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The Complete Guide To The Internal Martial & Healing Arts
Erle demonstrating â€˜fist under elbowâ€™ from the Old Yang style.
Combat and Healing Volume 66 September 2013 Editor
ÂŠSeptember2013NasserButt/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.
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 Snake In Taijiquan Erle Montaigue
Muscle Memory Brian Udall
The Mind In The Internal Arts Nasser Butt
(The First) 5 Years Of My Tai Chi Simon Ball
Three Golden Rules Ramakrishna Chedumbarum Pillay
The Form Sequence By Itself Is Not Yet Taiji! Chris Paar
The Sword Of Wisdom Dr. Gregory T. Lawton
WTBA 2 Week Training Camp - Report Eli Montaigue
The Art Of Fighting Without Fighting - Part II Nasser Butt
WTBA Summer Camp UK - Report Nasser Butt
Qi Development Tools - Medical Erle Montaigue
Compromise Steve Morris
Spirals Kamran Butt
35 Weeks In The Erle Montaigue System Nasser Butt
his issue has been a long time in coming but it’s finally
here! After a busy summer and several stop starts, I finally managed to accumulate enough articles for the magazine. So, before I go any further, I want to get the gripes out of the way. I really am in desperate need for more articles. I keep mentioning this in every issue and am hoping that more people will start to put pen to paper.
thrown around. There were bruises, both physical and those delivered to the ego! How I wished I had been a part of those sessions. But, alas, it was before my time! Erle, however, preserved the training program for posterity and after years of my harassing him, also let me in on what some of those training methods were about.
I’m sure, as much as you love to hear the views of the regular contributors, that you, the readers, would prefer a much wider range of opinions. However, this will only be achievable if more of you practitioners are willing to share your stories and experiences with the rest of us.
So, finally, after almost 16 years of training I finally dared to take a group of my own students on the journey to recreate part of that diary... And what a journey it has turned out to be! Despite modifying some of the training methods, we still managed to get many bruises, even broken bones - so I dare not even begin to imagine what the original sessions with Erle Don’t be afraid. No one is asking you to come up with a would have been like in his “wild days”. But those of you who Pulitzer prize winning novel. No, simply share your journey on were there in Sydney, you have my utmost respect! the internal path with your fellow travelers, in your words. It’s not that hard. Give it a go! The WTBA continues to grow and thrive under Eli leadership. We are getting more folk interested in the Old Yang Style as Right, now that I’ve finished complaining, let’s get back to the well as the Erle Montaigue System. It is up to us, the current issue. So, what have we been up to? practitioners, to ensure that the system is taught and practiced in the same manner and spirit as Erle would have wished. Well, most of the major camps for 2013 have already come and gone. Systems stand and fall by the actions of the students who profess to train them. It is not enough to say that I practice the Eli’s two week foundational training program was a huge ‘Supreme Ultimate’ or the Erle Montaigue System or anything success and you can read the comments of the participants in else. You must become the system! this issue. And on that note, I wish you all happy training until the next The annual WTBA Summer Camp in July finally saw Eli publication. Please keep those articles coming and a big thank deliver what was Erle’s planned camp for 2011. It was a raw you to all that have contributed already. and emotional moment and was delivered in the traditional Montaigue style - kids running around with much fun and laughter. This year has certainly been a busy one for myself. After many years I finally got to fulfill a lifelong ambition ... to recreate the 35 Weeks in the Erle Montaigue Training System. This document has always been close to my heart right from the very early days of my training and I have always found the training methods given in its pages fascinating. This was ‘old school’ stuff - Erle tells you so himself in the introduction - for the ‘inner school’. These were the training stories I used to hear Erle tell so often about the days when he had his school in Sydney. The training in those years became a lore for the later WTBA workshops and camps. Students got hit. They got
EDITOR’S NOTE Nasser Butt
the snake in taijiquan Erle montaigue (Originally published December 2010) The "Snake" has always been reference to the backbone in Taijiquan. So whenever there is a posture that has anything to do with a snake as in (snake creeps down), it has reference to the backbone and the life force in the body. The spine is a powerhouse of accessible energy or Jing that we can make use of in an emergency in either self defence or in the healing area. Each vertebra is a small capacitor (as we say in electrical terms) that stores energy and releases it when necessary. During Qigong and Taiji, we are placing the body into such a natural position that each vertebra is placed perfectly on top of each other and the stored Qi in each vertebra is attached to its neighbouring vertebra. So we now have a much larger well of energy that we can then use for work. It's like having a chain on the ground, pick it up and only that portion of the chain will rise in your hand. However, if that chain is locked into some kind of cylinder, you can pick up the whole chain and if you stand it on its end, each link in the chain will fall onto the one underneath it. This is what Qigong standing is for and as Taijiquan is the most potent form of Qigong (when done at its most advanced levels), this also happens during our daily form practice. And this is the reason why so many are now contacting me exclaiming about the amazing things that are happening to them and their training after training in the 12 Qi Development tools, which come directly from the Old Yang Style of Yang Lu-ch'an. They are then able to take what they learn from these tools and integrate that back into their daily Taijiquan practice. People always ask me about what I consider to be the most important postures or moves in Taijiquan. There are two movements or postures that I consider the most important. The first one is important because it is the highest level of Qi balancing internally. The second is the most potent physical healing posture of all as it wakes up one's life force, blows air onto that spark of a fire to cause it to rage. So one is a Qi or internal balancing posture while the other, although it also has Qi development parts, is mainly a physical getting well posture for the whole body Lift Hands is possible the singularly most important posture as far as Qi Development and Balance is concerned. All the 12 Qi Development tools begin with this posture. The posture of Play
Guitar is the same as Lift Hands so we make no distinction. This posture represents the lifting of the Qi from the KD1 point up into the backbone and into the Dim-Mak/Acu points called GB20. This is what is referred to in the Classic Sayings from the old master of The Qi Must Raise Up The Back. As the hands lower again, the Qi is then balanced throughout the body as it sits back down into the Caldron or Tantien. In this posture, the whole body is in a state of perfect balance with the Earth, the breathing is natural and deep which enhances this rebalancing effect of the posture. Most people just dismiss this most important posture as it isn't as fancy as for instance Stork Spreads Wings and most will just pass it quickly. However, when one performs this posture, it should be done very slowly and we must also break one of the Beginner's Rules in that we at an advanced stage, must lower the body as low as it can go without falling down. The posture is held for a count of two full breaths before continuing on to the next posture. The arms and hands during Lift Hands are like tree branches they have no feeling, nor can you feel them moving; this is SUNG. The arm movement must be performed in perfect harmony with the whole body as it rises and lowers and also in perfect harmony with the foot that will be empty. Snake Creeps Down: This is singularly the most important posture as far as physical healing of the body is concerned. I have given this to a group of older students and although some of them couldn't even do the posture, they all were amazed at how much energy it gave them as well as a general feeling of well being and a positive attitude. It is called Snake Creeps Down not because the left hand comes right into the groin then slides down the leg like a snake sliding down the leg! But because of the action of the left hand. The other way that most do it looks very lovely but has no meaning whatsoever. As you begin the lowering of the body down onto the right (or left as in the Old Style) leg, the left palm will first go YIN, then YANG, then YIN and finally YANG again, making like a snake moving downward with its body curving in yin/yang movements. At a self defence level, this posture is a potent strike to two dim-mak points on the inside of the attacker's kicking leg SP 10 & SP 8. At an energy or Jing level, the action of the arm, hand and lowering of the body activate all of the most important Life Force meridians of Kidney, Spleen, Liver. The Snake Hand will then activate the Qi in these meridians to move right up into the spine for processing throughout the whole body. When performing this posture as a Qigong, one must go into it and hold the posture for a count of 7 seconds or 3 inhalations and exhalations at a slow pace. Then without raising up again but rather rising a little, you will change the weight as the other hand performs the snake movement and sit in the posture on the other side also for that amount of time. It is preferable to do
6. processing throughout the whole 5.body. When performing this posture as7.a Qigong, one must go into it and hold8.the posture for a count of seconds or 3 inhalations and exhalations at a slow pace. Then without raising up again but rather ri little, you3 times. will So change the do weight as the other hand performs the snake movement and sit in the pos each side 6 in all. And it mornings and evenings. do itside whenever likeamount for instanceofwhen I go It is preferable to do each side 3 times. so 6 in all. A onI normally the other alsoI am forable, that time. our 4 mile walk on the mountain, before turning it for mornings andupevenings. I normally do toit come whenever I am able, like for instance when I go for our back, I will do the posture as a Qigong. walk up on the mountain, before turning to come back, I will do the posture as a Qigong. Now, you really want tomost getoutthe most outasofa this posture as a Qigong, when you have done the la Now, ififyou really want to get the of this posture one, youwhen should come intoone,the Qigong, you have done up the last youStep shouldForward come up to 7 Stars posture making the correct hand movem you up, Forward then stand in the 7 Stars for a count of 7 breaths which opens the 7 Star Points intorise the Step to 7 Stars posture makingposture the correct hand movement you rise up, then stand in the 7 Stars posture body to allowasheavenly qi to enter. for a during count of 7the breaths 7 Star Points in theoften simply hold the Snake Creeps Down posture fo Even Taiwhich Chi opens formthepractice, I will body to allow heavenly qi to enter. few seconds before coming up into the next posture. AtEven a purely physical level, you will notice during the Tai Chi form practice, I will often simply that hold your overall flexibility will improve as well as your strength. will become powerful and as along as you keep your torso vertical, so to the Snake Your Creeps kicks Down posture for a fewmore seconds before your whole coming up intoupper the next body. posture. This posture also has an effect upon your metabolism, slightly speeding it that you will lose weight if necessary. You will also impress people at parties! At a purely physical level, you will notice that your overall flexibility will improve as well as your leg strength. Your kicks will become more powerful and as along as you keep your 1. torso vertical, so too will your whole upper body. This posture 3. speeding it up also has an effect upon your metabolism, slightly 5. will also impress so that you will lose weight if necessary. You people at parties! 7.
Photos: 2. 4. 6. 8. The Snake in Taijiquan
Photo 2: Beginning Snake Creeps Down, L hand is Yin.
Photo 1: Single Whip. Photo 3: Moving Down, L hand becomes Yang. http://www.taijiworld.com/taiji-qigong/Free_To_Download/Erle's%20Articles/Articles/snake_in_taijiquan.htm
Photo 4: Continuing, L hand becomes Yin.
Photo 6: Coming up and out of the posture into Step
The Snake in Taijiquan Forward To Seven Stars. Notice the left hand position.
Photo 5: L hand becomes Yang as you come into posture.
Photo 7: Step Forward To Seven Star Posture. Notice the Yin/Yang of the two hands. This also shows the R foot totally off the ground. If you touch the foot, it would be the ball of the foot that touches.
Above Photo (7) shows R foot totally off the ground foot that touches.
