Damo’s View and Study
Damo (Damien) Mitchell was born in the South of the UK in 1980. From the age of four he was immersed in the world of martial arts and from here he began his exploration of the nature of human consciousness and spirituality.
Damo has been studying the art of personal transformation through the martial, medical and spiritual arts of the east for over three decades now. This journey has taken him across Europe, America and the far East. For a period of ten years he lived with no real fixed abode and instead moved from place to place working on his arts. China and South East Asia were as much his home as the UK during this time though now he has settled in the South of Portugal.
Damo’s explorations took him into the Tibetan, Zen and Thai Buddhist traditions though he found himself drawn more and more towards the Daoist way of understanding life and existence. Though hesitant to identify himself as a ‘Daoist’ this is definitely the path which Damo follows and the place from which he draws his teachings. Numerous teachers and guides have been influential in his studies. He has been in and out of various lineages, spent time in temples and on mountains, lived with hermits and monks and now believes that the way exists somewhere between being a part of society and living slightly apart from it. This is the philosophy of ‘one foot in and one foot out’ which he tries to apply to his own way of life.
Damo’s studies have been through various phases. At one stage he identified with the martial community but now sees that the martial arts world is in such a state of disarray and infighting that progress within this world has become stagnant. In a similar manner the Qi Gong world is stuck in a rut of trying to ‘take the short route’ towards real skill as well as the accruing of more and more movements. Many shallow wells are being dug and nobody is finding water. The Chinese medical world is caught up in the mire of trying to make itself credible by turing itself into poor quality western medicine and so he has stepped away from such communities here as well. Instead his studies involve searching for those authentic masters that still remain as well as teaching within his own school that is part of no larger governing bodies. This independent group is focused upon the exploration of classical principles and teachings with an emphasis upon personal liberation and the development of virtuous expression of inner nature.
For three decades Damo studied the traditional arts and stayed true to the classical way of learning. Now he expresses these teachings in the classical manner and yet has no fear of passing these teachings through the lens of his own personal understanding. In this way his main wish is to try and uphold the original methods of the Daoist wisdom tradition whilst making it accessible and relevant to the modern world. This must happen without watering anything down or losing the essence of the arts. This means that his teachings are clear, accessible and yet still hard work with the classical requirement of consistent diligent study. He believes that all people are born equal, all should have the right to access means to elevate the spirit and no amount of skill can ever be seen as being as important as the expression of compassion to all living beings.
His teachings are a coming together of the martial arts mind and skill set with the clarity of meditative study and the service of Chinese medicine. The aim is to strike a balance between these arts and their ethos. Too far in any one direction and imbalance is generated. Compassion with an underlying foundation of strength and skill is Damo’s study and the goal of perfection in the arts remains unattainable and yet is always being sought. That is the nature of true spiritual study.