2 Minutes with...Michael C. Lill M.D.

While growing up in Perth, Australia, Michael Lill, M.D., got his kicks playing "Australian Rules" football (high speed, high contact), but now focuses his energy on staying fit with a mix of weight training and martial arts. Lill, who joined Cedars-Sinai in 1997 and is medical director of both the Outpatient Cancer Center and the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program of the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, talks about how "fighting" actually helps him to relax.

What kind of martial arts are you studying?

It's Jeet Kun Do (editor's note: literally translated as "Way of the Intercepting Fist"), a martial art fighting system that actor Bruce Lee developed and used in his films. It is a free form mix of martial arts -- Kung Fu in style, but also combining elements of Jujitsu, Thai kick boxing (muy thai) and French kick fighting (Savate).

Are you planning to pick a fight with someone? Those medical staff meetings seem pretty tame.

No! (laughs). I haven't been in a fight since I played football in Australia, but I very much enjoy the physical aspects of life. When you do martial arts, there is a Zen component to it. You totally focus on what you're doing, instead of thinking about life and death issues or work-related issues.

(Pictured at right and below: Dr. Lill practices Jeet Kun Do with instructor Ed Monaghan.)

Martial arts is a major source of stress relief for me. I work in a high mortality area and am very often delivering bad news to a patient. It helps to have an outlet that engages all of your mental and physical energies. I could live a week off the endorphins generated in one fighting bout.

What is your weekly workout routine?

I do weight training with an instructor on Monday and Thursday nights, Brazilian Jujitsu on Tuesday nights and Jeet Kun Do on Friday mornings.

I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and I'm up to a purple belt in Jeet Kun Do. I want to get my black belt in Jeet Kun Do before I turn 50. I have three more belts to go.

On Sundays at noon, I take a self-defense class that integrates everything I've learned about martial arts over the years and applies it to practical situations.

What is your longterm fitness goal?

I plan to continue my study of martial arts into my seventies. After that, we'll see!