A renowned expert in Chinese sports medicine and martial arts reveals ancient Eastern secrets for healing common injuries, including sprains, bruises, deep cuts, and much more.
For centuries, Chinese martial arts masters have kept their highly prized remedies as carefully guarded secrets, calling such precious and powerful knowledge “a tooth from the tiger’s mouth.” Now, for the first time, these deeply effective methods are revealed to Westerners who want alternative ways to treat the acute and chronic injuries experienced by any active person. While many books outline the popular teachings of traditional Chinese medicine, only this one offers step-by-step instructions for treating injuries.
Expert practitioner and martial artist Tom Bisio explains the complete range of healing strategies and provides a Chinese first-aid kit to help the reader fully recover from every mishap – cuts, sprains, breaks, dislocations, bruises, muscle tears, tendonitis and much more. He teaches readers how to:
- Examine and diagnose injuries
- Prepare and apply herbal formulas
- Assemble a portable kit for emergencies
- Fully recuperate with strengthening exercises and healing dietary advice
- Buy ingredients and preparations – both locally and on the Internet
Comprehensive and easy to follow, with 158 drawings to illustrate both the treatment strategies and the strengthening exercises, this one-of-a-kind guidebook will finally give readers complete access to the powerful healing secrets of the great Chinese warriors.
Read an excerpt from Chapter One:
A Tooth from the Tiger’s Mouth: Martial Origins, Modern Alternative (pop-up window)
Read an excerpt from Chapter Seven:
Diet & Health Maintenance (pop-up window)
Read the Reviews:
“Tom Bisio has deftly taken the “tiger’s tooth” and presented it to the reader in this clear and easy to read book. It is a must for any athlete, whether a weekend warrior or a serious competitor. It is also an excellent guidebook for any health care provider who treats sports injuries and is interested in learning powerful alternative methods of treatment. I have used it’s strategies successfully in my practice.” – Greg Pitaro, M.D.
“The prevention and treatment of physical injury is an important aspect of Chinese medicine that is rarely discussed in a lucid and organized fashion. It’s even more unusual to find an exposition of the topic from a highly experienced clinician and athlete with a deep knowledge of Chinese medicine. The consequence is a text that provides access to important material in a form that is helpful to both patient and practitioner. Because Mr. Bisio has used these methods in his own life, and shared them generously with patients and students the content is not merely theoretical, but is rooted in years of practical application. Finding information of this quality in such an accessible format is a rare occurrence. This book should have enormous value to anyone engaged in an active lifestyle or involved in the management of minor trauma, especially as it relates to sports medicine.” – Kevin V. Ergil, MA, MS, LAc, Director, Graduate Program in Oriental Medicine, Touro College
“This is a gem of a book.”
“Tom’s book excels insofar as he provides very concise and accurate information about WHY and WHEN to use different Die Da formulas (based on Chinese medicine theory). Having taken many of Tom’s “Kung Fu Traumatology” courses over the past ten years, I can definitively state that A Tooth From the Tiger’s Mouth provides the very best, fundamental, and practical information available to the athlete and martial artist about treating sports and martial arts injuries with Chinese medicine. I remember hearing Tom talk about these formulas for the first time, making or buying them, and then trying them out on myself or on friends and training partners as we got injured during our training. The bottom line is – they work.
Tom’s book is much more than a discussion of Die Da formulas. There are detailed chapters that describe the principles of Chinese sports medicine, injury prevention with respect to exercise, diet and health preservation, the various therapies of Chinese sports medicine, (including the management of cuts and lacerations, cupping and bleeding, acupressure, massage, and moxibustion), and the treatment of common sports injuries (over 30 are described). Moreover, the book is well-written, logical, and easy to follow. This is a gem of a book and would be welcome addition to any martial artist’s book shelf. The fact that all of the therapies described in the book can be successfully applied to the treatment of sports-related injuries, makes it that more especially valuable.”
“A Must Read for All Martial Artists and Athletes”
“I am a martial artist and a teacher. I have taught over 1000+ students and since that time to this day I keep this book near me.”
“I could not believe this book when I received it. I’ve said it is a reference, but it is so much more. It is a journey of discovery. I read it more like a novel, discovering new and interesting things each time I pick it up.
Probably the most useful and important book I’ve purchased in years!”
