One year on... special collectorâ€™s edition
The Complete Guide To The Internal Martial & Healing Arts
Special Collector’s Edition
Combat and Healing Volume 64 March 2012 Editor
©March2012NasserButt/Combat&Healing. All Rights Reserved.
The points of view represented here are solely those of the authors’ 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.
Dedicated To Erle: Thanks for creating the memories mate!
Typica!y Erle! Photography Nasser Butt ÂŠ 2008
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.
Ten Months Today Kathleen Montaigue
A Dedication To A Life Josephine Anderson
Erle’s Tree - Report Nasser Butt
The Time Is Now Sam Beatty
My Feelings Ben Montaigue
Tribute To Erle Ron Hassarati
A Year Ago Today... Eli Montaigue
Why Do I Do Taiji? Ramakrishna Chedumbarum Pillay
Reflections On Erle Wally Simpson
They Search and Search Erle Montaigue
Everyone Needs Help Sometimes Eli Montaigue
Messages From Facebook
What Can You Do With A Tomato? No.24 Erle Montaigue
Fooling around in Rostock, Germany 2007.
One year on... I have spent weeks and months, thinking, about what I would write? How would I feel? Or even, how could I express what I really felt? The past year has been an emotional roller-coaster to say the least.
Around 1997 I wrote an e-mail to Erle, little did I know then, that my life would change as a direct consequence of my actions. It was the first time I had dared to contact him personally. I had already been training for a while with one of his UK instructors. I wasn’t really expecting a reply in return from the man himself. Rather, I thought it would be his secretary or some senior person within the WTBA. I couldn’t have been more wrong!!
EDITOR’S NOTE Nasser Butt
Erle used to say that at the higher levels of our Taiji practice, it was very difficult for the practitioner to put into words the energies that were working inside of him or her. Words would simply not do justice as they were limited in comparison. Many had tried and yet, their very words in untrained hands had been turned into magical nonsense! It was only when the practitioners themselves were beginning to reach that level of attainment would they truly understand what their teacher had really been saying!
I had written to Erle regarding some videos he had made for Paladin. I was training hard and paying, what for me was a small fortune, for my lessons here in Leicester. I wanted to train more but my finances just weren’t able to cover it. I couldn’t afford to pay for Erle’s MTG videos so I decided upon exploring the possibility of learning from the productions he had made earlier for Paladin. Being an American company, I felt I could make what little money I had to spare go further against the US exchange rate.
Erle’s words reminded me that I had heard such sentiments expressed before... These emotions which were ‘whirling’ inside of me suddenly began to make sense - call it a epiphany or simply a punch right between the eyes...a ‘punch’ which was delivered almost 15 years ago!
I asked Erle if he could kindly send me the details for the titles he had made for Paladin? I received a prompt reply a few hours later. It was from Erle, himself! That was to be the first of many shocks to come. He wrote that he couldn’t remember all the details and why I was interested in those particular titles?
I simply told him.
That was my first encounter with Erle Montaigue. An encounter that would change my life forever. I decided there and then that He thanked me and asked that I forward him my details and that I would, one day, meet this man - if only just to say thank you he would sort things out. I emailed him my address and thought in person. Whilst waiting for that time, I consumed every article no more of it. he had written on his website! A few days later, there was a knock on my flat door. I happened to be home and answered the door to find a postman standing there with a parcel in his hand. He asked for me and upon confirmation, handed me the parcel. I was surprised as I wasn’t expecting any packages and looked at the post mark - it was from a place I had never heard of nor could pronounce in Australia! My instincts were to hand the parcel back to the postman, telling him that it was some kind of error as I didn’t know anyone in Australia nor was expecting anything from there. The postman, asked if the name and address on the parcel were mine and then returned it back to me and walked off!
I got that opportunity in the September of 1999. Erle, after almost a decade, decided to resume his overseas workshops and came to England - Folkestone followed by Swansea, in Wales. I, along with a group of other students, headed out to Folkestone for what would become a most memorable weekend. The hall in Folkestone was full. It was intimidating to say the least. Most of the guys there had been training with Erle for years, decades in some cases, I felt a little out of my depth. There, amongst the crowd stood the man I had come to meet and say thank you to, and hopefully learn a little from, and not embarrass myself too much - I hoped!
I came indoors, reluctantly opened the parcel to find several VHS videos, with a small note: As Erle started to teach, I remember standing there, mesmerized! I had never seen anyone move so fluidly, balanced “I hope these help, kind regards E.” and powerfully. But what got me most was his kind, gentle appearance. He looked nothing like the wild Aussie bloke that I That was the second shock! had seen in the videos - no, I remember a far gentler fatherfigure, who just happened to be extremely lethal with his hands It suddenly dawned on me from whom and where the package and feet! had come! I panicked, thinking Erle had misunderstood me and thought I wanted to buy HIS MTG’s - I knew I couldn’t afford As lunch came, a throng of people gathered around him. I to pay for them and instantly ran to my Mac to fire off an email. thought that this would be the opportunity to say thank you. I moved though the crowd and as I approached him, he had his I was very careful, not to be impolite nor offend... I simply said back to me. that there had been a misunderstanding between us. I had wished for information regarding the Paladin productions and I tapped him on his shoulder, he turned looked at me and couldn’t afford to pay for the titles he had sent. smiled, paused for a moment and said... “You must be Nasser! Good to meet you mate...” I had a reply back in a few hours - that was the shock that knocked me for six! I stood there, mouth wide open - like a goldfish! How did he know? It read: “I was thinking about you on the flight across, wondering if you “Who the f**k asked you for money? I’m rich enough. If these would make it?” He continued as if in response to the surprised videos help you to learn and get better then, I’ll be richer still!” look on my face. I sat staring at my screen, for several minutes, dumbfounded! What kind of Master was this? Not only did he reply to his correspondence in person but carried no airs about him and wanted to help me learn at his own expense! What kind of man would do such a thing for a complete stranger thousands of miles away on another continent?
This was one of Erle’s magic moments. Don’t ask me how he did it but I’d see him do it to others in the years to come! I thanked him for the kindness he had shown me and he just gave me a big hug and an even bigger smile. The rest is history, as they say - maybe for another time. Suffice to say, I never looked back.
I had no words - other than thank you.
Erle was the teacher and guide I had been looking for and every bit the kindhearted and humble man that I had envisaged! That weekend was simply magic. I made so many new friends. Friends, who even now, over a decade later are dear to me and shall remain as such. In 1244, two strangers passed by each other in a bazaar in Konya, Turkey. As they passed, each glanced at the other and that ‘glance’ was to change their lives forever. Jelaluddin Rumi, the brilliant Persian scholar and Sufi mystic, never forgot that moment when he met the dynamic wandering dervish Shams of Tabriz! Rumi is sitting by a fountain in a small square in Konya reading to students from his father’s dazzling spiritual diary, the Ma’arif. Shams breaks through the group and throws the invaluable text, along with other books on the pool’s edge, into the water. “Who are you and what are you doing?” asks Rumi. “It is time for you to live what you’ve been reading.” Replies Shams.* Rumi was to, forever, leave his books behind and follow Shams. Their friendship was a meeting of souls and from herein Rumi’s lament was simple... words were limited and simply not enough. Language is not living. To understand some things we have to abandon words and go much deeper and beyond! For weeks and months I had felt a profound sadness inside me. The thought that I would never see or hear from my friend and guide again was soul destroying at times. Yet, it came to me, remembering Erle’s words and those reminding me of Rumi’s self-realization.
