A Career in Kinesiology
Brian Knight had great success in the corporate
world, building up a trucking empire from scratch. But in the end
his soul wasn't satisfied - so he made a big shift - downsizing
into becoming a kinesiology practitioner - which he did for 13
years. But intense demand for his talents led to his patients telling
him he needed to either clone himself - or teach someone else so
they could book in for sessions more easily and regularly. So he
spent two years setting up the Health
Arts College, which he remains
co-director of seven years later. JEANETTE MORGAN does a Q&A
with him about forging a career in natural therapies ...
What did you do before kinesiology?
I'm a city kid but a country kid at heart. As a kid I spent every waking
moment in the country, all over Victoria and farming areas.
I had a love of cooking, my mother and grandmother were both very good
cooks and Dad's pretty good at bashing a few things up too. So I finished my schooling and got an apprenticeship in cooking - and worked for
a long time at the Hotel Windsor - they have high tea in the afternoons
and all that sort of stuff. Then I managed a hotel or two, so my background
is hospitality and customer service.
My instructors at college put me up for a scholarship to go to Germany
and Switzerland for 18 months cooking in hotels and travelling around
Europe, then when I came back, I was still pretty young, about 21 or
22 and got engaged and my wife Claire and I started having daughters. Then my brother had one truck and he suggested that rather
than working late hours in hotels which affects your family life, why
not work in the trucking business which was 7am to 4pm Monday to Friday.
So I chucked in the cooking and did that.
I built the business up while he was away for 18 months so that there
was enough for two of us. When he came back we built it into a transport
empire and ended up with 13 trucks. But it wasn't really doing it for
me - after 10 years I needed a change so started learning kinesiology
while doing swimming teaching to earn a crust.
Because I needed to study anatomy
and physiology I did that and did remedial massage at the same time, then did my diploma of aromatherapy.
What motivated you to get involved in kinesiology?
The business that I had built up ultimately wasn't mine and didn't
express my own talents, so I wasn't feeling spiritually satisfied -
whereas this field is something which does express my true passions.
In the end I was 13 years with clients at home - basically doing kinesiology
and massage - and I was booked up for 3 or 4 months ahead - and clients
were getting upset - they were saying "you've got to make a clone" -
and I said I wish I could, and they said "well train someone else
so we can go to them". So that's where the idea spawned that
I'll teach people - so I investigated training - because I wanted to
things that are serious, I never wanted to do fluffy shit, so I dove
into it deep and started an RTO (Registered Training Organisation).
It's been seven years. The first two years were setting things up,
and the last five years have been training people.
The first students you ever trained, are they still involved in kinesiology?
Yep - I actually had a breakfast with a few of them not last weekend
but the one before. We sat down and had brunch and chatted about the
pioneering times (laughs).
Do you personally still have patients that you treat or has the teaching
and administration of the college taken over your life?
I still treat people three days a week - Monday, Wednesday and Friday
- but there's only a small number - I mostly refer people on - to be
really blunt it's only the ones that I've been getting along with really
well that I've kept on and am willing to assist. I used to see 7 or
8 people a day five days a week, but now I might see five maximum in
a day. Still 15 people a week ...
Kinesiology must be a hard thing to explain to people - how
do you describe it when people look at you blankly and say "what the
hell is that?".
Kinesiology is about bringing your life into balance - that's
all it is. What a kinesiologist does is helps you to identify what's
out of balance and how to bring those things back into balance. And we use the muscles of the body, the nutrition, what you think, what
you feel and the energetics all together to help all
of those things come back into balance.
Is kinesiology a diagnostic tool? Or is it something that also has
a healing component?
We don't call it diagnostic, we say it's a "verification tool".
So it verifies what's in or out of balance. The art is in all the strategies
we can offer to help people come into balance. There is an art in being
able to push on arms, and that's ok we can do that, but that's just
the verification tool - but then we apply better nutrition, or better
ways of thinking about or feeling things, or to feel things that you
don't want to feel in ways that you can cope with - that's much more
the individual complexity of it. Like I said to a guy this morning, "have
you gone to a doctor before - yes, have you gone to a physio yes, have
you had massage - yes ... well kinesiology is
nothing like that" (laughs). It has components of that but it's not
What are the pre-requisites for doing the course?
Absolutely nothing really. Other than a commitment to learn. That's
really all we're talking about. But they have to have an interest about
things that are healthy, about things that are natural, about wanting
a better quality of life. If they're somebody who eats McDonalds every
day, they're not really wanting to find out, then they'd be pushing
it uphill a little bit.
Can students do the courses part-time, or stop if they have to and
then come back to them? Is it quite flexible to do the course?
It's very flexible. The way our courses are set up are so that people
can have a full-time job Monday to Friday 9 to 5 - and still be able
to do even up to two qualifications. Roughly half of the course is
common between them all. Most of it is evenings or weekends. So if
you're doing kinesiology for example, everything's on the weekend basically.
Not every weekend,
but every second weekend at least you'd be doing
some training - then then you've got to fit your own study in-between.
Over about a 10 month period.
What's the typical length of a course if you are doing it part or
Ten months for a Certificate Four - and 2 years - or 20 months over
two years to do a Diploma. Certificate Four is the first half of the
As far as being accredited goes, what does it mean? Eg, what
is a "Certificate
IV in Kinesiology"? Can you explain what Certificate
4 means to the layperson?
It's a technical term, it's a level of training within the education
industry within Australia. So basically what it is is in vocational
educational and training there's Certificates 1, 2, 3 and 4. And then
a Diploma and then an Advanced Diploma. Now some VETS can do degrees
- but it's up their ........ now Certificate 4 is about mid-level,
it means you can "work under supervision". Most kinesiologists
work on their own so it's a bit loose ..... it's like getting a degree
or Masters, it's the same sort of thing - up to the same standard.
