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Black Belt Healers

An Interview with Dr. Andrews from 1/25/04


Dr. Andrews, who is a Black Belt Healer?
A Black Belt Healer is a martial artist trained in healing. In ancient China, Japan and Korea advanced practitioners of the martial arts were also skillful in healing techniques.

What healing arts were practiced by the Black Belt Healer?
The old-time Black Belt Healer knew human anatomy. He was especially knowledgeable about the structure and function of tendons, ligaments, muscles and bones. His martial art knowledge included striking, throwing, joint locking and use of weapons. These arts were designed to disarm, restrain, injure or kill the enemy. As a Black Belt Healer, he was experienced in the arts of bone setting and bone manipulation. Black Belt Healers were trained to control bleeding and were skillful using massage, liniments and herbs to heal injuries. Black Belt Healers practiced in Asia from ancient times up to the middle of the twentieth century. Prior to World War II, anyone who sprained their ankle for example, went to a senior martial art teacher to be treated. These days, patients most go to a medical clinic or hospital to be treated for musculoskeletal injuries.

Do you think martial artists benefit from learning this healing art?
I certainly do. Modern training is lopsided. Everyone is teaching how to injure an attacker but the healing side has been forgotten. In my school, Pinewood Karate, intermediate and advanced martial arts students are required to train as Black Belt Healers. It is interesting that learning the healing side including anatomy, helps martial art students understand joint locking and pressure points better. In addition, they become very adept at preventing and treating injuries. Minor injuries are fairly common and it helps to have someone present who can give first aid as well as treat sprains, strains and muscular soreness.

Is this art still practiced by martial artists today?
Unfortunately, most martial art schools no longer train their top students as Black Belt Healers. The two arts of fighting and healing were once so connected that they were said to be “like two sides of a coin”. Unfortunately the two arts are not as connected as they once were. It is my mission to train the next generation of Black Belt Healers for the martial arts.

How would a Black Belt Healer use his knowledge once he has been trained?
Teachers of the martial arts can supplement the school's income by providing therapeutic massage to students and their families. Once the word gets out that an instructor can give a therapeutic massage, he or she will be very busy. Massage therapy is a great way to use the school space efficiently when class is not in session. Many Black Belt Healers find work in medical offices, with chiropractors and with physical therapists. Some work with high school sports such as wrestling. Others assist at karate and tae kwon do tournaments while others work the corner at boxing and mixed martial art competitions.


When is a Black Belt Healer needed?
Knowledge of resuscitation and healing is very valuable to boxing coaches, wrestling coaches as well as other arts such as fencing. All of these activities involve some degree of physical contact and the risk of injury. Well trained boxing coaches for example, should know how to treat cuts that their fighter might sustain during a bout. The recent rise in popularity of mixed martial art competitions has dramatically increased the need for Black Belt Healers.

Dr. Andrews, you developed the world’s first online course to train Black Belt Healers. How is that program organized?
The Black Belt Healer course consists of 27 online lessons plus a two-week Intensive Massage Internship in the Napa Valley. Black Belt Healer students learn taping and splinting - including ancient bone setting methods. Old kappo methods will be reviewed and practiced. Modern CPR and first aid technique are taught. In fact, those students who are not currently certified can get their CPR and first aid certification in Napa. Black Belt Healer students will work with me in the medical clinic treating actual patients with hot and cold packs, massage, taping and roller gauze etc. This experience will vary from day to day depending on who walks in the clinic door to be treated. We have various liniments and medicated plasters for students to use. The Intensive Internship also includes a review pressure point fighting and more importantly pressure point use for healing. On completion, students are awarded a diploma as a Black Belt Healer from Pinewood and a diploma for 250 hours in restorative massage from the Napa Valley School of Massage.

Dr. Andrews, I appreciate your talking with me today. How can interested students apply to train with you to become a Black Belt Healer?
We are always very pleased to share our knowledge with others. I suggest they visit the website at:


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