the legacy continues...
The Complete Guide To The Internal Martial & Healing Arts
Combat and Healing Volume 63 December 2011 Editor
ÂŠDecember2011NasserButt/Combat&Healing. All Rights Reserved.
The points of view represented here are solely those of the authorsâ€™ concerned. You do not have to subscribe to them if you do not wish. Nor is their inclusion here necessarily an endorsement by the WTBA or the Erle Montaigue System.
Erle & Eli Photography Nasser Butt ÂŠ 2009
EDITOR Nasser Butt Email: CombatandHealing@gmail.com Tel: +44(0)7792242150 +44(0)1162708730 83 The Fairway, Oadby, Leicester LE2 2HP England, UK http://www.fajing-chuan.co.uk
COPYRIGHT All articles, images & logos appearing in this publication are protected under international copyright law. Please do not copy, reproduce or redistribute without prior written consent of the copyright owners. All photography by Nasser Butt, unless stated otherwise.
The Thirteen Tai Chi Postures & Their Meanings Erle Montaigue
Standing Three Circles Qigong Eli Montaigue
The Art of Teaching and Learning Tai Chi Josephine Anderson
USA 2011 Workshop - Report Nasser Butt
A Walk Down The Street Gord Hill
Foundation Camp Magic... Eli Montaigue
Classical Tai Chi Martial Arts Vs. Non-Classical Erle Montaigue
WTBA Summer Camp 2011 - A Photo Report Nasser Butt
On Magical Energies & All That Jazz.. Nasser Butt
WTBA Diary & Events 2012
Erle teaching the Dim-Mak Cornerstones, 2008.
belied his young years. Yes... Erle has left us in good hands and the future of the WTBA is secure!
The months are flying by... summer has given way to autumn and the nights have already begun to draw in rapidly! This time last year, I was busy looking forwards to the upcoming US workshop with Erle, in Pensalvaniya and preparing for the summer camp in the UK. They have both come and gone, and I had never imagined that I’d be attending both events without Erle... yet I did!
Sandy, Ben, Kathleen & Eli have been amazing this past year. Erle’s website - Taiji World continues to grow and Ben has painstakingly revamped the entire site to make it a more user friendly experience.
I first met Eli sometime around 2001, when he accompanied Erle during one of his annual European & USA tours. I remember this shy, skinny teenager who didn’t say much and almost appeared to be embarrassed by all the attention he was getting. Yet here, a decade on, I witnessed this young boy turn into a man as he stepped out of the shadows to take charge of the WTBA and his father’s legacy just as Erle had wished. Both, the US workshop and the summer camp, were a huge success (see reports) and highly emotive affairs. Erle may not have been there physically but his spirit was certainly alive and present. The atmosphere at both events was electric, as Eli continued from where Erle had left off with an authority that
There will be further additions to the Moontagu catalogue over the coming months so watch this space for updates. An “Official Bootleg” series is due to be released soon, consisting of Erle’s Instructors Workshops as they happened. These were filmed by myself over the last 2-3 years and will provide a great insight into how Erle taught his instructors and his eclectic teaching methods - a must for any serious student of the Erle Montaigue system. Sandy, Ben & Eli kindly gave their go ahead for this series to be produced and will ONLY be available directly from Moontagu via the usual channels. Ben will be setting up a page for the series as it becomes available over the coming weeks and months. I hope that people will find the series to be invaluable.
I am still receiving emails asking whether C&H will continue to be published? YES! C&H will continue to be published, however, the frequency of publication (quarterly) that I had originally envisaged may not be achievable yet. We need more people to write articles!! These could consist of simply sharing training ideas with colleagues around the world or insights from our more experienced practitioners for the beginners! I will republish some of Erle’s older articles in the forthcoming magazines, as they will serve as an important reminder to us all as to what it’s all about! I would also like to receive reports from all the major camps that Eli’s doing around the world, particularly in Australia, Canada & Europe. So, any budding reporters, please grab your laptops or if you wish to do it the old fashioned way - a pen and paper and get writing. This is a great way to keep the WTBA family connected. This will be the last issue for 2011. The next issue will be released in January 2012 and will be a special edition commemorating the 1st anniversary of Erle’s passing shocking as it may sound, it has been that long! I still find myself picking up the phone to ask him something and then realizing my folly! So, if anyone wishes to contribute towards that issue, then please let me have your articles no later then the end of December 2011. You can also contribute with old photographs if you like. Let’s make sure that Erle’s legacy continues to grow in the years to come, so that future generations may, also, benefit from the wealth of knowledge that he so generously left behind... we owe him that! I wish everyone a peaceful Christmas and a happy new year. May your lives be filled with love and friendships, and all your wishes come true!
The Thirteen Tai Chi Postures & Their Meanings (Originally published March 1998)
Erle Montaigue The thirteen postures were the original postures of the first attempts to put together a single set in H'ao Ch'uan which later became known as Taijiquan. Those thirteen postures remain today and in fact they remain more so in advanced push hands and they are... Tai Chi Posture No. 1 (P'eng: Yin defence) Using P'eng jing, you are able to ward off any kind of attack using a 'yin' method. This also acts as a sensor, which can then be turned into an attacking yang hand. It is said that if you only learn about one kind of jing, then this should be it. On a physical sense, the arm is held as if holding a tree, slantingly upwards. In push hands this gives one the idea of how to use the posture of P'eng. Most people make the mistake of holding the arm in the correct position but then lifting the whole arm upward. The elbow should stay where it is while the wrist is lifted upwards slantingly. This 'lift' the attacker's Qi causing him to feel like he is 'floating' making it easy for you to then attack to vital points. Tai Chi Posture No. 2 (Lu: Or to Rollback) This is also a yin, however it is an attack. Both of your hands attach to the attacker's arm or any part of his body. Your own body then moves from the centre (very important) activating the lower tantien area. Using the 'no-mind' state, this will have the effect of joining with his Qi and causing him to topple forward past you. As he does this, your yin hand, that which is turned upward, immediately turns into a yang striking hand and strikes with great force using his own falling power against him. Tai Chi Posture No. 3 (Chee) A Yang attacking motion, means to 'Squeeze'. Most people get this translation wrong and call it 'press'. However the Chinese character means to squeeze. Again, the power comes from the centre at lower tantien. The elbows are squeezed inward as the lower tantien also squeezes. Just like when you squeeze a tube of toothpaste. One hand is placed inside of the other's wrist and is yin while the other is yang. As both hands attack, they change shape and thus state forcing great adverse Qi into the attacker's vital points. This must be a
whole body movement however and not only an arm movement. Tai Chi Posture No. 4 (Arn) This posture is normally called to push. However this is also incorrect as it means to 'press'. This is again a yang attacking movement coming from the whole body issuing yin and yang Qi into the attacker's vital points on his chest. Many make the mistake of looking after their legs when they hear about not being 'double weighted' but neglect their hands. Never in Taijiquan is there a two-handed strike or attack using the same power in each hand at the same time. There is a 'fa-jing' shake of the waist causing one hand to strike just before the other. The hands are firstly yin, then yang thus releasing yang Qi into the attacker. The above methods are the four primary methods. As a general rule, P'eng jing is the major jing used in all of the others. P'eng is moving Qi while Lu is 'collecting Qi', Chee is receiving Qi while Arn is striking Qi. Although both are used to strike. If your technique is not good and any of your four main methods have been defeated, then you must use one of the four corner methods, as the form main methods are the four primary directions. Tai Chi Posture No. 5 (Tsai) Sometimes called 'inch energy'. Like picking fruit off a tree with a snap of the wrist. Often on hand will be placed right on top of the other wrist to assist in the power of this jerking motion. It is not a pull of his wrist but rather a violent jerking fa-jing movement that can knock him out by its violent action upon his head jerking backwards and kinking his brain stem. Again, the power must come from the centre and not only from the arms and hands, and a follow up attack is also necessary. Tai Chi Posture No. 6 (Lieh) Sometimes called 'split'. This one has a physical meaning and an internal meaning. The physical meaning is when your "Lu" has been defeated; you can turn it into (from a corner position) Lieh. You break his energy between his elbow and his shoulder and his wrist, thus forcing his own Qi back onto him via his shoulder, which physically is torn out of its socket. On an internal level, this is often called 'the small strike Qi' as a strike is issued from very close to the opponent. You split his power up into two by measuring the space taken by his body and that of between yourself and his body. This is a very advanced method as if you get the distance wrong, then you will be defeated. You can then issue great attacking force with only one hand from a very short distance.
Tai Chi Posture No. 7 (Chou) This is often called 'elbow': This is where we use the very devastating elbow strike. Many say that it is a second line of defence/attack in that it can only be used when you are quite close to the attacker, perhaps after your initial hand strike has been defeated. However, I like to use elbow strike as a primary strike by using one of the many 'opening up' methods first. Tai Chi Posture No. 8 (K'ao) Often called 'Shoulder strike: This method is used as a third line of defence and can be quite lethal used at the correct distance. The power must again come from the centre using the power of the legs and waist together. Shoulder can be used from the front or from the back depending upon the type of attack the your are receiving. If for instance is it a pull down where you right shoulder is being pulled to your right, then you would use the front part of the shoulder. If however, the attack pulled you to your left and there was no time to use the front part, you would turn right around so that the scapular part of your right shoulder could then slam into his chest using fa-jing.
The Five other tai chi postures. The last five postures are really not postures but rather directions. So during push hands we have move forward, move backward, look right , gaze left and central equilibrium. We use move forward in order to not only attack using a Yang movement such as press or elbow, but also in defense when he attacks our centre so that we can avoid his full force and reattack as he goes past. Move backward, is also an attacking movement such as when we attack his arm using 'choy'; or roll back or arm break and it is obviously a defensive movement when we are moving backwards in order to lessen his attack. loo right and gaze left are also defensive and attacking postures in that we move the body so that our eyes can look right and gaze left during the use of p'eng. The last one of central equilibrium means 'earth power' and although it can mean that we simply have the necessary balance, it also means the power that we gain from the ground.
Standing Three Circles Qigong Eli Montaigue
To me, standing Qigong is possibly the most important thing to start your journey in the internal martial arts. And yet it the part most people spend the least time training in, because it’s too hard, and boring. Whether you’re more interested in the healing or the martial side of the arts, standing Qigong is the place to start.
