin to build your light saber.
‘You will find many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.’ – Obi Wan Kenobi
I believe each one of us is blessed with different gifts, find the group of Jedis that will help you grow. Find a fellowship group that values you and provides on-going learning and growth in the direction that is best for you. NAIOMT Jedi have a desire to share their manual therapy skills, knowledge and expertise as well as to help you foster your own beliefs.
‘Do. Or do not. There is no try.’ – Yoda
So this weekend, sit back and enjoy the movie. Think about the comparisons. Make a choice to get trained up, under your mentor’s guidance – you CAN begin to feel like you have the skills to become a Jedi Knight. Enjoy!
-Russ Case, PT, OCS, COMT, FAAOMPT