Photo 8: Lift Hands.
he ground. If you touch the foot, it would be the ball of
phone call in January last year from Paul, a Tai Chi practitioner for some years, after looking at his form I couldn’t believe what I was looking at! His waist was stationary and his arms were dancing the Tai Chi dance. All the basic principles of the form were missing after some twelve years of practice no one had the decency to alert a dedicated student of a reputable Tai Chi School that his form was dead, movement with no movement. After working through the Yang Cheng Fu form for nine months his form started to come alive his face was a picture when he found energy rushing around his body reaching places chi hadn’t seen before, he jumped with joy when chi bumped his dantien. Great, we were getting somewhere so time to try out some techniques. The first time I attacked Paul he flew across the room. My God, I thought, my chi must be awesome.. hee hee! No, nothing of the sort, this poor man had been programed to fly when he was touched. Great self-defence I thought. Go into a pub, Bob the basher turns up has a go at Paul for looking at him, touches him and Paul flies across the room out of harm’s way! No such luck though Bob the basher follows and give him a good kicking. Poor Paul was programed to fly! How sad, twelve years to learn how to fly? He should have studied for a pilot’s licence. This highlights how students are, in my opinion, hypnotised over a period of time to comply and get into the inner circle of special students. Students who eventually can fly across a room without even being touched, in total belief that what is happening to them is true and having massaged the teacher’s ego, get patted on the head for their dedication to the original Tai Chi Yang methods. I, myself, was being drawn into this trap thankfully to be rescued by Erle, he saved my bacon and I thank him from my heart. This happened to me after a visit to see Erle at Mount Burrell in Australia. After the trip, I met my teacher in Hong Kong, being a loyal and dedicated student I had total faith in my Sifu, after all I was in the inner circle! We went up into the mountains and I showed him everything that I had learnt. I sat down to seek his approval and to discuss where my training should be heading? He gave me this very strange look. Then the bombshell, he said that what
Muscle Memory Brian Udall I had learnt was far too advanced for him and that the Chi Gung I had showed him brought the trees behind me to life like predators moving towards me! I did a three sixty, looking in disbelief and thinking what an earth had I learnt? What had I done to myself? I felt scared and confused having total faith in my Sifu.
What a fool I was! After he left for the UK, I took the ferry out to Cheung Chau Island. Sitting on the back of the boat I struck up conversation with a total stranger, a mountain climber, who I told my story to. He brought me to my senses and I realised, I was a threat to my Sifu! “I had evil spirits in me”, his words, I had blown his cover, not a very nice man playing with my head. But a prime example of how manipulation of students takes place. How these people have the audacity to claim that they have the master key to the secrets of Tai Chi and that anyone who doesn’t follow the Yang Family path is destined to conjure up evil spirits, and damage one’s health! Do I smell bullshit? So, beware the inner circles you folk out there. Now a little gem; Practicing Tai Chi is beneficial to one’s health and spirit. Practice regularly and your muscles will remember. Muscle memory comes from practicing the form at a slow rate, putting the body into correct postures. The form is so precise as to give each movement the maximum power for hitting or healing. Getting your head around this take time and patience. It is impossible to perform the Tai Chi form in a constant flow until the muscles can remember each stance, first at a basic level of movement then the intricacies will be able to advance. One should work on the foundations. Once the waist and the hips are working above, correct footing the core, your trunk drives the legs and the arms. Once people realise that the centre drives the form everything drops into place no more wave hands like a country dancer.
The Mind In The Internal Arts Nasser Butt
(The First) 5 Years Of My Tai Chi Simon Ball
On the occasions when I discuss it with them, I call it “my Tai chi” and my friends laugh. “Why is it yours?” they ask. Its mine, because it’s how I do it. I know I do loads of it wrong, and bit by bit, piece by piece, Nass corrects me and shows me all those little bits I have been doing wrong, or in some cases forgotten. The fact that I know I am doing it wrong doesn’t stop me from enjoying it immensely, so much so that I am trying to organise my hectic life so that I can start going twice a week sometimes. I started doing Tai chi at a holiday resort in Nottingham, which I went to yearly in the 2000s, on a Sunday morning I would arrive at the dance studio at 8am and concentrate and practice the taster session exercises taught by two different men once or twice a year for 2 or 3 years. I was discussing this with a colleague who also liked to go to the same holiday resort, and then one of her team mates piped up and said I should go and get some Tai chi lessons from Nasser because she did and it was excellent. Soon after that, in autumn 2008, Nasser started teaching the first 3rd at De Montfort University, and within a few weeks I was hooked. He told us after a while that what we were learning was called the 1st third, and after googling and You-Tubing I discovered some videos from the 80’s with a long-haired Australian bloke who walked like a panther and was describing a very similar version to the form I was learning. I went to class every Wednesday and I watched the videos lots and practiced in my little study, trying to get my turn into single whip correct without knocking over piles of clean washing or my Uni books. Months later when discussing Tai chi with Nass after a class, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Australian bloke, Moontagu, who I had been watching was the guy who taught Nass, and that lots more videos were available should I wish to buy some....something I am still meaning to get around to doing. Once Nasser had got his studio in Leicester working I started going on Thursdays too, where my classmates were quite a way ahead of me in the 2nd third, so I had to focus to catch up. In my 3rd year of Tai chi I changed jobs, and dropped to only one class per week, and then I got to the point in my degree where I needed to spend much time on my dissertation, along with working full time and being a father of 4, and I had injured my foot having drum lessons. So in 2012 I had 6 months off and physiotherapy on my foot to
correct plantar facia-itis and tendonitis, and I let my Tai chi slide, and I really learned how much doing it had changed me for the previous 3 years. In 2012, from May to October, I was finishing off my 7 year part time Master of Science Postgraduate degree and working full time, and going home and doing 2 or 3 hours a night writing my thesis (dissertation). I was devoting so much of my energy and mind to that project that I didn’t have room for anything else in my brain, and I wonder how much that 6 months period of stress, confusion and general nervousness would have been different had my foot have been better and had I managed to find the time to keep going to Tai chi. It was my graduation ceremony this week, where I donned Cap and robes and shook hands with the Vice-chancellor and doffed my cap to the actual Chancellor, who in his speech mentioned something of a buzz word in Current UK Higher Education circles. His phrase, “Lifelong learning” appeals to me as a concept. I think all of life is like a journey through events which we can learn from. Since I began my Tai chi, and it could be coincidence, I have experienced some slow to arrive but significant benefits, which I like to attribute to directly to practicing Tai chi form. My hay fever suffering has been virtually eliminated. I have gone from dreading summer, being on 2 different antihistamine tables, a nasal spray and eye drops in 2006 to only using the nasal spray, and occasional eye drops on bad days. This has also made a big difference to my intellectual capacity in the summer because being on antihistamines makes me sleep too deeply, feel tired and as if I am operating in a light mental fog, with a hint of Alzheimer's...constantly forgetting where I have put things, why I am doing things or why I just walked into a room. Being rid of those negative effects has made me enjoy summer a lot more these last 3 years, and I am also no longer afraid to go outside with my kids, for fear of the consequences of breathing pollen. The above could be a complete coincidence, and could also be attributed to me gaining the knowledge at some point during that time that wearing big, UN-cool, wraparound shades would stop a lot of pollen getting into my eyes, which could have been causing many of my dripping-face symptoms. I like to think that both have been a factor on improving the quality of my life when the sun comes out over Leicester. The other big change wrought upon me by Tai chi has been that I have got about 2 inches (5 cm) taller. I knew that it was affecting my posture in a good way, I could feel myself becoming straighter and stronger as a result of Tai chi, which was my only exercise for the first 4 years at least. I used to slouch a lot; my shoulders and neck curved forward, with my
wife had noticed that as I got into Tai chi my frame was getting sturdier, I was more balanced and solid seeming, and although my belly has not gone away, under it there seems to be some kind of muscular structure which was not there in my 20’s or early 30’s. The fact that I had become taller (or was actually now standing with better posture, and achieving my own full height) was driven home when I again went for my yearly drink with some of my old school friends. People who have known you for 25+ years, but only see you once a year or less, are quite surprised when they suddenly notice that you, who they used to be about an inch taller than, have suddenly got taller than them. It’s not the sort of thing that occurs a lot when you are a group of men in your mid/late thirties, and observant people notice that sort of thing. I also play bass guitar, in heavy metal and thrash bands, and before Tai chi I used to regularly get a carpal tunnel / RSI type pain in my right wrist if I didn’t warm up properly, or had not played for a few weeks. Since the Tai chi, and my new improved posture, that no longer seems to occur, and has made an improvement in my playing and how I feel about playing. It makes it harder to stop concentrating and let your muscle memory carry you away when playing a song you know and love, if part of you is hurting because you are playing. I have found it very gratifying to think that my Tai chi was having such a profound effect on me, and recently it has started my analyst brain looking for other correlations and corroborations about the effect of Tai chi (or the lack of it) upon my person. Even though I stopped Tai chi for a while, I am still standing straighter, feeling stronger, and getting the Hay fever benefits. However, 2012 was my worst year ever for sickness, and number of days off work sick. So much so that my employers felt the need to intervene and place me on sickness review because I had severely exceeded their policy on sickness absence. I had not ever been in that kind of situation before, and at the time I was particularly aggrieved because I had dragged myself in to work when still poorly on several occasions, and worked through several severe colds which I would normally have shaken off much more quickly, or not have got at all. I blame this whole sorry episode on Tai chi, or more importantly my lack of Tai chi in 2012. In previous years I had become quite proud of the fact that I stayed healthy and untouched by most colds and bugs while friends, family and colleagues all around me seemed to go from one virus to the next. In my sickness review meeting I put my bad year down to my working on my Masters dissertation, stress of changing jobs, my 3 kids in 3 different schools, and my baby son being poorly and not sleeping
through until he was 14 months old...but in retrospect I think my break from Tai chi was probably also a significant factor. So, in 2013 I intend to do Tai chi at least once a week, twice if I can manage it, and also to start practicing properly in my evenings again and try to go to some of the monthly weekend courses that the WTBA runs in my home town. I feel very lucky and privileged to have all this going on in Leicester, especially when I read some of the comments on Facebook from the people who are miles away from another practitioner and have to find ways and motivation to practice on their own. I have now finished the basics of the 2nd third, and I love the sense of completion I get when I do 1st and 2nd together. I am starting to get back the warm feeling of calm energy and accomplishment which used to accompany my Thursday night drive home, and I am hoping to be able to report back at the end of 2013 that my days off sick from bugs, virus’s and bacterial infections have dropped to virtually nil, my hay fever has gone, and that I am getting stuck into the 3rd Third and all those other little forms which Nass throws at us from time to time. If anyone is reading this just beginning their journey into the 1st Third, then I’ll say to you what I say to any of my friends, family and colleagues when I manage to crowbar Tai chi into the conversation... “I cannot evangelize highly enough about how good Tai chi is, how good it makes you feel, and how I feel sure that it is something I will be doing for the rest of my life....but the only way you can really know what I mean is to try it for yourself. There’s a beginners class on Monday at 6pm, come and see what you think...” My boss and his boss are both planning to come with me to the class next week. I have been talking about Tai chi to them both at work for over a year, and they are starting to want to try it for themselves. So wish them luck, it could be the beginning of a lifelong learning journey for them.
