FIGHT! Doctor: Conor Heun
(Dr. Pete with BJ Penn, Jake Shields, and Bas Rutten. Props to SFGoldman.com)
A fighter’s body is a machine geared for top performance and every machine needs regular tune-ups. Peter Goldman, DC, is one of combat sports’ best mechanics. Dr. Goldman practices a rare branch of chiropractic developed approximately 80 years ago by Dr. Thurman Fleet called Zone Healing, the goal of which is to balance the six interconnected systems of the body: circulatory, eliminative, digestive, glandular, nerve, and muscular with an emphasis on mental strength.
A black belt in Oyama full contact karate and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt under John Machado, roughly 40% of Dr. Goldman’s practice are martial artists. Each week Fightmagazine.com will check in with the man BJ Penn credits with fixing his neck and Bas Rutten believes put an end to his asthma.
Strikeforce lightweight Conor Heun heard of Dr. Goldman’s Zone Healing more than three years ago. Fighters like Eddie Bravo, Heun’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach, have referred fellow combatants to Dr. Goldman in the past, but Heun got a referral from Goldman himself when they met on the mats.
“I rolled with him,” said Heun of his first meeting with the chiropractor. Listening to recommendations from Bravo and Bas Rutten, Huen began working with Dr. Goldman shortly after. They hit it off so well they traded adjustments for fight short ad space. In fact, Dr. Goldman has been helping “Hurricane” since the Colorado native began fighting professionally.
A wrestler at Ithaca College in upstate New York, Huen, a literature major, always had an interest in self-improvement and awareness. Falling on his head during a 1998 wrestling match lead to chronic tension in his neck and other problems.
“I couldn’t feel my right pec [pectoral muscle]. I’d be in the shower and I couldn’t feel the water hitting there,” said Huen.
Physical problems were not as troubling as others, though.
“A lot of the reoccurring problems from that were based on a mindset rather than an actual physical problem,” says Heun. Growing up, the grappler’s coach was his father and the pressure to perform in spite of injury weighed heavily on him. “I remember driving to the emergency room on numerous occasions praying that the injury would be serious so that my dad didn’t think I was a pussy.”
“That’s a real negative self-defeatist attitude. [Goldman] sort of, through a series of visualization…helped me identify that negative thought pattern and once I identified that and realized that I was perpetuating injury on myself as a way to create excuses for poor performance and that I didn’t need to do that, then the injury disappeared.”
Huen asserts Dr. Goldman is only part of the process—he reads Zone Healer inventor Dr. Thurman Fleet’s book “Rays of the Dawn” to deeply connect with the philosophy of healing. The Los Angeles-based fighter recalls accepting a fight with James Edson Berto in EliteXC in Oct. 2008 and hearing people doubt his chances. He insists that was the universe reflecting his own self-doubt and through conversations with Dr. Goldman, he was able to rid himself of anxieties and earn the biggest win of his career.
The win catapulted him into a showcase fight with Jorge Gurgel in his Strikeforce debut in June. He took the same confident mental approach into what would be a 15-minute war—a decision loss—all with a torn ACL.
Back training after surgery and extended rest, Heun feels he is free from fear’s debilitating forces thanks to Dr. Goldman’s teachings.
“That when we allow our body to be in harmony and the systems of our body to be in harmony with the universe then whatever happens is in our better interest,” said Huen.