People who go to TAFE etc know what a Certificate 4 is and they know
what a Diploma means.
What's a typical scenario once someone has graduated - what do they
then go and do?
They set themselves up in practice. We have a student clinic and it
helps the students to get a direct experience of what providing kinesiology
is - and what being in practice is.
With the current economic situation being
very tough for a lot of people, and the discretionary spend such
as on health
being one of the first things to suffer, how possible is it to still
forge a career in natural therapies? Is this industry being adversely
affected, and yet is there still a way through for people?
There's absolutely still a way through for people. There's actually a lot more interest in the natural therapy industry
than there was before the global financial crisis. There's a lot
of people that are looking for another way, another lifestyle, and
so you've got a lot of different ranges of people: people that have
been in a long-term job, for example, that now don't have a job -
they're looking at re-skilling. And maybe what they were doing they
felt they were tired of anyway. You've got other people who still
have a job but they're either looking to supplement their income,
or to move into something else because they have realised their current
work may no longer be stable - and then you've got the third lot
who want to have a seachange - they just want to do something different and are doing it for very exciting reasons - because they're developing
skills that they can take anywhere around the world.
Whether it's kinesiology, massage, aromatherapy or
any complementary medicine, they're looking
at acquiring a skill
that is transportable. It's not like many careers - for example if
you're an accountant here you can't just go and be an accountant
in England - you still have to do a bridging course. Or if you go
to somewhere from here as a doctor or nurse you still have to do a bridging. Complementary therapies have universal appeal - you can
go and do massage on a ship, a cruise liner, or at hotel resorts
or clinics around the world. And Australian qualifications are held
in absolute high regard - for example, kinesiology in Australia -
they use the standards in Australia for Ireland, Canada, they're
looked at it for America - there are other countries that
our standards because of the quality of them.
Is it more likely in the current climate that graduates
will get work overseas rather than in the local economy?
This is the thing - this has happened probably over
the last ten years - the landscape changed - previously people might
have been doing workshops that were ... good ... trainings, but they
didn't necessarily create great therapists who also had a background
of how to operate a business. That has changed dramatically in the last decade. Now the training
has an industry standard, it has an ability to move into that area
with finesse. The people who trained before don't have that knowledge, they might have years of experience - but they have years of where
they were at - they've not progressed. The new type of therapist
is trained to improve their standards and work with different sports
codes and sports people - and they go into a much broader range of
areas now. It could be working in hospitals or nursing homes - or
they're seeking out multi-modality therapy clinics. And those clinics
only want qualified people - and the ultimate test is this: that
all the health funds that allow you to claim for complementary therapies
are now asking for only practitioners with approved training programs.
So someone who has learnt it 20 years ago doesn't have a shoe-in.
This lure that health funds have, of getting free
or low-cost complementary therapies as part of their packages, I
imagine that's had a very positive effect on your industry?
Absolutely a positive effect. About two months ago
I had a call from a lady who had trained decades ago and she said
"I need to get a providor number so I can work with the health insurance
companies".And I said sorry I don't do those. She said I need to
get qualified. So I said you have to study for the qualification.
And she said "but I've been doing it twenty years". I said "why do
you want this" and she said "because I'm losing all my customers,
they're all going to the people who have provider numbers". So the
public are still having massages and kinesiology, but they're getting
a lot more selective. So the ones who are trained well and have a
qualification, they now are being sought after because they're the
selective few. And the ones that don't have it are missing out unless they upgrade themselves.
So the short answer to your question is that there's
actually more work around now because for anyone who's well trained
and has a full qualification, they are being sought after.
So did that woman who rang you, did she decide to
No - because it was all too hard. It was too hard
to do the qualification. She felt that she'd done a
couple of weekend
workshops and should be handed a qualification - where people do
two years of training!
What can people expect to pay for a course, eg a
A year will give them a
certificate 4 level - which
is the first half of a diploma. So they can finish as a certificate
4 - they have lots of knowledge but they don't have a lot of advantages
- they can't get a providor number at a cert 4 level - doesn't mean
they can't be a good practitioner, but they're a more attractive
candidate to a customer, employer or health fund if they have the
diploma - and they have these privileges as far as provider status.
So people can stage it - they can do a certificate 4 and then take
a bit of a break and then come back and finish the diploma. Or they can get a number of qualifications at the same time - we've got people
who are doing a certificate for kinesiology and a certificate for
massage at the same time because it's not double the amount of work,
it's only 1.5 times the amount because the common units for kinesiology
and massage are all the same. A diploma of kinesiology costs $6000
per year so for two years it's $12,000.
What does the future hold for the Health Arts College?
Basically it's about being able to offer more good
quality training so there are more good quality practitioners out
in the community. Our commitment is to provide professional practitioners
- wherever that takes us. If people like what we do then it will
be going into different states of Australia and then other countries
I noticed on your website you have a page
about the Health Arts College teaching Kinesiology and Aromatherapy in Hong
Kong - what's that
about? What's the appeal of Hong Kong? Is it because it's a relatively
close place where English is spoken?
Yeah and also too it has that Eastern philosophy,
the strong Chinese history of alternative or holistic medicine, so
it's an interesting market looking at being able to supply good quality education even into China and the rest of Asia.
Are you looking for people in those areas to find
you and work in with you?
Absolutely open to that. We've already done discussions
with the Singapore government a couple of years ago. They were very
favourable - we just need someone on the ground.
For more information on The Health Arts College,
feel free to call Brian via 1300 658 326 (cost of a local call outside
Melbourne) or in Melbourne call (03) 9898 0243. Or email him via firstname.lastname@example.org ... also well worth browsing their website
which has stacks of information on the courses they run: www.thacollege.com