The three main things standing Qigong will do for you, is to build, balance and unblock your Qi. Most people will have some form of Yin or Yang imbalance. The Qigong stance is a physically perfect balance of left and right, and Yin and Yang. So by holding it, your Qi will follow what you’re doing, and so it will re-balance to a normal level. You may notice while standing, one hand might drop lower than the other, this is a left and right imbalance, so correct the physical, and your Qigong will follow. Creating a higher than normal Qi flow, through bringing up Qi from your Dan Tien, and also from the earth, will one, fill your body with more Qi, so you will feel full of energy. And two, by doing this you will unblock your meridians. Think of a blocked up hose, if it’s full of gunk, and you just let a bit of water trickle through it, the gunk will never clear. But blast a high current of water through and all the gunk will be cleared.
Everything else in your training, Tai Chi form, push hands, fighting form etc. will all be only external movements in the beginning. You can not get internal Qi activation in these things until you have taking them to a high level, which takes many years for most. Through that time, you’re working on perfecting the physical movements, gaining fitness flexibility and strength etc.
So when you put a high current of Qi through your body, the same thing happens, you clear out the channels. So in everyday life, you will have a smooth and clear flow of Qi through out your body.
HOW LONG AND WHEN TO PERFORM QIGONG
Your Qigong however will start working on your Qi right from the start, as it’s just a stance, as long as you have someone put you in it right, then you’ll get Qi activation from it. Where is in forms etc it takes years to get right, and only then will you start to get some Qi flow. Qi will also flow better the less active your mind is, so if you’re stressed out and thinking about loads of things, you won’t get the Qi flowing. So again, with forms, if you’ve not perfected the movements, then you’ll be thinking about how to do them. But with Qigong all you have to do is stand there, and so is much easier to get into a no mind state. Your mind uses more Qi than just about anything else, so to switch it off means that all that Qi can be used to circulate through the body, cleansing and healing.
You should do your Qigong for at least 20 minutes morning and night for the first 5 years of your training. When I got serious about my training at age 14, I would with out fail stand for at least 20 to 30 minutes morning and night till I was about 19. From then I felt very balanced and strong, and my other training had come to a level where I was able to build Qi from it – But I still did my Qigong quite regularly.
This is why you shake when doing Qigong as a beginner – it is the Qi trying to break through the blocked areas.
Now, age 25, my form has become very internal, small frame, and I can get out of my form what I use to only get from my Qigong, and even more so, as moving Qigong such as the Tai Chi form is a higher level of Qigong. But I still do my standing, as I feel it is such a great strength and Qi building method.
HOW IT WORKS (view picture below) Standing Qigong works by having the knees bent, to create heat under the Dan Tien. This stimulates the Qi to rise up from the Dan Tien and flow through the body. The structure then held by the body and arms helps to open up the meridian Channels through out the body. Qi is always flowing through your body, by doing Qigong we’re only opening up the channels and enhancing that flow.
If you’re serious about your Internal energy development for what ever reason, get into standing three circle Qigong!
Editor’s Note: Photograph appears courtesy of Eli Montaigue.
The Art of Teaching and Learning Tai Chi Josephine Anderson
The most obvious point one can make after many years of
of more postures, or at the same pace that she would with others less stiff, would draw the student’s attention instead to the nucleus of the body, and to the ordinary and natural circles of movement that the core might express. She would address the rigidities of fear and uncertainty, that is, through a return to action that is as completely familiar as it is rounding and expansive. For example, the teacher could refer the student to the internal principles of daily actions like washing a plate, stirring a pot of soup, or taking a walk. One circle in the washing or stirring leads, by dint of momentum, to the next; the intrinsic rhythm of taking one step leads to another, each successive movement so reciprocal, so responsive, that one cannot know where one begins and the other ends, except by way of referring back to the circle, to movement widening out from the center of its force to the circumference of a gathering force. One would then draw the student’s attention back to the Tai Chi form, counterpoised against the recollection of this primal motility, to ascertain how certain relations are established (synchronous orbits so to speak) between the shoulders and the hips, the hands and the feet, the elbows and the knees, the head and the sacrum. The details of form would be instilled in the student who has had difficulty performing for another, then, by virtue of a performance for something other than another; the imagined task, grafted onto form, which is there in order to reproduce real movement. And so, by becoming more mindful of the routine, the preoccupation with the image of herself, that thing which she has privileged by way of trying to hide it, may dwindle as the focus of concern, and the long process of recovering herself may break out in an overdue sense of release, of tension dissipating through the ebbs and flows of natural action to exceed and overwhelm the carefully orchestrated fragmentation of her self-conscious movement. Something fuller may click and fall into place.
teaching Tai Chi is that acquiring an internal discipline can never be a matter merely of learning a particular posture, followed by another, and another, in discrete chain-like sequence. Tai Chi is living organic form, a cipher for the movement of creation itself. The problem, however, is that one must teach; one must frequently convey by interrupted means the thing that is primarily cursive. And so, when the pedagogical process resolves form into distinct forms, the teacher understands that the teaching approaches from the outside only, imposing upon the student, in excess of her ability to ‘catch up with each thing,’ the abstraction of a shape without context or meaning. The teacher also knows that the student will rise to the task set, by an act of accommodation, and that the teaching, therefore, will necessarily miss out on the opportunity to work with the true internal reality of the student -- the lopsidedness of being that might begin the counterbalance; the tension of incomplete and faulty parts that might reinitialize and explode old habits. How, then, does the teacher of Tai Chi get beyond the posturing of her teaching to reclaim the inherent fertility and fluidity of her art? The true role of the teacher in “bringing forth” intervenes whenever the form, stratified through instruction, fails to stir the student’s unbalanced core. The teacher herself must stimulate the internal dialectic by an act of human empathy, teasing, by her will, when sacrificed to the needs of the other, the flow from a rebalanced core. And so, by an interpersonal redeployment of elements of Yin or of Yang, the Tai Chi form is made fluid again. The disjointed parts unwittingly release themselves. And if they move far enough toward shaping what lies behind our extreme posturings, then the student may well come to grasp the essence of Tai Chi, the continual attempt of life to balance itself out -- life as healing. Another form of stiffness is presented by the top heavy male. Here, the upper body is set in a position of privilege at the In my work, I am interested primarily in the genesis and range expense of the lower regions. Here, the male in question lacks a of stiff motion, its archaic frigidity, as when a small female, sense of how upright position comes into being in its most who has been cowed all her life, becomes unsure of her rooted, most pliant, and therefore, most powerful expression, movements, trying to hold them tightly to her body, a sort of only when it is bolstered through energy cascading upwards premature small-frame, in the hope that no one will see her. The from the ground (through the lower dan tien) and out from the teacher, in this situation, rather than continue with the addition
palms, using very little shoulder movement, except by way of extension from the greater body. And so, when approaching him from the other side, from the perspective of a small female, and using his higher floating center as point of leverage by which to uproot his energy, one should, by the incremental impression of repeating this exercise, lure him back down to a lower and more central axial point, thus conditioning the whole spine for genuinely strong and stable motion. Here, the difference between strengthening rather than straightening becomes paramount. The body is now to be viewed as an intricate interplay of energy and muscle whose balance of firmness and softness is developed by the work against it of a lower center. Muscle is now drawn down from its exaggerated inflation through a movement of energy that is whole body oriented. The task for the dominant male, then, is to take up and transcend the illusion of his own localized authority; the authority that is so apparent in forms of exercise that are meant to articulate unique and exclusive structures (building up the biceps for instance). The task of becoming more rooted, by contrast, is whole body activity directed toward a deeper constitutional health; an authority that promotes the vibrant flow of the meridians, heating or cooling internally as the situation may warrant, and enhancing the efficiency of basic metabolic functions, such as digestion, cleansing and the balancing of the vital signs. In both of the above cases, there is an overly self-conscious attachment to one’s movements -- in the first case, because one is trying to hide, and in the second, because one is trying to exhibit. In either situation, there is a danger of being led astray by the refracting light of one’s own self-scrutiny, by a preoccupation with the head in the sense that one has artificially constructed an image of the self, leading to a rootless, inauthentic ‘will o the wisp’ stance. Nevertheless, this rootlessness, paradoxically, betokens a genuine longing for the deep, connected wells of being from which the student has been cut off. Their disjointed, floundering efforts to find a stable rhythm or stance announce, as loudly as the horn of Jeremiah, that the promised land of life’s natural ebb and flow continues to elude them. Here, I must emphasize, that I do not think of ‘being’ or ‘life’ as such, when I teach. I am only aware of the Tai chi or Pa Qua forms, as that series of movements which ‘play out’ the sinking back from which we have sprung; form as an accessible, quotidian reprise of that more universal immersion into the depths of the ‘ground’, from which all life flows, and out of which one articulates oneself for effective action. Nietzsche, in his first major work, spoke at length of the need for human beings, who no longer lived the immediacy of the myth, periodically to re-immerse themselves in the primal and instinctual – a function performed, in his opinion, by the festival of the Greek tragedy. I think of Tai Chi as
performing a similar function for the modern individual. The movements of the form can act to re-ground and re-focus the individual who is either beside herself with care and worry, or getting ahead of himself in schemes and self-fabrications. In Euripides’ drama The Bacchae, mad King Pentheus is ritually dismembered by wild women for the crime of not honoring the god -- a crime he commits through the pride that ranks the constructions of his reason above the primal chthonian instincts. I regularly see something of the same fate pursuing those who choose to disregard Tai Chi, even if it is only for the crime of persistence in bad form. I have observed that children are born plastic, their ability to materialize indissolubly within the womb still imprinted in the quality of their movements and perceptions so that a new born reflects nothing so much as the original maternal environment. The buoyancy and spontaneity of being suspended in a perfectly self-contained world, the waxen quality of the bones and the softness of the flesh, are extended into the early years after birth, to ensure that the child grows unaffected by purely contingent and extraneous pressures, that it assumes a succession of shapes through the awkward transitional stages, with its plasticity providing a cushion against the inevitable falls in the awkward attempt to master movement -- until the final size and shape is achieved, with growth completed and the body solidifying. And as it is with the body in its encounter with gravity, velocity, and impact, so it is with the psyche. The equipoise of original being, womb-being, should allow the child to absorb the love and care of the parent without being overly affected when care falls temporarily into error and indecision. There is always a danger, however, as the individual is confronted with the necessity of engaging a world which is gradually recognized to be ‘not - womb,’ that plasticity will falter, that it will be taxed beyond its ability to absorb without indentation, so that the individual risks the growth of malformation, whether in response to overbearing parents or a school system that considers the malleability of children the perfect medium for social adjustment and control. Or again, the unshapely psycho-somatic accommodation may occur through the physical-emotional trauma of more overt kinds of abuse. The introverted female type is rigidly Yin, a shrinking and increasingly inert condition, which cuts her off from an expansive and world happy ‘yang’, and the yang’s ability to take up the new with zest and self-confidence, shedding the wrongs of the past without injury, in an effort to claim a role in the world, where achievement and usefulness are possible. Instead, her life is characterized by the tactlessness, the floating dreaminess, the confused sadness of someone who is always misunderstood, never finding their role, a hopeless idealist. In her Tai Chi, it is as though she were trying to climb
