The Forge for Athletes
With Justin Fukunaga and Jimmy Lin, Physical Therapists
By Sarah Hodges
Justin and Jimmy both felt something big was missing in the general physical therapy world. Patients would arrive with an allotted time frame – typically whatever was approved by their insurance company. Therapy ensued, clients received in-studio care and guidance, with take-home exercises. Then the allotted number of sessions would end, the therapist would make an assessment of whether the patient had recovered to the “satisfactory” level and inform the insurance company, then either the client was told they were done with the work or recommended to continue a bit longer. This all sounds reasonable, except for those who are seeking more than just ‘good-enough’ results.
These men wondered: Where could those patients go who wanted to reach levels of high performance after an injury?
Typically, what is accepted as “healed” is not exactly the same as what we have come to call “high performance.” This is an important distinction. A difference in standards. Two physical therapists, Justin Fukunaga and Jimmy Lin, each felt unfulfilled in their field, typically expected to only get patients to a place of pain management or somewhat higher functionality, but could not expect to help their patients regain their highest capacity.
During their time working at the same therapy studio on O’ahu, Justin and Jimmy both felt driven to go beyond simply remediating a pain or injury. Together, they developed a vision for what we can call high-performance healing through more in-depth physical therapy. By 2021, this idea had sparked and grew into The Forge for Athletes.
Nestled in the bustling, hip, community of Kaka’ako, The Forge for Athletes opened, bringing a fresh approach to physical therapy for the body’s overall performance. Its thoughtfully coined name, The Forge for Athletes, denotes the founders’ idea of reshaping what might arrive broken, into a new stronger form, much as a damaged sword might be restored in the iron forge to full functionality.
“The barrier is the injury,” explains Justin, “but that injury is a symptom of something else. We help clients manage all the different variables. And, understanding our limitations, we connect clients to different physicians, dietary experts, etc, to provide clients with the best team.”
Some people come to The Forge with big ambitions, seeking support to achieve them. “We have an ultrarunner who wants to run 100 miles,” shares Jimmy. “Another client is preparing to summit Mount Everest as one of the first Pacific Islanders to do so.” Jimmy and Justin help clients to understand the requirements to reach their goals and build the necessary physical strength and stamina. They even help clients to better understand what they want our of their big goal, provide practical guidance on the physical and time costs involved, and then map out a plan to attain their objective.
High performance is not only for professional athletes. Any of us who want to move better in our body is welcome at The Forge. And, since using our body is at the center of nearly everything we do in life, this potential to focus more keenly on body mechanics and optimal performance can benefit anyone, whether we consider ourselves an athlete or not.
As a very active person myself, I’ve experienced the challenge of finding in-depth physical therapy for those moments in life when an injury puts a pause on my active hobbies. What I’ve learned from talking with Justin and Jimmy is that while injury does provide a very clear issue to work with and heal, it can also be a key indicator of a more systemic imbalance that only a keen and detailed investigation between client and physical therapist can reveal and reverse. General physical therapy treatment plans haven’t offed me an in-depth look into the deeper causes of my issues. In standard physical therapy studios, I haven’t found long-term follow-through to recover to my previous levels of physical prowess. Not being a top competing athlete myself, I’ve never received that quality of treatment. I’m sure I would at The Forge.
“Quality and depth of care is our focus,” say The Forge founders. They emphasize the too often forgotten fundamentals of sleep, diet, and stress management. “People in Hawai’i are in general very active and motivated,” notes Jimmy. “We want to do our part in giving back. Many people here want an optimal active life, but they lack the tools and path to get there. We’ve met many people who were willing to put the work in to reach goals in physical performance, but who weren’t finding a place able to help them before they came to us. We feel we can fill this need.”
The Forge offers a free phone consultation and a special discount for patients referred by Still & Moving Center.
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This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)