OT

Orthopedic surgeon and karate champion makes martial arts a part of his life

The concentration, focus and dedication in the sport have also benefited him professionally.

From an early age, martial arts have played a prominent role in the life of orthopedic surgeon Derek H. Ochiai, MD.

A two-time national and seven-time All-American karate champion, Ochiai started taking karate lesions when he was 2 years old from his father Master Hidy Ochiai, a professional karate instructor and member of the Black Belt Hall of Fame.

“Karate has always been a strong influence in my life,” Derek Ochiai told Orthopedics Today. “When I was 6 months old, I was in my playpen at the dojo [karate school]. I grew up with karate. My father was a central part of my life and he taught me both the physical and mental aspects of karate, techniques which translate to any other endeavor one pursues in life.”

Demonstrations, competitions

Derek H. Ochiai, MD
Derek H. Ochiai, MD, (left) attends the Martial Arts History Museum Hall of Fame induction of his father Master Hidy Ochiai (right).

Image: Ochiai DH

As a child, Ochiai travelled the country with his father competing and demonstrating. A fourth-degree black belt, Ochiai learned hand-to-hand self defense and weapons training for using the bo and jo staffs, nunchaku and sai. He started travelling as a member of the U.S.A. Karate Team at age 15 and later competed internationally in countries such as Kuwait, Costa Rica and Curacao. In competition, he was recognized for his fighting and execution of different patterns of specific karate moves known as “katas” [forms].

Although he stopped competing during his third year of medical school, Ochiai continues to train for up to an hour and a half three times a week and occasionally teaches classes at the main branch of his father’s Hidy Ochiai Karate school in Binghamton, NY.

“I think the reason a lot of people burn out in sports is that the drive to participate is external,” Ochiai said. “The parents want their child to participate in the sport more than the child wants to. That really was not the case for me. My parents never pushed me to practice or forced me to do anything with regard to karate. It was available, fun and interesting to me. That is why I kept up with it.”

A self-defense guide

Ochiai practices a style of karate called “Washin-Ryu,” which translated means “harmony with truth.” Like many forms of martial arts, nonviolence is a key tenant of the style. “A strong karate practitioner is a peaceful person who tries to avoid violence at all costs,” Ochiai said. A central tenet of the sport is its emphasis that everyone has a set of valuable abilities.

“Karate is a tool to maximize yourself,” Ochiai said. “There is no real competition in karate with other people. The person you are competing with is yourself.”

He also co-authored a book with his father called Hidy Ochiai’s Self-Defense for Kids: A Guide for Parents and Teachers.

“This book was designed for children who do not have a lot of strength and leverage with respect to possible adult attackers. It demonstrates and teaches ways they can defend themselves if needed,” Ochiai said. He came up with the idea for the book during medical school. “I realized that my medical profession would become time consuming and I thought this would be a nice way to work with my father and contribute to others as I continued on with my medical career.”

He continues to use the skills that he learned from martial arts in his professional and personal life.

“The concentration, the focus and the dedication are definitely beneficial in orthopedic surgery. Karate demonstrates that there are limitless possibilities with what we have been given in life, and one can do with that whatever one chooses to do,” Ochiai said.

Derek H. Ochiai, MD
Derek H. Ochiai, MD, a two-time national karate champion and co-author of a self-defense guide, continues to train and occasionally teaches classes at his father’s karate school in Binghamton, NY.

Practice skills

His martial arts knowledge has also been an asset in his practice where he treats many athletes and karate practitioners.

“Understanding the mindset of athletes who wish to be able to pursue their sport and their passion is definitely an asset,” he said. “Also, being intimately aware of the technical aspects of the different styles of martial arts is helpful when I treat martial artists and karate practitioners. It is similar to how knowing the phases of pitching helps me to treat baseball players.

“Karate is a recreational activity that can be enjoyed throughout one’s life. So much of karate is mental,” Ochiai said. “The punches and kicks are merely the physical manifestations. It is an activity that helps with maintaining balance and flexibility later in life, which is important orthopedically. We have people who start karate in their early 60s and they keep going in their mid-70s. It can be a great cardiovascular exercise in keeping your heart healthy and it is great to do with families.”

For more information:
  • Derek H. Ochiai, MD, can be reached at Nirschl Orthopedic Center for Sports Medicine and Joint Reconstruction, 1715 North George Mason Drive Ste. 504, Arlington, VA 22205; 703-525-2200; e-mail: teamsurgeon@gmail.com.

