Chris Pascucci's Concentration Story

Hey Stephen,

When I was in 8th grade, I took a course called "study for success." The course was all about different study techniques. However, one of the things that it focused on was the importance of concentration and the power of mind over body. I dug up a folder of papers from it today and found this... I think it may be worthwhile to put up on It gives riders a sense of just how powerful their mental concentration is in the sport. Anyway, it is an article, written by an unknown author about something he experienced. It is a very true story according to my teacher who is not the type to fabricate any kinds of stories. Anywho, here it goes:

"...Karate instructor Same Brodsky recently planned a demonstration for his students in which he intended to break nine one-inch slabs of concrete with one punch of his fist.

The concrete was stacked on the floor in front of him and Brodsky took a half-kneeling position. He made two false passes at the brick, then inhaled deeply. With an earsplitting "Kiai!" (exhalation of breath) he smashed his fist onto the slabs. All but the last two shattered. After the applause, I noticed Brodsky's face turn white and he turned the class over to an assistant.

I found him in the dressing room examining his hand with dismay. It was clearly injured. Although he was almost certainly in pain, he gave no sign of it as he left, saying he thought he had better see a doctor.

Later I learned that he had pulverized many of the small bones in the knuckles of his right hand. The doctors called the damage a "displaced fracture" and decided to operate. After the operation his hand was put together with wires, and Brodsky was told it would take fifteen to eighteen weeks for any kind of healing process to begin. The doctors said that it would probably be a year before he regained even partial use of the hand.

Brodsky, who had studied martial arts in Korea and Japan, believes that the key to healing lies in the mind. On the night he came home from the hospital with his hand in a cast, he lay in bed with his eyes shut, imagining that his hand was a building site.

Here is his story: "As I lay in bed, I imagined a whistle going off and I visualized a horde of little men with mortar and cement and welding tools climbing down inside the cast going to work on reconstructing my hand. The men had different colored work clothes and hard hats, even the slogans on their T-shirts. I concentrated so hard on the way they were dressed and their tools and equipment that I forgot the pain. Then sleep came.

In the morning I woke up and imagining that I heard the whistle going off. It was as though the little men had worked a full night shift putting together the bones in my hand.

Every night for three and a half weeks before I went to sleep I heard that whistle going off and 'saw' those little men at work on my hand. They had pulleys hooked up to the bone with braces and couplings.

Two weeks later when I went back to see the doctor, he took my hand out of the cast and said the healing process was 'amazing,' but that my knuckles were frozen together. I would have a stiff hand. He put my hand in a sling and sent me home.

Each night before bed from then on, before I went to sleep, I imagined the same men at work on my hand. But this time their equipment had changed. Now they were working with files, oil, graphite, and materials that lubricate and make things smooth. They began filing and sanding my knuckles. When I went back to the doctor again seven weeks later, he said it was 'a miracle.' The healing process, which he had estimated would take a year, had required only ten weeks."

Six months after his hand had healed, Brodsky successfully completed the demonstration before his students."