It is an unusual profession to embark upon and frequently my patients and others that I meet socially ask how I got into it. As with most things it was not planned, definitely not on my list of careers to pursue when I was younger but the way unfolded and that led me into this wonderful mode of medicine that enables me to meet a wide variety of people from very diverse backgrounds for which I am grateful.
The start was from my training days in Lau Gar Kung Fu, 1977 was when I started and joined a club in Kingston that was very keen on entering semi-contact tournaments. It was slow going but I also found myself entering local competitions, progressing to area tournaments, then regional, national reaching my peak with European Open Championships. The core training as the years went on progressed to learning specific points on the body to attack, but in a friendly club environment we could never perform those to their optimum. This made me curious. How could striking a particular point on the body have such a serious consequence? And what if I wanted to reverse that effect. On asking the teacher how to undo these effects he couldn’t offer me an answer. For a few years this question troubled me until I read a book on Shaolin Temples. Shaolin monks ae known for their excellent martial arts skills and it was here I discovered that the monks were knowledgeable on Buddhist scriptures, breathing techniques, meditation, diet, herbs and acupuncture. This was the first time that I had seen a direct link with martial arts and acupuncture, the specific areas of attack were in fact acupuncture points, which when struck would have an effect (in this case negative) on the body. So I had the answer to my question.
I wanted to learn more, at this point it was only with reference to martial arts. There were at the time in the 90’s 4 acupuncture colleges, I made enquiries to all and found that The International College of Oriental Medicine taught at a deeper level than the others by also teaching the philosophy of Chinese medicine. So that’s where I started. My intentions was to complete one year, which would give me enough to satisfy what I needed for the martial arts and with no plans to become an acupuncturist but instead prepare to start my own Kung Fu schools.
The first year was theory only, which in itself was enthralling but I didn’t really see the full potential of the treatment, until the end of the year. An observation with a senior practitioner and the profound effect on a patient changed the course of my life and all my plans changed and I committed to becoming an acupuncturist to finish the remaining three years of the course.
At the end of the course I was invited back to teach Chinese Medicine I accepted the offer and have not looked back, splitting my time equally between my clinical practice and college. One year later I was Director of Studies and together with a colleague took the four-year acupuncture course, redocumented it and went into partnership with Brighton University to offer a degree in acupuncture. After five years in the role I took a step back to focus on teaching and clinic. My main teaching responsibilities were in Chinese Medicine across all four years, acupuncture point location and clinical supervision.
2013 was when I became Joint Principal, a role I thoroughly enjoyed, working in partnership this time with University of Greenwich. Of course, it came with its own particular demands but the chance to help shape acupuncture education was exciting. One of my main goals was to deliver a structured post-graduate programme and this was achieved with many world renowned and eminent speakers.
My true passion, however, lies in clinical practice and at the end of 2018 I resigned from post to focus solely on seeing patients and committing to only a few post-graduate lectures. With a little more time now I hope to write frequently on this site to enable people to understand better how to implement the basics of Chinese medicine into their daily lives to promote better health.
The photograph is of The Old Royal Naval College. Left the chapel. Right Painted Hall. Both used for the graduation ceremony.