From an early age, martial arts have played a prominent role in the life of orthopedic surgeon Derek H. Ochiai, MD.

A two-time national and seven-time All-American karate champion, Ochiai started taking karate lesions when he was 2 years old from his father Master Hidy Ochiai, a professional karate instructor and member of the Black Belt Hall of Fame.

“Karate has always been a strong influence in my life,” Derek Ochiai told Orthopedics Today. “When I was 6 months old, I was in my playpen at the dojo [karate school]. I grew up with karate. My father was a central part of my life and he taught me both the physical and mental aspects of karate, techniques which translate to any other endeavor one pursues in life.”

Demonstrations, competitions

Derek H. Ochiai, MD
Derek H. Ochiai, MD, (left) attends the Martial Arts History Museum Hall of Fame induction of his father Master Hidy Ochiai (right).

Image: Ochiai DH

As a child, Ochiai travelled the country with his father competing and demonstrating. A fourth-degree black belt, Ochiai learned hand-to-hand self defense and weapons training for using the bo and jo staffs, nunchaku and sai. He started travelling as a member of the U.S.A. Karate Team at age 15 and later competed internationally in countries such as Kuwait, Costa Rica and Curacao. In competition, he was recognized for his fighting and execution of different patterns of specific karate moves known as “katas” [forms].

Although he stopped competing during his third year of medical school, Ochiai continues to train for up to an hour and a half three times a week and occasionally teaches classes at the main branch of his father’s Hidy Ochiai Karate school in Binghamton, NY.

“I think the reason a lot of people burn out in sports is that the drive to participate is external,” Ochiai said. “The parents want their child to participate in the sport more than the child wants to. That really was not the case for me. My parents never pushed me to practice or forced me to do anything with regard to karate. It was available, fun and interesting to me. That is why I kept up with it.”

A self-defense guide

Ochiai practices a style of karate called “Washin-Ryu,” which translated means “harmony with truth.” Like many forms of martial arts, nonviolence is a key tenant of the style. “A strong karate practitioner is a peaceful person who tries to avoid violence at all costs,” Ochiai said. A central tenet of the sport is its emphasis that everyone has a set of valuable abilities.

“Karate is a tool to maximize yourself,” Ochiai said. “There is no real competition in karate with other people. The person you are competing with is yourself.”

He also co-authored a book with his father called Hidy Ochiai’s Self-Defense for Kids: A Guide for Parents and Teachers.

“This book was designed for children who do not have a lot of strength and leverage with respect to possible adult attackers. It demonstrates and teaches ways they can defend themselves if needed,” Ochiai said. He came up with the idea for the book during medical school. “I realized that my medical profession would become time consuming and I thought this would be a nice way to work with my father and contribute to others as I continued on with my medical career.”

He continues to use the skills that he learned from martial arts in his professional and personal life.

“The concentration, the focus and the dedication are definitely beneficial in orthopedic surgery. Karate demonstrates that there are limitless possibilities with what we have been given in life, and one can do with that whatever one chooses to do,” Ochiai said.

Derek H. Ochiai, MD
Derek H. Ochiai, MD, a two-time national karate champion and co-author of a self-defense guide, continues to train and occasionally teaches classes at his father’s karate school in Binghamton, NY.

Practice skills

His martial arts knowledge has also been an asset in his practice where he treats many athletes and karate practitioners.

“Understanding the mindset of athletes who wish to be able to pursue their sport and their passion is definitely an asset,” he said. “Also, being intimately aware of the technical aspects of the different styles of martial arts is helpful when I treat martial artists and karate practitioners. It is similar to how knowing the phases of pitching helps me to treat baseball players.

“Karate is a recreational activity that can be enjoyed throughout one’s life. So much of karate is mental,” Ochiai said. “The punches and kicks are merely the physical manifestations. It is an activity that helps with maintaining balance and flexibility later in life, which is important orthopedically. We have people who start karate in their early 60s and they keep going in their mid-70s. It can be a great cardiovascular exercise in keeping your heart healthy and it is great to do with families.”

For more information:
  • Derek H. Ochiai, MD, can be reached at Nirschl Orthopedic Center for Sports Medicine and Joint Reconstruction, 1715 North George Mason Drive Ste. 504, Arlington, VA 22205; 703-525-2200; e-mail: teamsurgeon@gmail.com.