back into the confines of the womb, both from feelings of inferiority and from an unbearable sensitivity. The womb is now, however, the ‘narrow’ place, the contracting cervix, and not a self-contained, auto-responsive world of floating plasticity. Despite her deeply held desire, she can not go back (physically or psychologically). And so, for her, from her posture of withdrawal, bones and flesh take on the ambivalent aspect of an attempt at precisely controlled gestures which nevertheless threaten to slip out of their assigned place (the roles determined for her by outside influences) as though her body, abruptly removed from its liquid environment, still retained memory of its former buoyancy, and now, generating shapes only for others, finds itself in a perpetual dislocation, in which the pressure of well intentioned, but external, hands is either bending or twisting her against her earlier pliancy by imposing corrective or ‘proper’ shape. An awkwardness sets in as she tries, at some level, to restore herself, moving side ways and crookedly, her center becoming unhinged, her limbs cramping into her body as she resists, verging, from the pressure of these antithetical forces, towards internal collapse. The birth canal, through which we are forced by strong contractions, is also that place of transition which nature has prepared to ease our passage into individuated existence. But in the case of a hard birth, the contractions overwhelm our resistant self-containment, building up erratic streams of energy, backing us up, jamming us into convulsive movement that pulls and tugs in every direction, suspending us forever in the violence of the ‘in between’. This appearance of being shaken by convulsive energy is characteristic of students who can only approach, and attempt to appropriate, form from a standpoint of shrinking self-containment. Thus, the sense of doing single push hands with the introverted female is one of a fluctuating, stiffened disconnection, as though she were made of wood, and yet, like a puppet on strings, is always on the verge of being yanked away to enact a drama of her own. She is stiff, yet somehow internally unhinged, her self-containment presenting the rigid schematism of an only yearned for freedom. I place her hand against mine, and keep it there for several rotations, until she knows what it feels like to stick to another, to have a tangible, corporeal contact with the world. I take her other free hand and place it on her own center, connecting that center to her working hand, thereby engendering a sense of self at home in a field of action with ‘real’ results. The instructor is, therefore, seen here to begin with the ‘given’ in the student, taking her from, and through her overly yin nature to a union with her own opposing yang, that is played out through the center of action, between two partners in a gentle push hands (which becomes increasingly more vigorous with time). With time and practice, it should dawn on the introverted female that her self-externalizing response to the placing and commitment of hands is both the central fact of her individual existence, and
the most universal, most legitimate fulfillment of the meaning of her individual life. And meanwhile, the instructor herself benefits from the same insight; for the student is the other ‘for whom’ she develops an unexpected empathy, and so, a validated self-knowledge. This brings us to the case of the extreme yang male. Just as the metaphors of womb pliancy and hard birth seemed to capture the problematic motion of the overly Yin type, so it seems that another metaphor best captures the motility of her opposite. Here I take recourse to a well established Jungian archetype – the constellation of the leader/redeemer who in the course of his trials begins to move in accordance with a new type of vision. In what follows, I claim no special ontological status for the archetype beyond the fact that it may allow us to organize one variety of human emotional experience. I would also emphasize that the gender distinction I use is completely arbitrary. There are yin males and yang females. The conventional distinctions that follow are meant only as simplifications to speed the argument. No adaptation can result without concessions to all worlds. The Yang must approach the yin as the yin has seen her way to the yang. The overly yang male relies on the legend of his impregnable power. In my studio, it is as if he were looking down from his tower of strength over a carefully demarcated territory – a space he claims for himself and those he loves despite the fact that its outer rim is covered by thick aboriginal forest, and coveted by those who oppose him. The naming of it, the granting of a determinate quality, has always been an act of boldness and defiance recognized by the others as an incitement to war. His face, even his stance in moments of forgetfulness, can not hide the marks of the years he has spent in resistance to their onslaughts. Now, on this man of proud, but war-torn virtue, I play a dirty trick. I make alliance with the others, with the mysterious shadows along the borders and I add a new tactic to their arsenal. I attack low from a position beneath the range of his normal awareness, as if the shadow others had taken the advantage by attacking at night, when the elevation of his ego tower can no longer afford a clear and far reaching vision. I now steal up to the very threshold of his personal space without warning and strike without opposition. Repeated sessions of this frustrating shadow sparring eventually force this type of student to reevaluate both what he thinks he is seeing and how he thinks he is seeing it. The zone of separation shrinks dramatically as its limit is redefined precisely by the unforeseen breaches. He becomes attentive to the ever descending night. The darkness has taken away, and now the darkness can give back. He begins to see me! And now there is time to prepare. The champion, despite his massive egoism, and his usual robust enjoyment of power, has finally given over to fatigue from months of coping with night raids. He has abandoned himself to the hopelessness of the
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dark, her inscrutable and autonomous will, and so, has been
of movement. Darkness, and the night, pertain to the
drawn inadvertently into an unaccustomed receptivity to the
feminine, (peripheral vision is also night vision), to the time
instinctual body. His muscles finally relax, his pupils dilate,
of birthing, lovemaking, and death, through which
an ensuing repose of consciousness surrenders to a more
progressions of being are repeated endlessly and in many
“holistic,” and open state of being. He can now perceive
variations. In darkness, we die to our narrow selves,
things in places he had not expected.
becoming momentarily disoriented, as we adjust our bearings to a new level of perception, to the something that
According to Leonard Shlain, peripheral vision in humans is
is more than us, yet us at the same time. We embrace the
a yin ability, one which goes back to our prehistory when a
limit which we can neither escape nor control; the edges of
mother, nursing her baby, instinctively memorized the
being which, in defining/superseding us, allow us to live
contours of her newborn’s face -- the human face being the
through the other, another like ourselves, encouraging us to
most pliant and shifting of all objects of perception (its flight
become more than what we were, but us nevertheless, ‘me as
of expressions, its passing nuances) -- for insights into what
us.’ (The ebb and flow of the energy around us is mediated
the child wanted, or needed, what was wrong with it, or what
through the flesh, bone and muscle of a partner in push
was right with it (Shlain, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess).
hands). The ego male must learn this through his own nature.
And though the child’s expression may have varied, and the
And again, as teachers of the internal arts, we instruct
structure of the face changed as it grew, the mother could
through the given, in this case, the overbearing yang nature,
still identify that child as her own from all the other children
bringing him to a realization of his fullest yang power,
in the tribe. This sense of gestalt vision would prevail as
through his own opposing yin. The ego male will continue
well, when she was forced to attend her youngest, while
to feel responsible for his “territory” dealing with threats
gathering food, yet keeping an eye on the other siblings. Her
“head on.” Now, however, the incursion into personal space
vision would extend to the farther field of the community
is not so much an intrusion as an opportunity. Let the other
itself, and on into greater areas where danger may lurk. The
within the walls so that its difference might be accepted in
way the eyes see describes the way the mind grasps. The
order to turn it (now as a part of self) back against itself.
feelings of communal union, love and protection, whatever
(Friends close, enemies closer.) Here, yang and yin have
the specific cultural configurations, are made possible,
been combined, from the point of view of yang.
together with other factors, from this holistic and gestalt space perception, in which a myriad of things are gathered
The ability to synthesize disparate elements into a field of
together into a symphonic whole, their interconnections seen
vision, registering motion rather than the isolated difference
in single picture of movement (Shlain). The ‘I and not I’ are
of an object, is exemplified to the highest degree by the
all ‘here by virtue of an event or a universal theme...’ Thus,
predatory birds, such as the eagle. But the eagle, is not, what
through the love of a mother for a single child, the unified
we in our mythos, would identify as a yin creature. It is very
field underlying physical existence does not collapse. Her
yang, in that it hunts its food, rather than gathers it, or
perception gathers up extremely diversified manifestations
nurtures it into fruition. The eye of the eagle is entirely
of a single creative universe, like the tributaries of a system
composed of cones distributed through two centers of
of rivers forever branching themselves out, yet converging
foveae, allowing it both binocular and monocular vision. The
into the same ocean, expanding her sense of what it is to
eagle, in other words, can see with forward vision -- both
belong, without losing sight of her particular situation
eyes directed toward the object -- and with sideward vision
through which that greater dimension becomes discernible.
-- both eyes attuned to potential transformation. Cones are
This is Yin combined with yang, from the point of view of
responsible for color perception and clarity, distinguishing
the figure against the background, the object out from the field of vision. This is the mental state of concentration by
But the yang male in my studio must find his own way. As
which the whole is encountered spatially and determinately.
he becomes more relaxed from fatigue, and peripheral vision
But because the eagle has cones distributed in two centers of
begins to take over, he can see things more clearly in the
foveae, it is endowed with the ability to concentrate on the
“dark,” the boundaries of things not so much dissolving, as
object of its attack, while projecting that object’s motion into
becoming “connected” into an emerging and graduated scale
the distance, instinctively seeing ‘the part’ through the whole
and getting ‘there’ before it does. Here, concentration and
succession in time. The ability to see things appear and
integration form two sides of the same limit.
disappear for our possession, dissection, or ownership, brings on a sense of the future, of what we can do next, in
In humans, the cones are densely congregated in the center
order to extend our dominion over ‘the not I.’
of the retina, or macula, while our peripheral vision is conducted by rods, which form the older core of our vision,
The resulting compilations of our ego male -- the modern
developed when we were still herbivores. We do not have
piling up of thought like a house of cards (in ideologies of
two centers of foveae, like the eagle. When a hunter pursues
resentment, unrealistic utopias, frigid architectonics ) bring
his prey, he uses the cones of his eye only at the sacrifice of
to mind looming edifices without foundation. The
his peripheral vision.
