five element acupuncture Nature's way of bringing you Health in Harmony


A Brief History of Martial & Health Arts Involvement

Updated October 2014 and May 2022 by Andrew G. Ogleby

My first introduction to the fighting arts was when growing up on the ‘mean streets’ of Coventry back in the 1980’s, with Ghost Town by The Specials being a very poignant reflective backdrop to those times. As a result, when I was 16 years old, a few of us began Boxing at the Holy Family Boxing Club to learn how to look after ourselves properly. However, we never really fitted in at the club and after we got caught in the pub opposite one night after training, we decided to try something different as they hadn't taken too fondly to it. However, due to another musical influence The Stranglers, whose bassist JJ Burnel is a martial artist (see* and knowing someone who had previously trained in Karate, we went onto train in Wado Ryu and then later at The Black Sun Karate Club under Sensei Andy Margrett. For which, I eventually gained a 1st Kyu Brown Belt in.

Martial arts then, as now, were greatly influenced and inspired by the work and films of Bruce Lee back in the 1970s. I had also been interested in trying out Kung Fu, so after moving to London in 1995 and trying my hand (and feet) at different forms of martial arts, I then became captivated by the power and philosophy of Steelwire Mantis Kung Fu after attending a demonstration at the University I was attending. And so began training with Sifu Tony Leung at his Kung Fu school in Islington, whilst also studying for my degree. Unfortunately after graduating, Sifu Leung's school suddenly closed and so I contacted Mak Miah to make enquiries about training with him. Although it would be sometime later, that I actually would.

Nevertheless, during this period, I not only continued training in Mantis Kung Fu and Boxing, but also experienced softer forms of martial arts and became fascinated by the concept of Chi (our vital life force). As a result, I went on to train in acupuncture (five element), Reiki, Japanese herbs (Kampo) and am now involved full-time as a complementary therapist.

In 2008, after moving to South London, I finally began training at The Kung Fu School with Mak. This was fabulous for me as not only did they cover Praying Mantis techniques, but there was also sparring and competition fighting which I hadn’t done since my Karate days. So it was great to dust off the old mitts and guards once again. Even though the training was hard and I’ve never been able to master the mantis press-up, it was always varied, interesting and above all kept real and fun, carried out in a very friendly atmosphere. Around the same time, I also started boxing training again, with Enzo Giordano's at his club in Shadwell Previously I used to train under Enzo at the Islington Boys Club in North London.

In the past, I have also trained in T'ai Chi, Chi Gong and Aikido which are softer, graceful martial arts that not only compliments the hard Yang style of Kung Fu, but also fits in with the philosophy and spiritual association of five element acupuncture. Similarly, I have even dabbled in Taiko Drumming as another expression of Qi and also stage combat. It therefore now feels like my martial/fighting arts training is complete in its structure, covering all areas of interest, value and enjoyment, for me to continue to try to improve upon in practice.

Since the covid pandemic however, I generally now keep myself fit by distance running and also alternate this with Kung Fu training at home. Involving performing Sarm Bo Gin, a Southern Mantis form to develop dynamic strength, speed and power and the much longer Lau Gar Kuen form which also further develops stance work, agility, coordination and stamina. In addition, I combine this with more traditional fitness exercises and still continue to practice softer martial arts such as T'ai Chi (including the Fan Form) and Chi Gong to complement the training. Furthermore, I am also involved in demonstrating these arts at various GFMA events to promote them and their health benefits, including Dragon and Lion displays. Nevertheless, even though I gain a lot from this, I am now potentially considering  looking for a martial arts club again, to reconnect and have interaction with other like-minded martial artists on a more regular basis.

Following on from writing this updated piece, I have had the great privilege of actually training under 7th Dan, Shihan JJ Burnel in Shidokan Karate and still continue to attend classes. Similarly, I have also commenced training in
Chen Style T'ai Chi after being sufficiently inspired to do so, following reading the book by Lou Reed called The Art Of The Straight Line. This I feel now completes my training requirements, as perfectly combines both Yin and Yang aspects of the martial arts, providing longevity as I go forward.

A Largactyl Lyrical Review

March 2014 by Andrew G. Ogleby

The Science Museum & CoolTan Arts Present

For One Night Only!

Treatment or Experiments?
Mind Maps: Stories from Psychology LATES
29.01.14 (18.45-22.00)

Roll-up, Roll-up and Don’t be Late!
For the Last of the LATES experience

Presented for your Pleasure,
By the Fabulous Museum Team and CoolTan Crew
Whose iconic Orange hi-viz vests,
Will help guide you through
Treatment or Experiment? A Virtual Reality
The Show enhancing Mental Well-being,
By the Power of Creativity

So Prepare to be Shocked and Amazed at the use of E.C.T
Gasp in Awe at the Wonders of Alternative Therapy
Listen in Horror and Captivation of the Origin,
For the Prometheus inspired Frankenstein, by M. Shelley
See through the holes in a D.S.M
Before taking Time to Explore,
The remaining realms of Fact and Fantasy

So Roll-up, Roll-up and Don’t be Late!
Before the Sun Sets, on the Last CoolTan-LATES

The last of the Largactyl Shuffle/LATES events coincided with the opening of the new, and incredibly thought provoking Mind Maps Exhibition at the Science Museum. The evening itself was deemed a tremendous success and there was a large, and seemingly enthralled turnout to witness it, including a visit from the actual curator himself. The presentations covered various subjects exploring the theme of Treatments or Experiments? (see above). And there was a poignant reading of a former CoolTan Arts representative’s account of having experiencing ECT, whose picture is also included in the exhibition. The willing audience, through various activities, were then invited to take part in exploring these themes for themselves.

