I spent my birthday in the beginning of June in New Mexico, with a group called Wings of America. They’re an organization of Native American running coaches who have developed programmes over the last 27 years to go to multiple reservations around the country and teach kids running skills and games and healthy outdoor activities. The programmes get them to connect with each other in healthy ways and help to nurture values that promote a self-supportive and self-reliant culture. Native Americans are traditionally some of the greatest long distance runners in the world, and have been for centuries. These young coaches work very hard. They have a grueling schedule, traveling in groups all around the country to Native American reservations. Some of them are star college athletes, due to their participation in this organization as children themselves.
My first introduction to this group was through a documentary filmmaker named Sanjay Rawal, whose last documentary was the award-winning ‘Food Chains’ about the striking migrant workers in the tomato industry in Florida and their efforts to raise their feet from one penny per pound to two pennies. He is in the process of creating a documentary on traditional long distance running cultures around the world. He invited me out to the Four Corners Navajo Reservation where I was working with runners and others in the annual Canyon De Chelley super marathon. There I met the field director, Dustin Martin. I worked with the top two runners when they finished – Dustin was number two, an amazing runner. As a beneficiary of this program himself, he studied at and graduated from Columbia on a runner’s scholarship. Then he returned out of a well developed sense of responsibility, devotion, and gratitude to help other people in any way that he could. (It may be of note that he just led a team of runners up to Standing Rock, where he said he used the skills I’ve taught him on many people there. And considering the immense hardship these Brave people have taken upon themselves and endured, Dustin’s work must have been sorely (and I mean that in the literal sense) appreciated.) I started to train Dustin in my work and he invited me to come out to their annual meeting and train a group of his coaches and do some limited training at their annual meeting to help them to keep each other fresh during the grueling travel and work schedule throughout the summer. I said to them that ‘you use your legs and feet to such a great degree – now I’m going to show you how to heal with your legs and feet.’
I’ve long held a strong desire to teach my work. It shouldn’t be kept like the secret teachings of the Shaolin temple, for only a very few to know. The work is ideally suited not just for places like New York where it can heal people who although have everything imaginable at their disposal, have not been able to find other ways to recover outside of the unique effectiveness of this work. It’s ideally suited for third world countries, because it requires no money or specialized equipment – only a trained practitioner and someone desiring relief. I only was able to spend four days with them, during which time I must have treated over thirty people and gave around a dozen hours of instruction, which I am sure some of those students will be able to use to great effect with those around them. I’m anticipating returning and teaching them further in the future.