His “skeletal muscles tense up, the
unbalancing process I undertake with the ego male in my
pupil of the eye constricts, reducing the amount of light that
studio, then, merely accelerates a techno-cultural malaise
gets in, effectively sidestepping the light sensitive rods
already far advanced. But the unbalancing of the imbalance
(Shlain).” Given that men were the hunters, and the females
that begins with the combat-ready acceptance of the-other-
the gatherers\ nurturers, it is not surprising that females have
within-the-walls, must complete itself in the reverberation of
a greater concentration of rods than men, and men have a
memory and, in particular, the earliest ones connecting the
greater concentration of cones. Female peripheral vision,
ego to the state of infancy, and the state of the womb. The
then, is better than a man’s. (Shlain) This is not to say that
ego male, in his quest to restore balance, must remain who
women did not hunt when not looking after the children, nor
he is. But time, up until now the culprit in the unnatural
that men did not undertake the multi tasking of domestic
drive to the crudest and remotest forms of objectification
But generally speaking, circumstances
(the other as a means), can be salvaged through its use in the
foisted on the male the role of hunter (or it could be that the
cultivation of embracing memory, which seeks to preserve
role of the hunter foisted maleness on certain human
things even as they pass away, returning him to a synthetic
individuals), and on the female the job of gathering/
apperception of life -- time and space amalgamated in a
nurturing, which necessitated a separation of the yang from
community of feeling which transcends the individual,
the yin. In the male, this entailed the ability to concentrate
without ever betraying the individual; an individuality now
on the object of his hunt, while shutting out all other
extended, from its own standpoint, in significance. He must
thoughts and feelings, which could be a source of
turn his attention to what will give him a real chance at
distraction, and a possible threat to his life. This ability to
survival, even if it means sacrificing some of the boundaries
see the prey as separate from himself, as something which is
of self in the process. Just as the extreme yin character is
out there, to be ferreted out and pursued, rather than that
drawn out of the womb, and back into the world, so now, the
which is here with me all at once, though necessary at the
extreme yang is brought out of a false world back to its
time, has led to that I/not I split of our modern consciousness
origins, the fountainhead.
(Shlain). It is that fracturing of reality that can ultimately lead to scientific enquiry, philosophical insight, religious
The rigid, ungiving spine, the puffed up chest and shoulders
reverence of a kind, (I am different from the greater God to
like the tower without a strong foundation – these are the
which I pray and adore,) -- but also paralysis and self-
arrow heads that return to wound the archer from which the
destruction. Think of all the wars around the territorial
arrow has sprung. “It is a sort of self-fertilization and a self-
disputes of ‘what is mine’ and ‘what is yours.’ We were not
murder” (Jung). The internal arts envision a circularity of yin
born hunters, like the eagle for whom the perceptual acuity
and yang. Just as all things in their diversity proceed from
of ‘cones’ affords a connecting link to the whole --
the one, so all things return to the one. Each aspect, the yin
concentration with integration -- allowing it to become a
and the yang, through their shared limit, is both itself and the
fierce protector and hunter for its young. In other words, the
other of itself, one giving itself up to become the other, while
eagle inhabits a space where the hunt is inextricably bound
the other comes back around to meet it from its opposing
to the organic cycles of birth, hunger, life and death. We
stance. This is the nature of reality and the only possible
became hunters later in our evolution, in response to a crisis.
starting point for internally coherent engagement.
Our subsequent emphasis upon cone vision, has led to isolated spot vision, the disconnectedness of things through
The instructor, then, deploys a plane of attack which is the
compassion that observes, within the training session, a
result of a gathering of forces, a transformation of the one
communion of differences. This communion plays itself out
into the other tied to the circularity of the action. Not only is
in an infinite number of subtle and secret conducts. The one
the student forced to use his spine (responsiveness from the
I would bring to attention here is the insight that there will
core), but also his peripheral vision (anticipation of
be occasions when it is right for the student to be wrong.
stimulus). The two may eventually coalesce in the unified
Sometimes it is important merely to stand back. Sometimes a
field of the preemptive strike. If they do, the ego male’s
comment from the teacher at the appropriate moment that a
rendering of the circle will cease merely to imitate an
student is ‘doing fine’ will visibly release tension, allowing
abstract geometric figure, and, instead, manifest the internal
that student “to do fine’ in spite of him\herself. There is a
power that encompasses the attack of the opponent,
certain kind of education that tacitly aims at disregarding the
deflecting it at the peak of its intent, rather than at the peak
details, for the moment -- going to the core of the student
of its force. Prematurely aborted, slipping past and circling
and working towards unblocking fears, and so to start up, if
in, the result is an intense unity of timing and spatial
not entirely sustain on its own, the flow of energy between
organization. This achievement of a preemptive strike
teacher and student. For this flow must prosper here, before
ultimately happens without conscious effort, or trace of
it finds its echo in the student’s training per se. Here, I must
technique, for the mechanism behind the action is based on
express myself with the caution which all the complexity of
precision intuitively arrived at through hours, months and
learning this discipline enjoins. For it is also the form itself,
years of training at spatial\timing exercises. The training is
with all of the wonderful precision and abstraction of its
not one of technique invoking technique, but a series of
execution, that imprints itself indelibly on the body and
shapes or patterns thrown at the student from varied angles,
mind, foreshadowing the pathway along which continued
to develop that sense of where and when, in the pattern, the
healing becomes inevitable, and a new openness towards the
weakest point exists for ‘strategic engagement.’ The various
teacher branches out. And so detail is important. There is
martial practices of the internal arts, then, can affect that
that moment, however, when a thing ‘can be fine,’ even if
structural change that will reinstate the rod-cone ratio nature
it’s not, when being stuck at a place represents a standstill of
had originally intended for us.
suspension and incubation awaiting the kindly catalyst, a mere word of reassurance to drive the process of creation
In day to day practice, then, the instructor will impress upon
further. For ultimately we’re all on a journey -- the teacher as
the yang student that the posture should be steady and
well as the student --- never really arriving at a destination
straight, while being relaxed and grounded, the head not
until death, and everything along the way representing an
tilted to one side or the other, but poised, ever balanced on
awkward, fumbling-in-the-dark transition.
the spine, with the peripheral glance seizing upon movement from all possible points of the plane. Extreme yang
Being of a yin disposition myself, I have learned a great deal
posturing, then, is taken up into the explosiveness of
from my yang friends, opening up my essential yin nature to
radiating spiral energy, the inflation of the chest collapsing
a world of possibilities, trying to become a better teacher as I
into a simple and intense unity of internally moving space.
continue to forge new links with ‘the other’ through my
As in the eagle, concentration and integration are reunited,
students. The yang’s ability to establish goals, to be driven
yang and yin harmonized -- from the point of view of yang.
by an initial idea that is passed onto a series of other discrete ideas as a plan for action in a strictly causal sequence, has
Let us turn back finally to the yin female self-exiled to the
broken the paralysis of an insular, introverted and scattered
margins of the world, and then brought back within the fold,
mental life, spilling me over into a consistent, disciplined
as a continuing source for understanding the art of teaching
outward direction that allows for re-association with the
and learning. Her return to the community through the
world. But I hope that the yin, which I still inextricably
placing of hands radicalizes her sense of separateness.
harbor in the very fact of my gender, will continue to
Beyond the old separation of self-concealment, or even the
maneuver itself through these goals with reminiscences of
difficult, if necessary, professional detachment of the
the whole intact, assuring that the goals are not diminished
instructor from the student, there is separateness as a product
or lost in the harmful effects of single-minded ‘blind’ action.
of mutual recognition – this is separation as the empathy and
The yang’s ability to foray into the world with boldness and
attempt to restore balance through change and disruption, is
resolute ‘manliness,’ the ambitious striving after socially
encapsulated in the training of the internal arts. In binding
recognizable goals, the willingness to make sacrifices for the
death to itself, that ‘moment of emptiness’ or ‘investment in
sake of these goals, the perseverance, inflexibility and
loss,’ it adapts to outside forces and pressures by giving
toughness of will, are all qualities deemed to be ideals which
itself up to them wholly, by being absorbed and reconstituted
broaden and consolidate the social base, and aid us in
at a more internally defined level of equilibrium (returning
striking our roots for our physical well-being. But this is not,
with a redoubled power that assures martial success).
in and of itself, enough to guarantee a broader consciousness leading to spiritual insight. We who are in a mad rush to get
And so, the chief’s tower, despite his bitter efforts to ignore
to work in the morning, to get home at night, to scrape
the substance of reality, is furtively re-imagined through the
together the remains of our family life at the end of a tiring
yin as a tree with roots dug far into the earth, from which
day, do not suffer from the want of a goal that engages our
issues the wiles of the serpent in the garden of paradise. The
time; rather our choice of goals is too often determined by
teacher lies hidden in the stream, camouflaged, unobtrusive,
the yang’s need to find something that is immediately
like the serpent ready to seize hold of the foot at the most
attainable, sacrificing other values that permit the binding of
unsuspecting moment, as though thrusting up from within
society in its deeper sense. The serious problems of life are
the chief himself, pointing out the things which lie hidden in
never really addressed. The degradation of the earth, because
the roots of himself and nowhere else, a secret that is hidden
a world of people has adopted the currently recognizable
and unraveling the very principle that the self has established
goals, offering them a chance at a job, a car, a house, etc, is a
for itself, turning it back to bite itself, and, then, to lick its
glaring case in point.
wound. The Yin, which is the principle of death (destroyer of individuation), is also the principle of life (continuity within
To the extent that individuals have exclusively identified
the whole), killing at the same time that if offers the only
with these outward yang ideals, have given themselves over
protection against death.
to them without question, they are, to that same degree, abandoned to the chaos within, the world of the yin relegated
The art of teaching Tai chi, as a metaphor for life, is bound
to the nether regions beneath awareness erupting upwards as
up with the recognition that there can be no growth without
a vengeful force that will gain the upper hand precisely
discrimination of opposites, and their reintegration into a
because it has been so neglected. The convictions and ideals,
dynamic harmony. The Yin principle, whose role it is to be a
which allowed the yang individual to acquire a useful role in
disruptive element to the staunch yang equipoise, creeping
the world, will then become hardened and fanatical, by way
up from outside the boundaries of his known world -- like a
of compensation, as their own sense of achievement is not
shadow in the night -- is not solely destructive, for all things
what they had supposed. Petulance and impotence set in. An
that live must pass through many deaths in order to realize
overweening need to control those around them
their fullest potential. The disrupter also is caught in the
(possessiveness, bossiness, or a fear of commitment to their
disruption, the precipitator of change is herself changed,
personal relationships) also becomes apparent. They hang to
transformed into a more internally explicitated version of
their old ideals with a dogmatic tenacity, coming to regard
herself. The shadow world, where she abides and protects
them with an importance that supersedes their concern for
her strength, emerges from its insularity, as the maternal
the people for whose well-being the success of their goals
womb that finally seeks its fulfillment in actual birth; the
was originally intended. They experience the proverbial
shadows part, allowing a glimmer of light to penetrate,
middle age crisis -- a dissatisfaction or a malaise -- as the
articulating the pattern of a world that will engage her
people once close to them drop away from neglect or abuse,
strength, in a manner that not only challenges rigid structure,
leaving them alone to nurse the consequences of their own
but ensures against dissipation, as things, by her influence,
obsessions. This may continue on into old age unabated. Or
are restored to their source in the primal motility. It is very
something may press in with an odd feeling that change is
often when things appear to run smoothly on the outside for
required. The internal arts are one of those little miracles that
the Yang character, that a disturbance of a psychic nature,
open the door for such change to take place. The true
erupting from within his own estranged depth (his yin side),
substance of the world, as polarities which continually
engenders a longing and an opportunity for change.
