Sep 14th 2016  

 News, Training

Dennis Ngo, Chief Instructor, Fujian White Crane Kung Fu & Tai Chi Martial Arts, having recovered from serious illness

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs

“We are martial artists – we all live with pain. If you train hard and regularly, you will know what pain is.” Dennis Ngo explains to Emeka Onono from Raw TV Ltd.  Emeka had contacted Dennis to see if he would be involved in a social experiment documentary. Dr Chris Van Tulleken was planning to take a group of people who suffer with chronic conditions –  could lateral approaches let them stop taking their prescription drugs?

Emeka wanted to know whether Dennis would help Crystal, who had chronic severe back pain. “If Crystal wants to do it it then I can help.” The rest, as they say, makes great TV. [You can watch the trailer here:  “The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs“.]

But behind Dennis’ seemingly bluff comments on the pain of training, there is another story.

Dennis’ own Journey of Pain

Past midnight on the M4 and Dennis is driving west. It’s June 2006. Roadworks up ahead, funnelling all the traffic into one lane.  Dennis slowed down to 30,20, following the rest of the traffic in front. But the articulated lorry behind did not. Still going at 70 the lorry driver didn’t even hit the brakes. He ploughed into Dennis’ car – crushing it. Dennis came round to see a policeman looking down at him – “Sir, You’re lucky to be alive. Just as well you were in a Landcruiser.”  Alive, lucky, but hurting.

The impact broke the driver’s seat, throwing his body forward into the steering wheel and then backwards like a rag doll. There was “Dashboard Knee” and whiplash. Dennis’ hip mobility was at 30% – front thrusting kick was now something he “used to do”. Walking was difficult, going up stairs nearly impossible.

But not for ever. All those years of training had to be worth something and so Dennis worked his way back to walking, running, squatting, kicking. And it hurt, but he’s done it. And so he knows what pain is, and he knows that training can help. This was not “mind over matter”, it was experience and hard work.

Crystal’s Journey

BBC Photoshot for "The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs" - Dr Chris van Tulleken

Dr Chris van Tulleken – The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs. Photo copyright: The BBC.

We haven’t seen the documentary, just the trailer like everyone else. But we see Crystal every week in training. Dennis helped, guided, taught her. She did the hard work.

That’s what Kung Fu is – “Hard Work”