Even though this was the last of CoolTan Arts’ 5 fantastic Largactyl Shuffle/LATES events at the Science Museum, the journey is not quite over yet. As a publication (including interactive game) with DVD telling the story of this wonderful journey and recognising all those who have taken part, will be launched in the Spring of 2014. 

The publication itself will be dedicated to the memory of Jean Cozens, whose initial idea it was to produce such a work.

So here’s looking forward to Spring. Watch this Space for Further News!

CoolTan Arts - Science Museum LATES Programme

February 2014 Review by Andrew G. Ogleby

Roll-up Roll-up and Don't be Late for the Magnificent LATES Experience...

My initial connection with CoolTan Arts came from seeing one of their flyers on the counter of the Health Food Shop in Denmark Hill, where I work as an acupuncturist. This was for a sponsored walk being organised to mark World Mental Health Day and which was to commence from the Maudsley Hospital, a short distance away from the shop itself.  As a result of already having an interest in mental health issues, and from working as a volunteer for The Stress Project a mental health charity in North London, I quickly decided to sign up and take part.

I found the walk a wonderfully uplifting and enlightening experience, and afterwards looked to see if there was an opportunity to become directly involved with CoolTan Arts. From their website, I was instantly drawn to theScience Museum Project and thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to become part of it. So I made contact and joined as preparation was being made for the ‘Robots’ LATES event. As it transpired, I was a bit late to actually present an item on the night. However, I did have a few ideas regarding possible activities.

One of these being creative ways of helping cheer up ‘Derek the Depressed Dalek’ by asking people to think ‘outside the box’ and attach coloured pieces of paper, containing creative ideas/activities to the outside of a black box, thus in-turn creating a positive, colourful creation from an initially perceived negative one. Nevertheless, even though it was a little disappointing that I wasn’t able to be directly involved, I did actively help out with the running of the event. Also, I made arrangements with the artist Stu MacKay of Cut n Paste Graphics to display his fabulous Dalek inspired work on the night. The evening itself proved a real success, which I found to be largely a very enjoyable, interactive experience.

Preparation was then on for the next ‘Psychology’ LATES event, involving a fascinating visit to the Bethlem Royal Hospital museum. Contact was also made with the award winning artist Bekki Perriman to display her creatively unique adaptation of a DSM manual. A review and transcript of my talk are presented elsewhere in this publication. Needless to say, even though the crowd at theScience Museum on the night seemed quite daunting at first, and I wasn’t quite sure how the talk had been received, it was a great turn out and also very exciting/rewarding to have worn the orange jacket for CoolTan Arts, talking about something that greatly resonates with me.

Overall, I have felt extremely privileged and fortuitous to have taken part in this project. Even though it has been over a relatively short period, in this time I have come into contact with some very interesting people and had the opportunity to gain ‘behind the scenes’ access to different organisations such as the Wellcome Trust Library, Bethlem Royal Hospital and the Science Museum itself. On top of this, has been the motivating experience of working collaboratively in such a creative way and with an enthusiastic team, putting together the project. Similarly, from also having received invaluable input from various esteemed professionals within their respective field.

Therefore, I sincerely hope and believe that the endeavours undertaken in this project will prove a tremendously valuable documented piece of work. To show what can be achieved when such factors come into place and creativity is given the expressive space for it to stimulate and flourish.

Essential Esher Magazine - Winter Newsletter

October 2008 by Andrew G. Ogleby

Wintertime is when elemental energy is at its nadir as experienced during the shortest day of the year. This is the Water elements time and is one for maintaining reserves to see out the harsh conditions ahead. It is no surprise then that there have always been festivals in Winter aimed at bringing in more light and warm along with the consumption of food/drink to help see through the hard times.

In terms of health, the organs associated with the Water element are not surprisingly the kidneys and Bladder, responsible for the storage and control of water. In China they particularly recognise the importance of ensuring the lower-back is kept warm and protected when it’s cold especially as this is also where our constitutional energy or reserves are stored.

Someone who is said to have the Water element as their causative factor (CF) of imbalance may present symptoms relating to such excessive/underactive conditions relating to sweating, passing of water, temperature control, thirst etc. The water element is also related to the bones, hair, ears/balance so there may also be indicators from any such symptoms presented. In terms of emotional health, the emotion related to the Water element is that of Fear, mainly the need to survive until Springtime comes once again. Therefore, symptoms may also be presented relating to this emotion, either the lack of or paralysing rigid effect of Fear. And so there may be the need for reassurance wherever possible, that everything will be OK if they only allow it to be.

