Acupuncture for Martial Artists

Reducing Pain, Increasing Recovery Times and Improving Performance

By Paul J. O'Brien
B.A., N.C.E.H.S., Dip. Acu., Cert Clin. Med. M.T.C.M.C.I., M.C.Th.A.

Acupuncture for Martial Artists is a field I have always been interested in, as it is the martial arts that indirectly lead to my choosing this profession.

I’ve trained in Shotokan Karate and other martial arts for over 15 years, and after a number of years of high impact, high intensity Shotokan practice I couldn’t walk without pain either…

After 12 years of dedicated practice my knees were beginning to ache. It started as a dull sensation, a feeling of trapped air just below the knee cap. Soon after I could hear it creaking with each movement. But I continued training regardless. I could put up with a dull ache because I would not tolerate missing training…but slowly, gradually it crept up on me, till one morning I woke from a restless sleep to find my knees just couldn’t support me.

I’d stopped cycling a few weeks before, I’d reduced my walks, and I admit it I was less then delighted when we did kicking drills. Now as a result of misplaced machismo I was unable to walk without pain, unable to function – unable to practice karate. The funny part was I had just turned 19, and was hobbling like a man in his 90’s.

I dragged myself to the doctor’s (under protest I may add). The diagnosis was simple. My knee’s were worn out. I’d have to get new ones, learn to walk again and never return to train in karate. To say I was crushed was an understatement. Being young and stubborn, by which I mean down right stupid, I refused treatment, argued that there had to be another way.

I was advised to see an acupuncturist, so being desperate, I did. I was diagnosed with Cold Invasion of the Joint…now that sounds weird doesn’t it. But it’s actually quite a good explanation…As I was to learn later in Traditional Chinese Medicine many patterns of disease and illness are described with metaphors. Think about your fingers when it’s really cold outside, the joints become cold, stiff, and have that tight constrained sore feeling when you move them – pretty much what was happening in my knee. So I started on Acupuncture for Martial Artists.

The acupuncturist took 5 needles and put them in the “eyes of my knee”. 6 Sessions later I was pain free. At the end of my 12th my knees felt incredible - Strong supple and capable of delivering confident kicks and sustaining deep stances.

Acupuncture for Martial Artists had such a profound effect on my life that I began studying Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine so that I could treat my family and friends to the same quality of health I now enjoyed.

Since then I’ve always had a soft spot and particular interest in Acupuncture for Martial Artists. In fact I am privileged to write a regular medical column for Ireland’s leading martial arts magazine – Irish Fighter. You can view many of the original articles in the Media Section of the website, here. I’ve also reproduced some of the articles text in the following articles.

Acupuncture for Martial Arts Knee Injuries - Straight to the Point Issue 1

Acupuncture for Martial Arts Wrist and Ankle Injuries - Straight to the Point Issue 2

Acupuncture for Martial Arts Bad Back Injuries - Straight to the Point Issue 3

As martial artists we routinely subject our bodies to rigorous physical demands. We demand more of our bodies in training, then in many other sports or exercise regimes. We train for lightening fast reflexes, flexibility, near superhuman strength and physical intensity, cardiovascular stamina and endurance and in harder styles condition ourselves for combat, to be hit, suffer physical trauma and continue moving, to continue functioning at peak performance.

There is a price to be paid for such skill, for the results of training. Often it is injury. Muscle strains, bruises, black eyes and even broken bones. And we know it’s worth it. Some injuries are less sudden and dramatic, creeping up over time to challenge us. Joint pain, particularly in the knee’s hips, elbows and wrists is a common feature. Too many snapping mai geri’s or one too many days striking the makiwara can result in repetitive strain and stiff aching joints.

Luckily Acupuncture for Martial Artists is a viable and effective form of treatment that substantially improve recovery rates and performance. If you are a martial artist or athlete and have sustained an injury or hampered performance then perhaps you should consider Acupuncture for Martial Artists.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Traditional Chinese Medicine and Treatments that I provide or wish to start a course of treatment then please feel free to contact me or make an appointment where we can discus any specific concerns or questions you may have.

Ready to get started?

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Call my clinic at 087 901 9627 so we can discuss your needs and set up the first appointment.


You have been reading about Acupuncture for Martial Artists. It may interest you to read about Acupuncture for Martial Arts Knee Injuries. 

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