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David Lader is an experienced entrepreneur with a diverse background including martial arts, counseling, and real estate...
David is the founder of the Warrior's Dance system, and his interests include writing, sculpture, music, dance, history, and exercise physiology...
David has recently completed the full restoration of a 1922 home in Tucson that is now included on the local historic registry... Visit the documentary of this restoration on YouTube at "6th Avenue Restoration."
David Lader currently lives in Tucson with his wife and two children...
David Lader has both studied and practiced martial arts and dance for many years. He currently works as the head instructor at the Warrior’s Dance school in Tucson, Arizona. The Warrior’s Dance system is an art form that he developed himself; it uses music and dance to help students to train self defense in a more playful and gentle way. He drew on his experience in martial arts, dance, and yoga for inspiration, and he listened to his aging body. Having spent many years teaching and practicing Tae Kwon Do, he realized the demanding nature of traditional martial arts and was looking for a more reasonable way to warm up his body.
He explains that we have both “renewable” and “non-renewable” resources in our bodies. He considers our muscle tissue to be a renewable resource, and in various other articles, he writes about aging gracefully and how we can build brand new muscle tissue as long as we are alive. When we damage our joints and various connective tissues, however, he suggests that we have likely sustained irreparable damage, as these connective tissues are non-renewable resources. In Warrior’s Dance, therefore, he is very meticulous about proper posture, biomechanics, and safe training methods.
He is also involved in the Tucson real estate market. Partnering with long-time friend Ken Lebsock, a local real estate developer, they opened Daken in 2004. In 2007, he and Lebsock founded Rovin, and, in 2013 he opened Linoa, his own real estate development firm.
Most important to David Lader, however, is his family. He and his wife Asa have two children, Linnea and Noah. He is very involved in raising his children, and he tries to stay healthy and active.
David Lader has always had a wide range of interests; he has been a student of many disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, counseling, martial arts, dance, and exercise science. Growing up in Cleveland, he had various jobs, including paper boy, landscaper, and pizza maker. His most memorable childhood work experience was volunteering at the Montefiore Nursing Home as an aid to the residents.
A Diverse Education
David Lader’s higher education began at Cornell University in 1982. Here he received a Bachelor of Arts degree that combined anthropology, sociology, and cross-cultural psychology. Areas of focus included Native American, Japanese, and South Asian cultures. He attended the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in 1986 and studied South Asian Philosophy and Religious Systems. His favorite coursework during this time was Buddhist Studies, and he was awarded First Class British Honors Distinction for his respective work.
During his time in London, he took his first formal training in dance. This would become more valuable in life later on as he developed his Warrior’s Dance system. He studied ballet at the Royal Ballet School in Covent Gardens, London where he began to develop a broader concept of what real “core” strength could look like. He speaks about the manner in which his dance instructor, who was very small in stature, was capable of demonstrating extremely powerful, sophisticated, and technically accurate martial arts kicks. Already a fairly accomplished Tae Kwon Do practitioner himself at the time, he was both humbled and inspired by his teacher’s balance, coordination, strength, and flexibility.
Several years later, after continuing to pursue his interest in martial arts, David Lader decided to go back to school to earn his master’s degree. He graduated from the University of Phoenix with his master’s degree in counseling. Through his internship at El Rio Behavioral Health Center, Tucson, AZ, he gained experience with intakes, crisis counseling, and group therapy. He continued his work with the facility after graduating, this time spending almost two years working with the Outpatient Life Skills Group for severely mentally ill (SMI) adults. He describes working with the SMI population as one of the most rewarding counseling experiences of his career. He explains how he found it very straightforward to facilitate growth and change in these clients due to their relatively undeveloped facades as well as their lack of interest in “image management.” He says it was a pleasure to speak directly to their hearts without so much superficial “intellectualizing” that he found in other types of counseling populations.