It is usually at this juncture that a student will instinctively seek out Tai Chi (and Pa Qua), come to me, perhaps from other external styles, which no longer provide him with the raw materials for growth. The yin, the female principle, which reappears in his life as the main instigator of this change, will be viewed with guarded optimism, “still on the outside,” “not yet to be fully trusted,” and which might or might not teach him “something” of value.
The female principle, then, exiled for so long to the
peripheral ends of the tribe, is now resurrected in the person of the teacher, returning to his life, as it were, like the wise old crone armed with a knowledge full of potency and darkness, and able to direct the rays of his own blinding light, like a spear head against himself -- at his “Achilles” heel. This latter image, of course, represents a flaw intrinsic to the character itself, and is always vulnerable to re-injury, for the mere posturing of an extreme state, without self-awareness, can only lead to its own imbalance and self-destruction, again and again, until, with time, he is exposed by the teacher to the depth of his own fear, and the height of his own wall. He may see for the first time, the space beyond, which frees up his movement, in a reciprocal relationship of spine, root (feet), head and limbs acting through the curved, straight or spiral lines that continually regain stability from the chaos “out there.” For the chaos out there is ultimately his own. The transition from “there” to “here” is eased, and gradually intensified by the teacher, in a series of well placed variations, when the student is seen to be ready, and amplified through zones, layers and rings of movement that succeed one other, renewing the notion of variation in constancy, a universality of change that brings rhythm to loss itself. Loss becomes well-placed as partial loss in a greater landscape of agile and dexterous adaptations After each new pitfall that is turned to one’s advantage (the heel finding ever more sure footing) new distance or closeness is gained, in order to control better -- in order to abandon control more effectively. A greater world is illumined that adds much to the world he thought was exclusively his own – a world that was once demarcated, named and stamped from his own arrogant heights, is now dismantled against the backdrop of infinity itself, where the earth meets the sky.
The author, Josephine Anderson (pictured above) is the Chief Canadian Representative & Senior Instructor for the WTBA and teaches in Ottawa.
Lake Pocono Plateau Cresco, PA.
p o h s k r Wo
1 1 0 2 A Report US
Eli Montaigue teaching basic qigong corrections (above) and the Qi Development Tools (below).
May 2011, saw the WTBA return to the USA for its annual workshop with a new head at the helm, Eli Montaigue. The destination was the beautiful location of Lake Pocono Plateau in Pennsylvania. Al Krych, the chief representative of the WTBA in the USA, had managed to find a truly remarkable venue for us to train at. The USA workshop was the first main gathering of the WTBA outside of the UK since the death of Erle earlier in January. Emotions ran high as students from across the USA and Canada came together on the Friday evening for the start of the workshop. It was great seeing old friends, especially Josephine Anderson, the chief instructor and representative for Canada, as well as Lisa Ludwig, Brian Alexander, Tom & Lucy Mazzaferro, alongside the dear Joel Friedman & Kurt Levins Snr. However, the shock of the day was finally meeting up with my great facebook buddy Arlie Stroud. Seeing him pull up in his car, supporting a beard on a biblical scale made me think of no other then the patriarchal Moses! Eli kicked off the workshop with a gentle warm up followed by the old Yang form as we gathered under the wooden canopy by the lake itself. It was a pleasant evening and we continued training after form practice with single push hands as Eli gave corrections in basic structure and mechanics. It was a great eveningâ€™s training and gave everyone an appetite for the main training that was to come over the following two days.
Saturday began in earnest before breakfast with 3 circles qigong. We all stood in the field by the lake in the early morning sunshine, as Eli explained the importance of the 3 circles in understanding and developing the internal.
The weather had begun to change and a slow mist started to rise from the direction of the lake, as the wind also picked up a little speed. The sunshine started to fade as it began to get noticeably cooler upon our return to the training area.
It was a refreshingly honest view from a young man, who is just at the beginning of what promises to be an amazing journey, as he related it to his own training and development with his father, Erle.
As Erle had promised during the previous year, we started to learn the Qi Development tools, beginning with the heart.
After an hour or so we broke off for a lavish breakfast by the end of which I was so full that I could barely move!
I had seen Erle teach these at both, the Instructors sessions in Llangadog as well as during the 2010 summer camp, and here I was witnessing Eli teach with the same skill and grace as his dad! It was a real privilege to have been a part of hist-
The hauntingly beautiful Lake Pocono Plateau.
tory, where the baton had been passed and taken up in earnest by the next generation! Erle would have been proud. After a solid days training, the cold had certainly penetrated us to the bones! Eli was wearing all the clothes he had come with, as was I! Saturday night, after supper, we all met in the Fellowship Hall, where Eli held a question and answer session for everyone. Many questions were put to Eli by the group, from the basics of fa-jing to striking and the route to developing and becoming a good Taiji practitioner.? Again, Eli related everything to his own development and training with Erle. The blueprint was laid out there before us. The foundations were the key to success. Practicing the form, qigong, single push hands etc. these were the main ingredients to success. The session lasted for almost 2 hours and everybody agreed that it had been a revelation. A true insight into what the internal arts and the internal practitioner were all about! Many of the guys just starting out on their own journey were inspired to hear that Eliâ€™s beginnings had not really been that different to their own. The only exception was that Eli had his dad around to train with and watch for all of his life! The evening ended, tired and weary, we all headed to our cabins for a good nightâ€™s sleep. We had another long day ahead of us, with much more training to come. Josephine Anderson (Chief WTBA Rep Canada) with Eli.
Sunday morning came with rain, mist and a headache! I skipped the qigong session and slept in for another hour or so before heading down to breakfast. The weather had taken a turn for the worse and we decided to continue our training indoors. We continued with the Qi development tools from the previous day to complete the first 3 sets and then recapped all 3 to ensure that everybody had understood them. The afternoon session was spent with an overview of both single and double push hands alongside some basics of selfdefence. Time appeared to move rapidly and before we knew it the weekend was coming to an end. A lot of the attendees had covered an incredible amount of miles to participate in the workshop and some needed to start back early. After spending a few minutes saying goodbye to the early leavers we continued for another hour or so until the workshop came to a natural close.
(Left) Q&A with Eli. (Below) Eli letting his hair down or up as may be the case.
Lake Pocono Plateau, May USA 2011
I have a l w a y s found goodbyes difficult, yet the hope that we will see our friends again tends to ease that difficulty. Each year the WTBA family seems to grow bigger and each year new friendships and bonds are formed. This year was no different, it was great meeting up with amazing guys like Rodney Owen, Ron McCracken, Shawn McNamara, Robert Townsend, Kyanh Nguyen, James & Jo-Anne Mollison and Chad amongst many others. Congratulations also to James Yamakawa upon getting his instructor’s certificate, a thoroughly nice guy with a beautiful family, who well deserved it. Finally Al, thanks for organizing an amazing weekend and for your great hospitality and hard work in bringing us all together. You truly are a WTBA legend in more ways then one! Looking forwards to next year’s meet already! It was great to see that the spirit and openness in which Erle used to hold his workshops and camps has not diminished in any way, shape or form. Erle, surely, would have been proud and would have loved the location. I’m sure his spirit was there amongst us as we trained and in Eli - an inspirational young leader, who finally took centre stage. As we crossed the Delaware on our return to New Jersey... the sun came out and the weather warmed up rapidly. I continued on to Brooklyn later that night amidst a most incredible storm
and spent the next day hanging out with some celebrity ‘friends’ in Central Park before heading back home!
A WALK DOWN THE STREET Gord Hill “Boxing is like taking a walk. Fighting is like snapping your fingers.” - A Boxing Classic I first read this in Robert Smith’s book on Bagua it stuck with me for a long time. It sounded so simple. My training was nothing like “taking a walk”! Fighting could be like “snapping your finger”. It wasn’t until 2004 that I started to see the simple brilliance in this classic. When I saw what Erle Montaigue’s work, and I actually listened to what he was saying, I got really excited. He finally explained to me a method of self defense that made sense. Hidden out in front of his work is the idea that, in the internal arts, we don’t worry so much about techniques. What we concern ourselves with is getting our bodies doing certain things in order to gain a reflex action, which could be used, god forbid, if we needed it in a real “life or death” situation. Of all the “abstract” training methods available, my favorites are Post stepping, Qi gong, small san sau, and of course, Joining hands. With all of these, we are doing one thing, but our subconscious mind is learning a whole bunch of things. In other words, we do one thing to get ten! I am sure other arts have methods that do this as well, I am just not experienced with the methods of every possible teacher of every art that has ever existed. The thing with all of these methods is that we are actually doing something. For most of us, we don’t have the time, nor the inclination, to be doing taiji methods all day long. If we happen to be blessed with this desire, now it becomes hard to find a partner to do these methods with all day long! What I am getting at is, you will have to practice on your own at times. I have never been one to set time aside to train. Outside of classes, I just can’t do that sort of training. I have tried, but it just doesn’t work for me. I train when I can. IT may be at lunch that I go into an unused room to be alone. It may be that I go to a park. Heck, it may be that I just do “form” where ever I am! Yes, ANY WHERE! My in laws thought I was crazy for a long time! The thing with DOING this sort of thing is, well, you are doing it! I know that sounds contradictory, but hear me out. If our goal is to train the subconscious mind, wouldn’t it be nice to have methods to fool the mind into doing the work when we are actually doing other things unrelated to the martial arts? My goal, after nearly 30 years of martial arts study, is to train even when I am not training.