we can't stand still and relax, how will we ever relax moving? In a confrontation we don't want or energy to rise, we want our chi to be sunk, our emotions to be sunk. Only I confess I am a lazy human by nature. What then can we react without thinking. If we can't sink our would be better than being able to just sit on your arse and energy standing how can we sink our energy during a just get better at our taiji and bagua? confrontation? Personally, every major improvement in my training has come from qigong. In push Unfortunately we have to refine our skill hand when receiving keeping the right with hard work over time. Sounds structure in you're arms. Keeping the familiar? So onto my first rule. arms light and connecting to the waist. Keeping the lower back 1.When you don't want to practice relaxed gives up the correct is when you MUST practice. structure to root the energy through our legs and into the We all have those time when we ground when pushing and being get home and think, I have a pushed. In the form when we go little spare time. I should into double chee P'eng, only by practice, but I've had a hard day, I relaxing our lower back and Ramakrishna Chedumbarum can always practice tomorrow. sinking into the foot can we Pillay Maybe we are ill and we think I maintain our bow stance without the should do some if this Qigong to help heel dropping back. When using fajing me...but I need a break, some rest. You we should never be over reaching when we know what I'm going to say next so I'll approach strike. Have you ever struck a pad when it it from a different angle. Should is a misunderstood word. suddenly moved away and you stumble? Relaxing our back Most people would say that you can't live your life saying I and sinking into the feet allows us to recoil after we strike should do this, I should do that etc, then you will just be whether we hit the target or not. It is to be hoped that you can forcing yourself all the time. Just do what you want what you now see how important qigong is. feel. Then you go and do what you want and feel great. But the is that moment of reflection where The little voice on 3. Sometimes you have to hit the bottom before you bounce your mind says, "you could have done that instead, then you back up would have felt really good, like you had accomplished something." And when we do eventually listen to that voice This might seem contradictory to all I have said above, but and do what we should have done we feel ecstatic, like we sometime you should just give in and not practice (I only have really developed. I view 'should' in a different way. It's came upon this realization recently). There was a point where the voice that accompanies my better judgement, the voice I was just not finding any joy in my practice. I would start to that keeps my goals in mind. So when I want to sit on my practice and have no motivation, so I would stop. This arse, that short battle ensues. I then realise if I want to reach carried on for a few weeks. I decided to just give in and do my goal of self mastery I have to practice. Let's make it clear something else for a while. Looking back, it felt like my there are no short term rewards in the internal arts. You can't mind was a wet sponge and I couldn't take anything in. After quantify how much better you have become after each leaving practice for a few days I just started again, without training session. But you are, slowly but surely. much thought, just doing it. And it came back to me. Life travels in a sine wave, you have your ups and you have your 2. The secrets are given at the start. downs. It all comes down to being honest with yourself. Is your mind saturated and is your training catching up with What are we told is the most important part of our training? you? Or are you just being lazy? Qigong.
Three Golden Rules
Everyday 20 mins. I'm sure like me your first experience of qigong Was horrendous. The most difficult thing I have ever done I've my life physically. So we get out of it by saying "this can't possibly help me? It's just too difficult, I'll go and do something nicer like the form." Yes, it's true that the highest form of taiji is moving meditation, the form. But if
This is it for now. So wouldn't it be great if you could sit on your arse and get better at taiji? Everyone would be great. We would all have to put no effort into things. No drive to succeed, no striving, no passion. Wait a minute? This doesn't sound so good does it? If your didn't have to strive for something would you ever want it?
The form sequence by itself is not yet Taiji!
So, finally, we have made it! We have fought our way through the long list of movements; we have learnt them by heart like we once did with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Be it the whole form or “just” the first third of it –we know now approximately where to put our four limbs at each moment of the form. From now on we can proudly walk into the gym, the park or where ever, alone or with our training mates, and do Taijiquan. For sure, this is an awesome feeling. But there is the rub: being able to just about move through the form sequence does not yet make it Taiji. Because Taiji is not about a sequence of movements. The form is but a means by which we can start learning Taiji. In the vernacular of business that would probably equate to an advance payment. Essay by Chris Paar, Only when we know the form sequence so well we can relax the constant thinking about the next movement, only then we have the space to concentrate on what is actual Taiji. Graz/Austria, March 2013 (The original German version In our Yang style, these include topics like balance and upright poise, softness of has appeared on our website, the limbs, movement from the center. And of course the so important area of the form tqg.at) movements’ standard applications1. Only with the help of our training partner as a willful victim we understand deeply and subconsciously how a given form movement is meant to be and which body structure it presupposes. Through this we plant a knowledge in our nerve system which we could never have achieved by copying our teacher and emulating his or her explanations2. Once we have taken all that in to some extant, we will notice that our form starts to change. We won’t, of course, invent new movements. But our habitual form movements will acquire a completely new quality. It is as if tiny, little movements start to be superimposed onto the big base movements. In a certain way our movements become “less precise”, as our whole body starts to move. There are these little rolls and twists of our torso that continuously flow out into our limbs. The entire movement reaches a complexity that we could never even come close to analyzing or explaining. This is the reason why then our teacher will increasingly teach only by demonstration, and we can just let this information happen within ourselves. Our body is able to reproduce what we have seen our teacher do. But there is no way we could ever completely grasp it on an intellectual plain. What is the reward for all that trouble? This we can only experience for ourselves – and maybe intuit by watching our teacher do the form. If we were to put it philosophically, we could say the reward is exactly Taiji, the Highest Ultimate of Chinese worldview: something complete in itself and able to powerfully radiate out this completion – for the benefit of ourselves and everything around us.
I use the term ‘standard application’ to mean that application which best pictures the movement as done in the form. Thus there can be a thousand applications derived from a given form movement, but only one of them will represent the whole of that form movement. This one I call the form movement’s standard application.
For brevity, I skip here the whole topic of partner exercises, i.e. push hands.
This morning like many weekend mornings I retreated into the woods to play my solitary tai chi and in particular a sword style called Shadow Hand. I drink deep of the inspiration that I find in nature. I call this form of practice shen wu, or spirit dance. I once had these thoughts about tai chi, “In Tai Chi take the Hand of God and allow yourself to be lead through the dance following like an obedient partner. Step by step, the dance. It is only by following, not leading, that we find the center, ourselves. No intent. No direction. No will. We follow, we relax, we yield, we soften, we comply, we find our true nature and define it in a lover’s embrace as we stand on the shoes of our Father as He footsteps us through eternity. This morning, alone in the woods, deep in the winter snow and embraced by the cold I heard music in the wind and remembered this, “In the highest heaven, nearest to the Throne of God the sweetest music is sung by love struck angels in the Choir of Light. How can we not dance to the music?” There is the age old question as to whether the tree falling in the forest makes a sound if there is no one there to hear it. In the same regard when you dance your kata in the forest, who is watching? Like any form of creative endeavor tai chi is prayer, and it is God that is watching our dance. He after all sees all… This morning it was my sword that led the dance spiraling with the wind and snow, snowflakes falling on its mirror blade and melting like ashes from a fire. I strive to polish the blade of my sword to a mirror like finish with the burnish of daily life. When you feel dull and blunted return to your center, train harder, and raise a mighty cry to summon divine assistance to your aid. The assistance always comes, and in the swirling winds and winter cold I feel the warmth of another place, and the light of another world, and the words of another language which says, “No sword cuts as keenly as a spirit centered and surrendered to God.” Rumi in the Mathnawi speaks: "For the sake of God, the Real, whose slave I am, I yield this sword." And again he speaks: "And so I must put down my sword; that my name might be he loves for God’s sake, that my desire may be he hates for God’s sake, that my generosity may be he gives for God’s sake." All of this, and these thoughts, is first and foremost inspired by the greater writings of Bahá'u'lláh - “Say: The sword of wisdom is hotter than summer heat, and sharper than blades of steel, if ye do but understand. Draw it forth in My name and through the power of My might, and conquer, then, with it the cities of the hearts of them that have secluded themselves in the stronghold of their corrupt desires.” …and finally I am reminded “The foolish have usurped the swords of valor and courage and laid claim to the warrior craft, but the heart of error can never prevail. Stand strong within your circle, Red Lions, Black Dragons are we! Have you not heard that the poor shall inherit?”
The Sword of Wisdom Dr. Gregory T. Lawton
(TWO WEEKS TO BUILD A FAMILY)
WTBA 2 WEEK TRAINING CAMP
By Eli Montaigue
For me this was the best camp Iâ€™ve ever run. The mix of people was great, from all over Europe, USA, UK, and even Nasr from Dubai. From people that use to train with Dad when I was just a kid, to new guys that had never trained before at all. We all gelled so well. The first week, from day one everyone seemed like they were good old friends meeting up again. Full of hard core training, Qigong in the early mornings, then two hours of bag beating, and working through the Taiji form and other bits and pieces in the afternoon. Also in the evenings doing more Qigong, or form, or Push Hands , etc. Seemed to me that I was picking the stuff to teach that people really needed. Seen as people had put in the effort to make such a long camp, I thought I would put on a party night for them at the end of the first week. This was the best party Iâ€™ve ever put on! Had my band playing, so this was nice to show the other side to me, drumming and singing. As most just see me teaching all the time. And as a real treat, I had my belly dancing group do some dances, my four girls, Lisa, Kathleen, Mika, and Mary Eve. As well as Fen Clark, a professional belly dancer and model from Bristol. And Dominique Flook, a professional theatrical belly dancer from Newport.