Growing as a Martial Artist and Entrepreneur
Upon graduating from Cornell University, David Lader moved to Elmont, New York. During the day he worked as an account executive for ADP, but during the evenings and weekends, he trained in Tae Kwon Do at the United Chung Do Kwon Home School, Floral Park, New York, with Master Hyun Ok Shin. While furthering his own training, he also started his own martial arts club to work with others. He earned his first Dan Black Belt in 1987 with Master Shin.
Shortly thereafter, he moved to Burlington, Vermont where he opened three Tae Kwon Do Clubs over the next few years. He also began working and training at The Fitness Advantage in Essex Junction, Vermont to become a personal trainer. From 2001 until 2004 he was certified as both a group and personal trainer by the American Council on Exercise. By this time he had already begun to integrate his knowledge of biomechanics, classical ballet, traditional martial arts, and exercise science. The combination of these disciplines would continue to inspire him in his early development of the Warrior’s Dance system.
Moving back to Cleveland in 1989, David Lader continued to share his passion for martial arts and further his training. He opened his fourth school in Solon, Ohio. Grandmaster Shin, whom he had studied with in New York, traveled to the school every four months to test students for new rankings. In 1991, Lader earned his second degree black belt, and, subsequently, his third, fourth, and fifth degree black belts after moving to Tucson, Arizona. It was also here that he opened his fifth traditional Korean martial arts school, The Dojang. He retired from teaching Tae Kwon Do in 2004 and sold his school, but during his 13 years there he trained hundreds of students and produced more than 30 black belt instructors.
Aiding Others Through Counseling
After leaving his position at the El Rio Behavioral Health Center, David Lader opened his own private counseling practice in 1999. Through his education and training he had become a Nationally Certified Counselor. His focus was on working with adults, and he provided counseling for couples, and adults who suffered from severe mental illness. In addition to running his own practice, he also worked at The Center for Life Skills in Tucson facilitating anger management and substance abuse groups. Up until he retired from counseling in 2004, he had remained an active member of The American Counseling association since 1994.
It was after he retired as a Tae Kwon Do instructor and counselor that he began to focus exclusively on his real estate investments as well as the ongoing development of Warrior’s Dance.
Life Outside of Work
When he is not busy working in real estate or teaching Warrior’s Dance, David Lader enjoys spending time with his family. He does his best to stay healthy and fit. He likes to swim, cycle, and lift weights, and he eats a mostly “paleo” diet. He spends a lot of his time doing service work in the community through a spiritual fellowship that he participates in regularly. Though he has a very busy life, he tries to keep things as simple as possible. He adores his family and friends, and he values good humor and “down time.” He finds music very relaxing and has recently begun learning to play classical piano. He also loves to sing and plays a variety of other instruments including guitar, Native American flute, and the blues harp. David Lader enjoys speaking and writing about quality living. Visit him at davidlader.blogspot.com to learn more.
Having retired as a Tae Kwon Do instructor, David Lader continues to pursue his interest in developing Warrior’s Dance, and he enjoys teaching the art form to others at Flor De Liz Dance. To help others gain a better understanding and appreciation for this martial arts training system, he has produced two videos featuring the practice. The first was completed in 2003 and is a Warrior’s Dance training DVD, and the second was released in 2013; it is a video montage of how Warrior’s Dance is currently practiced. While the first DVD was strictly designed to be used as an exercise tool, the recent piece was produced more as an artistic demonstration. He intends to continue developing Warrior’s Dance as well as prepare students to become master instructors in their own right.
Though no longer involved in Daken, LLC, he continues to manage Rovin’s real estate interests for both himself and partner Ken Lebsock. He also intends to continue purchasing residential properties in the Tucson area for investment purposes with Linoa, LLC.
David Lader speaks and writes about the challenges of trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. He considers how he can actively raise his children, spend quality time with his spouse, stay physically and emotional healthy, earn a living, serve the community, and make time to play and learn. He uses humor to describe this very imperfect balancing act.
Lader’s wife and children are fluent in Swedish, as Asa grew up in Sweden and is committed to raising the kids with both languages. David and Asa often entertain the idea of relocating their family to Sweden some day, though it would be a difficult decision, considering their many meaningful ties to the Tucson community.
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