David Lader Bio

David Lader, Martial Artist and Teacher

David Lader Warrior's Dance

David Lader

What’s the difference between “wellness” and “fitness?”  This question reflects a key area of interest for professional Martial Arts Instructor David Lader.  Mr. Lader has been teaching martial arts throughout the U.S. for over almost 30 years, and his unique approach to instruction has been the result of an unusually diverse background in martial arts as well as various other movement disciplines.  Mr. Lader has also brought intellectual, philosophical, and even spiritual components to his classes through the years.  His concern for providing safe, efficient, and productive learning environments has led him to closely examine what we commonly refer to as “wellness” and “fitness…”

David Lader and Sustainable Training

David Lader suggests that the notion of “fitness” tends to describe more of a sport-specific training paradigm, while “wellness” is the result of broader lifestyle choices that result in an overall sense of health and vitality.  While the terms generally differ in their connotations, they are certainly not mutually exclusive.  Lader’s concern is that martial arts training geared specifically for sport and/or demonstration is more likely to result in overuse injuries and connective tissue damage.  He says that our obsession with “looking good” and winning can become a profound distraction from more responsible, moderate, and effective approaches to physical training that result in fitness and wellness.  Lader is passionate about designing intense, demanding, and uncomfortable training regimens that practitioners can handle well into their senior years – he calls this type of training “sustainable training.”  He says “Older folks want to play too, and they need to be able to defend themselves as well!”

A Holistic Approach to Martial Arts Practice

David Lader’s multi-faceted background in martial arts, dance, and exercise physiology has led him to develop martial arts training curricula that emphasize core strength, proper recovery, and good nutrition.  His classes are designed to develop integrated, functional strength throughout the entire body.  He says the major muscle groups must “sing in harmony…”  Students must work on flexibility, stamina, strength, speed, and coordination.  They learn that they can continue to strengthen muscle tissue as long as they live.  Lader describes muscle tissue as a “renewable resource.”  He describes connective tissue, on the other hand, as a “non-renewable resource.”  He helps students learn proper posture and biomechanics such that they will preserve connective tissue, develop strong muscles, and move gracefully and powerfully in the process.  According to Lader, “to move gracefully is to move efficiently, and to move efficiently requires lifelong training in breath control and coordinated limb movements ‘through the core.’  Subsequently, practitioners can move with great speed and focus while, at the same time, be very mentally calm and poised.  This sort of ‘moving meditation’ can be an extremely pleasant spiritual experience while, simultaneously, proving deadly for the attacker who has mistaken the practitioner for a victim…”

David Lader, A Student

David Lader graduated from Cornell University in 1986 with an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts Degree in Cultural Anthropology, Cross-Cultural Psychology, and Sociology.  His focus areas were Native American, Japanese, and South Asian cultures.  His coursework brought him to The University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies in 1985, where he was awarded First Class British Honors in South Asian Religion and Buddhist Studies.

Mr. Lader often speaks about his life-long fascination with the history and propagation of martial arts systems throughout the world.  He has also read extensively on the subjects of early human civilizations and the migration of modern humans out of Africa over the last 50,000 years.

Mr. Lader earned his Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Phoenix in 1998 and went into private practice shortly thereafter.  He studied many martial arts systems through the years including Muay Thai, Hapkido, Jutitsu, Karate, Gung fu, Akido, Judo, Savate, Capoeira, Tai-Chi, Hsing-I, and Pa Kua.  He also studied various Yoga styles as well as classical ballet at the Royal Ballet School in London.  Lader also became a certified personal and group fitness trainer with the American Council on Exercise (ACE).  This background in exercise science, biomechanics, and human anatomy helped him to develop his own martial arts training protocols and, ultimately, his own system – Warrior’s Dance.


David Lader, Founder of Warrior’s Dance


While David Lader was actively teaching traditional Tae Kwon Do at The Dojang, A Martial Arts Community in Tucson, he also began developing Warrior’s Dance, his signature training system.  Warrior’s Dance was, essentially, the culmination of Lader’s unusually diverse background as a martial artist, dancer, academic, and professional counselor.  From about 1995 until the present, Warrior’s Dance has become far more than a system of self defense – it is now a way for practitioners to become physically powerful and highly functional into their senior years…  It is an ongoing study of “internal” martial arts, wellness, and general fitness.  For David Lader and his students, Warrior’s Dance is both an intellectual inquiry and an artistic expression.  It is about fellowship and community, and it is a place to safely explore what efficient movement looks like and feels like.  Lader says, “Warrior’s Dance students without a sense of humor don’t last.  Those who take themselves too seriously don’t last.  Those who whine and ‘play victim’ have no place, for they are ‘toxic.’  Warrior’s Dance is deadly serious and totally playful, depending on what is appropriate in the moment.”  Lader writes, “The difference between ‘childlike’ and ‘childish’ is simply a matter of timing.  There’s a time to laugh, a time to weep, a time to play, and a time to train.  Anyone can learn to fight.  Knowing when to engage, or not, separates impulsive young soldiers from wise old warriors.”

