I am an instructor (and student!) of the Daoist tradition called Ba Men Da Xuan, under the direct tutelage of Serge Augier.
Our tradition and the way I teach is very simple. 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. Many systems and traditions ask us to leave our lives behind if we are to develop ourselves deeply and thoroughly, however Da Xuan does not. On the contrary, it is the very challenges of our ordinary life that drive us and our practice to evolve. There are no special prerequisites to begin this practice, only the desire to put a little time aside each day to take care of ourselves. I work with the regular people of our society – my students are school teachers, public servants, corporate workers, tradespeople, retail workers, fitness enthusiasts, self-employed entrepreneurs and university students.
Da Xuan is a family Daoist (often also spelt ‘Taoist’) lineage under the leadership of Serge Augier which has been established for over 1,500 years. While we share similar origins to other Chinese traditions of religious or temple Daoism, our tradition 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. While there are various philosophies that frame what we do, students are not asked to take on particular beliefs, but rather to engage in a daily practice to discover what the framing ideas are pointing to for themselves. Practice leads to more information, more information leads to better decisions and more energy helps us to confront the challenges of life with vitality.
We approach our practice 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.
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, help it to relax, understand how it functions and the various tricks it uses.
- Practices of the Breath & Circulation (Qi):
Increase our breathing capacity for more vitality, improve the circulation and clear stagnations, develop the exchange with the environment.
- Practices of the Physical Body (Jing):
Build strength by training the weak points of the structure, improve alignment and coordination, help unwanted tension relax, learn how to use our structure and relaxation to hold our position and become grounded.
- Practices of the Mind & Spirit (Shen):
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 covering the most important foundational practices. I also teach workshops that introduce or go into detail on various aspects of the tradition.
I’m quite a curious person by nature, and was always inclined to dig, explore and experiment with ways of practicing to learn more about myself and the world. Before discovering the Da Xuan tradition, I engaged in dedicated training of many other modalities of practice. 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 
- 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]
While I have chosen to no longer pursue a practice in any of these arts, they have certainly each influenced me in their own ways and give me a unique perspective to present the traditional Da Xuan practices from.
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.
While I no longer teach material based on the findings that have emerged from these years of exploration and experimentation with non-Da Xuan material, I still have a few tutorials available on the topics I thought were most important. You can find these on the Video Tutorials page.
If this all sounds very interesting to you and you’d like to read more about the attitude and orientation I use for my practice, you can head over to my blog and read my various articles. 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.