Words certainly are limited when trying to describe certain emotions and feelings. I understand that now, just as I realize that for as long I practice and breathe then my friend and guide will stay alive with me. He lives in my form and the countless forms of others, whose lives he equally enriched. Yes, that’s where Erle took myself along with a host of others. Beyond the words, beyond the books and beyond, way beyond, what most people thought the martial arts, their practitioners and teachers were about! It was this ‘punch’ that Erle had delivered all those years ago - a way of living, understanding and forming friendships that would last a life time, and for that I shall be eternally grateful. So, I leave the words. What follows over the pages are a host of images. Images which I have gathered over the years, which best describe what Erle was about and the atmosphere his classes & camps would create. The words of Erle’s children, his friends and those students who learned so much from him yet never got the chance to meet him in life accompany these images. The time has come for me to open my package... For my father, my friend, and my guide does not reside in an envelope - he LIVES in my heart!
* Rumi - The Glance: Songs of Soul-Meeting, translated by Coleman Barks
Ten Months Today Kathleen Montaigue VS1 I write songs about boys, and let my heart feel a little sad. I wrote one song for you, but I can’t play it that song about you. So I play the songs about boys, and let my heart cry a couple of tears. Cos I can’t play that song for you, I’d go mad cos tears are just not satisfactory anymore. VS2 It’s been 8 months and 23 days since I walked down the stairs and you were sitting in your chair. You looked up at me and said “good morning my darling”, I kissed you on the forehead and I went to the toilet. We didn’t know the night before and we didn’t know that morning. But that’s what makes it so beautiful we didn’t need to know cos we wouldn’t change a thing. That’s what makes it so beautiful it was us, it was us. That’s what makes it so beautiful, right there in that moment was the number 42. VS3 It’s been 9 months and 7 days, we’ve crossed the world to find you’re not at home. I’m training with the men you taught way back when they were not much older than me. There was a time when I hated the way, you looked so proud when I moved you’re way. What would I give today, to have you look on as I twirl this fucking stick.
Bridge I can’t say goodbye, I wanna hate you some more, give me 10 more years, I want to make you proud because of something about me, not proud because of something about you. But that’s what makes it so beautiful we didn’t need to know cos we wouldn’t change a thing. That’s what makes it so beautiful it was us, it was us. That’s what makes it so beautiful, right there in that moment was the number 42.
VS4 It’s been 10 months today, since we spent our last night with you. It wasn’t in anyway a good night, in fact I was incredibly tired and grumpy. But you wrapped your arms around me, and hey. But that’s what makes it so beautiful we didn’t need to know cos we wouldn’t change a thing. That’s what makes it so beautiful it was us, it was us. That’s what makes it so beautiful, right there in that moment was the number 42. The night that you wrapped your arms around me.
VS Run We’ve brought you back to rest, but are you sure there’s no chance that one day I’ll walk down those stairs? Are you sure there’s no chance I’m gonna hear that voice? Are you sure there’s no chance that one day I’ll wake up?
Kathleen chilling in Rostock
A dedication to a Life Josephine Anderson The loss I feel is sharper precisely because Erle and I were friends always living in countries apart, and yet cohabiting the same world of the internal arts down through two decades of growth and change, so that even his death could do no less than transform distance into “internal space.” He was and is a reminder that life is about alteration and constancy together. The two, intricately orchestrated, gave birth to a kind of balance which has served as a model for my life, redressing my imbalances as passages of life towards a higher order of balance. To have watched Erle move through the form was to have watched life itself unfolding, overcoming itself, and healing, like the smooth river over restless depths, moving towards an ocean that sets no boundaries to growth. I relied on his DVD’s and the dozen or so workshops and camps I had the good fortune to attend. Their content was always brilliant – the manner in which they were delivered homegrown, with horses, dogs and children frolicking about in the background. But this did not matter. The poetry of his forms, which remained the same no matter where it turned up, took where it turned up as a part of itself, merging it into the meaning of life. The little accidents, the comic mishaps, the quirky gestures were precisely that incarnation of Yin and Yang in balance that established the stability of “home” and the freedom of its safe enclosure. Erle’s form was this daring poetry, combined with the lovingly familiar and the poignantly mundane. I would hardly have wished for Erle the kind of media stardom accorded to some martial artists, which has little to do with their actual influence as artists. For Erle was an artist first and foremost, over and above the “martial” part of his artistry. And it is this, interestingly enough, in defiance of all media expectation, that made him so mystifying. For the spirit of abandon – which is what art is in one of its moments -achieving such explosive power, did not betray the huge amount of work that had made such abandon possible, let alone suggest that he was still struggling with the work. Work and effortlessness came together in him. He could tear through air like the wind over the waves or he could dwindle into the stirrings of a small breeze emptying before an upcoming storm.
Compelled to do for his students what he had done for himself, Erle provided the safety of “a home,” where we could explore “the work,” i n t h e o rg a n i c totality of body, mind and soul, clearing our consciousness of the multitude of external objects and distractions, reaching down into that empty inside for a leap of self-abandon. This focus of attention cannot possibly be obtained from outside “the home,” for we would be driven by other, more “public,” concerns. And even when we are moved by an honest willingness to learn, all that we can do from the outside is to fall prey to absurd reductions or “applications,” grafting pieces of “the work” onto another agenda. It is not a question of agreeing or disagreeing with this or that part of the work, or even of objectively understanding the whole of it. The work is organically part of our experience with it, vanishing as an externality only as we make our way through it. Through his advocacy of a more subtle, imaginative and rebellious consciousness, a dynamic Yin and Yang defying the static and more stylized versions of other disciplines, Erle became a category unto himself, and a source of confusion and resentment in those less sensitive or willing to understand. But that being said, it will become clear to the rest of the world, through the vast record he has left of his knowledge in DVD format and printed material, just how impressive he was, both as a teacher\practitioner of the internal arts, and as a human being. I admired his courage and his honesty. But, most of all, I loved his generosity, his willingness to share from his internal world, the act itself one of balancing Yin and Yang out, in the tireless transition of one step to the next, of the physical to the more internal, and vice versa -- towards a deeper union capable of harnessing the energy of the journey itself, breaking towards the luminous obscurity of a “home,” from where we ourselves can be extended, insinuated, unleashed, and finally “abandoned” to those wanting in balance.
Erle’s Tree Nasser Butt
January 24th, during a rain-sodden day there was a
momentary break in the cloud. It was as if nature had decided to pause and remember alongside all of us, who had gathered in Red by name, red by nature.... the Evington arboretum for the planting of Erle’s memorial tree.