Saw a few jaws on the floor when these girls were dancing! A nice change from training all week ! Was an amazing energy in the room, people were so full of energy it felt like performing to 100 people. Everyone up dancing and singing along. And then dropped their jaws back to the floor when the girls came on! As another treat, I had my Yoga teacher Ana Chidzoy come down that night before the party. She took the whole group through a lovely Yoga session, bending them into places they never thought was possible! Everyone seemed to love this, and again, it made a nice change from training in martial arts for the last week. We had Jerry Walker and his boy Zack in for cooking the first week, everyone loved it as usual. The second week had less people, some could only stay one week. So the whole camp became more chilled out, still training at least 5 hours every day. But, we started getting into some more special things to do with Qi and Yin and Yang. Some group Qigongs were done, linking palms and creating some seriously powerful shit! This was the most Qi I’ve ever felt in a room before. We started having movie nights too, so that was fun! Everyone just having a good laugh together. We also got through the whole of the Small San Sau both solo and two person, and even managed some stick training. Special things always happen at camps, especially at these camps here in Wales Being that it’s close to home, I’m more relaxed, and that it’s more than just a weekend of training, I can get to know people and see what it is that they need from me. And found myself doing and saying things that I’ve never heard before, never been taught , etc. But it just came out from somewhere. And I, myself, learnt so much more about this art that we all practice. This is why it is so important for everyone who really wants to get this stuff, to come to these Foundation camps in Wales. You might see me once or twice a year in your country, or even train with me every week in Swansea. But when I’m at camp, special stuff that’s hidden inside me comes out. And the only way to see it, is to get to camp! Also, being involved in it for a week or two, you will find stuff happening to you, that I will see, and then that will make something happen in me, and able to show you something you need that may never have been shown at just a weekend workshop. I know I did a good job with this one, as by the end, everyone was sad to leave, the second week people in particular had become like a family . For myself, on the last evening, I thought, it’s done! As I was exhausted! And happy to be going home the next day. But then in the morning, I was feeling quite emotional, and didn’t want it to end. I gave everything I could in these two weeks, felt completely drained, but in a good way, as to give makes me happy, seeing that what I’m giving is being absorbed, and once I recharge, then I’m even better than before! Really had that feeling that I had imparted wisdom. Wisdom that was planted in me by Dad, and unlocked by you. Thank you all for that. Here is what some of the members had to say. Some of them thought it was so good I have had to shorten bits: Lars-Erik, Norway Taiji smiles-laughter-cry, Blue-thought technology and Supreme-Care-Bear group work Thanks a lot to all of you! ((also the one who gave me x5 (!?) Black eyes:)) Was with no doubt two of the most wonderful weeks in my life so far!!!! And that created while staying 90% of the time inside a simple gym hall! Love to all, and hope to see you next year!! Special thanks to the Montaigue crew for putting it all together and making it possible, including a party you don’t need to be drunk to enjoy:DD I could write a book about this camp, but I think you will have more fun doing some extra training than reading my endless thoughts and opinions so I will keep it as short as I can. Smiles Taiji-smiles is a word that came to my mind many years ago training with Eli and Erle. It is the kind of smile that appears when getting a new and better feeling in a certain move they will show, that will also open up and improve all the rest of the training and how you enjoy things. And people will just stand there doing the move repeatedly, stopping up a bit, with face covered in mild smile on the outside, but highly exited calmness smile inside. Later on I have also felt that with a couple of other instructors and training partners. Amp it up and you will get taiji laughter, when the feeling is so cool you just have to giggle/release some satisfied humhumming a bit about it from pure joy. First time I had that laughter myself was at Erle’s Qi Development Tool summer camp in Leicester. I haven’t had anything in life that made me feel like crying in the past two years, one way or the other, (but if getting a bit
sentimental, would feel nice to cry, but don’t have enough to cry about I will put on “Dear Mama” with 2pac and send my mother some thankful thoughts.) However, Thanks ELI, and the whole group. In this camp, to me, it amped up even a level more!! Taiji crying of amusement!! Training the postures from the Yang Lu Chan form and small san-sau I had several taiji smiles and taiji laughters, and on two of the occasions I went outside the hall to just giggle and digest by myself while class was moving on to a new move. I felt filled with so much thrill for everything that several tears of joy came out of my eyes:o) :D ;D ;D Blue-thought Technology All the above, I don’t think is possible if the teacher and the student do not have a ‘bluethought-technology’ connection. (And a supreme care bear group which the teacher will attract more and more at this level, will make it even more accessible). I guess more commonly in the WTBA it is called “internal learning qi”, and more commonly overall: “transmitting”. Not when the teacher is just teaching/”transmitting” you how to punch harder or kick faster by yourself via oral instructions and the teacher demonstrating and correcting you in the three physical dimensions. More like your teacher is able to extend and amp up his “something” and you tap into each other via something outside the normal known mediums that might feel like magic but is not. It is a connection that is very there, but cannot be heard, seen or touched. (Hence the analogy to blue tooth:) The students and the teacher become like a pack of animals and everybody becomes more aware about another and them self. I think all good teachers in any kinds have this, but in a lot of other stuff you can get away a lot easier without it. Erle was always brilliant with this. In this camp Eli showed that he is up to his match not only technically and verbal explaining skill, but also have caught up in the uppermost cool skill that is crucial in a good taiji teacher; ‘the blue-thought-technologyorganically’ A funny anecdote outside the direct training, as an example, was one random morning I was upstairs fiddling with getting my clothes on and the class was already about to start. Heard Eli say downstairs, “Well what are we going to do!!??” I was just about to shout down: “Can we do some kicks!!?” But as my mouth was about to open, I already heard Eli say, “Kicks!! Shall we do some kicks today!??” That would not have been funny if we had already talked about doing kicks that day, but we had not! It would also not have been funny if in general I was always keen on practicing kicks. But I am not. I would say I usually prefer to go for a run, or go to the gym over practicing kicks. While doing taiji, kicks would be the only thing on the bottom of my list together with hitting soft squashy pads. My point is that there was an open clear connection, and if not too mumbo jumbo for you; the teacher had already extended unconsciously his ‘something’ into kicks, and that made me feel like kicking. Not that he was on purpose thinking hard: Kicks-kickkicks-kicks!! Come on class! Get ready for kicks! Kicks are going to happen!!! Or that there was some literal telepathy going on there a la Eli could hear: Oh, Lars-Erik is keen on doing some kicks today, lets make him a joke and beat him to saying it.... U-hum, he also is keen on having a small can of coke before coming down, and is planning to go to Tesco to get some more after lunch. Lars! can you also bring some more veggie burgers if you are going down anyway? Yes, mate, I will bring you 5 packs as that’s what you wanted, wasn’t it? Yeah sure! Supreme-Care-Bear group work
Early morning Qigong.
Do you know the cartoon Care Bears? The group of bears that every one has a special single coloured energy ray coming out of their bellies with special features of its own. And when they all team in together they make a complete rainbow ray with even more features and nothing is impossible. Well, to sum it up thats how I felt stronger than ever before on this camp, we are a bunch of Care
Bears, meeting up, making magic rainbows, during getting some physical exercise and improving our martial style while out in exile:D And every night going to bed, but too excited to go straight into sleep, going over and repeating in the head all the new stuff learnt that day, while the wind blowing outside and the welsh spring rainstorm hammering on the roof. I heard this hymn from a Swedish rock song in the back of my mind as we were all moving into dreamland and the storm was amping up:
On the roads tonight the healers are Hunting fear hate and suffering No need for map or compass rest or ease And then getting up for a final breath of fresh air out of Christian’s pocket seeing an old VHS cover of the movie “Boys in the Hood»”put up on display with Ice Cubes slogan: “Increase The Peace” (mtf``s:) Love from Lars-Erik, Norway
Kathleen Montaigue I never thought we could top autumn 2011 foundation camp, but we have well and truly power noodled it out of the ball park!!! it is very late, so I will just say, I love you all! you are all brilliant!!! thank you for being you! (except for Christian, he stole my windscreen wiper!!! so I love him the most:-) xxxxxxxxxoooooooooooo (more to be said when I have slept). Christian Zietsch. Berlin It is not that easy to write something about the foundation camp April 6th – April 20th 2013. To make a long story short – it was outstanding, amazing, stunning …. And it was a regular WTBA camp as well, because WTBA camps are always special. Also it is impossible to distinguish between the training and the friendship or better the family life. The WTBA is a family and exactly that’s what I felt about. It was like “coming home again”. Meeting good old friends and making new friends, that’s part of being a WTBA member. The two weeks of training were hard and nice as well. Due to the reduction of participants the second week was even more intensive. It was announced to be a “foundation” camp and exactly that happened. No new forms , etc., just consolidation of form and technique. Every time I think “o.k. there is the top of the mountain and I can see it” the same thing happened to me: “shit, I do know nothing at all”. But this is a beauty to me. Eli showed all the Taiji and Bagua stuff (excellent as every time of course) and I showed (on request) some of my good old Ninja techniques like disappearing into nothing without doing anything. Eli promised a Yoga session and Ana really stretched the crap out of us, but she did it the most beautiful way ever. Ana is a miracle . Books have been written and legends have been told about the Friday Night Party. Belly dancers, musicians and crazy worriers are a perfect combination Last but not least: the venue itself was perfect for the camp. One can brake a wooden ground plate and fix it again, as we did. Everything is there, even a TV and video player. Yes it’s not a mistake it was a good old VHS video player, the movies changed form coloured to b/w and back to coloured and so on…… At the end I just can say: Looking forward to the October 2013 camp – it will be a Bagua Camp and therefore it will be an outstanding camp – believe me and join it. Love Christian
Joel B. Fant USA I've attended a few workshops prior to the April 2013 Camp and, no matter what fancy forms were being taught, the most important thing about them is always the fellowship. I figured a two week camp would simply be more so, but it seems I underestimated. It was magnificent to live and play and laugh and cry (but mostly laugh) with some of the finest friends I know. The elephant jokes were pretty good, too. My hat is a pocket on my head. Here's to the hope for such a camp being annual! Romina Naito. From here and there Thank you very much Eli. I learnt a lot from you and from all the participants at camp. For me the jewels were the times when you just followed the flow and saw what people needed to learn at that time. Being with us in the present moment. It was very eye opening and little things that I was feeling were guided into explore into more new little things, which eventually will take me onto more exploration. It gave me many points to practice and to put my intent to when doing my practice at home. The people were wonderful and the camp had a good feeling of a family training together. :) Frank Ranz Austria It was a fantastic camp!! Morning Qigong was great, also to get to now the moving stuff from your system which I haven’t done before. I had the feeling I could deepen my understanding of the mind whilst doing the form. I never did so much bag work before, that was great. Your input with the heavy hand on basically every strike did a lot for a good activation while not tensing up and delivering some force. Although I have seen you and your dad at workshops before and watched quite some videos, to look at you doing it and having a chance to ask you and get correction is probably the most important part of learning and progressing. Be it for the more relaxed attitude - not having a form to learn, or knowing that there is more time to get into it - or whatever other reason it felt different from previous camps or workshops. The general idea of a foundation camp, concentrating on stuff you have seen or done before is good thing to have anyway. Master Brian Alexander receiving In terms of push hands I feel, it went to the next level. Yourhis input on how to turn was very helpful and your intervention of doing it afternoon wake up call hard from Lisa with some of the guys who are used to rather and Ludwig. stiff version helped a lot. Lars advice on turning the arm was great.
Doing the form with you and with the whole group was a special experience again, too bad we didn't have it more often. I wished you'd have more help for the organization, I admire your attitude of doing everything yourself, being the driver, the dishwasher and the teacher. Friday night was really something special, the programme was excellent, hearing the band the first time and getting the whole group to dance and have fun was really special. The belly dancers were exceptionally good Love Frank Ralph Kemp. Wales It was a really excellent camp, I thoroughly enjoyed it, I got an awful lot out of you taking small parts of the form and going over them in detail. I thought it was a great mix of people and I enjoyed making some new friends and seeing some old ones – I’ll really look forward to Push Hands. next year’s camp!
