‘Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.’ [F, Nietzsche]
The craft known as Physical Alchemy is returning to being myself as the sole teacher. It has been a hard and bittersweet decision for me to make. But the correct one. Craig, Fred, Michael and Will were the type of students that every teacher wishes to have turn up to learn. It was a great honour to be able to teach them my ways, for a time. And a great joy to have them join me in this vessel as it traversed nigh-uncharted waters – for a time. They have all taught me things and enriched my life in countless ways.
As the rabbit-hole I found opened up I became increasingly allured by it. I had been searching for many years and to finally find something such as this was immensely rewarding and exciting. And to have it continue to open up in such a way.. There were many discoveries and a potent medicine is contained within what was found.. but it is a ‘poisonous medicine’ and the dosage and presentation is essential. The fumes can harm the practitioner, too. Just as when one studies anatomy and body-reading methods one starts to see tight hip flexors and faulty movement patterns everywhere – so it is with the discoveries made but on a wholly different order.
And just as I caught myself years ago in the habit of over-reading complex anatomy books and complicating my classes – so it is time for fasting. Fasting and surrender. I threw my complexity habit to the wind and to my great surprise the results accomplised in classes only got more and more powerful. It is time again to throw my research to the winds. Time to return to my tools and polish them.
The last ~4 years has seen the creation of Physical Alchemy as an actual system rather than the patchwork collection of methods, metaphysics, ideas and flavourings that it was prior to this. I sought to fuse the teachings and lessons of the 3 teachers I had had in amazing succession into a method of my own. And in this I was successful in a way I could never have dreamed, but not without cost.
The system was(is) based upon my deep questions, my passion and path. I got so caught up in the allure and the similarities between us all that I was blind to the differences. ‘Creative differences’ are a very important thing when people are creators in their own right – as is the case with all the aforementioned humans. Having felt that seeping stress that comes from one being close to expressing oneself completely, but being bound and not being able to do so within the confines of the system one is in I had vowed not to do this – and I ended up doing just this thing. And for this I truly am sorry.
And in this sobering insight it came to me that I must release these fine humans to find their own paths, on their own terms, and not have them be caught up in the path I am on. For a time we overlapped along the path but the time has come to part ways. Would only I have done it sooner.
Practically what will happen is the name Physical Alchemy will be used for the method I have created and the classes I teach. I am also going back to largely teaching classes (in Sydney), as they are the best way to teach many of the elements I teach. Some of the old ‘tools’ in terms of types of physical methods are going to be re-breathed and taught again. Honestly; I am really looking forward to teaching strength work and other physical class types again.
The second tier experimental ‘invite only’ classes will be the only place I teach the ‘reenchantment’ syllabus material from 2019 – the exception being my Patreon page, where some material will be posted in a format I have yet to decide fully upon. There are no more apprentices or apprenticeships. One day, far away when I have forgotten enough I may consider it again.
The ‘Embodied Paradox’ retreat will be the last international workshop I will be teaching for an indefinite period of time – and it will be the only non-class where I will teach aspects of the reenchantment work, in person. So if you are one of the odd few who is really interested in this branch of the system you probably should consider this. The book will come out at some stage but much of the material will be only taught within invite only classes to people prepared in the other classes.
Craig Mallett is well into the exciting phase of creating something wonderful all his own in his Jiebengong classes. He will be teaching workshops around Australia and the globe, as well as classes of Jeibengong, Qigong and Daoist cultivation methods within the city of Sydney.
Frederik Beck is in Dublin, Ireland getting massive and crafting something very interesting in regards to combining strength and flexibility work. Craig and Fred are teaching some combined workshops in Europe shortly and Fred will likely be teaching workshops in Ireland and on the Continent.
Michael White is combining physical repatterning work into physiotherapy practice in a really cool way. He is also teaching Re-patterning stretching and has the dubious honour of being my study-buddy as we work through ‘Travell & Simons’
Will Colebatch is studying clowning, improv and re-firing his Capoeira practice to infuse his teaching of small humans with more laughter, creative expression and music.
There is much in the works.[DW]