The Red Oak (Quercus rubra) is one of many from the Americas and is so named for its spectacular red autumn leaf colour. Although usually known simply as the red oak, it is sometimes referred to as the northern red oak, Sandy, Ben, Eli and Kathleen drove across from Llangadog to which distinguishes it from the southern red oak (Quercus falcata). The day was almost a year in the making.
Leicester. We planted the tree, shed a few tears but mostly laughed and smiled in celebration of a great life. A dog ran up to It is one of the fastest growing of the oaks, it attains a height to 80-90 feet and us as we stood on the sodden mound. It ran between us and then a diameter of two to three feet. circled around the tree and ran off down the hill again. Erle was there with us for sure. As we planted the tree, I remembered a conversation I had had with Wally about what Erle would have said:
The tree has a single, lobed leaf with seven to eleven pointed or bristly-tipped lobes. The lobe sinuses reach one-half way to mid-vein. The leaves are thin, ﬁrm, dull green above, yellow-green below, varying considerably.
“Great... so you’re going to celebrate me by having dogs p*ss on me for the next 400 years!” Yep - that would have been his attitude and he would have loved it. An open space where families came for walks and dogs were allowed to roam free. Many years ago I had heard Erle say that the ideal spot to practice one’s Taiji would be under an old tree with good roots, with running water nearby. And that’s what we did. - we planted his tree, a red oak, in just such a spot, hoping that it will put down strong roots for all to enjoy over the years, decades and centuries to come. I don’t know what made me choose the red oak. It felt right from a list of over 400 species that were on offer. Eli would later tell me that the red oak happened to be Erle’s favourite tree and that his training stick was made of the same stuff. Coincidence? No! Erle didn’t believe in coincidences and neither do I. All things happen for a reason and at their appointed time.
The fruit is a large, broad, rounded acorn with a very shallow disk-like or saucer-shaped cup or cap. The twigs are small, slender, greenish brown to dark brown. On young branches the bark is smooth and gray to greenish. On the trunk it breaks into long, narrow, shallow ridges ﬂat and smooth on top. The under bark is light red. The Red Oak has a longevity of 400+ years!
So, if you’re ever in Leicester, come visit the tree - maybe even Fun Facts: Acorns provide a food source for numerous birds and animals: carve your name in it once the trunk has thickened and celebrate Ruffed grouse, nuthatch, blue jay, wild turkey, red, gray and fox squirrels, all that was and is Erle Montaigue. bears, deer, raccoons.
Erleâ€™s Tree - Planted on 24th January 2012 at the Evington Arboretum, Leicester, UK.
Sandy, Ben, Eli & Kathleen - Erleâ€™s beloved family.
The Time Is Now... Sam Beatty
Before I begin this article I would like to give my respect to Sandy Montaigue. From the moment my family and I met the Montaigues she had open arms for us all. I will never forget how kind she was to my children and how she would include Ryka (my oldest son) with her family activities, like on walks with her children. How Erle had hugged us the moment we set foot at camp 98 instilled his warmth that you all know. Or when I had to kick Ben and Eli's butt in some table tennis brings back many fond memories. (LOL) I have to hold myself back from tears as I write this...but isn't this what it's all about? Isn’t it about sharing your words of kindness. A warrior is one who is in balance with nature, who shares that connection with his loved ones and with his students and his friends...this is the goal I seek and wish for us all. The time is now... Majeda-Mo Beatty
There is so much rubbish in the martial arts world for the the beginner. It's hard to decipher the real from the fake. All these teachers calling themselves masters, master of this, master of that. There are many tai chi schools teaching watered-down systems of martial arts and good people that are gullible have fallen victim to these charlatans not knowing any better. They believe that their learning true tai chi. Some years back I was in California visiting a friend of mine who is a great external martial artist in his own right. One morning while I was training in the back yard of his school just going through the Old Yang form, one of my friends students approached me and asked me what form that I was doing. I told him Yang Lu Chan form and he replied that he had never heard of it. He said he was learning Tai Chi Chuan from my friend but he knew nothing of Erle Montaigue's system of Tai chi Chuan. The young fella was a nice bloke and he asked if I wanted to do single push hands and I agreed. As we began and we touched I was firm but relaxed, I was using my waist and had the correct posture. I had just recently read one of Erle’s article about the power stance whilst doing push hands training with his son Ben. I was thinking about one of Erle’s sayings “don't play the game”. So this was in the back of mind while doing push hands with this fella. As he pushed against my arm for about five minutes he was starting to get tired and he said to me that i was doing it wrong!! I said, “no this is how my teacher has taught us” and explained to him that he was doing competition push hands. That he would surely be defeated in the ‘mean streets’ using his push hands style. I could hear Erle's words just flowing through me! At that very moment, I was to understand that so many people have gotten the wrong information and believing in the teachings of there systems. Growing up in the big apple I had seen enough violence and I wanted to learn how to fight and defend myself. Before I joined the W.T.B.A I would always question things about martial arts. I studied a few different martial arts styles looking for someone who knew what they were really doing. When I was seventeen i spent a lot of time in Chinatown New York, I went to my first Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor as I wanted to know about herbs and acupuncture. I also went along to the buddhist temple learning about vegetarian food, mediation and chanting. It would be a some time before I would meet that teacher, Erle Montaigue. Like so many who came before me and
also who came after I was very privileged to have been in the same presence as Erle and the W.T.B.A crew. From learning in the WTBA system, at no time in history has so much information of the internal martial arts ever been exposed in such a way. The secret is out and any one can now learn. At one time only a few knew. How lucky we are to be blessed with this legacy of information. This is the beauty of it all, although you still have to do the work. You have the freedom to learn any of the systems that has been provided for us.
website and the DVD’s of our system and through The Combat & Healing magazine. Eli and Ben have continued to share this information through the workshops and classes, whom I applaud to carry on this legacy. They continue to share this ancient system through the great work of their father. So like I said the Time is NOW! Erle Montaigue, Rest in Paradise.