Joerg Latuske, Berlin Your camp was a great experience to me!!! Thanks to you and all the other participants of the camp who helped me to overcome the barrier between "absolute beginner" and "beginner", especially Pece, Guy, Lars and Christian! What impressed me most, was the cooperative atmosphere during the week. I've never experienced that in other camps in other sports before. Thanks, and I hope to see you next year! Gie Kiesekoms, Belgium Thanks for a great experience. I didn't know what to expect when I decide to come to Wales. But it turns out to be two of the most fantastic weeks of my live The way you make every training a different one is very nice. Its good to learn the small san sau and Yang Lu-chan form together, do a bit of bagua en train with sticks and then realise its all about your OWN foundation KEEP YOUR STRUCTURE! Training together with people who have more experience means you learn every minute of every day for 14 days. Sometimes I got so much information in two hours that my head was spinning. ...... And then again you realise that everything is a variation on a few principles KEEP YOUR STRUCTURE... This camp gave me also the opportunity to learn a lot about myself. I think that you told us the second day of camp that a person who practice tai chi stands in live more peaceful and with an open mind. And then again at the end of camp I realise this is also about your own foundation.....KEEP YOUR STRUCTURE Camp was great and I hope to come back I'll always remember Mad Max ;-) Marqus Ludwig. Germany So far I would just like to thank you once again. It was an amazing time and perfect if anything in this world ever can be. The most amazing thing for me was, that so different and crazy a people can grow together so fast, that every small aversion you may have had against somebody in the beginning was just melting away in this pool of good energy and everything and everybody felt simply right and wonderful in the end. And that on the base, that we were working on "martial arts", on "hitting and hurting people as effectively and relaxed as possible"! If ever it was needed to prove once more that the "Internal Martial Arts" are a healing art as well if not above all, it could not have been better demonstrated and proven than by this camp! (And still we learned of the rougher side as well). And: Eli, your teaching is definitely becoming even more & more sophisticated. Just great. And a big "thumbs up" for the thrown in Yoga exercises. Roswitha Flucher, Austria The camp was great as ever. No, not as ever, since your are getting better every time. I think, is was a good mixture of methods and skills we were working on and I turned back home quite inspired, trying to remember all the corrections I got and to keep the spirit of the camp in everyday life. 7 days of training instead of 4 make a big difference. Friday night was marvelous, the music, the dancers, I really enjoyed it. Pece Milosev
Master Brian Alexander receiving his afternoon wake up call from Lisa Ludwig.
This was indeed a great camp! At the beginning I didn't felt at home (well I wasn't:)), but I made friends pretty quick, so even the second day I already felt like I know most of you. Before coming to the camp I knew about the martial aspects of the system, but I now realized it is really a full featured, complete self defense and healing system. It's really nice to meet people like yourself, Lars, Jerry, Leigh, etc. which are really great people with great physical and spiritual appearance. It shows you the quality of the system. I didn't expect the punching / kicking session in the morning, and this was a really good surprise for me. I liked the most the session where people were running with bags trough the hall, and you needed to punch whoever comes to you :) I loved the non-session periods as well. It was full of push hands, sticky hands, and friendly ass kicking. I think talking to the others during the breaks compensated for the missing personal training. All in all it was a great camp, and I have learned so much:)
Photos appear courtesy of participants at camp.
The fact that Erle is no longer physically amongst us, I felt it was time to remind folk again what his System and our arts are about - at least the combative element!
The art of fighting without fighting: Part II
The original article had boldly claimed that Erle Montaigue didn’t know how to fight and nor did he teach me how to fight, rather that his system was based on the idea that ‘animals don’t fight, they move to survive’! Now, several years later, I feel this statement to be even more accurate then I did way back then!
Erle had always taught that martial arts and self-defence were not the same thing, and that sports fighting, no matter how good, was not equal to an actual street attack! He spoke out against competition, how this was a hinderance to ones training. I remember reading many articles and statements, spanning the years, online, in forums and magazines mocking this idea. Seasoned professionals from the martial arts community, along with thousands of what I call ‘armchair’ Nasser butt enthusiasts - who spend more time writing in forums then actually training and probably have never had a real fight in their life other then perhaps the odd school playground encounter as a 10 year old or playing StreetFighter on the Playstation - wrote reams of lines on the subject and how MMA (Mixed Martial n 2008 I wrote my first major article for Arts) and the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Combat and Healing entitled ‘The Art Of Championships) had brought a whole Fighting Without Fighting’. I sent the new world of realism to the fight scene! article to Erle and awaited in anticipation: This growth in the MMA industry can be directly linked to the increase in Had I understood correctly? popularity of the UFC. So called cageThe article was based upon what I felt fighting schools have sprouted in virtually was a clear turning point or an upscaling every major city across the world. Cross of my training with Erle. I referred to it as training has become the fad and Bruce an “epiphany” at the time and almost six Lee has been declared the founding father years later feel that it was just that - an of MMA!
epiphany! It was my ‘road to Damascus’!
For the modern fighter surely the ultimate “Great article! I will include it in the next test of their skill and art lies within the edition.” Erle’s reply was simple and to cage, right? the point! Wrong! The article would go on to appear in the November 2009 edition of C&H Vol.60. Unbeknown to me then, in 2008, the fact that Erle would have handed the reigns of editorship over to myself by this time!
I am a product of 70’s Britain. Those who are old enough to remember or lived through that period will know how hard it was to get through a day if you were a person of colour! My father had emigrated to Britain in the late 60’s. A police officer, in what had become Pakistan after the British partition of the Indian subcontinent, he decided to seek a new life overseas - Britain being the natural destination for a citizen of the Commonwealth, as the former British colonies were now called. By the time our family had settled in England, Enoch Powell, the Conservative MP for Wolverhampton, had already made his infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech criticizing Commonwealth Immigration and the Anti-Discrimination Policy which was under proposal in the United Kingdom. Although the phrase "rivers of blood" never appeared in the speech, the name alluded to a line from Virgil’s Aeneid: "As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see 'the River Tiber foaming with much blood.'” This politically divisive speech would set the tone for race relations in Britain for many years to come and some say it still does so today! The 70’s saw the rise of the National Front and thuggish racist attacks upon blacks and Asians up and down the country. It was in this atmosphere that I was growing up in my home town of Leicester and it wasn’t long before racism found its way to me. I remember one day going out to play in the local park at the end of our road after school, when I was around 12. The park was full of kids and teenagers, most of whom stopped and stared at me - I was the only non-white child in the park! A few of the older kids moved towards me and started calling me names and told me to leave as the park was for whites only... Not pakis! When I refused, around 20 or so of them set about me, beating me to a pulp! I remember somehow crawling home, my legs unable to allow me to walk. Crying.
Before we continue, let me take a pause here and qualify my position for the reader who doesn’t know me. I usually don’t like to talk about my personal life and try to keep it separate from the public So, here we are in 2013 and I find myself one. Those who train with me, know revisiting that old article. Why now? some of my background and it helps them understand when I explain certain ideas. Worse was to follow, my father was at What has changed? home.
My father was an old school street fighter. Somebody who had learned to use his fists at a very early age and had a reputation as a man not to be trifled with. He grew up with his maternal uncles, who were mostly professional grapplers in the original sense, and they had certainly taught him how to handle himself.
suffice and if you failed to heed that bam! By the time I was almost 18, I narrowly escaped going to prison myself. My crime... I defended myself when I was set upon by a group of guys! One at first and as I dealt with him, his friends joined in, circling me as they rained kicks and punches down onto my head and body. I managed to break through the circle and get to my bag... I was on my way to training and my bag contained my sticks. Once I had my sticks in my hands I went to work. The charges brought against me were of grievous bodily harm with intent.
In his world men didn’t cry. If they survived, they got up dusted themselves down and picked up a bigger stick then their opponent and beat them down with it. So, his wrath at seeing me crawling home crying.. Well, let’s say, it was a day I didn’t forget in a hurry! Once I had healed, an Irish musician friend of my father took me under his wing and thus began my journey into the mysterious world of the martial arts. I began to study Wing Chun.
My father: M.H.A. Butt
inappropriately and she had complained. The guy flew through a reinforced glass After a short while of training basics, my window and landed in the middle of the confidence having restored, I was sent road. I still remember him laying there, back to the park with a simple instruction: his body twitching like a fish out of water. take one of the big guys out by any The night club became my world for means! almost the next 6 years until I left home The park at the end of the road stood near and headed out to university. In those 6 an old disused railway line. I remember years, I saw a lot of real violence, heading towards it, my heart racing and senseless violence and got to experience en route picking up a broken piece of a what a real attack looks like and it’s not sleeper, about the size of a brick. As I like the movies, or the dojos or the cage! entered through the park gates, I saw most It’s sudden, unexpected, brutal and can of the same kids. They stopped playing involve multiple attackers armed with and headed towards me. As the first of the bottles, glasses or pool cues and you older kids, who was maybe 14 or 15 know nothing about your opponents! approached me, I simply smashed the sleeper into his face. He fell back with a I often find myself smiling when I hear thud, all the other kids stopping dead in modern doormen speak. It’s as if they their tracks... I got to play on the swings invented fighting and security. As if this never existed before! What you usually that day and every day after that! see are steroid-pumped young men who Not long after my 13 birthday, I started to hunt in packs, walking like peacocks, all work for my father. He owned a night manly and loud. club and on weekends I’d go there and collect empty beer glasses from the tables. The greatest doormen and some of the An Asian running a night club was highly most vicious fighters I’ve ever known unusual in those days but what was most were unassuming guys. Not big, in fact so unusual about my dad’s place was that it average looking that you wouldn’t give was the only place in the city which had them a second glance! They didn’t spend NO bouncers on the doors! My father hours pumping iron until their veins took care of trouble himself... If you’ve popped. Nor were they trained martial seen ‘Roadhouse’ - you’ll get the picture artists, although a few of them would pop and my old man was every bit as good along to a boxing gym every now and then. No, they were just ordinary, softly looking as Patrick Swayze! spoken guys, with a steely look in their I once saw my father slap a guy after he eyes, which to a careful observer served h a d t o u c h e d a y o u n g w o m a n as a warning. If someone stepped out of line, a casual word in the ear would
After more than a year of battling the charges in the courts, refusing to plead guilty as I had done nothing wrong other then protect myself, I was given a two year conditional discharge on the basis that I hadn’t been in trouble before and I was a good student. However, if I were to reappear in the courts within those 2 years for any new act, then I would be sentenced for this previous act and the new one and would automatically face a custodial sentence! I was fined and my beloved sticks, a gift from a childhood school friend, confiscated for the benefit of training the police! I was even asked by the police if I’d be willing to go to the local headquarters and show the new cadets how these sticks were used? I declined. I couldn’t stomach seeing my sticks in the hands of others! That wouldn’t be the last act of serious violence I’d be involved in. Less then a year later, somebody would pay a guy to attack me... A boxer, with a far bigger size and weight advantage over myself - I barely made it out of that one as I didn’t understand the rules of fighting as I do today. I remember running back home and going in through the back door. I remember my mother screaming seeing me covered in blood from my head right down to my toes. I remember me telling her to calm down, it wasn’t my blood! The guy was all right in the end, having spent a few days in hospital. I had left him in the recovery position and shouted at a local shopkeeper, who had come out after hearing the commotion, to call an ambulance. It was a dark winter night. He never saw my face and those were the days before CCTV cameras on every corner. Neither did the guy tell the police, after all what was he going to say?