So, where is the foot movement? The feet simply change where the weight is placed so that there is a circle made by the changing weight. The very instant that you begin the palm movement, the waist begins to turn slightly to the right thus causing the palms to move in that direction (although they haven’t really moved by themselves to the right, all they do is to raise up, it is the body that causes all movement). At the same time, the weight also moves over to the right foot and begins to move slightly forward. (Photo No. 24). Balancing the hand movement, the left palm will be ¼ the way up its stroke when the weight is onto the right foot and in the middle of the foot. When the hand movement is at its apex, the weight will be moving back to the left foot (equally weighted, but not static) on both feet and at the balls of the feet. As the hands come back down to the beginning position, the weight will go over to the left foot when the left hand is ¼ the way down, and then as the hands come back to the beginning position, the weight will be back onto the heels of both feet. And you only thought that this movement was a simple one! In fact, this is why it is said that within this opening movement, lies the whole essence of Taijiquan.
When I first started to work on this material, I would spend hours reading this passage in particular. It has to do with Internal Balance. It also has to do with the very essence of taiji. To understand what Erle is talking about requires that you have risen above the basics. In other words, it really isn’t for rookies to worry about. This is also a topic that could be really hard to give the attention it deserves in a class setting. Even I would walk out if the teacher said, “Alright everyone. I want you to move your body weight to the heel of your left foot. Now, move the weight to your right heel. Now the ball of your right foot. Good. Now to the ball of your left foot. Excellent! Ok, now back to your left heel. You have a question?” “Yes, so you wanted us to rotate our weight in a circle?” “Yes. Ok continue…” and the class goes on for a hour of just this. If you were lucky, your teacher would have you do just that for the class for a year! If you were lucky. On the other side, this poor teacher would be out of students after the second class. The concept of feeling where your weight is on the sole of your foot is something that most would scoff at. I did. How on earth can you focus on such a small item in the midst of combat? You don’t. Well, not consciously. Feeling the weight on your foot has to do with feeling the changes of yin and yang in your body (and later, in others). When your subconscious gets this, then you no longer have to worry about it IF YOU CHOOSE. The hard part, as Erle pointed out, is getting it to be a reflex or subconscious action. When I was working on this idea in my taiji back in 2004, I had a lot of time to think and read. I was single and had unusual working hours. I took an hour bus ride to work every day, so there was lots of time to roll this over in my mind. I remember waiting for the bus one COLD January day and I was transferring my weight just like it is suggested in the section above. Then IT happened… someone was walking towards me, so I took a step to get out of their way. Thank God for the one step! Maybe you haven’t thought of this before, but lets look at the paragraph closer.
Let’s take a look at something before we go on. On page 38 of Erle’s book, Internal Gung Fu Vol: 1, we read the following: 29
December “Balancing the hand movement, the left palm will be ¼ the way up its stroke when the weight is onto the right foot and in the middle of the foot. When the hand movement is at its apex, the weight will be moving back to the left foot.. As the hands come back down to the beginning position, the weight will go over to the left foot when the left hand is ¼ the way down, and then as the hands come back to the beginning position, the weight will be back onto the heels of both feet. ”
When the weight is on your RIGHT foot, your LEFT hand will be moving up, or forward. What is that? That is how most of us walk! When we walk, our weight goes from the heel of the foot to the ball of the foot. We have the opposite arm moving forward with the leg, in other words, an internally balanced movement. We also have our arms moving only as much as the body needs, which is what occurs in small frame form. To continue this method, as your right foot steps forward, your left arm is moving forward. As it moves backward, your left leg moves forward and your right arm moves forward. Looking at the movement Preparation, it is exactly the same. In other words, just going for a walk down the block, as you walk, in your mind you can do Preparation. Heck, in your mind, you can even do the applications for Preparation as you walk (I used to), but all that is observed is you walking down the street. You are getting the yin and yang transfer. Your body is in internal balance. Your internal mind is even attached to the movement. You are DOING taiji! It is just that no one sees you doing it. This method is just something that has helped me understand internal balance and yin and yang and other taiji principles when training is not an option. Also, when we walk, we don’t go from ball of foot to ball of other foot (unless you do some strange bagua walking). This means you still have to work on the circle method in the article to get that, and your form, joining hands, partner work, etc, so this is not a complete method on its own. What I am giving you is a way to work on yin and yang WITHOUT doing the form or setting time aside to do training. Even though I have been working on this idea since 2004, I never shared it with Erle. I always figured there would be more time. I remember in 2007, watching one of the Physical Stuff DVD’s, and he hinted at almost about this exact topic. He always talked about “walking down the street”!
2010 edition of Combat & Healing kindly included my short article entitled ‘Not Bad, Not Bad At All’, when I confronted mixed feelings to find my 80th birthday was approaching and reflecting on what had happened to my life since taking up Tai Chi in the previous six months. In June 2010 I followed the signs in Age Concern: TAI CHI - 12.30 BIG HALL”. Who would be there? I half expected a Chinese to demonstrate those arm waving movements we see of people in far eastern countries. I had no knowledge of The BIG HALL and certainly little knowledge of Tai Chi. The instructor greeted us quite casually and proceeded to make us acquainted with the mysteries of the chosen subject but to be honest one or two of us were a little over awed, but a friendly atmosphere soon developed and many have become real fans maintaing a regular average of twenty. Chatting together, many of the group not only enjoy Tai Chi but were already finding health wise benefits. No! The instructor was not Chinese but appeared to have roots in the east! For myself, the walking sticks are still “some-where”: the Zimmer frame still gathers dust in the garage. I can walk further and further without any real problems and it is really great to be able to walk up and down stairs, and its‘s great NOT to experience the constant fear of falling. My confidence has returned and my garden continues to bloom to my delight. The Osteoporosis which initiated my initial desire to try Tai Chi may be reversing. Professional advice not only confirms that healthy eating and Tai Chi (vitamin D and Calcium) can not only bring about improvement in the condition (brittle bones) but can create a complete reversal. To my surprise recently, after receiving a severe direct hit by a “run-away” mobility scooter, striking my ankle and lower leg, after emergency treatment (a pack of frozen peas!) apart from some broken skin and a pained and battered leg, it seemed as though I had escaped serious injury (Tai Chi??). The lady in the mobility scooter cried and howled like a baby! I forgave her. One last point I’d like to share. Incontinence! So many people, especially the more senior age group, secretly and silently suffer from this embarrassing problem - both men and women. It really is a pain in the bum (so to speak)! I have been wondering what has caused MY problem to go away? TAI CHI??!! Okay, Nasser - Sorry I’m no good at remembering the moves and I still can’t stand on one leg without wobbling all over the place but I still do my exercises and my “form”, also I have some plans afoot to aid the memory problem - wait and see!
Foundation camp magic....
Wow. I have to say thank you to all those who came to October camp 2011. For me this was the most amazing camp ever, some really special things happened. We trained about 7 hours per day, starting with standing Qigong, then going through the form, then some kicking practice and Small San-Sau, Lu-chan basic form learning, and ending with more standing Qigong and going through the Lu-chan form. By the last morning it was a 45 minute Qigong! Well done for everyone achieving that! It put such a smile on my face feeling everyone's energy during the morning and evening Qigong. Correcting peoples stances becomes like art work, each person requiring their own stance. And when I find that place for each person where I can see from their energy that they're in a balanced stance, and the shaking starts, it's such a good feeling. I learnt so much at this camp, in my own training, but also in how I see my students energy etc, I really felt a step up in my ability to see and feel in order to help. There was a lot of love at this camp, there is at all WTBA camps, but this one was special. The mixture of people, and the training we did, to me it felt like one big family. On the Saturday night, I took everyone through a 40 minute Qigong, towards the end this was the most energy I've ever felt in a room. After helping everyone through it, I joined in for the last few minutes. As soon as I sunk down, I felt like I'd been there for an hour, I had already built up so much Qi from everyone else. Then we did the full Lu-chan form together. Wow, that was one of the most intense forms Iâ€™ve ever done!
And when I turned around everyone looked stoned. And very emotional, at the amazement of how much Qi and love was in the room. We all wandered about the hall for a bit feeling. I went and gave Ben Weiss a hug, he looked like he was going to cry from happiness. Then I started to loose it, with all the love and emotion going around. During that form, I had so many things happen to me, by where I felt in myself what I use to feel and see from Dad doing his form. I felt such a strong presence of him there with me. I went and fell into Monica and Kathleen's arms for a hug, and then broke down. Manny then came and told me how proud Dad would be of me, and I lost it again. Then Lars-Erik walked back through the door from outside. Lars is my best mate in the world, and has that big bear hug like the ones Dad use to give me. He asked if I was ok, as I had pulled it together by this point. I mumbled something and just completely collapsed, he caught me and held me up as I cried my heart out. He is one of only two people who can come close to giving me that feeling that Dad did, complete love and protection. The love I get from others is amazing too. But the love I felt from my Dad was that of complete safeness, like nothing could touch me, as I knew that he would stand in the way of anything that tried to hurt me. And defeat it! I like to think that I can offer that to my Mum and little sister, and others that feel close to me. Because I would f**k shit up if anything tried to hurt them. And from what Dad has given me, though I'm not that big physically, I feel his power in me, and feel strong emotionally to push forward and be there for others in need. But then there are times when it all just gets to much, and I feel like a little boy who needs his Dad. And that's when a big hug from Lars does it's job. I feel safe again. Thanks mate. It was so lovely at camp, I felt completely comfortable crying in front of all the students. Thank you all for being such wonderful people. Felt so good afterwards, crying is the best Qigong! Anyway! Sunday was party night! After dinner we got some music cranking, put out party food and drinks, and danced the night away! With some good push hands in there too! Good solid stuff with plenty of smacks in the face! I had the most amazing night. Everyone seem to have so much fun. Then me Ben and Ben Weiss got the live music on the go with some awesome jamming! Massimo then came in to do his thing as well, and sang some songs. Stayed up till 12, did every night actually, whether it be training, music or just talking random crap in a circle. Some classic conversations went down at meal times! After most people had gone to bed, Me, Monica Kathleen and Ben Weiss went into the hall and did the Taiji form completely naked. There was nothing pervy about it, a few people walked past and were a little shocked. But we were just doing it for the beauty of how natural and loose it is to do so.