(Edited by my lovely wife, Taryn Beatty)
I would sit for hours online reading all of Erle's articles and I still go back and reread his articles. I believe that if you’re learning from Erle's DVD's it's important to gather as much information as possible. As you train you should keep a journal and write down your personal experiences, then you can always look back and reflect. It's easy to misinterpret the information, so writing down your thoughts in reflection and then going back to the Erle’s info, you can see where you need room for improvement. The internal martial arts are so subtle you can easily miss it. Everyone's experience is different but our goal is the same to learn and experience from our actions. This morning I was training my oldest daughter Majeda-Mo' who is now 13. Watching her go through her forms with such power and finesse she's so easy going. She is a very natural in her movements and she picks ups things quite quickly. She's starting to move quite fast when we do Wu Dang weapon hands or small San Sau that I've have to be on alert from her busting me in the lip!!! I've been training her since she was 4 years old and we are currently working on chi disruptive #5 & #6. It's a great feeling to be training with my children knowing that they're receiving ‘all that great oil’. In turn I have learnt so much from my children too and I'm so proud of them. What's your reason for training? Maybe an illness? Maybe you want to know how to fight? Whatever the reason may be you can learn from the Tai Chi forms with the WTBA system. W h e t h e r y o u ’ r e d o i n g Ta i j i q u a n , Ba Gua Zhang or Wu Dang Shan you will benefit from these amazing internal/fighting forms. Sometimes I pinch myself at how fortunate I am of being introduced to this incredible internal Gungfu system. I’m not saying that there aren't other great martial art system s but for anyone that has learnt the qi disruptive kata's will probably agree with me...enough said! Erle has left a whole library of information for us! Isn't it great that we have access to this information from the 26
My Feelings... The last year has been a miracle, this time last year if someone told me things were going to pan out like they did I would have never believed they could have gone so smoothly or so quickly. Dad really has been looking after us and guiding us through this difficult time. When I think of my dad now or dream about him, the feeling has changed from a very sad feeling to a more positive warm feeling, even though I still feel the sadness of missing him, the feelings of warmth and happiness from those memories are taking a stronger and stronger hold. His presence is still just as strong, noticing parts of him in everything including me. I'll say things sometimes wondering if it's me or him that said it because it has reminded me so much of him. We have all grown so much through this time and even though I still have a lot of growing to do I am so happy knowing that Dad will be there to guide me all the way, through memories or little nudges that I still feel when making decisions. These are my feelings over the last few months and knowing that one year has passed since dad's physical form left us brings a lot of emotion with it, happy and sad.
Ben & Erle
Tribute to Erle Ron Hassarati
You breathed and you moved and in your moving you touched our hearts. You breathed and you moved and in your moving you transformed our lives. You breathed and you moved and in your moving you changed the world. O Great Warrior, Earth friend, Brother to all the animals, Teacher, Master. Now your chi has become one with the Cosmic Chi. Now your breath has become one with the Eternal Breath. Now your form has become one the Form of the Universe. Now your spirit runs with the wind and sings upon the mountain top. May our fighting be the true fight â€“ the struggle against ego and injustice. May our movement be in harmony with the Land so that we too can bring peace and joy to all creatures. May our breathing be one with Earthâ€™s Breath so that one day we too can move with the Supreme, the Ultimate the Great Tai Chi.
Images: Rostock, Germany 2006 Summer Camp.
A year ago today he sang his last song, gave his last hug and threw his last punch. We kissed him on the forehead and said good morning, we sang we played and we hugged. Then we kissed him on the forehead and said goodbye. But his song will never end, his hug will always be felt, and his punch always admired. I cried myself to sleep last night, for a year ago today was the last time I was held by my Dad. But it's because of him that I know how to love, so I awake with power and strength in my heart. On this day the 26th of January, take someone in your arms and hold them like you'll never let go!
Why Do I Do Taiji? Ramakrishna Chedumbarum Pillay
About a year ago I decided I was going to be the next Bruce Lee. I looked the part, I was the same size, weight, similar proportions. Body building was going great. Loads of cardio. Yes, I was going to be the best. Originally I had started doing TKD since I idolized Tony Jaa as much as Bruce Lee. I particularly liked Jaa's attitude. I wanted to be able to do ten spin kicks in the air. I even thought about becoming a stunt man. I bought all the magazines where all the masters tell you that their art is the best of all arts. Despite the work and the claims, something was missing. I was drawn to the self-defence side of martial arts and, taking the word of these magazines masters as gospel, I started my fortunately brief journey into boxing and Krav Maga, an Israeli martial art. And still, something important was missing. In all those magazines there were always articles about Tai Chi that referred to a special internal power, one that could make the practitioner of this deadly art absolutely unbeatable. I wanted to know more about it. The first time I entered a Krav Maga dojo I saw that the instructor was my height but was about one and a half times wider and heavier than I. If I ever needed a special power this was it. So I patiently sweated and bled in equal amounts every night, three times a week in the dojo. The testosterone flew everywhere with the knife disarms, the lock escapes, the gun disarms - which all Krav Maga exponents take seriously. But I wanted to know about this internal power. The first time I mentioned this to the instructor he said, "I don't believe in that stuff." I quietly agreed to disagree. A few more months went by, pumping up my muscles, cramming down my food. And then one day my mind stopped to ask me, "What are you doing? What are you afraid of?" Ever since I started this journey I was becoming more paranoid. I'd see a man and wonder if he were dangerous. I'd think, "He looks big and strong - so be careful." Every time I went out I was afraid of being mugged or being stabbed, and by learning all this self defence I was just covering up my fear. I wasn't making myself less afraid, I was merely isolating myself. Each time I went to the dojo, I'd work out with other athletic men who were civil but were not inclined to form
friendships. I encountered only aggression, sweat, and most importantly, ego - tons of it. It was the most uncomfortable place I had ever been in my life and I was dragging myself there three time a week. Finally, I realized that I had had enough. Then a close friend of mine suggested that I try Tai Chi, and go with him to his studio in Leicester. So I went to Leicester with no expectations. But I did have a hope that I would find that elusive "internal power" contained in the martial arts. It was a life changing experience for me. I walked into the studio in Leicester and was amazed. There were not only bags, weapons, and an assortment of other training implements, but more importantly it felt good, fresh, clear, and friendly. The instructor, Nasser Butt, shook my hand and asked me how I was. I had no way to judge the man except to sense his unassuming confidence. As the weeks went by I knew he was the kindest instructor I had ever known. He did hot hold himself as a superior person - there were no silk pajamas, or status symbols. He was just a man, no different from the rest of the people there. I wasn't used to such unnervingly friendly instruction. So we started, three circles, 3 minutes in, and this was the most physically demanding exercise I had ever done in my life. I had never sweated so much while standing still, (or maybe I had never stood still before), then the wudang hammer, then post work, then fajing, something so alien to me it felt awkward. Nasser then hit the pad for me, my arm seem to vibrate as it was blown away. I had never been hit that hard before. He then casually uprooted all the prior conceptions of the martial arts I ever had. When we finished I sat on the sofa and could hardly speak, my mind was reeling, and when we left I never thanked someone so sincerely in my life. The rest of the day I couldn't even speak. From then on I read as many of the recommended articles written by system-founder Master Erle Montaigue and watched as many videos as I could. I was astonished by his teaching style and the generosity with which he made so much information available. I began actually to crave going to Leicester for Nasser's instruction. My Tai Chi instructor became one of the most respected people in my life. He is not just my teacher, he is someone more important, my friend. Now eleven months down the line my one regret is that I never got to meet Master Erle Montaigue who had recently died. Through his teaching I came to realize many things, not only about the martial arts, but far beyond this. I came to admire and respect Erle Montaigue as a man who was never afraid of speaking his mind, whose discipline was second to none, whose knowledge was oceanic, whose life was
The Original Team Leicester: (Back Row) - Nazarkut Sultan Ali, David Garcia, & Elissa Bush (Front Row) Pete Elliot, Elliot Morris, Nasser Butt, Charlie Cornelius, Erle Montaigue, Wayne Springer & Kamran Butt - April 2006.