So what does David Lader do when he isn’t working?

David Lader lives in Tucson with his wife Åsa and their two young children, Linnea and Noah.  When David is not relaxing with his family, teaching Warrior’s Dance, or working with Rovin LLC, his real estate development company, he’s busy with many hobbies and interests… David is a student of classical piano, and his favorite composers are Beethoven and Chopin.  He also loves to sing and play guitar, Native American flute, and blues harp.  David enjoys abstract photography, wood carving, reading historical fiction and early human history, writing, travel, cycling, swimming, hiking, cinema, and cooking.  David is also very open about his daily spiritual practice, and he spends time each day engaging in what he refers to as “conscious contact,” which he explains is really about being “present” and “awake.”

David Lader



David M. Lader Tucson

Here are some other interesting places you can visit to meet David Lader…

David’s Blog

David’s Professional Bio

David’s Personal Bio

David’s Real Estate Investments

David on Vimeo

Here are some of David’s more recent blog posts:


David M Lader Tucson (Warrior’s Dance)

Warrior’s Dance Video

Warrior’s Dance 2013 from David lader on Vimeo.

Warrior’s Dance is a powerful marriage of martial arts and dance.  Traditional martial arts systems have evolved historically as warriors and spiritual seekers have experimented with and experienced the effects of various ways of moving. These systems originated as inspired students were moved by and connected with a sense of power seemingly related to a certain source of our consciously incomprehensible universe.  Perhaps no one is able to transmit such a sense of connection to another, as it is so very personal in nature.  Studying others’ movements, however, may provide us with opportunities to glimpse, or begin to consciously appreciate, this sense of connection, thus inspiring students of movement to become masterful in their own right.

To authentically cultivate such mastery, we learn to trust our deeper intuitions, continually surrendering our thoughts, feelings, and bodies with a heightened sensitivity.  Consequently, we feel as though we are moved by a power far greater than ourselves.

Our breath seems inexorably linked to this process. Just as the belly of a sleeping infant rises and falls so gently and perfectly, we become unconscious to the deep and fearless breathing that comes from our center. As students of Warrior’s Dance, we close our eyes and breathe as such.  Subsequently, our bodies seem softly moved.  We become conduits, no longer trying to manage or control ourselves.  Instead of being in charge, we feel a sense of harmony with a seemingly vast source of energy.

Warrior’s Dance is a way to prepare for battle.  It is a dynamic practice of relaxing and contracting, inhaling and exhaling, yielding and engaging.  Our bodies learn to assume the stances, postures, and shapes of warriors, often floating in momentary elegance, though only in preparation for imminent and intense engagements with our adversary.  Paradoxically, we let go to connect, thus allowing energy to flow through us as we move.  In so doing, we do not so much fight as dance to protect ourselves with the assistance of a much greater authority.

Our teachers demonstrate the shapes and biomechanics of warriors and speak about sensitivity, softening, and yielding, though it is up to each student to ultimately establish their own forms. This seems to be the only way for martial arts to be energetically authentic.  Other systems may be relatively effective via brute force, or by accident, due to their close approximation of the movements of genuinely inspired masters.  To truly develop degrees of mastery in the martial arts, however, students must cultivate their own relationships with energy as it manifests in their warrior shapes.  Mindful students ask themselves why they are learning these warrior shapes at all, and how their training might be of service to others.  If we ignore these questions, we risk falling into the unthinking ranks of rigid soldiers, driven by fear and obedience.  In contrast, students of Warrior’s Dance are inspired by faith, respect, and love.  We move and dance with power far greater than ourselves; we become authentic warriors in every way.


David M. Lader

What Prospective Homeowners Look for in a Neighborhood

Buying a new home is a big step and a decision that is long-term.  Although the quality of the actual home and property are highly considered, there is another factor that plays an important role in prospective homeowner decisions to buy… the neighborhood.

Real estate agents, such as Tucson’s David Lader, have found that people pay a great deal of attention to the surrounding area of homes as much as they do the actual properties.  Various elements are strongly considered by home shoppers, and here are some of the top considerations for what makes a “great neighborhood.”


It’s been said countless times, a good property is all about “location, location, location”!  The majority of home hunters seek a property that is relatively near to their job or to a good transportation route which leads to their place of employment.  Since the workplace is where the majority of working homeowners spend their time, they want close access to it.

Therefore, neighborhoods that are located in areas with high paying jobs or that are plenteous in employment are magnets for home seekers.  This makes even greater sense these days when gas prices are rising and traffic is increasingly horrendous, making commuting a nightmare.

Progressive Neighbors

There are basically two types of neighborhoods, those that have inactive neighbors and go “to pot” quickly, and those whose neighbors are progressive and take action to better their surroundings (pride of ownership).  Neighborhoods provide much more than simply a place to hang a hat.  The surroundings must be considered for various reasons.  Families have children that play in neighborhoods which must provide a safe haven and peace of mind.  Homeowners also need attractive surroundings into which family members, friends and other visitors can be proudly invited.

