I once heard a story about a Martial Art person who broke his hand after breaking the Tiles.

The aim of story given below shows the mind power of a human being.

Actually I don't remember the exact name of that great person but know a little about the story, which is as follows:

Once, a martial art athlete accepts a challenge to break (assumption) 50 tiles at one time. His friends and his masters tried to stop him, but the man did not step down from his determination. Even doctors advised him to not to do this; he refused all advice.

Breaking the Tiles:

The day came and he had broken all those tiles with one hand in first trial. He got an injury in his hand. Every bone was broken. He was literally bleeding.

On the spot, doctors had started their work so that they can help that man; finally he was hospitalized. After looking at the bones/fracture reports, doctors concluded that the hand of that person is now no longer usable. Recovery is not possible; he got bed rest for around 6 months.

Mind Power:

During his hospitalization time, he started to think over it and used his mind power. He started to imagine that small people (like building construction labourers) are coming and walking on his broken hand and going into his mouth. After entering his body they go to the injured hand. A group of small people start to fix the injury by building slabs (like slab in building construction).

He thinks like this for around six months. Now, when doctors see him after six months, they are all shocked! They were all discussing that it's impossible to heal from injuries like a man had.

When the doctors asked the man how did he recovered from injury, the man explained about his mind visualisation, but the doctors did not believe the story told by man.


The moral is we have a mind which is so powerful that we can recover from any injury like the man did.


I want to know the name of this man. I think there will be somebody who knows this man.


3 Answers 3


There's a story by Joe Hyams in his book Zen in the Martial Arts that is probably what you're thinking of, or comes from the same root. The tile breaking sounds different, but the "men working" visualization and miraculous recovery is identical.

  • Can you tell me name of that great person or any reference of him? Sep 6, 2013 at 12:39
  • 2
    No. I don't have access to the book at the moment. I recommend finding the book online or getting your hands on a copy and reading for yourself. Sep 6, 2013 at 12:42
  • Actually I am eagerly waiting to know about his name and also a story in Author's way if possible. Sep 6, 2013 at 12:52
  • @NullVoid - I would suggest going to the library or ordering it. Even if someone has it, they are not going to type out the full story here.
    – JohnP
    Sep 6, 2013 at 14:42
  • @JohnP, No problem for a long story :). But if possible to know name?! Sep 7, 2013 at 3:50

NullPointer, it's a parable and it's either (a) impossible or (b) just a case of the guy healing & the doctors being wrong. Just a parable; there is no single guy this is based on. I believe the lesson is a little less than what you state; that a positive attitude can help you overcome obstacles including healing, but not necessarily to do the impossible.

I did know a competitive breaker (is that a term?) who had a similar story, M.H., whose name I'll leave out since I haven't spoken to him in decades and because he's not the man you're looking for. He told me he'd smashed his hand in competition when someone slid plywood into his stack of boards. He healed and broke again, but no miracle involved.

Looking through Zen in the Martial Arts, I didn't spot that story; sorry. It's not quite related, but he does have a chapter ("Un-thinking Pain") about ignoring (or not experiencing?) pain. In that story, the great men who are ignoring pain are Yong Tae Lee (in 1975, a 7th degree tae-kwon-do master) and his [unnamed] master back in Korea.

p.s. Even if your story isn't in that book, I still recommend you get a copy!


I believe the story you are referring to in Zen In The Martial Arts is the chapter, "Confident Seeing" on page 109. The instructor was Sam Brodsky and he was doing a demonstration for his students in which he intended to break 9 one inch slabs of concrete with one punch of his fist. While only breaking 7 slabs he had pulverized many of the small bones in his right hand. After surgery, the doctors estimated a healing time of 15 to 18 weeks. Using his mind he not only healed his hand in one third the time, he was able to restore much of the flexibility he was told he would never regain.

  • I appreciate your answer and will sure check that reference which you have pointed out (y) Mar 23, 2014 at 13:02
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    -1. "Using his mind he not only healed his hand [...]" This mystical mumbo-jumbo makes me sad... The rest of the answer might be accurate, I do not know. Mar 24, 2014 at 8:00

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