“This book is awesome. A lot of information. Organized well and easy to understand. If your active, especially in martial arts, it is a must buy!!!”
“A Practical work that is Past Due.”
This book discusses injury management and rehabilitation in direct simple language. It’s content is profound and yet is without artifice. Simply put, it is practical, easy to access, and serves not only the needs of martial artists, but other athletes as well. It’s the kind of book I always wanted to see offered, but never was able to find. Anyone interested in managing injuries (including their own) should read this book!”
“I just finished reading your book……….FANTASIC!!! You not only wrote a very readable text addressed to non-formally trained athletes and martial artists, but it would be an excellent primer for TCM students taking a course like I wish to teach in orthopedics and sports medicine. And you’re absolutely correct……I didn’t learn half the stuff in your book when I went to school. It wasn’t until I was out and started to research that I began to pick some of it up, especially information on topicals. And the sad thing is, 90% of first time patients walking through a practitioner’s door are going to have some type of pain complaint stemming from some form of acute or chronic injury and today’s graduates are poorly trained to handle their treatment effectively. We learn herbal treatments for malaria, dysentery, and other things we’ll never see to treat, but no emphasis is placed on what students really need and what they are going to see.”
A TOOTH FROM THE TIGER’S MOUTH:
China, 1899. The Empress Dowager sits on the Imperial throne. Flood and famine devastate the countryside. Anti-foreign sentiment grows and the lives of European diplomats are threatened by fanatical martial arts societies. The country is on the brink of the Boxer Rebellion. Amidst this turmoil two men, one from the North and one from the South, both martial arts warriors and healers, became legends.
Sun Lu Tang was one of the most famous boxers of the Northern nei chia or “internal;” school of martial arts. By the time of the Boxer Rebellion, he had already studied with some of the most famous martial arts masters in China. Tales of his encounters with bandits and his effortless victories in challenge matches with rival masters still inspire today’s generation of kung-fu enthusiasts.
Some of the most compelling stories about Sun revolve around his compassion for those injured in combat and his ability to heal them. On one occasion he defeated a group of bandits and then resuscitated them and set their dislocated bones. Another time, a large powerful student attempted to injure the diminutive Sun. Sun lightly struck an acupuncture point on the student’s arm incapacitating him. The next day the arm had turned black. Sun administered an herbal remedy and the student recovered with a humbler attitude. Sun was not only familiar with acupuncture and herbal medicine. He also practiced Taoist health exercises reputed to harmonize the functioning of the internal organs. Sun attributed his robust health in old age to these exercises. Even in his seventies, his speed on the steep mountain paths of Northern China outpaced students decades younger.
Wong Fei Hung, Sun’s counterpart in Southern China, developed a reputation as a peerless fighter and skilled physician. His exploits are today immortalized in the films of Jet Li. Wong initially learned kung-fu from his father, one of the famed “Ten Tigers of Guandong” (the 10 top martial artists in Southern China) His father passed on to Wong many of the secrets of the fighting monks from Southern Shaolin. When his father was challenged by a rival master, the 13 year old Wong took his place easily defeating the challenger. He later studied with other great masters in Southern China. His many exploits in helping the common Chinese people made him famous by the early 20th century. Wong founded a clinic known as Po Chi Lam, “Precious Iris Woods”, a reference to his skill with herbal medicine. At Po Chi Lam he taught martial arts and the related medical skills of acupuncture, herbal medicine and bonesetting. Wong’s “Hung Fist” flourishes today and his herbal recipes are still used to treat training injuries.
Fighting skill and the physician’s art seem like odd bedfellows, yet in China they have been linked for nearly two millennia. The skills exhibited by Sun Lu Tang and Wong Fei Hung, were the distillation of centuries of warfare and civil strife. Martial arts medicine was an outgrowth of warfare. The treatment of battlefield injuries had to be simple and effective, so that soldiers could be treated on the battlefield and return to combat as quickly as possible. In armies composed of martial arts adepts, even training for warfare could be incredibly brutal. Dislocated joints and broken bones were not unusual and sprains and contusions commonplace. Over centuries martial arts masters, Shaolin monks, and Taoist recluses developed hundreds of herbal formulae that could treat everything from spear wounds to fractured ribs.
