Summer retreat in Araluen, December 14-21.
One solid week of camping, training, learning, exploring and awesome quiet times, in the beautiful Aussie bush of Araluen Valley, NSW, on the Deua River and Deua National Park.
Days are long in summer, so we will have time for three or four 1.5-3 hour movement sessions each day, plus rest times and dedicated space every afternoon to work on bushcraft skills.
Movement sessions each day will include a mix of “hard” and “soft” – or “external” and “internal” training: explorations of every part of the anatomy, learning simple effective tools for rehabilitating our physical ailments while developing strength, mobility, awareness, sensitivity and responsiveness through the entire body. These will also include explorations of the evolutionary history of each body part: the spine, the four limbs, the hands and feet, and the types of movements and different terrains and environments they have been adapted to over the millennia. Movements and anatomical traits we have in common with primates, other mammals, reptiles, fish, and even worms, primitive cell colonies and single-celled organisms, fungi, and plants, which help us feel, literally, the biological facts of our shared ancestry with the rest of the family of living organisms on the planet.
Simple breathing and meditation or awareness practices from various traditions, showing how these practices relate to fundamental human abilities in nonverbal communication, emotional regulation, bodily and spatial awareness, and how they can be practiced to progress from the most basic level to the most advanced.
Basic parkour, barefoot running, wrestling and BJJ, climbing, balancing, tumbling, partner and group games, juggling, acrobatics, contact improv, butoh exercises, capoeira, kali, and other martial arts.
Bushcraft and nature awareness practices including fire-by-friction, bush tucker and plant identification, weaving, basketry and rope or string making from natural fibres, primitive pottery, wood carving, stalking, and tracking.
Discussions of useful, relevant and fascinating aspects of human evolution, evolutionary biology, comparative anatomy and animal behavioural biology, neuroscience, anthropology and ecology will be infused throughout all of the practices each day, while the practices themselves work to anchor this learning deeply into our experience of the body and the rest of the natural world.
Our special guest teacher this time will be Daniel Sainty from Rewild Australia, returning again to retreat after several years. Dan is an amazing teacher of primitive skills, living the skills every day with his partner Danielle and their kids on a bush property in Yarrowitch, NSW, where they also run retreats. I’m not sure which skills he’ll be focusing on this time (so far I’ve heard mention of felting, ceramics, and I can’t remember what else…) but Dan also holds a black belt in Brasilian Jiujitsu, so we will definitely be getting some extra wrestling sessions in while he is with us.
Other guest teachers TBA!
The camp is minimal in terms of infrastructure, but open to people of all types of physical abilities and interests. Everyone is encouraged to try whatever they can, to enjoy rest whenever they need it, and every activity can be scaled according to each person’s abilities on the day.
COST: $1200, $900 concessions & regulars. A limited number of $600 volunteer spots will be available, but first preference for these will be given to returnees and regulars.
For bookings or more information email to
(Photo is of one of the local goannas, taken by the amazing and much-missed retreat regular Heike Qualitz)

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