Jerry Walker was cook this camp, and what a great job he did, that was some of the best food I've ever eaten! We'll have him back for sure! I probably taught less stuff at this camp than any other, and people learnt more than ever! Getting the foundations right is what it's all about!
So make sure you get to the next one! March 2012! I don't think the injuries were as good as last time, just a pair of bruised knees and a bit of carpet burn on a big toe. So apart from that everyone must be getting better control! Sometimes you just get too excited and and can't help it. And if you're really going for it you often don't realize till after you stop. These are the best kind, as it really proves that you have switched off your mind and let your body take over! The goal of everything we do So long as you don't go home with anything really bad like dislocated fingers, (sorry Wally) Or a torn hamstring, (sorry Colin) Or a smashed nose (I forgive you lars) Then it's all good!
Photos appear courtesy of Eli Montaigue/Frank Ranz
Classical Tai Chi Martial Arts vs Non Classical Erle Montaigue (Originally Published December 1992)
So many masters and sifus, nowadays trying to cut corners and gets there the easy way. Their excuse "I do non-classical martial arts". Usually, it's an excuse for pure laziness and not wanting to do the hard work necessary to turn a martial art into a survival art. But take a look at the really good so-called 'non-classical' martial artists, those who have seemed to have found the way and have long since given up their classical part. Their background is usually steeped in the classical martial arts such as tai chi marital arts. Bruce Lee is the prime example of this. Not one, of his students has ever risen to his level of proficiency and inventiveness. It is my opinion that only Danny Inosanto has ever come close, and he has a classical arnis background, and you can't get any more classical than arnis! Larry Hartsell has a classical wrestling background. I have seen some of the first Bruce Lee students who are now into their fifties, but who also do not look very well, over weight, poor skin tone etc. They look like old men. They write articles saying they can still take on the best of them with one punch etc, but they look so sick! Whereas Danny Inosanto still looks very fit and healthy. Who gives one hair off of one rat's bum if they can still punch at 55 years old! What really matters is if their martial art has kept them healthy with a good life and whether they are able to help others to a good long healthy life. The tai chi martial arts are supposed to be an integrated system of self-defence and healing. And I guess we have to look back to the days when our martial art was really our family's and our survival art. When we would not only have to fight one person in a pub fight or do 'battle' against someone in the ring with rules and regulations, that's not fighting, we would have to fight wars! The head of the family, usually the male, would not know if his family would even be there when he returned while his family would not know if he was coming back that evening. Such is the way of the beginning of the Yang Family Taiji in China, known as the most feared fighters in all of
China and yet, people nowadays call tai chi martial arts a dance! Of course, now, we do not have life threatening situations every day of our lives, but the art remains the same and there is no difference between the internal systems for health as for the fighting art, it's the same energy. In fact, when I give seminars, some people like to break it up into one day for healing and the other day for fighting. However, those who only attend for one day depending upon their preference, really miss out for not attending the other day, because the healing and martial arts cannot be broken apart. This is how it used to be, and this is how it should be now.
Erle & Eli, Rostock 2007.
And isn't self healing the most important! Proper tai chi martial arts causes one to be able to simply beat one's opponents by out living them! And a style of only punches and kicks is unable to do this, whereas classical styles are. No style? Of course Bruce Lee had a style, a number of classical styles in fact. Tai chi martial arts was one of these. These are his basics. It is my opinion that Bruce Lee, if he lived, would have taken his students back to his beginnings and taught how he knew and not what he knew. And this is what I think about the classical martial arts, whether they be Karate, tai chi martial arts, Kung-fu, T.K.D. etc, the basics are all contained in the classical forms and katas of these martial arts. This is where we learn the 'body management', so important in turning a basic classical style into a street survival system. You cannot take the classical movements from a form or kata and make up physical reasons for their being; they are not there for that. Try and use technique from a form or kata in a real survival situation and you lose. A good martial art does not teach technique, but rather teaches the mind through movement and the body.
see a classical martial artist in a serious scrap, who simply knocks someone's head off and leaves, then this is a martial artist who has done the basics. However, if you see a martial artist who goes into some sort of stance and on guard position, low stances etc, and who gets his head knocked off, then this is the classical martial artist who has never taken his basics beyond basics. As we become more and more advanced in our survival skills, we tend to use less and less techniques, rather preferring to stick with the tried and proven one or two in order to survive. But it's the years of classical work that gives us this ability. In a real situation, and I don't mean the odd drunk at a pub, a half of an inch step, balanced, here or there can mean the difference in life or death. So, doing the katas or forms day in, day out, does not teach us how to fight using those forms from tai chi martial arts or katas, but rather, it teaches us how to survive, using much simpler techniques while always keeping the upper position of hands and feet, balance wise.
The so called 'non-classical' stylists who have never done a classical style, always say the same things like not wishing to waste time in doing so many movements that seem to have no meaning. They also say that rather than do kata, why not do the actual techniques from the forms with a partner. Here, the non-classical person has lost the whole idea of kata and stems from he or her simply not knowing the real meaning of kata. We don't do it to learn techniques! We do it to learn internal body/mind movement. It has nothing to do with learning techniques. If your internal mind does not have it then you do not have it, and we do not learn 'internal work' from doing attack/defence situations with a partner. The survival skills come much later when we learn all about 'the no mind state, eagle vision, reptile brain, and fa-jing'. Here, we make use of our own natural movements, different in every body/mind. For instance, someone's most natural movement to a simple attack from the front may be to throw up his or her hands in front of the face. So here we turn this movement into a more devastating fa-jing/dim-mak strike, and eventually, this movement, which was always this person's most natural movement, becomes the sub-conscious movement to any type of frontal attack by hand. If you don't have the basics, then you've got nothing! And the classic forms from tai chi martial arts and katas are your basics, they teach you how to move. It's not the fact that we learn really low stances and exaggerated movements so that we can then use them to fight. It's far from that; we do these katas which involve much discipline, so that we are able not to use them when some real trouble is coming our way. If you
On the other hand you'll get people who go to a few or many lessons at their local Karate or kung fu club and then brag that they know the martial arts. This is the other side of the coin, these people, some who have been studying for 30 years even, do not know the martial arts, because they have not learned to take their martial art into a survival realm. A martial artist will always make a better street fighter, provided he has taken his art to a higher level of survival and is aware that all the forms and katas in the world, only, will not cause him to be able to fight. He has to learn how to fight, as well as learning his martial art.
martial artists or survival artists ever when it comes to fighting. But my whole background is in the classical tai chi martial arts, it is the arduous, hours of practice in my early years that holds me in good stead nowadays when I perhaps do not have time to practice three of four forms every day. Now, I prefer to spend that time with my children, playing music, painting, writing, teaching them about what I have learnt, along with their normal schooling as we teach our own anyway. But isn't it the irony, we spend all of this time becoming good at survival and just when we are getting there, we no longer wish to do it! We grow up and our minds mature, we want to keep out of the way of trouble and avoid like the plague, fighting, so perhaps we do the martial arts, to not do the martial arts!
On the other hand, someone who has only learnt from a few books or who has taken a few lessons from a number of different teachers and watched a few Bruce Lee movies will also never learn about survival. It's the classical martial arts such as tai chi martial arts that teach us the psychology of the fight. The difference between winning and losing is 50% mind and 50% body. If you do not have complete control over your own body and mind then you have not got it. And you can't get this control watching a few Van Dam movies or learning a few high kicks and fast punches. You have to do the work pertinent to the survival skills you are trying to hone. Look at what happens in a fight or an attack. If you could slow down the action, you would see footwork and handwork. If you take a look at any good kata or form, you will see this exact foot and handwork, only exaggerated and slowed down. This is to teach the mind how to tell the body how to move. When you are into a real fighting situation, this will naturally speed up and you will naturally use those same postures, footwork and handwork that you so painstakingly worked upon for the best part of ten or twenty years. You don't think about it of course, it's all there. Just like learning to shoot a bow, at first you are all hands, but slowly, the bow becomes a part of you and your body and mind merge as a whole unit, and you finally are able to hit the target many feet away subconsciously. It's the same with the katas and forms; we do not learn them to learn technique, but rather sub-conscious mind and body movement. One does not have to practice the forms and katas for evermore, only until those movements have become subconscious do you have to practice your katas. In this way, when you are involved in a fight, does your art become so called non-classical? I am one of the most non-classical
WTBA Summer Camp 2011
WTBA International Summer Camp 2011 A Photo Report
July 2011 saw the WTBA family gather at the Fa-jing Châ€™uan Internal Chinese Boxing School in Leicester for our annual international workshop. This was our first camp without Erle at the helm. Yet, somehow, he was there with us as Eli took charge aided and abetted by Ben. Yes! The Montaigues came out in force.. even Kathleen joined in and pretty soon the camp was in full swing. As always, the WTBA family gathered from far and wide with representations from Austria, the Dutch Caribbean, Egypt, France, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, South Africa and of course, from across the United Kingdom, as well as some place called Swindon! We trained hard and partied harder! The main theme were the 8 Bagua Internal Power sets, alongside the Old Yang form. Congratulations also to Mukesh Verma, Vuyo and Manny Mellet on achieving their instructorship and Lars-Erik for gaining his Third Degree. A big thank you to Jerry Walker and Dave Garcia for preparing the daily food and barbecue. Finally, a big thank you to all our friends who attended and made the camp the fun it was. See you next year, same place...
Ben & Eli Montaigue
Training in full flow and... Ben!
Getting ready to party!
Monica training hard in traditional WTBA uniform! 45
ON MAGICAL ENERGIES & ALL THAT JAZZ.... I am still shocked and amazed at the number of emails or enquires I get from people regarding supernatural energies, or demonstrations of said energies on YouTube or elsewhere! It is incredible that in this ‘age of reason’, there are still folks being duped by socalled ‘masters’ into believing that such fantastical forces exist whereby one can knock out an adversary by a mere flick of the hand! If such ‘masters’ or even such supernatural energies existed, then where were they when China was being invaded and ‘raped’ en masse by foreign armies throughout its long and turbulent history? Why weren’t these ‘Super-Masters’ stepping to the fore and using their powers to defend their nation’s weak and oppressed citizens?