Military commanders were also accomplished martial artists and often well versed in practical medical skills. Marshall Yue Fei, China’s renowned military leader in the 12th century, studied all the warrior arts including traditional medicine. The effectiveness of Yue Fei’s troops is attributed to their rigorous training in the martial arts and Yue Fei himself is credited with the creation of several unique kung-fu styles as well as the 8 Brocade Health Exercises presented later in this book…
…The medical feats of Sun Lu Tang and Wong Fei Hong are not just the stuff of stories. Many injuries can be treated easily and cheaply with knowledge of a few basic principles and readily available herb formulas. Although I have studied at modern acupuncture schools and today run a busy clinic specializing in athletic injuries, the most effective treatments I know come out of 30 years of study and research in the ancient martial arts traditions. Like Sun Lu Tang, I treated an arm that turned black from a martial arts strike. A simple poultice of San Huang San (3 Yellow Powder), one of the formulas covered in this book, resolved the problem in two days. I have treated non-healing fractures that mystified doctors using formerly secret Shaolin formulas that aid the knitting of broken bones. I have seen countless sprained ankles heal in a fraction of the usual time using Chinese sports medicine. Western medicine can offer little help for these types of injuries. I was not a licensed practitioner of Chinese medicine when I first treated these injuries. I was a martial arts instructor with a rudimentary knowledge of Chinese sports medicine, With this book in your hands, you will have at your fingertips far more information than I did.
Chinese sports medicine has always been as the Chinese saying goes: “a tooth from the tiger’s mouth”, knowledge difficult and even dangerous to obtain. It has survived centuries of change and upheaval because it works. The goal of every athlete and every active person in every time and place has been to get back to the activities they love as soon as possible. In our busy modern world this has never been more true. This book can help you do this.
A TOOTH FROM THE TIGER’S MOUTH:
Diet & Health Maintenance
The great doctors of ancient China regarded exercise and diet as the highest forms of medicine because they had the potential to increase a person’s vital energy and prevent disease from taking root in the body. Today most people would argue that a healthy, balanced diet is an important ingredient in maintaining health and vitality. But what is a healthy diet? Rather than having an answer to this question, we have too many answers.
For years, we were told that low fat diets were better for us. Now carbohydrates are the culprits and eating fat can actually prevent obesity, while carbohydrates simply make us hungrier. We are told to choose foods according to our blood type, or to eat more protein, or more foods containing omega 3 fatty acids. Some people say that foods in the nightshade family, like tomatoes, are terrible, while others point out that tomatoes can help prevent prostate disorders. Some experts warn against the evils of alcohol consumption. Others extol the health benefits of drinking a glass of wine or two a day. We are not supposed to eat too many dairy products like cheese, yet somehow it is okay for the French. We are told to be vegetarians, eat more fiber, drink less coffee (although it turns out coffee contains many anti-oxidants ), try fish oil, drink green tea, drink more water, take vitamin supplements. The list goes on and on. We know more about foods then we have ever known before yet we are more confused than ever about what to eat.
This absurd situation is the result of attempting to break whole foods down into their component parts, in order to understand how they work and, our tending to divide foods into good and bad categories. It is the nature of science to break things down into their component parts. Breaking foods down into their nutritional components has made it possible to understand diseases caused by nutritional deficiency. What this paradigm does not tell us is the amount of these nutrients needed for optimal health and performance. It is impossible to construct a diet by dividing food into nutritional packets, because these food components do not exist alone in nature. They are part of a whole. Isolating a chemical compound that prevents prostrate problems is not the same as eating a tomato, and may not work effectively. Science knows much that is useful, but it has yet to construct a pill that can replace eating whole foods. People who are sick or injured need to eat whole foods that are rich in nutrition in order to give their bodies the energy to heal.
Our tendency to moralize about foods and divide foods into good and bad categories also adds to our confusion and leads us into unhealthy eating habits. No food is a priori good or bad. It is always a question of how much that food is eaten and who is eating it, in addition to how it is balanced against other foods that are being consumed. No one particular diet is correct for everyone. A vegetarian diet that is perfect for one individual may be disastrous for another.
