Army veteran finds healing from PTSD through martial arts

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- An army veteran calls martial arts his “sanctuary” as he uses it to heal from PTSD.

Lawrence Pearson is the co-owner of Perfect Moves Martial Arts gym. He said he has practiced martial arts since he was 8 years old. Today, he is a master of kickboxing, Muay Thai, taekwondo and karate.

Pearson said he practiced martial arts even while deployed in Iraq.

“I started teaching one of my buddies some martial arts,” he said. “It helped me feel like I belonged or it helped me center or get my mind off of what was going on around me at the moment in time. It was sort of my respite.”

When Lawrence came home in 2004, he said he had trouble sleeping, felt stress and had flashbacks wherever he went.

“I also felt that I had anger issues,” Lawrence added. “It was hard to cope at times. One day I was at work talking to my boss. He was asking me how I was doing, and I started shaking and crying and had an anxiety-style breakdown.”

Joyce Pearson said she shared her son’s pain.

“I felt very uncertain about what it was going to be like, him being back home and having PTSD,” she said.

But the whole family soon saw the healing power of the sport.


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