(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.
Pete Letsos is not a household name among mixed martial arts fans like “Jacare,” Bibiano Fernandes or even Andre Galvao yet there was “The Greek” on the same mats as them for four years in Brazil.
Letsos was a prized student of Carlson Gracie, and at his late trainer’s suggestions, he traveled Brazil to take his already respected game to the next level. When Galvao, a world-renowned grappler, was a blue belt, Pete “The Greek” was a purple belt. He trained all over Brazil with anyone not affiliated with Brazilian Top Team — Letsos respected his teacher’s old jiu-jitsu beefs – but it was in America that his place in jiu-jitsu changed forever.
“I went out [to Hawaii] and trained with BJ Penn and I was his training partner and stuff. We went to the beach—this is 2004—the sandiest beach in Honolulu and a big wave picked me and slammed me on my neck real bad and almost paralyzed me,” he said. “My training came to a cease.”
He hasn’t been active since. That is until this past week when he visited Dr. Goldman.
“He cracked me three days in a row and I have no pain whatsoever for the first time in six years,” he said. However, it wasn’t the first time he saw Dr. Goldman. After the accident, Penn referred Letsos to Dr. Goldman and he didn’t see “too much results.” He believes that is because it was too soon though and the injury was so severe.
Pain free for the first time in six years, it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Pan Am bronze medalist.
“My mom has been very sick so I’m very sick. So I’m very stressed. And so I needed the extra energy. I needed something to help,” he said. “By him helping me, I can help my family even more right now because…I needed it.
“I hope to God it stays like this, that’s the thing. I don’t want to claim that I’m fixed 100% because people are gonna want to put me in the cage right away, you know what I mean?”
He’s excited to beat people up on the mats because “if you don’t kick their ass, they get a little bit cocky sometimes.” Feeling young again is a new feeling for the hard-nosed grappler. He’s slowly taking on the challenges newfound health is bringing him.
“Oh my god, this is crazy because this is what I do for a living. It’s like having a guitar player, every time he picks up a guitar, his arm goes numb,” he said. Because of this, Letsos has been forced to teach at his school, Rio BJJ, in the hands-off style Carlson Gracie’s practiced in his later days.
“I’m only 30-years-old, I teach like I’m at 70. I’m more into, ‘Hey, I’m not the toughest guy in the world,’” he said. If he is the toughest Brazilian Jiu-JItsu guy in the world or wants to be, at least now his body may allow him to do so.
“Dr. Pete, he’s like a magician, I don’t know. I can’t really explain it. He fixed me–holy cow!”