Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Back from my fourth visit to Nanning

What to say about this fourth visit?  Each has been so different and each has added a further layer to the foundation of five element acupuncture which we are gradually building on Chinese soil.  We have now reached the point where some of our first students are themselves feeling confident enough to start giving some simple introductory classes to new groups of acupuncturists. Altogether we had a total of just over 60 students, of whom about 25 had come to previous seminars.  I will try and download the group photo of all of us in front of the Nanning Centre.

This was the first time I had two other tutors with me, Mei Long and Guy Caplan.  I was happy to hand over the more structured teaching of five element clinical skills to Guy, which left Mei and me more time to concentrate on looking after the many people who wanted treatment.

Mei had already sent over her translation of my Teach Yourself Five Element Acupuncture manual.  This was printed during our visit, and copies given to each class member.  The manual contains 16 lessons based upon my Handbook of Five Element Practice, and offers a step-by-step introduction to five element diagnosis and treatment protocols.  This will be a great help for those students who have no access whatsoever to any five element teaching apart from their brief few weeks with us.

We have decided that at our next seminar in the autumn we will concentrate on the group of practitioners who are already practising five element acupuncture to help them become more confident in their skills.  It is intended that this group will form the basis of a future five element teaching team spread across China, the declared aim of Liu Lihong, our host and the director of the Nanning Centre.

I had felt rather discouraged about my Mandarin studies before I left for China, but to my surprise, I discovered that I must be learning more than I realise.  I could perceive sentence structures better, although I definitely haven’t yet got a large enough vocabulary to make myself understood.  I found myself, though, fumbling around for a few words, and, with much sign language and smiles, I managed occasionally to make myself understood.  So that is at least a tiny step forward.  Gratifyingly, many of the students are determined to learn more English so that they can talk to us, and certainly their English has much improved.  So I will go back to my Mandarin classes with greater enthusiasm now.

Finally, Guy and I had our own mini-adventure during an overnight stay in Chengdu on the way back.  We were caught up in the after-shock of the Sichuan earthquake as we had our breakfast on the 30th floor of the hotel.  The restaurant shook violently for a moment or so, and the guests looked around at each other unsure what to do.  Eventually, a door to the emergency stairs was opened, and we started to climb down steep, narrow concrete steps in pitch darkness.  We were later told that the hotel staff should have told us just to wait for the tremors to stop, which is what those in Chengdu do, since they are used to these shocks and take no notice of them.

Luckily Guy had a torch on his i-phone and lighted the way for me as I stumbled down step after step from the 30th to the 21st floor.  There, to our amusement, we discovered that there had been no emergency in the rest of the hotel.  All was as normal, as we emerged onto the hotel corridor to find other guests going quietly about their business unaware of the adventure we had been through.  We went to our rooms, leaving behind the other people in our group presumably still stumbling on down the concrete well for a further 21 flights to the ground floor.

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