colourful and varied, whose humility, selflessness, and generosity So when I ask myself why I do Tai Chi, I realise I don't need an was of a special sort that doesn't come around very often. And his answer. I just do it. friendship extended to everyone. One of the most poignant things he taught me was, "Don't live for the martial art, let the martial art live through you." Instructor Nasser also taught, "Don't forget to live." Now I realise that even though I never got to meet Erle in person, his teachings became a model of the qualities I wanted to aspire to throughout my life. Erle's generosity lives in everyone in the World Taiji Boxing Association, and I am grateful to belong to this family. What about my paranoia? I won't be bold enough to say it has gone, but I now realise fear is something unique. A person can choose to cower and never step out his door, or he can try to build up walls around himself. What he should do is to challenge the fear even though it is always there. The only true way to 'escape' fear is to observe it until the fear is nothing but a word, and there is no 'fear' associated with it. When I walk down the street I know that if something happens my training will deal with it. I don't worry about whether or not something will happen. I prepare myself so that if something does happen, I can handle it. Rather than worry, I have other things to concentrate on. Below: Scrapping with one of my most treasured friends, Claire Botsford in Swansea during Erleâ€™s 2001 visit to the UK. Right: Amanda Barrell watching Erle do his â€˜thingâ€™!
Gordon Robinson & Andy Noah - Fooling around in Rostock.
Erleâ€™s idea of taking a photo.
Erle & Sandy with their good friends Colin & Lauron Power - Rostock, Germany 2007 Summer Camp.
Reflections on Erle Wally Simpson 2011 what a year!!
It is still hard to believe that my friend and teacher Erle Montaigue left the mortal realms on January 26th, Australia Day, last year, the same day as my mother – both now fly free with the spirits of those who came before us while we mortals remain to ponder life’s mysteries. So after this I wondered what else could happen that might impact my life more than these momentous events and how would Erle’s legacy of Taiji Chuan, Bagua Zhang, Qigong etc – etc continue to play out in all of our lives now we could only feel Erle shen (spirit) brush ours as we continued to participate in his legacy or in our Hearts as we remembered moments shared. Well my gorgeous wife Vivien had planned a holiday with me in New Zealand south island so she booked our flights and then Christchurch the south islands capital was destroyed by an earthquake; we flew into that once fair city 3 days after the devastation. Our tickets were for that time and we were told we could cancel but as the airline was still flying we would forfeit our fare. Not a lot of money to forfeit – we decided to go anyway. We stayed with friends in Rangiora just north of the city and did a bit of sightseeing; I got a couple of surfs at a beach where the water was still very dirty from the earthquake but great little waves, pity it was so bloody cold in the water, I wasn’t sure I still had feet at the end of one session. I taught some Qigong to our hosts and their cute 3 year old, Sage, he would sometimes copy me doing my circle Bagua and on several evenings he asked his parents when we were going to do some more Qigong (he always bowed to me after we finished, he had never been prompted to do this). We travelled north to check out a place where I picked tobacco in the 70's and caught up with my good friend Gary Keenan, one of Erle’s instructors in the Motueka region. We did some training and talked about Erle and the legacy of Taiji Chuan, Bagua Zhang, Qigong etc that he left for us to play with and how they influence our lives. During one of our sessions I showed Gary a different way to do Chenfu. I had been playing around with a method of doing Taiji Qigong that Erle had inspired in me. Erle had always said that we can and should do every movement of the Taiji form as a Qigong, so one day when dealing with a particularly slow group of students I decided to get them to do each move as a Qigong. I had them do the first third of the Chen-fu form as a Qigong; we held each part of a move for 3 breaths and did 3 breaths when moving the hands from one position to another. So from the beginning of Lift Hands to the end of Lift Hands involved 15 very slow breaths before we moved on to the next move. The breath at the end of the upper movement being an in breath and
the breath at the end of the lower movement being an out breath, it takes a while to do the first third this way. I have done the whole of the Chen-fu form in this way but can only do the first third of the Lu-ch'an, even this took some creative innovation. I haven’t done the second or third thirds of the Lu-ch'an like this because I am still working out how to stay suspended in the air during some of the kicks!! I often feel Erle’s presence whenever I do these types of things not sure why, perhaps it is the inspiration Erle planted in my subconscious while watching him do his small frame form or even just the form at a very high level. I like to think that the subtle Yin Yang changes that occur in my hands and feet as I hold a position in a very relaxed state and just breathe, may well lead me towards doing small frame at a reasonable level (I live in hope). When we do the form in this way we also have time to notice the subtle stretching and activation of the Shao Yin (Heart / Kidney)– Jue Yin (Pericardium / Liver) – Tai Yin (Lung / Spleen) channels as we raise our arms and the Tai Yang (Small Intestine / Bladder) – Shao Yang (Triple Heater[energizer] / Gall Bladder – Yang Ming (Large Intestine / Stomach channels as we lower our arms. Not that we want to dwell on this, just notice it the way you are supposed to notice everything in your range of vision when doing t forms or drills. All of this can only happen when the mind is still, which is what happens when one spends long periods of time focusing on the breath. An empty mind notices everything from the subtle shifts I have just talked about to the intent of attack in the vibe or in the body language of an aggressor who wants to do you harm. We all do our training at different levels and we all aspire to do it to the best of our ability; Erle always said that eventually both the Taiji and Bagua forms will become our teachers and then eventually the forms will become our own. Many of us rush too quickly into wanting to learn the different forms or to do Fajing, in Erle’s words “If you can’t do soft Fajing then you can’t do explosive Fajing” Sometimes when I watch others training I am reminded of the story of the Old Bull and the Young Bull. I was fortunate that Erle was here to slow me down; after having learnt some forms, push hands etc from one of his students, Erle was watching a group of us do one of the forms when he stopped us not long after we had started and said he wanted us to learn it all over again. He made us start from the beginning again and progress slowly through the different forms and levels. He still reminds me slow down and do each move to the best of my ability and that even an explosive Fajing must have a moment of emptiness at its conclusion – Erle called it Cun. Remember that this is a JOURNEY not a DESTINATION. Be in the moment and enjoy each moment – everything has a lesson if you are aware; even the space between the ‘In breath and the Out breath and the Out breath and the In breath’ can teach you something. Meanwhile I still teach and grow as I do my Forms, Push Hands, San Sou’s, Qigong’s and I marvel how this Aussi guy could touch so many people around the world and how I can find training partners in so many cities and towns in Australia and most countries around the world as a result of his legacy.
For me much of this yearâ€™s lesson was illustrated by the Tsunami in Japan, it along with several other incidents have a recurring impact on my life; I have been to Japan a couple of times and spent many amazing hours doing Qigong, Taiji and Bagua in some of the most incredible parks where the Qi felt very strong. The power of nature demonstrating the impermanence of all things was unavoidable evident when watching the repeated replays of this catastrophic event on every channel for weeks. Thank you Erle for sharing some of your precious time with me.
Erle with Wally Photo appears courtesy of Wally Simpson
Above: Eli getting thwacked in Rostock. Below: Family Men.
