As a profession I’m an alarm technician. I service many kinds of systems: fire alarm, burglar alarm, access control, cameras and paging systems. I’m employed by a Native American owned company called Four Feathers Alarm, and we service many of the school systems in Grayson and the surrounding counties here in North Texas.
During the summers we do a lot of annual fire alarm inspections in the schools. This involves pulling fire alarms, testing smoke detectors and sometimes lots of paperwork. It’s an amusing irony that in middle school I pulled the fire alarm as a prank and now I get paid to do it. During the summer we work a lot of 50 to 60 hour weeks with a lot of walking on hard floors. Before the summer of 2021 I needed a new pair of shoes. When I went shopping for shoes I couldn’t find a pair of New Balances with the right arch support. So I got another brand with the arch support I needed. By the end of that summer I had developed an intense discomfort in my left heel. It was bad enough that at times I couldn’t help but limp. It got so bad that I even entertained the crazy notion of actually talking to a doctor. But before I went off the deep end by seeking medical help, I decided to first try a new pair of shoes.
This time I found a pair of New Balance running shoes with the arch support I needed. These new shoes made a world of difference. The pain wasn’t gone but it was more manageable. Because of the discomfort in my heel I wasn’t doing some stuff that I really enjoy; like taking walks or practicing iaijutsu. One day I found a video online about planter fasciitis and what caught my attention was a picture of a foot with a dot on it. That dot was located exactly where I was feeling pain in my foot. I watched the video and they explained that the problem can be the result of the ankle not being flexible enough. The video recommended doing stretches and one of the stretches reminded of me of how the rear foot is positioned in proper Tamiya Ryu kamae.
With the 2022 Spring All Member Practice coming up, I decided I should start practicing daily again. I then practiced iaijustu with a special focus on stretching my left ankle and the next day I hardly noticed any discomfort. I still had foot pain but it wasn’t everyday. I was relieved to be able to make it to the All Member Practice and perform kata competently. Afterwards when my mother saw me she accused me of limping.
Nowadays there is hardly any discomfort and I’m able to practice vigorously everyday. It has been a real uncomfortable year for my left heel but a new pair of shoes and some Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu practice seems to have solved the problem. Not wanting to suffer that again gives me a good excuse to keep practicing.
-William Smith (Genka)