Red meat is viewed by many as being unhealthy, and certainly over-consumption of red meat can contribute health problems, yet our bodies need the concentrated energy and proteins that animal meat supplies. It is difficult to get these from other food sources. I have observed that many vegetarians need to eat constantly throughout the day to make up for the deficit that is created by their diet. Tofu is generally considered to be healthy. It is often argued that it is a primary protein source and staple of the Asian diet. However tofu and soy products actually form only a small part of the Asian diet and over-consumption of soy can cause a buildup of mucus and phlegm. There is also evidence that too much soy can lead to hormonal imbalances.
One should be wary of restrictive diets that eliminate entire food categories, such as starches and carbohydrates, or fats or proteins. Often all they accomplish is the creation of a nutritional imbalance. I have seen several people who went on no-fat diets quickly develop strange neurological symptoms. When they went back to eating some fat the symptoms disappeared. The body needs fat to protect our internal organs and build myelin, a fatty substance that forms a sheathe around nerve fibers. Without fat these structures cannot function properly.
It is tempting to want to divide foods into good or bad categories, because it makes the whole question of what to eat seem much simpler. We get the added benefit of feeling virtuous because we have exerted our will and avoided the “bad” foods. However this kind of thinking seems silly when we consider the diversity of foods eaten across the planet by healthy people. Moral judgments about food often cause people to cling to unhealthy eating habits that are not working for them. Obsessional judgments about food are usually much more damaging than the foods themselves. Chinese medicine recognizes that excessive worry, over-thinking and obsessing about food can actually interfere with and damage the body’s ability to digest and assimilate food.
Athletic endeavors and recuperation from injury require proper nutrition. We all know how to eat properly, but we have forgotten how to trust our own instincts. Unless a scientific study or some diet or nutritional expert confirms the efficacy of a food we feel it might not be good for us. We have become separated from our common sense.
COMMON SENSE EATING
1. The basis of proper nutrition is whole natural foods that are as fresh as possible. It is not just a question of eating the right number of grams of protein or carbohydrates. What is important is the specific kind of proteins and carbohydrates we ingest, and how fresh and chemical free they are. The fresher and less processed the food, the more life force it contains. Avoid chemically processed foods and foods containing chemical additives and preservatives. They are harder for the body to break down and assimilate and usually provide less nutrition.
2. Eat a diverse and balanced diet. This is not as complicated as you may have been led to believe. The diet of healthy peasant people from almost any ethnic background is usually fairly balanced, supplying enough nutrients to do hard physical work on a daily basis. The ancient Chinese were a practical agrarian people. Look at the average Chinese meal. There are several dishes, often with small amounts of meat. There are vegetables and spices cooked with the meat and often side dishes of cooked vegetables, root vegetables, bean curd, nuts and pickled vegetables. There might be grains such as rice or millet, or noodles made from wheat, millet or rice. Often soups are served with the meal and in Northern China, where it is colder, the soups are thick and nourishing. Every culture seems to naturally solve the problem of combining and balancing foods, often by simply serving a wide variety of grains, legumes, soups, meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and spices all within a single meal. Home cooked meals I had growing up as an Italian-American included many or all of these foods. Only in modern culture do we consider a coke, hamburger and fries a meal.
3. Include foods that tonify the Qi and blood. These are the foods that most nourish the body. The Chinese have studied foods for centuries. Lengthy treatises have been written about the healing properties of food and dietary do’s and don’ts in relation a host of injuries and diseases. In Chinese medicine, the inherent medicinal properties of foods are analyzed in much the same way as are the properties of medicinal herbs. Foods that nourish Qi and blood are important staple foods found in the diets of many cultures. These foods are particularly important to have in your diet when recovering from an injury, because they provide damaged or overused tissues with the nutrients they need to heal. Foods that nourish Qi and blood tend to be nutritious foods such as meats and fish, root vegetables, leafy greens, nourishing grains, eggs, dairy products such as milk and butter, and some nuts and dried fruits. The list below is an not by any means exhaustive, but it will give you an example of the foods that are considered to tonify the Qi and the blood.
|Milk||Many Leafy Greens||Tuna|
|Longan Fruit||Sea Cucumber||Goat|
Small amounts of Sugar, Maple Syrup and Honey Small amounts of warming spices that aid digestion: Cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.
4. Don’t obsess about what you eat. Eat a variety of foods and enjoy them as much as possible. It is not always possible to eat perfectly all the time. The ability to eat a wide variety of foods allows us to better adapt to the outside world. Worrying too much about what you eat can actually interfere with digestion and assimilation.