最近，我读完了关于D.S.“Doc”Ping博士的书doc ping的传说. Doc, a former United States Marine and Vietnam veteran, mentored me for a near-decade from my adolescence through early adulthood. As I was reading this book, I could not help but reflect on my time training with him, and the lessons I learned from “Ping’s Dojo,” especially as they pertain to my journey in medicine.
医生是一个世韩Jishukan Ryu柔术,日本e combat-based martial art, and received his degree in Eastern medical practices. His presence is like that of a silverback gorilla, and he can be a physically intimidating man. (His back and chest resemble forty-plus inch concrete blocks, and his hands — fingers included — are as dense as bricks.) Although he is the only person alive who has successfully instilled the “fear of God” in me, Doc’s heart is full of love and benevolence, and his passion for health ignited mine.
While I was playing football, in both high school and college, “Ping’s Dojo” was a staple of my summer conditioning. I pushed myself as hard as I could whenever I trained with Doc because he would always remind me that proper preparation prevents poor performance. Now in my final year of medical school, I am reminiscent of this mindset. If it were not for my consistent perseverance, I would have not been able to pass all my exams thus far.
While medical school is difficult, it does not compare to the arduousness and tenacity of Doc’s “House of Pain” (this is the phrase we used to describe his summer workout program). The very first day I trained in the dojo, we began class by performing one-thousand “squat kicks” (five-hundred with each leg/foot) to warm up. I will never forget that next morning: I could not get off the toilet after sitting down on it, and my legs gave out as I was walking down a flight of stairs. Since we trained in dojo Monday and Wednesday nights, too, we did another one-thousand squat kicks two nights later (as well as hundreds of other kicks, punches, and hand-fighting drills). No matter how sore and tired we were, there were no excuses in the House of Pain. Don’t tell me about the storm, Doc would utter, just bring the ship to port.
In the dojo, respect is reflected in proper etiquette, hence courtesy. For example, students and instructors would bow at specific moments during each class. Before and after practicing a form with a classmate, both students would bow to one another, showing appreciation towards each other and the form itself. In medicine, we must be courteous to our patients, because each patient comes from a unique background, and showing proper etiquette as physicians demonstrates respect towards their sufferings.
Finally, the virtue of guiding kindly is multi-faceted. It emphasizes putting your arm around another’s shoulder when one time is necessary, while being able to confront that same person face-to-face and demand better of him or her at another time. We used to do a triple block-triple punch drill that exemplified this. It often left my forearms bruised and bloodied, but no matter how much they hurt, my instructors would spiritedly encourage me to finish the drill because they knew I could. Somehow, they — especially Doc — were always right.
Guiding kindly illustrates mentorship, whether it be in the dojo or in an academic medical setting. Regardless of one’s stage in medical training, certain errors in patient management will be made…this is part of the learning process. It is the role of the mentor (i.e., attending physician to resident, resident to medical student, attending physician to medical student) to help identify these errors, determine their causes, and work through solutions, while being cognizant of the educational level of the learner.
To Doc, and to all my instructors in Ping’s Dojo: ありがとうございました (“arigatōgozaimashita”, or “thank you”在日语中).
凯西保罗桑克is a medical student.