This is clearly a reference to the skill of Yang at being able to neutralize the energy of his opponents with ease. Birds, however, are a totally different proposition altogether! Birds are Nasser Butt nature’s perfect flying machines. They can land on the most delicate of By the way, there is no record of branches and take off without Yang ever claiming this feat for causing the branch to break! They himself. Rather, it is a story handed down are meant to fly... unless, of course, they to us from students!! are designed not to do so. The suggestion that Yang Lu-ch’an could, somehow, defy Similar stories are found for Sun Lu-tang. physics and prevent the bird from flying In fact, it was claimed that he was so light from his palm is preposterous! footed that he could walk on the surface
The time in any flight of the greatest danger is during take off and landing. This is because speed is related to the lift needed to leave the ground. Lift is the weakest at take off because full speed has The answer’s simple - there weren’t any, not been made. And at landing because because none existed! the speed of the bird is being reduced. This is true also for modern aviation too. There is not one iota of evidence that the great masters of old - the Yang Lu-ch’ans, It is the size of the wing which or Sun Lu-tangs or Chang San-fengs ever determines how much lift is made. The claimed to possess supernatural powers angle at which the wing approaches the through the practice of their internal arts air affects lift. This increases the air speed or ever demonstrated circus tricks! over the wing and produces more lift. Birds use all of the following: changing Sure, legends abound regarding the their wing size, lowering flaps, opening prowess of the above-mentioned masters, slots, using winds, and increasing their but such legends were based on historical speed by flapping their wings faster. facts and where they weren’t and were overstated by zealous followers, who So, it’s clearly demonstrable from the knew next to nothing about the art or the above that it’s the wings of a bird that artist - they were and can be proven help it to gain lift. The only way Yang wrong easily! could have stopped it from flying was by preventing it from spreading its wings Let’s take the story of Yang Lu-ch’an and not by making some adjustments to being able to nullify a bird’s energy and his palm or anything else to neutralize the prevent it from taking off from his palm. bird’s energy!
of water! A story which arose from a simple leap over some puddles and mud! Sun’s daughter, Sun Jian Yun, spent her life denouncing such myths about her father! Between 1898-1901 at the time of the Boxer rebellion, there were many boxers who believed that by practicing certain qigongs, they were able to gain a type of iron shirt that could deflect bullets! Sadly, they discovered rather quickly and fatally that they were not Kryptonian men of steel but, rather, men of flesh and blood! Of course that didn’t stop some of the masters claiming that the reason why their students failed to stop the bullets was due to a lack of slack training and not following their instructions properly! Funnily enough, the said masters themselves never took on the guns! A similar parallel exists in modern times. George Dillman and his lackeys are amongst a host of current non-Chinese and Chinese practitioners claiming the no-touch knockdowns. The fact that they
have been brutally exposed by ordinary reporters and shown to be charlatans, who can only do such tricks on their own students, does not deter them from continuing to make their claims! Go check YouTube... they are found easily! What’s so abhorrent about these guys is that they feed on the weak and vulnerable minds and no doubt make a bucket load of cash in the process!
Wally’s Corner Ask Wally Simpson a question and get an in-depth answer. For those of you who have not been living on planet earth for the last few years, you’ll be excused from not knowing that the legend that is Wally Simpson is one of the WTBA’s most senior instructors, as one of Erle’s oldest friends and students. Wally is an acclaimed practitioner of TCM and the co-author of Erle’s seminal work the Encyclopedia of DimMak.
And even when confronted by their failures, they claim it’s because the recipient is not receptive to their qi and that’s why it doesn’t work! Or, even, that the recipient was a master who knew how to neutralize their qi by simply moving their toes in opposing directions - that’s a real gem George!
poor of society and even lay down their lives if they had too. The great Baguazhang master Cheng Ting Hua, was one such honorable man who sacrificed his life during the aforementioned Boxer rebellion. It is said that he saw a group of foreign soldiers abusing fellow Chinese outside his shop. Armed with 2 small knives he dove amongst them, killing several and injuring many before being shot down. No magic, no trickery. Rather, a man who represented the true nature of his art and executed it with a skill that still marvels us today! The internal arts are magical enough. They do not require the circus tricks of modern charlatans to prove their worth!
Surely, if such skills were possible, then they would work on everyone period! For No! The masters of old showed us the what’s the point of something, which only simple path to the truth. Stick to it, train works on those who are willing? hard and your art will reward you with health, longevity and a oneness with the And far more importantly all the armies earth, the heavens and all that’s contained in the world would be teaching such skills therein. Oh.... and it’ll teach you how to to their soldiers! Imagine the current costs fight too! of modern warfare... these could be slashed as no more expensive bullets or And... missiles would be required to overthrow states and governments! Nope, the If you really want to knock an opponent soldiers could simply wave their fingers out - simply hit him! like a Jedi and send their opponents flying or use mind tricks to confound their enemies... “These are not the droids you are looking for!” Enough of such fools and foolishness!
We are hoping that this will become a regular column and discussion point and a great way to access one of the most experienced minds in the WTBA.
They are neither masters nor teachers or guides! I would gladly stand in front of any one of them and challenge them to move me one inch without touching me or even make the shirt on my back ruffle!
Please send your questions to the C&H email on the Contacts page.
A true guide or teacher would not resort to such trickery. No! They would behave with honour and protect the weak and the
WTBA DIARY & EVENTS 2012 WITH ELI MONTAIGUE Norway, Skjbeerg. March 3rd/4th 2012. €100 Weekend covering: Yang Lu-ch'an's form, adding the Qi. Push Hands, getting it right. Training for 4 hours per day with an hour for lunch. Austria Graz: March 10th/11 2012 Weekend covering Small San-Sau Push Hands. Yang Lu-ch'an's form Contact Egwin Ertle to book your place. PH: +43/ 650/ 37 44 222 mail: email@example.com
Eli will be teaching a weekend workshop in Montaigu which is a village near Nantes in the south of France. Eli will be covering basic Yang Cheng-fu form plus basic push hands and Small San-Sau. And will begin The Old Yang Lu-ch'an form. Please contact Pascal Jaunay: firstname.lastname@example.org Byron Bay November 2012 A week of great fun training in beautiful Byron Covering: Bagua Staff form! and also Yang Lu-ch'an's form Advanced (will also be shown at a basic level for beginners) Push Hands Large San-Sau two person form And corrections in loads of stuff
Goirle Holland: (Near Tilburg) March 24th/25th 2012 What Covered: Yang Lu-ch'an's Old Style Form Some real progress was made in 2011 and this is expected to continue into 2012. We are into the 3rd 3rd of the Old Form!
This year will have full catering, you can stay in cabins or tents
Push Hands will also be covered: Not the silly competition type of push hands but the original method which is possibly the best way of learning sub-consciously about reflex self defence actions. Qigong:
Training will be 4 days Friday to Monday, arrival on the Thursday afternoon. with Breakfast Lunch and Dinner provided.
Contact Jos Horst: Holland email@example.com Coffee, tea and juices are available at the bar of the centre. Eli Montaigue in Montaigu France. April 28th/29th
Foundation Training Camp March 29th till April 2nd 2012. 1st Swansea Valley "Oak" Scout Troop Ystradgynlais, Swansea, SA9 1QB
Bagua Training camp May 17th-21st 2012 Venue as above Summer Camp 2012: July 26th till 30th A separate newsletter will be sent out for the annual Summer Camp in Leicester, with all the details to all on our mailing list. Please contact Nasser Butt if you are not on our mailing list.
MINI CAMP USA 2012 Lake Pocono Plateau May 31st - Junes 3rd 2012 (Thursday night 7pm-9pm, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday leaving at 2 pm) LOCATION: Pocono Plateau, Camp Retreat located in Cresco, PA Website address: http://www.poconoplateau.org/ COST: $436.00. WHAT DOES THIS COVER: This covers everything expect your travel here. It includes training, meals, and accommodations. An initial deposit is required to secure your place at the camp. CONTACT: Alexander M. Krych for any questions about this event firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com or telephone: (908)303-2941. The training will cover the Old Yang Luchan Taiji Form- “Getting it Right,” “the Way of PushHands” or locking arms (very different from the push hand taught or practiced by most people in the United States, Qigong Methods, and a Special addition, something which we haven’t covered since the late 1980’s here in the States. The first Six of the “Twelve Circular Hand Kuens” also know by the name: “THE 12 Deadly DIM-MAK KATAS.” The twelve forms, according to Erle were originally taught only to Inner Circle and family members and given Only One Per Year at that! Finally, AS IF THIS ISN’T ENOUGH…to add to this camp we are going to cover one of the Pakua Animal Forms this year. Truly one of the special ones: The Pakua Snake Form.
VENUE ADDRESS Fa-jing Ch’uan Internal Chinese Boxing Schools (WTBA Leicester) Top Floor, Unit 36 Faircharm Trading Estate Evelyn Drive Leicester LE3 2BU
TAI CHI AND BAGUA CLASSES IN LEICESTER Running once a month on a Sunday 10am till 2pm Cost £30 (unless otherwise stated) One half form, the other combat! both solo and two person sets. Plus anything February 19th 1pm-5pm April 22nd - Deer-horn Knives Form May 27th July 1st March 17th/18th Eli will be covering (and continuing) the Old Yang Style Form. Push Hands. Large San-Sau,
else people wish to cover. This is not set in stone though! Cost: £50.00. Covering 3.5 hours of training each day with 1/2 hour for lunch break in between. 10 am until 2pm. Please email Nasser: firstname.lastname@example.org
USEFUL CONTACTS Erle Montaigue www.taichiworld.com Moontagu Books & Video Ltd PO Box 35 Gwynfe, Llangadog SA19 9SY Wales UK. +44 (0) 1550 740136: Ph: 07868361519 MOB
Eli Montaigue Head of WTBA & Chief Instructor WTBA email@example.com
Senior Instructor & North England Representative Editor Combat & Healing http://www.fajing-chuan.co.uk CombatandHealing@gmail.com firstname.lastname@example.org 07792242150
Peter Smith Senior Instructor WTBA Representative for the United Kingdom Email C/O Georgina Smith: email@example.com
COMBAT&HEALING 83, THE FAIRWAY OADBY LEICESTER LE2 2HP ENGLAND UK.
Al Krych Chief Instructor USA firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (908)303-2941.