Takashi Onuki MS, ATC, CSCS, PES, PRT
Onuki earned a Bachelor of Science from Towson University and Master of Science in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology from University of Florida (UF). After graduating from UF, Onuki joined Texas Rangers (MLB) as a season intern, then was hired by Medical Center of Arlington as a head athletic trainer for Fort Worth Flyers (NBA D-League). During 2006-2007 season, he was selected Eastern team athletic trainer for inaugural D-League All-Star Game in Las Vegas. After serving athletic training/sports medicine rehabilitation service for Professional Physical Therapy in New York, Onuki returned to Texas joining Texas Metroplex Institute (TMI) of Sports Medicine. While at TMI, he was responsible for coordinating physical therapy rehab, baseball conditioning program, and pitching biomechanical analysis laboratory. In 2012, Onuki joined Arizona Diamondbacks as a minor league athletic trainer and served Yakima (Rookie A) and South Bend (Low A).
Onuki was introduced to PRI through Kenny Ishii, current PRI faculty, during 2010. Since then he is passionate about finding way to implement Postural Restoration science for general population injury prevention while applying PRI concept into baseball injury prevention. Onuki has completed Postural Restoration Trained (PRT) credentialing program in January 2016. He envisions to improve sports medicine environment for both athletic trainers and athletes in Japan especially in youth baseball populations. Onuki and his wife Jessamyn reside in Kyoto, Japan with their daughter, Sumile.
How did you become interested in the PRI and when did you attend your first course (you can also talk about your educational/professional history that led you to PRI)?
I first became interested in the PRI when I was in Arlington, TX working at a PT clinic. My good friend and fellow ATC, Kentaro Ishii, who is now PRI faculty, introduced me “Hey Takashi, this is an awesome course to take, they think the body is asymmetrical!” I attended Myokinematic Restoration in Fort Worth, TX which was taught by James Anderson. I still remember lots of smoke coming out of my head at the first break of the course!
Since I came from Japan where asymmetry is a beauty, I thought that the idea of asymmetry somehow made sense to me (which I definitely regretted at the first break of the Myokin course). I was looking for deeper thought processes since it had been 4 years since I graduated grad school and I was finding that my techniques were missing something.
What does a normal day look like and how do you integrate Postural Restoration into your training facility?
I usually see people at a “medical fitness gym” type of place where older populations get treated or trained. These people have not been exposed to intense training, and PRI exercises are great to start with. So I do a quick assessment and have them perform PRI non-manual exercises. Most clients have some issues such as back pain or knee pain. I also see some athletes, mostly baseball players and golfers.
What are some of the main differences between the training and rehab that you see in Japan vs the US?
The biggest difference I see is people’s perception to exercises. Japanese people know stretching a lot, but no one trains or uses muscle activation since they still don’t feel like using muscles will fix their issues. Only 3% of our population has a membership to some sort of fitness clubs, whereas in the U.S. 17% of the population has a membership. There are over 40,000 bone-setter or judo therapist clinics in Japan and those places are the first of their choice of treatment. I think that number suggests people here are well treated, but it’s a passive way. An active way of treating themselves is needed to improve our health. We are No. 1 in life expectancy in the world, but healthy life expectancy (life expectancy without counting years being in bed or needing support) is 10 years less than the regular life expectancy.
What is your favorite part of the job as our Education Coordinator in Japan?
To see the 40 seats sold out in 9min after we open registration…just kidding. When I get a “Thank you” message after a course!
What would you say to people who are considering becoming Postural Restoration Trained™?
Oh, I would really recommend going through the PRT process! It’s not just a PRT exam held in Lincoln, but the entire process is a learning process (the application, article reviews, case study preparation). Then the exam process takes the whole process into the next level!
Who have been your mentor(s) in your career?
The best moment of my PRT exam was that two of my mentors were in the same class, Ryan DiPanfilo and Nate Shaw from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Those guys taught me a lot not only about techniques and knowledge, but also how to be a true athletic trainer and a leader. I cannot thank them enough and I am so proud of myself becoming a PRT with them the same year.
Regan Wong, PT and Dr. Keith Meister from TMI Sports Medicine, Arlington TX have also been mentors in my career. I spent most of my time in the US there and they built a solid foundation for my career. As I started working in Japan, I had so many opportunities to work with baseball players and the things I learned from them can save bunch of shoulders and elbows in Japan too!
Who have been your mentors within PRI?
Most recently as my role as an Educational Coordinator of PRI Japan, Jennifer Platt and Ron Hruska have both been my mentors too! I love their passion for doing the right thing, and I feel very comfortable learning from them since I feel like I’m part of PRI family.
Kentaro Ishii and Sayuri Abe have also been my mentors even though they are younger than me. They are extremely hard working. They have put so much time and effort into learning the material in English and translating into Japanese to teach in Japan. They also coordinated all of the logistics before I was the education coordinator here in Japan. We are now a great team working to spread PRI science to Japanese health care populations. I love sharing ideas and learning from them!
Which PRI course has been the most influential in your development as a professional?
I have to say Myokinematic Restoration and Postural Respiration if I have to pick…all were great and the idea of Postural Restoration itself changed my career development, but those two courses are really a fundamental part of it and the more basics I know, the better I can explain to my clients.
What kind of growth do you expect PRI to have in Japan in the next couple of years?
Lots of people are starting to realize the importance of asymmetry and respiration which will hopefully keep the upward trend of course attendance! We recently had 130 people sign up in 17 minutes! We hope to have Ron over to Japan sometime in the next couple of years!