The Last Chiropractic Samurai

By Jay Handt, D.C., PhC

After seeing the movie, “The Last Samurai,” I felt this powerful churning in my stomach and couldn’t sleep that night. No, it wasn’t something I ate! What that uneasy feeling was, was how clearly the film portrayed what is happening in our Chiropractic world. But first, some history!

The Samurai were an ancient order charged with protecting the Empire of Japan at any cost. They had been protecting their world for over 900 years, bound by a code of honor for service, discipline and compassion, to preserve, protect and perpetuate their simple, yet very effective way of life. They were, in fact, the warriors responsible for protecting the Empire, keeping it safe and secure from any outside forces.

It was never about money, ego or power. It was always about serving a higher purpose, serving the people, protecting the people and protecting their home and their Emperor to the point that they would die before dishonoring what they stood for. Unfortunately, western civilization was beginning to infiltrate their peaceful world. The Emperor was slowly being corrupted from the outside by a few who sought wealth over honor. These advisors had the ear of a very immature and inexperienced Emperor who had inherited the throne. This Emperor was, unfortunately, easily influenced by those whose self-interests superseded the good of the empire. They slowly poisoned his mind, convincing him that the old way of his ancestors no longer served the people, and that the Samurai, whose goal was to perpetuate the teachings of the ancestors, needed to be destroyed for modern Japan to grow and flourish. These advisors felt that wealth could buy honor, supersede discipline and circumvent commitment to a higher purpose.

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel like a Samurai Chiropractor, trying to hold back the onslaught of our profession that puts wealth before Chiropractic, holds the quick fix over discipline and who idolizes the material world over trust in the universe! There are those who are willing to sell their souls to become accepted by the medical community; those who would have Chiropractic reduced to back pain specialists, willing to give up all the Chiropractic miracles just to be accepted by the establishment and the insurance companies. I guess its’ easier to give in, to be accepted and to get a little more in your pocket than it is to stand up and fight like our ancestors did to inform the people of the power of Chiropractic; to help their bodies do the healing in every case! After all, D.D. Palmer didn’t say, “Harvey, when did you get that back pain? Maybe I can get rid of that pain in 800 visits!” B.J. didn’t spend millions of dollars researching back pain. He researched how the Chiropractic adjustment affected the body and promoted the healing process. Did you ever wonder why there are so few Chiropractic miracles today? Maybe it’s because “modern” Chiropractic lost its focus on caring for the body, connecting man the physical with man the spiritual. Instead, Chiropractors today focus on crumbs of the medical establishment. They seek out the safety of caring for low back patients and maybe even venture out to take care of a headache or two, but never insinuate that Chiropractic can help cancer patients, heart patients, diabetic patients, asthma patients, etc. They tend to leave that to those crazy Chiropractors, the Samurai Chiropractors! Those few who still have and hold the vision created by their ancestors. How right was B.J. when he said, “For you have in your possession a sacred trust. Guard it well.” Why is it that so few Chiropractors remember and honor these words.

It’s interesting how history repeats itself, even if in parallels. The Empress of our profession appears to be immature and ill trained in the ways of our Chiropractic ancestors and forefathers. She takes counsel by those who would sooner see all Chiropractic destroyed than in perpetuating the teachings of the Chiropractic philosophers. For whatever reason, they don’t realize that by destroying the tenets and philosophy that formed the foundation of Chiropractic, they are, in fact, killing the goose to get all the golden eggs at once! Short-term gratification always robs one of long-term satisfaction and wealth. In “The Last Samurai,” the Emperor comes to his senses, regains his pride and puts the honor in care of his people above all else, but only after he learns of the death of his old teacher, the leader of the Samurai. I can only hope that the powers that be in Chiropractic come to their senses long before all the Samurai Chiropractors are destroyed! It’s time for the silent Samurais to rise up and force the hand of Chiropractic in the right direction! We can honor our ancestors’ teachings while still taking Chiropractic into the future. It’s not about living in the past; it’s about learning from the past and improving on it.

In 1895, Chiropractic was ahead of its time, and its followers knew they had something special. Together, Chiropractors and patients were committed to do whatever it would take, from jail time, to marches on Washington, D.C., to get Chiropractic out to the masses. I ask you, are we destroying our future by denying the power of our ancestors? Isn’t it time that we rise up, join together and fight for the honor and dignity that Chiropractic deserves? It is far better to stand for something bigger than all of us than it is to follow false promises. All that glitters isn’t gold!

I call on you to stand up and be counted as a Chiropractic Samurai. The fight for philosophical Chiropractic won’t be over until the last Samurai Chiropractor dies! If you were the last principled Chiropractor alive, would Chiropractic, as we know it, be here for generations to come?

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