San Bao Martial Arts School Instructors

San Bao Instructors

Des Lawton started his martial arts journey, early in 1977, when he began learning Shukokai Karate. After a three years of study he felt that it was time to move on to a more “rounded” art that not only had punches and kicks, but that also encompassed locks and throws. With this in mind, he studied Hapkido under the instruction of John McIntosh AKA “the Bear”. John, in Des’s words, “is one of the finest teachers he has met………..even though the training was often a wee bit more than painful…..And he (John) has more tricks than a troop of monkeys”. The training with John went on for the next few years when Des, having moved away from Glasgow, got the chance of learning Taiji………an art that had intrigued him.


So, in 1985 Des attended his first Taiji class under the tutelage of Bob Lowey, in East Kilbride. His initial intention was to concentrate on the martial aspects of this art. However, as Rabbie Burns would tell you, the best laid plans often go astray and Des was overwhelmed by the beauty of this art, the calmness he was feeling and the improvements to his health and attitude. The martial side became less important and could be sought out later. Eventually, he started to study the martial, the Quan, and quickly came to the conclusion that this was the art for him………he felt “at home”.

In 1989, Des moved on to meditate/study on his own. He was soon joined by other who wished to practice Taiji in an atmosphere where Taiji was recognised as a serious subject that was not to be practiced too seriously, where everyone was a student, journeying through life, each on their own path, paths that sometimes ran alongside each other and sometimes seemed to veer apart, such is the Tao…….it was to be enjoyed, to be experienced with friendship and humour, it was to be a place of growth. It was to be another 5 years, and experience gained through learning from various other teachers, before Des felt competent enough to “teach”.

After experiencing the healing power of Qi, from Master Joe Bell, he felt that it was time to begin his studies within the healing arts, particularly using TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Qi. The choice of Shiatsu was an easy one to make………it was the closest thing he had seen to the way in which Master Bell had worked, and it was immediately apparent that Shiatsu was a very powerful healing tool. After three years study, at the Glasgow School of Shiatsu, Des graduated……..Then, a few months later, he sat and passed the examinations for his enrolment in the Membership of the Shiatsu Society and received the, well earned, accreditation of MRSS. Does he feel that he has achieved much? Well, if you ask him you will receive a reply along the lines of “I feel as though I have scratched a diamond with a feather”. Des has also had the privilege of receiving tuition, in Qigong, from Master Joe Bell.

There has been one constant throughout this journey………Des’s respect for his friend and teacher, Barry Little. Des makes the point that he and Barry have been pals for a very, very long time and have outlived most marriages! When the two of them get together to teach…………magic happens. The growth continues…….in the Qi, in experience, in enjoyment, and in health.



Taiji touchstones

Once you begin to move, the entire body must be light and limber. Each part of your body must be connected to every other part. (Chang San-Feng)