[:en]Former professional boxer helps KO Parkinson’s Disease! – [:ja]パーキンソン病をノックアウト!! 助っ人は元プロボクサー吉川英治さん[:]
June 3, 2019
“I pour all my love into their fists as I wrap everyone’s hands before class. My love then moves up through their arms and ignites their hearts. Miracles happen when hearts catch fire. I tell myself, if there’s no miracle today, my love isn’t enough,” says Eiji Yoshikawa who coaches at Outfight Parkinson’s, a boxing class at Nimi Nikkei Home for people living with Parkinson’s Disease. This unique program is spreading around the world as a way to reduce symptoms and to slow down the progress of the disease. At Nikkei Home, Eiji and Hiromi, the instructors of the class, tailor the exercises to the needs of each person.
A participant shares his experiences in this boxing class, “It’s about the mind. People think Parkinson’s is a physical disease but those who go down quickly have a negative mindset. Eiji knows it for sure because a coach is there to inspire beaten-up boxers to victory. He sees through how each one of us is feeling that day and says exactly what we need. There are days I just want to stay at home, but it feels great every time I come to class.”
In 2010, Eiji went back to the ring at age fifty while coaching champions, writing, making movies, giving talks to students and doing charity work. His next goal is to fight when he’s sixty because “I set an example with what I do and how I live.” He continues, “I admire every participant in the class for their courage to face themselves. I look around and try to feel what they’re going through. I want everyone to be happier and stronger when they walk out of the door than an hour back when they walked in the class.”
Here’s what Eiji has to say :
“To become a champion, you need to believe in yourself. Same for fighting Parkinson’s. When the first miracle is seen, the next level of miracles is right around the corner. A boxing coach’s job is to cast the magic spell.
But at the end of the day, it’s the boxer who goes out there to fight alone and no coaches can get inside the ring. The fight against a disease is a lonely battle, so it’s crucial to make fighters feel that they’re not fighting alone. Greeting and chatting with everyone before and after class is essential. When we become buddies and comrades, the fight is not a lonely one. No one should be left feeling isolated.
Everyone wants to be free from the disease. A coach is like a torch runner inside a tunnel. All humans need a light of hope. In sports, arts or anything, you don’t need to compare yourself with other people. And there’s no need to defeat others. You have to face yourself and overcome your own weaknesses.
I talk from my heart only. True conversation starts when two hearts communicate. I open up and even share my secrets. Then, others will open up. No one will open up windows when your doors are closed. If I ignore people around me and don’t say hi first, no one would smile at me and say hi, right?
‘Unconditional love’ will get the job done. Living without unconditional love is like watching a twelve-hour long boring movie. People change when they receive a message of love. The Beatles are right – ‘All You Need Is Love.’ No matter what age, people can change if they have the innocent heart of a child. If your heart, unfortunately has grown old, try boxing to regain a pure heart. Nothing can soak into a cemented heart. Empty your cup of thoughts, so that the fresh water of thoughts will fill your mind. A heart that doesn’t age will be happy forever.”
Check out Outfight Parkinson’s and experience the power of hearts on fire!
Majored in French literature at Chuo University, Japan. Professional boxer, publisher, philanthropist, inspirational speaker, Terry Fox Ambassador of Japan. Website: http://www.eiji.tv/
Publication: “Never Been Knocked Out (KO sarenai otoko tachi)” (Tokyo Shimbun)