Dave Wardman

1.  How would you define your personal practice?

I am a physical alchemist – thusly, I practice a combination of re-patterning, physical cultivation and alchemical methods based upon my studies, training and experience over the last 15 years.

In these 15 years I have studied a somewhat eclectic mixture of practices and metaphysics that I draw upon both for genesis of my method and for my personal practice.  Influences come from human ecology, biology, soft tissue therapies (particular the Structural Integration school [Rolfing]), traditional and modern martial arts, Western physical culture, Stretch Therapy, shamanism, alchemy and more.  The true prima materia of the method lies in the alembic of the deep relationships and learning I have undertaken with my 4 Teachers.  This includes an apprenticeship with Stretch Therapy creator Kit Laughlin; an initial transmutation in the martial arts; studying in the Da Xuan Daoist tradition and being a student of [L] his spiritual Teacher [Korean Zen, Shamanism, Advaita, Enneagram].Besides the cultivating of the base metal of physical practice: strength, flexibility, co-ordination, agility, suppleness – my practice perhaps differs from some in that I am primarily interested in development of deeper qualities that emerge from training the methods I have access too correctly, such as body intelligence, spontaneity, physical intuition (of many types), reenchantment, the study of the Law of 3 and Law of 7 within the physical body.


2.  What turning points have you encountered on your movement journey?

The first major turning point was the beginning of martial arts training in first year of university.  This also coincided with my beginning weight training/physical culture properly (rather than dabbling).  Themes of learning to train with intensity, body awareness, movement patterning, power development, hara, body and whole person transformative effects of the martial arts.  A great introduction to what I do now. And fun too!

The second turning point was involved in getting post-viral chronic fatigue syndrome and the ceasing of all exercise within the space of a fortnight after training 5-9 times a week for 6 years.   All aspects in the getting of and overcoming of this illness were a turning point.  A switch from very dynamic ‘yang’ exercise with no yin, to a period of all ‘yin’ restorative practices and research with very little ‘yang’.  Then the transmutation and return to training both aspects in harmony.

The third major turning point was the apprenticeship with Kit Laughlin (creator of Stretch Therapy).  This coincided with the beginning of the illness of the second turning point.  A beginning of a deeper understanding of the body; its plasticity, character armour, touch, relaxation, contemplation, linking of mind, physical body and emotions, the beginning of my re-patterning work studies, metaphysical re-patterning – oh yeah, and some really amazing stretching and body unlocking exercises.

The fourth major turning point was meeting my spiritual Teacher [L].  What to say..  the finding of precisely what I was looking for with my life and the setting the internal compass accordingly.  The deep insight that presents from meeting an embodied paradox that is simultaneously the most aware and alive (by an astronomical distance to even the next most interesting people I know and that is saying something with the people I know) and at the same precise time the least mobile (can hardly walk) and has the most fucked nervous system and physical body.  All this and I teach physical training! Hahahahahaha.  Quite the koan, no?

The Fifth major turning points was the transmutation that happened to my that I am calling (at least for now) the reenchantment.  This process involved a permanent and very tangible transmutation.  This period also involved what I see now as the true genesis of Physical Alchemy as its own art.  The completion of this turning point was heralded by my taking my colleague and great friend Craig Mallet through the process and our subsequent resolution to focus our lives upon this reenchantment work.

The Sixth major turning point is where I am currently, so I will not talk about it now.  Having been through the above I can tell you that I can feel better the stages of these major cycles and I am at the very beginning of the current one.  I have some ideas as to where this one will lead but, as always, I am letting the process of this living current direct me.

3.  What role has injury played in cultivating your current niche?

The illness above (#2) played a crucial roll in what I do now.  It lead my studies into bodywork, health and rejuvenation methods.

Other smaller injuries have yielded insights into my own flaws in training – technique, mentality, non-listening to the body, etc.


4.  Do you consider yourself a teacher?  Why or why not?

Yes.  I am primarily a teacher of re-enchantment who just happens to use physical exercises as the prima materia for teaching because of personal preference and experience.  I consider myself a ‘Journeyman’ after 15 years of studies and practice – a small ‘t’ teacher.  Two of my teachers I would classify as capital ‘T’ teachers capable of teaching the full spectrum development of a human being.  I work towards this slowly and deliberately as the world needs more Teachers.

5.  What has been your experience with physical education, both in the schooling system and sought out knowledge/ know-how elsewhere?

The schooling system in Australia in the 80s/90s when I grew up was almost exclusively sport orientated and not taught well at all.  Not much has seemed to change and likely won’t until the sport-dominance goes.

I would say my physical education began in the martial arts at university (though I did much physical activity before).  My teacher then was a very good teacher and highly intelligent educator.  It was the training I always craved as a young lad and adolescent.

From my research and observation there are very few teachers currently in the physical realm who can teach at this level (though they may be able to teach the skills and capacities of their area very well)

6.  How do you involve your mind/ emotions into your physical routines?

I train these aspects via methods I have from my teachers and once they have been cultivated there they are relatively simple to put into physical routines.  So I guess you would say I develop them in isolation then blend them into physical practice where appropriate.

7.  What are your personal aspirations regarding movement?  How do you hope to find purpose and use in the skills you have built?

My aspirations mainly lie in the integration of physical practices with contemplative and alchemical methods I also practice.  This and the deepening of the methods I already have gives a very nice ‘progressing without grasping at goals’ flavor.  I can and have gone months and years with no physical training and it is not even the slightest problem when in the past it was a devastating attack of my self-image and quite depressing.  The purpose and use in my skills is to train to greater aid other humans in reenchantment via continuing to deeper my practice.  It is working very well and some of the results are very intriguing.

8.  How can people find/ contact you?  Do you have a site or social media handle to share?




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