With Kamran Butt Photography by Altea Alessandrini
A lead leg kick to the knee is one of the most powerful tools in the arsenal of the internal arts. Unlike a rear leg kick as taught by most arts, it is very difficult to spot. It is designated as an ‘invisible’ kick as it is akin to “walking down the street.” By the time your opponent realizes it is already too late. It is also a non-lethal attack, as there is no danger to a loss of life. The knee being a vulnerable joint can be destroyed very easily with a fa-jing strike, literally not leaving your opponent with ‘a leg to stand upon’!
A few weeks later, after finding out who had arranged the attack and dealing with them, I left the city. I had no wish to end up in prison! Yes, shit like this doesn’t just happen in the movies!
I chose to learn martial arts to protect myself and those I love and care about. That was my primary reason. Once I got involved in them and started looking at the philosophical aspects, I hoped that they would better me as a person and, of course, the natural byproduct of the training would be a healthier body both, internally and externally.
Arriving in the metropolis of London, I met with knives. I talked my way out of the first encounter, the second occurred as I sat waiting for the last train home on the underground at Tottenham Hale Station in North London. The would be mugger produced a knife and threatened me... I simply produced a bigger knife and watched him turn and run - I had learned my lesson from the first time! So, there’s a very brief window into my past. The point I’m making, is that I have a good understanding of real violence! I’m not telling you this to impress. Oh, I’ve had my share of fights go wrong as well - at least in my early years - No, it’s in order for you to understand I have witnessed and experienced violence in the proper sense! So, back to the topic... I’m not going to regurgitate here what I wrote in my previous article. Nor am I here to knock sports fighters, they have my utmost respect for what they do and achieve. But I do wish to expand upon some of the ideas expressed then.
I have never competed in my life nor have I ever had the desire to want to get into a cage or a ring! Why....? Because I have never had the intention to fight and even less so after meeting Erle! The idea of wanting to fight an opponent is absurd and shows a serious failure of understanding in whatever form of selfWe’ll come back to this in a bit after I’ve defence you have chosen! asked the second and what I feel to be the more important question; Why do you People often argue over what is a good or practice or learn the martial arts? By you, a bad martial art? Whether this pedigree I mean YOU - the reader! or line is better then that? Again, a futile argument that keeps our armchair It is the answer to this question that will enthusiasts busy hunched over their reveal an insight into your INTENT and keyboards. It’s not necessarily about the will also lead you to develop and martial art, or the line but rather the practitioner! There are, in my opinion, simply bad martial artists and good martial artists. Any tool is only as good as the hand that wields it. You could be holding a state of the art gun in your hands but, it’d be rather useless against an opponent armed with only a knife if you didn’t know where the safety release was!
First, what are the martial arts and why were they invented? For sport? For winning belts? For massaging egos? Of course not and any person who tells you so are a fool in my opinion!
The idea of self-defence is simple... It is to stop your opponent - FULL STOP! Martial arts are the keys that help you develop ideas of self-defence. Martial arts are NOT self-defence in themselves. Sure, you can use a martial art at a rudimentary level against an unskilled opponent - but against a skilled fighter you’d be in trouble, deep trouble!
The martial arts were invented for just what the name suggests - warfare, whether it was single-handed combat or in the melee of a battlefield. The aim was to survive and if you made it home that night, you had won the greatest prize life!
When I teach, I usually have students of mixed abilities training together as I find that to be a great way for them to develop. The beginners get to see where they’re heading training with the experienced guys and the experienced guys... Well, the beginners remind them of all that they have forgotten!
That is not to say that there were no challenges. But when they came they usually ended in death! There were no referees or medics standing by to save you if you got into trouble. No, in these deadly duals, often, only one walked away! understand the same idea in your chosen martial art!
With Kamran Butt Photography by Altea Alessandrini
When an opponent ‘shoots‘, we often see in MMA cage fights that the defender sprawls to prevent being taken down. The grappler is at his most vulnerable whilst making the shoot. Although the temptation of throwing a knee would be high and is often seen, it can, however, be dangerous because if it fails to connect properly and stop the attack, the force of the assailant’s momentum can still knock you off your feet. It is far more advantageous to keep your feet on the ground and drop a barrage of elbows onto the neck. Of course, you may have to adjust your footing during the attack and can finish with a knee if you wish!
In just such a session, one of my newer students and a good friend suddenly exclaimed: “Just when I think I have understood a movement practicing solo, I try it with a partner and it goes to pieces! You have to make so many adjustments and factor in a whole lot of variables when another person is involved and trying to attack you for real!” She had hit the proverbial nail on the head! In that moment she had realised the difference between self-defence and martial arts. Think about the whole thing logically. We train hard in order to better ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually. Only when our mind can become a blank canvas are we truly able to express ourselves freely upon it! If such is the case, then why would we want to fill that blank canvas with rules? And that is the key word - rules! All competition, no matter how ‘real’ has rules. A fighter is no longer free to express himself. His intent is caged and if you continue to competition fight over a time, then your instincts will fail you on the street.
mind was trained to not kick the knee as No, they learn their art in play. it was against the rules of his fighting discipline! Watch any wildlife documentary program. You’ll see what I mean. Now think of all the other rules that competition fighting involves and you’ll So, if any of you out there are thinking or start to get an idea of how seriously you wishing to enter the cage or ring, wanting are limiting your natural instinct. to feature Erle’s system then know that such a notion was and is an antithesis to Another common response you’ll get his ideas. from a competition fighter is that competing in the cage or ring hones their There’s a story which has been doing the fighting skills and reflexes. rounds on the internet circuits for a number of years, which goes as follows: Yes, but only in the cage or ring for that specific purpose! Many years ago when Erle wrote his book, “How To Fight a Grappler and When you enter the cage or ring, you Win” and accompanied this with a series know who your opponent is. His weight, of videos of the same title, many height and reach. You have studied him. grapplers and college wrestlers treated You have an idea of how he fights. You this with disdain. My favourite was the know his weaknesses and strengths. You complaint that Erle’s book and videos know when the fight will begin. You showed poor grappling. The fact that the know where he will be coming from and book was not about grappling but how to he will be alone. You know there is a fight a grappler, seemed to pass them by referee in the cage with you, to whom you along with the fact that Erle had been a can turn to if things get ugly in order to professional grappler for a number of end the fight. You know there are rules years and knew what he was talking which must be adhered to. There are a about! team of doctors on the standby should anything go wrong. Anyhow, the story continues that Erle was invited to test his theories in the cage by In the street... members of a very famous grappling family from South America, and that Erle None of the above! ducked the fight.
I have heard many fighters, who compete So, why do wish to fight in a cage? regularly, say: “But I wouldn’t do that in a street fight!” Why would you want to hurt another human for sport? Wrong! If you train your brain in a particular way then you can bet your Why? bottom dollar that that is exactly how it will behave, whatever the circumstances. Ego! No more no less. Please don’t tell I’ll expand upon this with an example: me it’s about proving yourself or your art! If you’re not man enough without it then I had a student a few years back who had you’ll never be man enough - period! been a professional Muay Thai fighter. He had travelled the world and competed in The keyword in Erle’s system is intent. many fights. A couple of years after The intent is NOT to fight but rather retiring, he gets into an altercation in a bar survive! Stop the opponent at any cost. and a guy lunges at him with a glass. He No fancy locks and holds. No extravagant steps and goes to kick the guy in the knee techniques. Do whatever it takes! and then suddenly drops his foot. The glass misses his neck by inches and he This is how animals survive. They do not eventually manages to subdue his ‘fight’ as per humans. They fight to assailant. When I asked him why he had survive. Their intent is to stop their dropped his foot and not kicked the knee? opponent. They will use any means He replied, “Because his brain told him necessary to achieve the above and guess that was illegal!” Illegal!!! Just when he what? They don’t go to any martial arts needed his art, it failed him because his schools to learn their trade.
The story has some truth to it. However, not quite as it’s told in the forums. When Erle was invited to ‘test’ his theories, he was also sent a very long list of RULES telling him what he could NOT DO, which was pretty much everything in his system! He politely declined! The rules for combat are not that complex. A straight line defeats a curve and a curve defeats a straight line. The trick is knowing when to apply what? In an instant the mind sees the line of attack and the intent moves the body in perfect harmony and into the correct position, and as the classics state... “he attacks me but I hit him first”! And I attack repeatedly and again at the very point of access until he is no more! But this can only happen if you train correctly and understand your art and remove the ego to want to compete, and
With Kamran Butt Photography by Altea Alessandrini
When dealing with a kick, do not step backwards rather step forwards using a â€˜V'-step thus breaking your opponentâ€™s range, followed by stomping on his standing leg. Attacks below the waist should be dealt with by the feet.
allow your intent to maintain it’s integrity Sued and probably prosecuted and end up and the will to express yourself freely! in prison but, at least you will have been honest to Erle’s system! For that is what That’s what it is about - to be able to we are taught... The fight begins as soon express yourself freely! as the opponent moves either physically or mentally and enters our range! Isn’t that what life is about? Isn’t that what we all in our own muddled ways try I hope that no one would ever seriously to strive for? consider doing the above - I really do!
A murderer wields a knife to take a life. A surgeon wields a knife to preserve a life. Both use the same tool yet what separates them is their INTENT. So, I ask again, what is your intent? Why do you practice the arts?