Having progressive neighbors, therefore, is a strong element in the home buying process.  Progressive neighbors are continually looking for ways to improve their overall surroundings.  Such people beautify parks, keep lawns and landscapes in attractive order, add friendly shops and services, and watch out for each other so that unscrupulous people feel out of place.

Good Schools

Another important neighborhood issue that David Lader and other real estate investors must consider are good quality schools.  Most prospective homeowners either already have families or are planning on starting them.  Good schools, therefore, are at the top of their priority list.

A plus with new home shoppers is that good quality schools are located close to the homes in which they are interested.  Economics has a lot to do with this since prices continue to escalate, making constant trips to school and school functions expensive.  Safety also comes into play, as parents feel much more comfortable if their children are nearby and don’t have to run a gauntlet of dangers commuting back and forth to school.  Finally, neighborhoods with better schools tend to attract buyers with more education, and this appeals to many home seekers.

Martial Arts Is For Everyone

Many people share a concern that martial arts classes may teach them to be aggressive and may cause them to pick up other unpleasant qualities. Collectively, however, we are in desperate need of physical engagements that stimulate both body and mind, and martial arts study can do just that. Instead of wasting away in front of our computers and televisions, folks can get involved in beneficial programs such as Warrior’s Dance which instructors like David M Lader use to teach intricate and flowing moves combined with sharp mental focus.  Here are some specific reasons why anyone should consider practicing martial arts.

Physical Activity – A majority of people today don’t exercise enough, which has led to obesity in epidemic proportions.  Martial arts gives students a meaningful and interesting reason to get 30-60 minutes of required exercise several times a week.

Self-Discipline – One of the key initiatives of martial arts training is the development of strict discipline and self-restraint in its students.

Self-Esteem – People are often challenged with various life situations that can leave them struggling with low self-esteem.  Martial arts can help students to develop greater confidence through routine positive reinforcement.  This confidence often serves students throughout their lives.

Respect – In addition to martial arts classes teaching people to value themselves, classes also teach students to respect others.  Students who train in the martial arts regularly, such as in the classes taught by David Lader, develop not only a better sense of self, but the ability to be in relationship with others in a more dignified fashion.

Socializing – In today’s electronically-driven society, it’s very easy for people to fall into bad habits that have them spending hours in front of a television or computer.  Martial arts classes provide students with opportunities to broaden their social networks and try something new and exciting.

In addition to teaching students to adequately and effectively defend themselves, martial arts training can also provide practitioners with various life skills that may well serve them in myriad situations.  Martial arts classes, such as those taught by  David Lader at the Warrior’s Dance School, are a meaningful and positive way to break out of dreary daily routines.

Health Benefits of Martial Arts Training

Various forms of martial arts are practiced by David Lader and others who generally seek the many broad benefits that come from routine training. Though martial art styles vary dramatically, practicing any form of martial arts can help you develop your self-defense skills so that you may be better prepared to face a variety of dangers that exist in our society today.  Given today’s growing atmosphere of assault and violence, learning such skills may be a worthwhile consideration.

In addition to learning how to defend  yourself from unscrupulous attackers, however, martial arts can also provide a variety of additional benefits.  Even if you never have to utilize your martial arts skills in an adversarial situation, you can still develop to be a much healthier person as you train as a martial artist over time.

Change Body Composition

With obesity on the rise in the US, many people are looking for ways to improve their body composition.  There are only two methods to effectively accomplish this task.  You either have to reduce the amount of calories you take in, or you have to increase activity and burn more calories than you consume.  Actually, the best and safest way to become healthy, and stay that way, is by combining the two methods through a healthier diet and consistent exercise program, and martial arts training can be an effective and meaningful way to increase your activity.

Improved Cardiovascular Health

Martial arts training can greatly improve your cardiovascular health.  David Lader, through his teaching of Warrior’s Dance, for instance, helps push his students to their safe cardiovascular limits during the dynamic, playful, and intense routines typical to his training method.  Quality martial arts instructors will always focus on good breathing practices as well as challenging students to train both their hearts and lungs effectively.

Better Muscle Tone

The exercises and muscular control required by martial arts training will increase your muscle mass and functional strength.  The rigorous training and exercises that you perform in martial arts classes will help to increase your metabolic rate which, in turn, works to burn more calories.  Again, burning calories is a major component of developing a healthier body composition.  More muscle requires more energy to exist, so the more muscle mass you have, the more efficiently your body will burn calories.

Brighter Attitude

Another wonderful benefit of practicing martial arts is a brighter mood.  In our hectic, fast-paced society, it’s easy to slip into depression, develop anxieties, or even become resentful.  Research has shown, however, that regular exercise can dramatically and positively effect the way our various neurotransmitters operate.  These “highs” can last for hours after an exercise routine has been completed.