They Search and They Search Erle Montaigue (Originally Published August 1997)
This article is I guess, a last ditch effort to try and teach people something about life and that endless search for the perfect apple. We all search, hoping someday to find 'something' great. No matter what our chosen path is in life, whether it is a sweeper of roads or a brain surgeon, we all search. The search is over, however, the moment you are born, it is all there for you to find, if you could only see it! I have spent the best part of my life searching and teaching others how to search and what to look for, how to see. I have published more information on my chosen 'path' than any other person in history, and yet, very few actually listen and learn from my experiences. They search and they search for that ultimate computer software, the one that will do it all forever. And even if and when they find it, they find some fault in it and they search and they search all over again. The saddest thing of all is that once you have searched the world, found a few people who have 'something' but not quite, you begin trying out anything and anyone for the sake of trying something different or new. Like a computer software addict who has tried all that there is to offer in the newest high tech software. He becomes bored with even this and begins secret raids on software stores, buying all kinds of rubbish software just for the sake of trying something new, maybe that will be better than his last 'ultimate' experience. He doesn't care how much it costs, or how far he has to travel to get it, he is addicted and will do anything for the ultimate software. It is the same with martial arts students, always 'knowing' that some day they will finally meet that illusive old (must be old) bearded master on some mountain peak in China who will impart the secrets of the Universe, and how to move objects without touching them, of course. It is generally a young person's trait, but sometimes, even older more experienced in life people will also keep searching until they die. And the saddest thing of all is that what they were looking for was under their noses all the time! It's just that they never ever learn how to look, to see without seeing.
Being human, we are enclosed in our little skin shell, we are limited by skin, blood and bone, we are not Gods and will never be. So when we 'search' we always search for things that are tangible, like moving objects without touching them, or levitation, or being impervious to any kinds of attack etc. These are all human things, they are physical and so can never be Godly or within reach of human beings. The sad irony is that our physical searching causes us to lose sight of what we are looking for, we expect others to be able to give us something, as if to wave a hand or tell us some chant or show us some new qigong etc.
Erle with Ian Campbell (WTBA Swindon, UK).
Top Left: Teaching Debbie Bowen in his own innovative style. Top Right: Eli in double trouble. Bottom: Leading from the front during an Instructorsâ€™ session in Llangadog.
But all the time it is WE who have the power over ourselves, and the power to gain something really great from our 'natural' (not super) martial arts.
has some supernatural powers, surely, if he actually HAD them, he would be so excited and want to impart that knowledge to everyone. Didn't people like Jesus and Buddha try to teach us everything?
They Search and They Search... Taijiquan and other internal martial/healing arts ARE miraculous. But we look in the wrong direction to see this. And when, after thirty or forty years of trying to become superman, some resort to trickery to try and prove that something-super natural is happening in Taijiquan. What they do not see, is that Taijiquan IS miraculous as it is. It does not need circus tricks or willing students to throw themselves all around the place making idiots of themselves. But human beings want the spectacular, the super natural; they do not want to do the work to see the real thing. It's like religious people who are continually trying to see God. They close their eyes, look upward in the hope that some human type spirit will hear them and grant their wishes. All they have to do to see God is to open their eyes, look at a blade of grass, a bone, a leaf, fire, electricity, magnetism. It is these and other 'simple' things that are the miraculous, the super natural. And it's the same with Taijiquan. We never see it for what it is because we are too busy searching for the unnatural.
A sad offshoot of those who would trick us into believing that they possess some supernatural powers is the fact that as people 'get onto' these people, they will perhaps miss out on those who DO have something special to teach and give it up altogether! Some people are able to do for instance 'yin' push hands very well, and indeed spend their whole lives perfecting this area. And this is a valid part of one's training. However, it is not the whole part and should only ever be learnt as being part of the whole. You must also remember that when people are 'searching', they WILL see and feel what they want to see and feel because they are so desperate to find something special. So when some master performs yin push hands on them, it feels as if it was some 'empty force' with no power behind the push. Yin push hands works exactly like this. f you are able to make your body sink into the ground, so that your whole body is able to relax (sung), then you will be more yin
We are only human, but within our puny bodies are such miraculous things that it defies any mind or genius to even think about them. Our electrical (Qi) system is so special, but we never see it, or even think about it because we are looking for the huge things. But it is the little things that are the miraculous. Our Qi holds us together, it causes us to communicate with other animals and plants and with God, it heals our body when it is ill, it heals others when they are ill and it protects us from internal and external physical attack. But because we are human, we cannot use our Qi for supernatural phenomenon like knocking someone down without touching them, or moving objects, or stopping us from being cut by a knife or wounded by a bullet, we ARE human. We are enclosed in skin that is not super natural and will never be, we have bones that will break, internal organs that will die because of trauma, a heart that will stop beating when struck, we are made of physical things. But, they search and they search. Whenever a new 'master' arrives on the scene, he instantly becomes the one with the knowledge that will transform the student into superman. They all flock to him, paying out huge sums of money only to find that he really does not know anything more than the last one. I have heard so many times that so and so knows the real stuff, but isn't telling anyone. Why! If a so-called master goes to great lengths to use trickery to fool us into believing that he
Top Left: With Amanda Barrell. Top Right: Teaching Din & Aviyah how to throw a fa-jing punch! Below Left: Teaching in Rostock. Below Right: With Debbie Youdall.
Above: Teaching at Rostock while Frauke Beier (Below) looks on.
than your opponent. You are then able to use your whole body and not just your arms for instance to attack. So it seems as if you are not using any force because beginners will only look for the force from the arms. They do not feel the power of the whole body. This is not too difficult given that most beginners are very yang to begin with. So, when an expert finds your centre and then uses yin force to attack you, it feels like he has not used any force because you are so yang. But he has used force of course; it's just that you do not register it as force. And because he has been able to find your centre and then attack across that centre, he is literally using your own imbalances to attack you. He then only has to issue very little actual force to cause you to feel like he has pushed you several feet away. When all the while it was your own body that attacked you! People are impressed with this kind of yin force, but it is impossible to teach to a beginner. And it is my belief that if I cannot teach it, then I should not do it. That is called ego. Once one knows about yin force, it is very easy to push people all over the place till the cows come home, but what good is it, just doing it to them if you are unable to show them how to do it? You must have students for many years until they are at a standard where they are able to appreciate yin attacks.
The latest fad is that of the so-called 'empty force'. You will see these tricksters at seminars with their students running at them; they stop about three feet from the master and bounce some 20 feet away or fall in a heap on the floor. The master is trying to have us believe that he has some kind of super natural power. Now just think for one second, use your logical and intelligent minds. These people are 'thrown' backwards up to 30 feet! Some are lifted off the floor. Think of what force would be necessary to cause a large man to be thrown some 30 feet away, or to be lifted off the ground. When someone is shot at close range with a shotgun, he does not go backwards as far! So the force necessary to throw someone that distance, would be so great that that person would die instantly! In modern times we have access to video cameras that have slomo facilities and it can plainly be seen that all, bar none, when they are 'thrown' away because of this ' empty force' all use their own legs to do so. And not one 'master' will ever do it to a member of the public, unless he is a plant! These people make a mockery of something that was once great. Something did not need tricks, because Taijiquan was once known as the greatest fighting and healing system to come from China. But because they simply do not know about the higher aspects of the art, they resort to tricks.