Is it to win that belt, fame and glory or something else? If it’s the former, you Our intent and the freedom to be able to It is when we study the arts as they were may well achieve that, but that is all express ourselves. intended that we really begin to appreciate you’ll ever achieve and it’ll be short lived. the value of life. Any fool can take a life If such is the case then why would you but to preserve one takes a better person If, however, you choose to be more, want to box with a boxer? Surely your and a whole damn lot more skill. mode of attack should be anything but boxing? Why would you wish to compete Having to use your art when your life or with him at his own game? the life of a loved one depends on it is one thing, but to get in some sort of a ring and Wouldn’t a good kick to the side of the compete for a purse or a belt - that’s your knee be your obvious choice? Jabbing and ego my friend. What’s more, to want to gouging the eyes with your fingers, hurt another human or accidentally take a maybe? A few elbows in close? life in a competition... Never worth it or justified! Did I hear anyone say “dirty boxing”? What rubbish! When were the fighting The martial arts through the art of war arts ever clean? were designed to bring us to the art of peace. Peace within one’s self. Equally, why would you grapple a grappler? As he ‘shoots‘, at that moment They were never meant to cage or shackle of vulnerability wouldn’t reigning elbows the spirit, but rather free it! down on his neck or on the base of his skull be a better option? If he tries to lock They were never designed to boost the you, wouldn’t biting and ripping a chunk ego but rather control it! of his flesh from his body end the confrontation quicker? True warriors would often separate themselves from the world of man to If I’m walking home after buying a become one with the universal conscious hammer from a hardware store and I’m and upon their return treat each human attacked, am I to put the hammer down to with respect regardless of gender, race or then... fight fairly or am I going to put that religion. They would become one with the hammer to a good use? earth, living with it rather then against it, Open your mind. caring for all that it contained from flora The Erle Montaigue System has never to fauna. De-clutter the senses. been about competing. It has always been about survival and achieving this by As I’ve already said, Erle’s System was Empty yourself. remaining true to the origins of the arts. and is about - learning to survive. But not However, if any of you WTBA out there just survive in the martial sense but in life In order to find your real self, be willing still wish to compete in a cage or an too, for fighting a disease or illness, or to lose yourself first and when you do... octagon or any other fancy ring then at even your fears, is in no way any different least do the following: from facing mortal combat. You will find you are truly free to express yourself in whatever you choose to do. When your opponent reaches out to touch When life throws changes at you, They gloves gouge his eyes. As he stumbles are no different then an opponent Let your intent be true and do not mistake back, stomp down on the side of the knee changing his lines of attack and you unwillingness to compete as a sign of and break it. As he hits the ground stamp changing in turn to preserve yourself. weakness, but rather, see it as a strength on the first body part that touches the of understanding what you are really canvas! And ... just like an opponent, life can also about. knock you down, but if you have trained You’ll be disqualified! Barred from ever correctly, then you’ll know how to get Welcome to the Erle Montaigue System competing in any fight competition again. back onto your feet again and carry on! The art of fighting without fighting!!
With Kamran Butt Photography by Altea Alessandrini
Your teeth are a lethal weapon at your disposal. They can be used very effectively against locks and holds and can be used to tear and rip flesh and tendons. If they are good enough for animals, then they are good enough for us too! Bruce Lee wasnâ€™t afraid to bite an opponent!
wtba Summer camp 2013, leicester uk
Photography & Report by Nasser Butt
Summer camp 2013 saw us return to the Qi Development Tools. This in essence was the camp that Erle had originally planned for 2011 - to teach them at their medical level. So, after a two year absence, with much training in between, Eli finally delivered the camp that Erle had promised. The camp this year reminded me much of the camps of old. Much fun and laughter. Much learning and kids running around in and out from between peoples’ legs. It was a delight having Aryan and Sven amongst the crowd, showing us oldies what real Taiji is about. Yes, these were how camps used to be and it was good to see that spirit still alive. We had visitors from as far afield as Australia, as well as Holland, France, Austria, Norway and all corners of the UK. It was great to see some old friends returning after an absence and renewing friendships as well as a group of first timers. Eli was on top form as usual and has really grown into his role as the head of the WTBA. Of course he still has a long way to go to build up on the excellent foundations he inherited from Erle. However, if he continues to develop in this way, then the heights he’ll reach are truly unlimited. The qi development tools weren’t all that were on offer this year. Each day began with qigong, followed by one third of the form and then some physical work before settling down in the afternoon for the main event. That way, by the time camp was over, we had got to cover the entire YLC form at its foundational level, which was
helpful for everyone, regardless of their experience or level of training. Elisa Bush became the first person in the WTBA to have a qi development performed upon her at a medical level and it was clearly an emotional moment for both her and Eli. Having broken the ice, it wasnâ€™t long before everyone was having a go on each other. We managed to cover the first three tools during the camp. The information was highly detailed and certainly gave us all plenty to think about. The camp this year was organized so that the participants managed their own accommodation and food arrangements. This gave far better budget controls and individuals were free to do as they pleased outside of the training sessions. We shall continue with this format in the future too. I want to say a big thank you to Lauron Power for keeping the sessions on track as well as her baby sitting services, alongside Cameron Power. Camps have always been about the participants and what they made of them. Their success has always been dependent upon the individuals participating. So, a big thank you to all our friends who attended and made this one of the most memorable camps. See you next year.
Up close and personal. The Qi Development Tools Medical Applications being practiced solo and with a partner.
Starting with qigong, the day progressed with physical training methods leading us into the Qi Development Tools as well as joining hands.
heart such as physical. Also helps with the taking in of nourishment.
Qi Development Tools Medical Erle Montaigue 2010 The Qi Development Tools are probably the most important area of one's "internal" training. These cover everything that is needed in the internal martial/healing arts for developing oneself and the Qi/energy etc. There are three main areas of Qi development. Self Development is when we simply do these 12 methods at an advanced subconscious level in order to gain "sung". Gaining Heavy Hands for striking is also covered in these methods. This is where we gain the necessary powerful striking methods from short distances. Like we make our arms in to 2X4 pieces of wood! And lastly, the most advanced thing that we gain from these methods are the medical healing methods whereby we use these 12 methods as a way of healing others through feather head massage. And this is what follows. It is a brief introduction to those who have studied this area as I am teaching this area at Eli's March camp in Swansea as well as at my own Summer Camp in July 2011. I will also of course be making DVDs on all of the following as it is impossible to teach this important area via a book or article no matter how detailed. The following is just a reference guide.
1. Heart: Healing the Qi of the heart: Heart houses the Spirit/Mind. Childhood trauma such as abuse etc. Points: HT7 Balances the Heart Meridian in being overexcited. HT3 Used for Anxiety and is a "master point" for anxiety. This is a Yin movement around the head area. Do hand movements yourself first to energize the palms. R palm moves down the L side of head and face as L moves upward on the centre line of face and head. R is Yang L is Yin. L palm fits under back of head and moves down to nape of neck as R moves to forehead. L squeezes gently at nape while R presses gently onto forehead. As you do this, the L palm will now after squeezing, move to HT7 and squeeze it. Repeat this movement 3 times. 2. Small Intestine: This is a Yang movement: Heals Prenatal trauma. Also deals with the Yang side of the
Rub R palm down the L arm as your L ulna slides gently upward over the patient's L side of the neck and face and head as your R palm squeezes the wrist at HT7. The L palm then slides down the R side of forehead as R slides up the arm and around the L side of neck to take under the back of neck as before. Squeeze the nape with R palm as L palm pushes and slides up and over forehead. 3. Bladder: Healing things to do with Insecurity and Grief. Balances out Yin and Yang so fixes being introverted or extroverted etc. BL47 Releases repressed fear. About 2 cun down from Scapular and 3 cun out from the spine lateral 9th thoracic vert. (Door of the Soul) BL42 (Door of vital fluid) Releases internalized Anger. 3 cun out from spine lateral to 3rd thoracic vert. top 3rd of scapular mid line from shoulder ball. BL38 (Floating Point) Back of knee upward by 1 cun toward outside by 1 cun to crease. strengthens body after grief. First, gently squeeze BL 38 at back of knee with L hand. Hold L hand under back onto BL47, Dig longest finger into point. You will run your pressed finger up the BL meridian to BL 42 making a line along the meridian as your R hand radius side slides up the R side neck and face and over the head. As your L fingers vibrate on BL 42 or thereabouts, your R palm will now slide down the forehead to the bridge of the nose and push upward gently into the third eye point. 4. Kidney: Fear from deep within. Weak willpower, Insecure, Isolated. One of the key organs for life force. Bones, Teeth Hair and ears. Connects to Lungs. Press K1 first. (Bubbling Well). Wide ranging point also acts upon the mind and heart. Then squeeze K3 on Achilles tendon: Supreme Valley: Restores KD Qi Acts upon the whole body and all indications of the Kidney. Then do the Kidney palms around the head. L palm rubs upward on his R side of head as R palm rubs down L side. L palm continues down his L side of head and face as R palm continues upward on his R side of neck face and head. R continues again over top of head and down L side as L pushes upward on R side then grabs gently under nape of neck and squeezes as R palm pushes downward on forehead to nose. 5. Pericardium: Helps to increase one's "energy (qi) circle". Has an effect upon the Mind as the Pericardium/Heart houses the mind. Affects one's relationships. Balances relationships. PC3 Located 1cun across from HT3 under the lower end of the bicep. ON the Ulna side on the biceps brachii tendon (elbow flexed). Emotional problems. Calms the heart. Calms rebellious Qi. When emotional problems are fixed, one's outer Qi builds. Begin by pressing PC3 and holding for 3 seconds as patient inhales. Do this 3 times. With L palm gently push head on his R side to your R slightly as your R fingers draw a line under his chin and
around neck. Slide L palm down the R side of head and neck and also down your own Ht meridian as R ulna slides up on the R side of his head. Turn R elbow upward so that your R forearm is now under the L side of his chin. Slide it downward to neck as L takes under back of neck. Slide L palm up back of neck squeezing gently into GB20s. as R slides over head. L palm takes down to back of neck again and gently squeezes as R pushes head from his L to R. 6. Triple Heater: Affects the whole body and all other meridians, balances them. In particular, Hearing, Arms Face, Throat and over-all Qi Circulation: Joins the Shen (Spirit to the body. Yangchi (TH4) The accumulation of Yang is an important point. In line with ring finger on the back of hand on wrist crease. We press this during Yang Lu-ch'an form. This stimulates the Qi through the meridians. Helps heart and liver. TH6 is 3 cun above TH4 between radius and ulna. Regulates Qi Circulation. Disperses congested blood. TH 15 Relaxes nervous tension associated with worry. Below GB 21 at end of bone closer to neck. First, press TH4 & TH6 on back of wrist ring finger side. Hold this for 3 breaths of the patient. We rub the sides of the head and ear as this is where the bulk of the TH meridian travels. Slide L palm upward on his R side of face & head as R slides down the other side. Take L under back of head and pull downward as R slides across diagonally from his R to L across R side of face and head. L now holds gently the R side of neck as L pushes gently (yin) his head from his L to R. Do Cat movements onto each side of forehead. Then take L under neck and R pushes upward on forehead. 7. Gallbladder: Decision making. Affects dreams. Sinews. GB is deficient when one dreams of fighting or suicide! GB20 Soothes Liver and Pacifies Yang. Clears the mind. Strengthens vision. GB 21 Helps with feelings of irritation and being "uptight". GB39 outside of lower leg 3 cun above fibula end. Place three fingers onto ankle bone and press in on outside or inside of fibula. Clears energy from face to feet in conjunction with ST, & BL. Regulates flow along whole meridian. Helps the mind. The Liver is considered to be responsible for the ability to plan life, the Heart oversees all mental functions, the Small Intestine gives clarity and wisdom to decision making, and the Gallbladder gives the courage and capacity to make decisions. All these functions must be harmonized to plan and lead a harmonized life. If the Gallbladder is weak a person will be timid and lack initiative and courage. The Gallbladder gives us drive and the passion to excel and the action potential necessary for these to come to fruition. Dealing with adversity also comes under the role of the Gallbladder. First Take lower leg near ankle GB39 and press in (Squeeze) for 3 seconds off and 3 on X 3 times. Then place L palm on his R side of head over GB meridian. L palm is near LIV13. Rub L palm down over GB meridian around back of head to GB20 as R palm draws along LIV channel to LIV14. L squeezes GB 20 gently as R pushes forehead upward. R rubs around GB on his L side of head as R now pushes gently up onto forehead as R squeezes GB20s.