In terms of acupuncture, the objective is to ensure there is harmony between all elements and their relating internal organs, to make sure they all receive sufficient supplies of energy and so can carry out their individual functions accordingly. However, special attention would be paid to someone presenting any of the above symptoms to ensure their Water element is in the best condition it can be in order for the other elements to then in turn also become in balance.

It is the philosophy of five element acupuncture to use the fewer amount of fine, sterilised needles as possible. Although it is not only the needles that do the work as it is the intention of the practitioner that when energy starts to flow harmoniously the person also becomes empowered to make positive lifestyle changes to further enhance the effects of treatment and so establish a productive therapeutic partnership.

Essential Esher Magazine - Autumn Newsletter

August 2008 by Andrew G. Ogleby

Five element acupuncture is an ancient form of healing related to the five elements (or phases) as recognised by the Chinese that the universe is comprised of and that we are no different made up of these same building blocks. It is then the intention of the acupuncturist to bring about balance of these elements within ourselves (related to our internal organs) to ensure their proper functioning and our well-being.

Each element is also related to a season, and according to its philosophy, there is an additional season to the standard four that are generally recognised in the west, and before getting to Autumn there is Late Summer (sometimes referred to as Indian Summer) related to the Earth element. This is also recognised as harvest time when the endeavours of the years work are brought to fruition. This is then generally a time to enjoy the abundance of what has been gathered before then thinking about the need to preserve some of these provisions to help see out the leaner times.

This is when Late Summer passes onto Autumn as it’s recognised by five elements philosophy (related to the Metal element) which is a time for letting go and reflection of what has been, and a heightened appreciation of the more refined, precious and rarer things in life remaining after all the leaves have dropped off as the process of extracting these precious commodities back into the earth begins.

Within ourselves these 2 elements are primarily responsible for the intake and elimination of external energy to, from and around the body in terms of food and air consumed, and so are related to the digestive and respiratory systems. Therefore, to ensure these 2 elements are functioning properly there needs to be harmony not only between the whole of the five elements but especially the Earth and Metal element at this time of year as energy begins to decline from it’s Summer peak to it’s nadir at the Winter solstice.

Therefore, by selecting the correct acupuncture points located throughout the body, energy or Qi (chee) can be accessed, with the intention of promoting harmony and wellbeing, bringing about the desired effect working on the levels of Body, Mind and Spirit. This in turn then helps re-establish a natural healing order and aims to empower a person to look to fulfill their own potential.

To achieve this, the actual process of five element acupuncture firstly involves a 1 ½ hour consultation and physical diagnosis. This is a painless procedure and quite often proves very therapeutic as is a rare opportunity to discuss such issues in a safe and caring, non-judgmental environment. The actual process of inserting fine, sterile needles also proves a lot more comfortable than people first imagine. The philosophy being the fewer needles used the better and that appointments eventually become more of a maintenance visit once energy re-establishes a balance and a person starts to use it in a more positive way.

Essential Esher Magazine - Spring Newsletter

March 2008 by Andrew G. Ogleby

The Stirrings of Spring: a five element perspective for coming into tune with Nature’s get-up-and-go time of year, to shake off your Winter coat and prepare for the coming seasons ahead

According to five element philosophy, Spring (associated with the Wood element) is where the seeds for change kept secure during the long Winter months finally start to germinate. Quite often it appears as if overnight the sights, sounds and smells of Spring suddenly burst upon us. This is the dynamic energy of Wood, instantaneously bringing forth change to what otherwise can be drab surroundings with explosions of colour, and increased volume/aromas of Nature.

In balance, this same energy also flows through ourselves, and it should be a time for decision making and putting plans into action. Not only for the present, but also for the forthcoming year ensuring a smooth progression throughout the seasons, reaping the rewards of the work put in at this stage and to ensure provisions through leaner-times.

Out of balance such foresight can become blurred as we can spend a lot of time trying just to cope with day-to-day issues, not really progressing or developing as we should. This is not only true on a physical level but also on an emotional and spiritual one. So through the correct selection of acupuncture points located throughout the body, energy or Qi (chee) can be accessed, with the intention of promoting harmony and well-being, bringing about the desired effect working on the levels of Body, Mind and Spirit. This in turn then helps re-establish a natural healing order and aims to empower a person to look to fulfill their own potential.

To achieve this, the actual process of five element acupuncture firstly involves a 1 ½ hour consultation and physical diagnosis. This is a painless procedure and quite often proves very therapeutic as is a rare opportunity to discus such issues in a safe and caring, non-judgmental environment. The actual process of inserting fine, sterile needles also proves a lot more comfortable than people first imagine. The philosophy being that the fewer needles used the better and treatment eventually becomes more a maintenance visit once energy re-establishes a balance and a person starts to use it in a more positive way.

So best foot forward and step into this Spring with a renewed sense of optimism about your health and well-being!

five element acupuncture aims to restore whatever is presented, no matter how big or small...

Andrew G. Ogleby
BSc (Hons) Lic Ac. PGDip. Kampo