They Search and They Search... Yin force is a force that is quite difficult to find and even more difficult to execute. Many martial artists of the hard variety find it relatively easy to discover how to do the physical movements of fa-jing, or explosive energy. But they are only getting half of fa-jing, as they are unable to join it with 'yin power'. Once you are able to join fa-jing with yin power, you have the most devastating attacks known! So, although someone may be able to perform the physical movements of fa-jing, they do not know fa-jing. It's a bit like saying that you are able to drive a motor car by sitting in the driver's seat, but you haven't got the engine turned on! Dimmak at a higher level than purely physically striking the points that are purely physiological points, requires the use of 'advanced soft fa-jing' or 'yin force'. Until you have yin force, you will never know how to use any of the internal martial arts for self-defence. I have had some critics in the karate circles in the USA in particular by people who say that they have tried my methods and cannot get them to work. When I see what they are doing, I understand why! Some of them are unable to move, let alone execute complicated techniques that require yin force. I have no problem with yin push hands, as it is a valid learning tool, it is the following that I do have a problem with. This is how you do it, Eli!
Erle with Chloe Morgan. Guitarist with the Aunty Depressants.
When I see someone who is ill, either mentally or physically, or who is perhaps totally withdrawn, unsure of him or her self, not knowing where they are headed in life completely out of balance, floundering. Then after having trained in the higher aspects of Taijiquan completely change all of their negative traits to positive ones, to me, this is miraculous! It's interesting to note that not one of the 'new maters' teachers were able to do supernatural feats such as their students are now able to do. Yang Sau-chung for instance, the son of Yang Cheng-fu, did not perform any supernatural feats, neither did Cheng Manching. Both however, did some things that looked supernatural but were really only natural, making use of perfect body alignment and timing etc., and the ability to listen with their hands to every minute movement of energy of their opponent. But Cheng or any of the Yang family never knocked people down from a distance, nor did they 'control' the Qi or their opponent from a distance so that the attacker went into a trance unable to move! Students would see their teachers doing what seemed to be supernatural. They tried to emulate this but could not because they simply had not been training for long enough, so they resorted to tricks. They had to have bigger and better tricks than even their teachers. Many say to me that the Qi disruption is supernatural. It isn't, it is purely physical involving magnetism and electricity, (Qi) and cannot be done from a distance of more than one centre metre away. It is not supernatural; it involves a physical ability that anyone can learn. It is not the ability of the practitioner that is miraculous but rather the phenomenon that causes Qi disruption. And God has given that. They Search and They Search... The human body is the most naturally miraculous thing that you will ever come across, and it's you, YOU are miraculous, you do not need these so-called masters fooling you into believing that if you follow only their system, that you will become superman. You are already superman or woman. But, they will continue searching and searching as every generation before them has done. Don't you think that everyone, who has ever thought, has thought of the same things, and tried to find the same things? Why is it that we think that WE will be the first one? Sadly, most people look at Taijiquan for all the wrong reasons, and in doing so, miss out on the greatest experience that life will have to offer, that of knowing who and what you are and more importantly, where you are going and what you need to do. Taijiquan can give you this and more. Just stop thinking!
Summer Camp Fun 2010, Quorn Hall, Leicester. Ben, Eli, Dave & Lars-Erik.
Monica training hard in traditional WTBA uniform! 51
With Clare Hanson (WTBA Instructor, Leicester).
Having a break during the Instructorâ€™s Sessions in Llangadog, Wales.
Another Workshop With The Usual Suspects!
On Song - with his girl - Sandy
Photo copyright Maciej K. Krawczyk www.maciej-foto.com
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. 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. Please send your questions to the C&H email on the Contacts page.
Ben, Eli & Kathleen - Rostock, Germany.
Everyone Needs Help Sometimes :-)
Mum Dad Kathleen Ben and Me, at Mt Burrel Farm 1992. Photo courtesy of Eli Montaigue
Eli Montaigue He taught me to be a strong man, but on nights like tonight I wish I was a little boy again, cause then he’d still be here, for me to curl up in his jacket. Tonight I’m at home by myself, I don’t have someone here to hold my head while I cry, so instead I’ll write a little story to my friends. One day at a Tai Chi camp, when I was about 8, all the other kids were playing cricket, I went over to play, but they wouldn’t let me cause they’d already started the game, I said could I just have a few hits of the ball, but they said no. Most of them were older than me, and they were not being nice, so I got very upset and walked away. Dad saw that I was sitting by myself, and came over to me. I told him what happened. He gave me a big hug and said, “well if you can’t play with them, then you can do something that they’re not allowed to do!” We were brought up very healthy vegans, so at camps it was all about health, so during the camp none of the kids got any junk food, and had to eat really good stuff like vegetables etc. Cheese was one of the biggest no no’s! So he went into the kitchen and came back with this big chunk of cheese! And gave it to me. He made me laugh, and I was happy I was his little Eli Shmeli. So there’s a little Story that know one’s ever heard before about me and my Dad. It’s good to stand up for yourself and be strong. But always remember that it’s ok to sometimes need someone else to tell you it will all be ok, to stand up for you, and make you feel safe. Crying is not a weakness, it releases emotion from your heart, that makes you know how to love, and love makes you stronger than anything! The little boy that wants his Dad will always be there. But that’s ok because he raised me to be a strong man, taught me how to love. And because of that love, I know that he’s still there, all around me in everything that I do.
I mean how the hell did I end up playing the drums for a bunch of gorgeous half naked dancing girls every week!!!! Ha ha ha hah, Thanks Dad!!!!! See now that’s made me feel much better for writing that! Right got Belly dancing tomorrow night, taiji in the week then off to France for a workshop over the weekend! Bring it on!!!!! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Photo copyright Maciej K. Krawczyk www.maciej-foto.com
Photo copyright Maciej K. Krawczyk (Maciej appears above with Erle). www.maciej-foto.com
Mum, Dad, Kathleen, Ben, and Me, at Mt Burrel Farm 1992 Photo appears of Eli Montaigue Above: Brian Udall courtesy with Debbie Bowen. Below: Ben & Vuyo.
â€œNever believe what others say about you. Only believe what you alone know to be the truth about yourself. In my role as a martial arts instructor, this has been my greatest lesson in life. To not believe what my students think about me. Always know from whence you have come and only believe what you know. And also, that a great person only ever gets there by riding on the shoulders of giants, who themselves never knew that they were giants.â€?
Always in the thick of it.... Instructors’ Sessions in Llangadog - Erle showing each and every student how it’s done!
Teaching with Ben at the Patti Pavilion in Swansea, 2001
Sandy and I in Rostock, Germany. I remember Erle standing there smiling as we had this picture taken.
