About

I am an instructor (and student!) of the Daoist tradition called Ba Men Da Xuan, under the direct tutelage of Serge Augier. 

What I teach is very simple and direct. The practices are grounded in reality, and the reality of our current time is that most people have plenty of work, social and family  commitments. There is no need to become a full time practitioner, move to the forest, or a monastery, or become a new-age weirdo or anything like this. On the contrary, I’m looking to work with the regular people of our society. My students are school teachers, public servants, corporate workers, tradespeople, retail workers, fitness enthusiasts and university students.  

I hold classes in two locations: Civic Park in North Sydney; and in a facility called The Movement Academy (formerly Umbilico), just south of Sydney CBD. I also teach workshops around Australia and internationally.

THE BASICS

Da Xuan is a Daoist lineage under the leadership of Serge Augier which has been established for over 1,500 years. While being Chinese in origin, it is specifically non-cultural and non-religious. We are concerned with the development of human qualities, and as such our practices are open to anyone of any culture or belief. 

In Da Xuan we are primarily interested in understanding how we function with more clarity and details, and building an excess of personal resources and energy.  More information leads to better decisions and more energy helps us to confront the challenges of life with vitality. This is achieved by practicing in a balanced and centered way – Daoists are, after all, most famous for the Yin Yang symbol which pictures opposite forces moving around a central point in harmony with each other.

A modern Yin Yang symbol (left) and a more traditional version (right)

To create this balance in ourselves, we consider the Yin and Yang of the human being – the physical body (Yin), the breath & circulation (Yin + Yang), and the mind (Yang) – all equal and as such give them the same amount of attention in our practice. We are also interested in working on qualities and capacities rather than specific skills which gives us the possibility of fully expressing our own individuality, rather than becoming a copy of the teacher. A simple overview gives us an idea of what this looks like:

      • Practices of the Mind & Spirit (Shen):
        Train our mind to focus (use the mind effectively), help it to relax (stop spending unnecessary energy), understand how it functions and the various tricks it uses.    
      • Practices of the Breath & Circulation (Qi):
        Increase our breathing capacity (bring in more energy), improve the circulation (move the energy around the body to clear physical, emotional and mental stagnation), develop the exchange with the environment.     
      • Practices of the Body (Jing):
        Train the structure, alignment and coordination (use the body effectively), help the unwanted tension relax (stop spending unnecessary energy), learn how to use our structure and relaxation to hold our position (grounding).

The tradition includes: basic physical training (wai gong); dao yin (a kind of daoist yoga); internal martial arts (taiji, bagua, xingyi, ziranmen); qigong; breath work & internal alchemy (nei dan); emotional work (xin yi dao yin fa); training the mind (shen gong); and deep meditation (shen dan).

With permission from Serge, I formally opened the Da Xuan School Sydney in 2017.  I currently teach classes in Physical Training & Martial Arts and the Da Xuan Family Qigong. I offer workshops on other topics too, including Primordial Breathing and Meditation techniques. 

OTHER TRAINING

My history of training has given me a large body of knowledge and practices to draw on. I tend towards what works and this means that now days I almost exclusively draw from Da Xuan (because it works!). However on occasion I find myself teaching people who dislike traditional techniques or have very specific requirements (such as the performing artist who needs splits for their show), which Da Xuan does not specifically address. I have done my best to arrange and present this other material in a way that is congruent with the teachings of Da Xuan, although this is not always possible. 

My personal explorations into physical development were previously done under the handle ‘Aware Relaxed Connected’. In 2017 I decided to dissolve ARC and merged into Physical Alchemy, presenting teachings from my various tinkerings alongside Dave Wardman. However, it soon became clear that I was being called to be more fully involved and engaged with my tradition, Da Xuan, and I broke away to focus on training and teaching this on my own.

For now, I still run a couple of classes based on the material and findings that have emerged from my years of exploration and experimentation with non-Da Xuan material. You can find the currently available classes on the timetable page and there are many video tutorials available to those not able visit in person.

HISTORY

My background is as diverse as it is strange, with many elements coming together to inspire my teaching. Major influences include:

      • Training in the traditional Chinese arts of Xin Yi Liu He Quan (Heart, Mind & Six Harmonies boxing), Cha Quan (Cha family boxing) and Yang Style Tai Chi under my first teacher Dapeng Wang [2003 – 2013]
      • Becoming a certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness instructor [2012]
      • Exploring various systems of training including Physical Alchemy (Dave Wardman), Modern Methods of Mobility (Emmet Louis), Stretch Therapy (Kit Laughlin & Olivia Allnutt), Ancestral Movement (Simon Thakur), Evolve Move Play (Rafe Kelley), Gymnastic Strength Training, Calesthenics, MovNat, Ido Portal Method, Urban Dance, Parkour, Gymnastics, Capoeira, Handstands and more. [2005 – 2018]

I don’t have a dedicated practice in any of these arts currently, however they have certainly each influenced me in their own ways. 

I very much enjoy sharing and discussing what I do with anyone interested! If you would like to ask me any questions, please do! You can use the button below to email me.

Further Reading

If this all sounds very interesting to you and you’d like to get a more complete idea of what I do and my approach, you can head over to my blog and read my various articles.  Topics from my training history to the concepts, philosophies and ideas I use are explained in far more depth than I have on this page. The most important articles are these two, which I recommend starting with:

You can also find many pictures and videos of my classes and workshops on my Instagram feed below. As they say, a picture is worth 1000 words and often the most precise description in the world will not give nearly as clear an impression as a picture or video can.