John Watson was born in Shanghai at the start of World War II
His father, a British civil engineer, was given
the choice of working in the mines of Northern China for the occupying
forces or going to a concentration camp. He refused to work for the
As a result the whole family were imprisoned in a concentration
camp in the middle of China in 1942. Eric Liddell (featured in the
Chariots of Fire) the Scottish runner and missionary was imprisoned
in the same camp.
In 1945 the family was rescued by American troops
who were parachuted in. John’s most treasured possession from this
time is a plane made of bullets given him by one of the US soldiers.
The tail parts have been lost but most of it remains. He also remembers
being given a bottle of coca cola by one of the US troops and has
been an addict ever since!
They moved to England and then, when John’s father died, to the
Isle of Man.
John went to school in the Isle of Man and then
taught Physical Education at a prep school in Hertfordshire. Around
this time he had three mystical experiences of contact with God.
A friend has asked John to write some more detail about these experiences.
The first one happened at the prep school in the
evening when John was reading a book by J.B.Phillips called the RIng
of Truth about the truth of the Gospels. As he read he started feeling
a tremendous sense of love, energy and joy with the message to his
mind that God was his Father. He later read in one of Paul’s letters
that God sends his Spirit into our hearts crying ‘Father’.
He felt so full of energy that he rushed out into
the school grounds. The trees seemed to be one with him and the park
was full of intense colour. Everything seemed far more real than
it had ever done. If this was all a dream , the dream was far more
real than reality. The sheer peace and joy of this experience lasted
John stopped a cyclist to tell him that God was
real. The cyclist nearly fell off his bike and cycled on nervously.
He also spoke to the Head Master and any one else who would listen.
Ever since he has felt a strong compulsion to pass on the message
that the Christian God is real. 44 years later he is still passing
this good news on.
A second experience occurred at the Keswick convention in the Lake
District. At the end of the meeting the speaker asked all those who
felt they had failed as Christians to stay behind. John stayed behind
and experienced what John Wesley called the second blessing. It was
as if a wave of infinite love and peace passed through the tent in
which the meeting was held and into the hearts of the people there.
A third experience took place in Switzerland where
John was studying the BIble to see if the Pentecostal experiences
of the disciples described in the book of Acts could happen today.
As he read and studied for days on end it seemed that he was in a
desert without spiritual answers. It had not rained in Switzerland
for days. Suddenly a great storm broke in the physical world and
John started speaking in the other languages described in the book
of Acts and had a similar experience to that of the disciples in
the upper room. These three experiences have left their mark and,
though they have not removed all doubts, make John think that the
possiblity of a relationship with a living God and a life after death
must be taken seriously.
John studied English at Cambridge. One evening he
stood up in Pembroke College hall in the middle of supper and urged
everyone to take the Christian Gospel seriously. Some people thought
he had gone mad but others flocked to attend the Bible readings he
was running. He later became an English teacher in South East London
but after 5 years he did a diploma in Religious Studies and began
teaching about religion full time.
He was Head of RE at Collingwood School in Peckham and then moved to Eltham Hill School in South East London. In the first photo below, you can see him with his tutor group in the grounds of the school. In the photo with the funny hat, he is supervising some of the spectators at a school sports day on a sunny day – hence the hat!
After 33 years teaching in three London Comprehensive schools, John
retired from teaching. He received several awards and commendations
for teaching both religious studies and the martial arts. He still
teaches martial arts after beginning training in kung fu and karate at the age
of 37. The style he now teaches is Choikwangdo, a brilliant self-defence
and health oriented style founded by Grandmaster Kwang Jo Choi in
John is a 5th degree black belt in free style martial arts (awarded by Dave Turton of the Self Defence Federation), a third degree black belt in Choikwangdo (awarded by Grand Master Kwang Jo Choi) a second degree black belt in Iai Batto Jutsu (awarded by World Champion Sensei Mochizuki) a second degree black belt in Taekwondo (awarded by Master Hock Lye Ooi) a 1st degree in Karate and a brown belt in Okinawan weapons (awarded by Sensei David Dyer) He has also trained in Capoeira with two world champions, Kung Fu with Sifu Tony Leung, JKD with top JKD instructor, Ralph Jones, and has attended seminars by top martial artists like Dan Inosanto, Dave Turton, Gary Spiers, Stuart Rider, Master Pereira and several others.
In his retirement from teaching Religious Education he began studying internet marketing and continued
his study of the psychology of achievement and self development.
This has always been a key interest.
John now lives in Chislehurst, Kent. Chislehurst is only half an
hour by train from London and is in easy reach of seminars held in
London and near Heathrow. He has been to Robbins’ firewalk seminar
and a seminar run by Ian Fox which culminated in participants breaking
an arrow with their throat! He has attended many other less spectacular
seminars on the theme of motivation and success and has always been
a keen student of human potential.The lesson of the arrow could be
summed up by the following quote by Brendan Francis [Behan] (1923-1964)
“Many of our fears are tissue paper thin,
and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.”
John plans on writing reports and books on both teaching and on
achievement in general. He feels that many schools let their students
down by not teaching enough about how to study (by using mind maps
for example) and about how to set goals and how to start saving money
for their early retirement!
Recently, John has been inspired by Dave O’Connor,
a student of Tony Quinn, the founder of Educo – a movement for the
development of human potential.
Tony Quinn trained Steve Collins, the Irish boxer who ended the
long unbeaten run of the great English boxer Chris Eubank.
Tony believes very much in the power of the subconscious mind and
has helped many people to make the most of this power. Some of his
students have been operated on without anaesthetic and have felt
no pain. They have even enjoyed the operation! Tony’s methods apply
to life as a whole and not just to healing.
John’s main aim is to make the most of his own potential
and to help others make the most of their’s. He also wishes to pass
on whatever he knows of the meaning of life and to discover more
and share more about the truths behind the universe.