â€œ T h e h a n d s a re t h e m o s t important aspect of Taijiquan. If you have the hands right, you cannot have anything else wrong! For to have the hands correct, means that the whole body must be in total balance both internally and externally.â€? Erle Montaigue
This page & next - spanning the years 2001-2010
“Although I have been talking about things like poking eyes out and punching at vital points etc., it must be remembered that we only learn these techniques so that we are able to transcend just the fight- ing part of this great martial art. Once we are able to defend families, and ourselves we are then free to go beyond the physical and enter the mind intent. Once we have reached this level we can truly say that we know T’ai Chi. Only the person who is unafraid to turn away from a fight unless life is threatened and who will not enter into contests of strength really knows the martial art of T’ai Chi Ch’uan.” Erle Montaigue
Left: With Adi Asher (WTBA Israel), Folkestone 1999. Below: Folkestone 1999.
FACEBOOK I met Erle when i went to Auckland NZ for a workshop with him in about 1989 (?) - he changed my life view, my relationship with myself. A real honour to have known him and studied his way. I feel a steel like connection was made and is still just as strong as the day we 'partnered up' so many years ago. Finding this FB page shows me I am not alone in this! Heidi Hombler Recently, we had one of those discussions about whom you'd most like to meet in the world. That was an easy one for me: Erle Montaigue. I was fortunate enough to meet him twice and do a song with him - Love's Laughing Still. He was working on another collaboration using my lyrics, this time with his daughter Kathleen Nowhere in this Heart. We'll produce that properly one day, won't we Kathleen? R.I.P. Erle - Friend and teacher in the martial arts, music, and art of giving. Timothy Eldridge Ahh, shite!!! just learned of his passing. A truly unique individual from which I have learned more about the true nature of martial arts and life. His contributions to not only the Chinese arts but all of the martial arts cannot be measured. A true Renaissance man! Michael Marasco i think he is the closest we ever got to having a real Jedi in our midst. Thunderbolt Kenpo I would be lying if I said my life wasn't molded around everything you taught me. You're an amazing teacher, even more amazing person and friend. Sean Gee
Above & Overleaf: Images from Rostock, Germany 2006 Top Picture: Eli & Ron Beier (Senior WTBA Representative, Germany).
FACEBOOK I have just herd about Erle passing away .. and just had to add, that he helped me so much, changed my life, my body, .. opened my eyes to so much. The greatest teacher in my life, and always so kind and helpful. Some (that did not know him) might remember him for 'Dim Mak' 'death touch' to me (and other who's lives he touched) he will be remembered for 'touching souls'. 'Love is touching souls, Surely you touched mine'-Joni Mitchell Kevin De Souza I remember the first time I met Erle, even though we had corresponded for awhile before we met, he seemed like an old friend. Would talk for hours on T'ai Chi and life and great stories. I remember bringing in about 10 of his books that I had purchased and I made him sign each one which he did gladly. I think his spirit will live in all of us that knew him and had the opportunity to stand next to him and do T'ai Chi. Joey Del My condolences to all the family. I can't say I really knew Erle but through his early videos and articles in the Australasian Fighting Arts magazine (and a few conversations over the years) I felt as if I did. I credit Erle for opening my eyes to the 'softer' arts and thank him for producing the first ever instructional video I ever bought. Erle gave so much to the martial arts community and to the world, he will be long remembered. Rest in Peace Robert Frost Mr. Montaigue was a generous person. He sent me his chi kungvideo for free when I mentioned my health problems to him via email few years ago. Montaigue... Jani Rantalainen
With Ron Beier (WTBA Germany).
With Christian Zietsch & his kids in Rostock, Germany.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A TOMATO? NO.24 Erle Montaigue When I was a boy, five or ten years ago, I remember my mother cutting up the dreaded tomato and wiping the bloody thing all over my red and painful back and face after a day in the sun on the south coast. Having quite a pale complexion, I was always in the wars where the sun was concerned, and this was p re - o z o n e l a y e r d e p l e t i o n . Nowadays I go out in the sun wearing a suit of protective armour. How did my mother know about this ancient Chinese remedy and why did it work. There is no doubt a t a l l a b o u t t h e t o m a t o ’s effectiveness in combating too much sun and taking the heat out of the skin. Along with watermelon, these are the two kings of the sunburn healers. My Mum certainly did not know anything of Chinese medicine but many of the old western remedies seemed to have come directly from the Chinese way of healing. The tomato is ‘cold’ in Chinese medicine and has the property of taking out the heat from the skin so speeding up the healing process. It feels awful when the tomato dries up and you feel as if you have been wear- ing a mud mask for hours, but it works, seeds and all. But there are a number of other things that the tomato is useful for, apart from placing in parallel lines on your lunch sandwiches. Just for those pedantics out there, yes, I know, the tomato is a fruit and as such should never be eaten with grains (bread!). But it sure works well on a sandi doesn’t it. The tomato can cool the blood, clear a fever, promote saliva and helps with digestion. It contains sugar, protein, fat, calcium, phosphorous, iron, citric acid, malic acid, tomato alkaline, vitamins B1, B2, C, Carotene and nicotine acid.
Ben Montaigue in full flow.
Student (Iris Meijer).
Above: Aiesha, No Mi & Kathleen - After spending the day in Leicester with Erleâ€™s credit card! Below (Left):Erle turning the camera on myself. (Right) Kathleen & Erle.
Erle with Wayne Springer in 2008. This was to be their last picture together before Wayneâ€™s untimely death a short while after.
Yes, the sun does shine in England and we do have to use sun tan lotion as aptly demonstrated by Iris Meijer, Faith Crompton & Margaret Cooper.
Iâ€™m telling you... it was here a few minutes ago! Eli & Aiesha.
With Chief USA Instructor Al Krych
With Zac Walker.... in Leicester we start young!
Left to Right: Al Krych, Eli Montaigue, Colin Power, Erle Montaigue & Nasser Butt - USA 2010
The Last Summer Camp, Quorn Hall, Leicester 2010
Often, the master will have fleeting moments of brilliance, of innovation when he finally works out some way of transmitting the essence of what he is trying to teach to a student. WHAT he is teaching is like the paper on which the painting is drawn. The ‘feelings’, expression, experience of this are put away into his subconscious mind to grow. Then some years l a t e r, h e w i l l b e teaching that same physical movement to another special student, and the ‘painting’ will unroll disclosing all of that experience that was locked away in that special part of his brain. And he will again be able to show that special person the same things in physical form. This is what I have to try to transmit to the s t u d e n t a n d m o re importantly, to try and put down onto paper for future generations. Erle Montaigue The last workshop in Leicester, October 2010.
â€œChoose what you wish to be, or what it is you want, pay the price, whatever that may be, wait, and it will be yours, this is the law of nature. If you pay for something, you must get it. But be warned, you must firstly know what paying and owing means. This too is the law of nature. Or that of yin & yang.â€?
Erleâ€™s chair & guitar...
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.
Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen. Not any religion or cultural system. I am not from the East or the West, not out of the ocean or up from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not composed of elements at all. I do not exist, am not an entity in this world or the next, did not descend from Adam and Eve or any origin story. My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless. Neither body or soul. I belong to the beloved, have seen the two worlds as one and that one call to and know, first, last, outer, inner, only that breath breathing human being. Rumi