Wounded warriors learned valuable lessons to aid in their recovery during a recent Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) physical health and wellness event at the Japanese Friendship Garden. The event promoted bonding with others, inner peace, wellness, and holistic healing, as well as touching on the mental healing aspects of Japanese culture. Veterans also enjoyed a martial arts demonstration and learned meditative techniques.

I couldn’t wait to visit the Japanese Friendship Garden because it was a great opportunity for me and other veterans to better our mental and physical health as we transition to the civilian world,” said Army veteran Ryan Cannon. “I’ve always loved Japanese martial arts, as well as the culture’s peaceful approach for helping others. I’ve taken other martial art classes, but before this event, I had little to no understanding of Qigong or any of the Tai Chi movements we learned.”

WWP’s physical health and wellness offerings also aim to improve mental wellness. In a WWP survey (https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/survey) of the injured warriors it serves, 30.3 percent of survey respondents expressed physical activity helps them cope with stress and emotional concerns. Participation in activities such as meditation, stress management, and martial arts can unite mind and body for an improved recovery and sustainable healthy lifestyle.

“Being with a group of veterans with similar military experiences – who I knew from other Wounded Warrior Project events – created an environment that felt safe and familiar,” Ryan said. “The physical activities and meditation we learned can not only help me maintain my ease of movement but also help me reduce anxiety.”

The event empowered warriors to get out of their comfort zones and integrate other forms of healing into their recovery efforts. They also spent quality time with one another over a delicious and healthy lunch in a relaxing, outdoor setting.

“Wounded Warrior Project has provided many activities for me and my family to experience,” Ryan said. “And now I’m ready to go to more in-depth physical and mental health events so I can concentrate on self-improvement.”