8. Liver: Emotions, Anger, Resentment, Frustration, Irritability, Bitterness, Flying off the Handle. Tendons, nails & eyes. Smooth Flow of Qi. Eye conditions, Tendonitis, Menstrual pain, headache, dry red eyes. LIV 1: (Big Toe Side Inside base of nail) Supplies Qi to Pericardium, Muscles and Tendons. LIV 3: Regulates function of Liver. LIV 8: Inside of knee flexure. In depression between tendons. Headaches, Relaxes muscles and tendons, Balances Liver & Kidneys. First, take the big toe and squeeze it with reference to the inside of the toe nail base. Hold for 3 seconds X 3. Next use the thumb to squeeze LIV 8 inside of crease of knee just above. This can hurt though. Do this also 3 seconds X 3. Do the Scapular thing on each side of the head. Finishing with the R palm upward on his L side of head, Bring R palm down his R side of head and neck as L palm Radius side slides up his L side of head. Take R under back of neck and Squeeze as L palm pushed forehead upward and out. 9. Lungs: Grief, Sadness, Detached. Immune system, fights bacteria and virus. Symptoms, dry skin, crying, sadness, depression. Fatigue, too much sweating. Frequent colds & flu. LU 1 is the "Letting Go Point". Loss of a loved one, holding on , etc. Place hand on hip a depression appears on the lateral end of clavicle. Lateral upper end is LU 2. LU 1 is 1.5 below and 3 fingers to outer. Balances the Qi. LU 11 is lateral side of base of thumb, or it can be other side! First, take the thumb and squeeze the area at base of nail both sides to balance the Qi. Then using both thumbs, gently but firm, apply pressure to both LU 1 points for 3 seconds X 3. Action: Fishes in 8. Push head from his R to L with back of your R palm as L squeezes GB20 and back of neck. Reverse now and R palm will stroke over his head from his L to R as L continues to squeeze back of neck. L now rubs up back of neck and head as R rubs down front of forehead. L keeps coming over top of head and rubs down front of forehead as back of R goes over top of L palm to rub upward on forehead. R takes over top of head to back as L comes up and longest finger activates Third Eye. L continues over back of head to neck as R rubs upward on forehead. 10. Colon: Rids the mind and body of old adult emotions held in the body over years. (gets the shyte out). CO 1 on index finger outer base of fingernail X 1 f. Can be bled. Good for toothache as it runs through the face. Feeds the Wei Qi to fight off external pathogenic attack. Strengthens the limbs. CO 4: (Joining of the Valleys) Head and face headaches. Constipation, Encourages "Letting Go" both physically and emotionally. Balances the Qi. First Squeeze the index finger with reference to the outer side base of nail. 3 seconds X 3. Now move up to CO 4 and press in with thumb 3 seconds X 3.
Swallow's Tail. L palm on his R side neck. R palm on his L side head top. L goes up R goes down (Swallow's Tail). Reverse it. Then reverse it again. L goes around top of head and under neck to squeeze GB20s. R Pushes up and over forehead. L now goes to CO 14 on outer shoulder as R slides down under neck. L will draw a line up and over shoulder (CO meridian) then up side of neck around mouth line to outside of nostril and presses gently inward onto CO20.
of ear and 5 Feng inside hairline on forehead. Clears obstructions in the head. Good for headaches of the frontal lobe. ST36. Place palm onto patella fingers pointing down. ST36 is where index finger touches to left of bone between Tibia and Fibia. Or one finger's width below the crest of the Tibia. Good for mental disorders. Strengthens whole system. General weakness, diarrhea, constipation, Digestive disorders. Firstly, apply pressure to ST 36 3 seconds X 3 times. This might hurt a bit. Now, do wave hands like clouds over the head. R palm slides down his L side down through neck as L palm rubs upward on side of head to ST 8. Palm turns over and applies pressure with little palm bone to ST 8. Press for 3 seconds. Then continue over head to other side and do same. Again do the same back to the R side of the head. L palm down to back of neck as usual as R palm slides up middle of forehead and over head. 12. Spleen: Emotions, worry, dwelling on a particular topic, excessive mental work. Formation of blood & energy, Keeps blood in the vessels. Muscles, mouth & lips. Thinking, studying and memory. Symptoms: Tiredness, loss of appetite, mucus discharge, poor digestion, abdominal distention, diarrhea, Weak muscles, pale lips, Bruising, excessive menstrual flow, other bleeding disorders. SP4 (Anger & Rage). Outer side of big toe nail base. SP1 reconnects Heaven with Man. Shock point, communicates with Kidneys' energy reserves. Calms the mind. Before using SP1 find out if diabetic or pregnant and then don't! SP3 Big toe side of foot just over the lump, very sore. Used when long term Qi disturbances from shock are the case. Reestablishes the communication between Heaven (fire) and Man (water) which is what is damaged in the case of shock. First, take the big toe and squeeze at the outer side of the nail base 3 seconds X 3 do this on both feet simultaneously. Now, go to SP3 and find the point, it will be sore. Using each thumb press inward on both sides 3 seconds X 3. Stand beside patient with weight on R leg for males and L for females. Hands in the "Lift Hands" position. Do the scapula things as you "activate" the palms around both sides of the head. Be sure to keep the palms in the "sung" state. Do 7 of these. R & L count as one. Final. take L palm over his R side of head and neck and down to back of neck activating GB20s. As R palm pushes back and over front of forehead. Now take R over L side of head and down to back of neck as L pushes up and over forehead. Stay in that position for 7 seconds, then rub R down L side of head as L rubs up R side and out to finish.
L now rubs over forehead and over back of head to back of neck as usual while R pushes up and over forehead. 11. Stomach: Grounding and Mental Function. ST8 straight up from the front of the ear about 5 fen fwd
Compromise Steve Morris
My final conversation with Erle related to compromise. I had been approached by someone requesting to teach them Baguazhang. I explained to the potential student that the system started with the eight Baguazhang palm qigongs. Each of these palms needs to be held statically for five minutes per palm, therefore, a forty minute qigong set was the initial training method. This then progressed to circle walking without palms adding inside and outside turning until proficient. Once this had been mastered, the next step was to add the number three palm to the circle walking. From the number three palm, the various other seven palms were added and worked individually. Finally all the palms are mixed together in a form of spontaneous exercise before any traditional form work. The potential student replied that they only were interested in learning the linear form from Baguazhang and did not want to learn all the above. This person had no prior Baguazhang experience although they had trained in other martial arts. I eventually turned the request down. I am always envious of teachers who teach Taijiquan and Baguazhang (or any martial art for that matter) for a living. Many practitioners, like myself, hold down a day job as well as putting the hours into our practice. Add teaching to the schedule and time becomes a major factor. Those that teach full time have more hours to deploy towards the arts. It is obvious. Where instructors like me have the advantage are we can be more selective what and whom we teach. I know if the livelihood of my family and my mortgage payments relied on just my teaching income, my philosophy would alter greatly. Fickle, perhaps but needs must. My conversation with Erle revolved around some students who could not successfully complete the eight palm qigongs. After the first couple of palm positions, they wanted something more. When I told them there were six more to complete before anything else could be learnt, they started to lose interest. Should I insist they continued with the eight palm methods or should I vary the material? I called Erle and he advised that I mixed some basic circle and mud stepping with the qigongs. For example, teach the first two palms, add some basic walking, teach the next two palms,
add inside turning , etc. He said this is how he navigated such problems back in his early days of teaching. It was a form of compromise. If I am asked to teach someone Taijiquan, I ask them their reasons for wanting to learn and what prior experience they have had. A traditional student would learn from me, the three circle standing qigong, the Yang Cheng Fu form, the Old Yang form, the Small San Sau, the Large San Sau, push hands and then applications – in that particular order. However, the problems start because students these days want short cuts to results. They want to be healthy and to be able to defend themselves but without the blood sweat and tears. So what do you do? Give them what they want or stay true to your principles? Erle’s DVD’s are a rare treasure. They have enabled people throughout the world, who perhaps would not have had the opportunity, to learn such rare arts as Baguazhang, Wudang and real Taijiquan. Some of these people live in remote parts of the globe so would have no other chance of learning these arts. The DVD’s are irreplaceable for that reason alone. I myself live in a very large town yet there is no Baguazhang that I’m aware of and the Taijiquan on offer is, barring a couple of exceptions, moderate at best. I am one of the lucky people that have had corrections from Erle himself but I still train daily with the aid of these DVD’s. They are helping me up the ladder. Where however the DVD’s become a poisoned chalice is when people cherry pick what they want to learn. There is no filter on the compromise.... A beginner can buy a “Taiji to the Max” title for example and start learning from scratch a level of Taijiquan that shouldn’t be touched for at least ten years (in my opinion). Other than their own self discipline, there is nothing forcing them to learn the basics first. They then go out and perform on YouTube or teach local classes and they quite simply are not good enough to do this. People ask them “where did you learn that” and they reply “from Erle Montaigue” or from the WTBA and because their form has no substance, no root and cannot be used for fighting, the WTBA is branded incorrectly. These people should not compromise the written law in learning the internal arts –
Practice the basics with plenty of repetition. Erle used to say something to the effect of “if you find doing Taiji easy, then you are not doing it right” and I would agree. Standing qigong never gets any easier for me – despite my constant hope. In fact, sometimes I hate doing it. I can’t be bothered, I would rather sit on the sofa and watch television but I do it because I refuse to compromise on the path to climbing the ladder within the internal arts. Erle and most great internal martial art teachers, regardless of if they specialize in Taijiquan, Baguazhang or Xingyiquan, nearly all swear by the benefits of standing qigong so who am I to argue. So, my final question to all, is ask yourself, “Do I compromise in my teaching or my training?” Obviously if you are teaching a pensioner with high blood pressure that has come to you for help in regaining some health and vitality back in their lives, it is perfectly acceptable to teach them the Yang Cheng Fu Taijiquan form at a basic level. But have a long hard look at your training and your teaching and ask yourself “am I compromising myself or my students”. I did and I was shocked at the results. If you are easily offended, perhaps it’s best not to. I concluded that I’m not as good as I thought I was at learning and teaching and I have to admit, the truth hurt.
Steve Morris & Brian Udall, training during Eli Montaigue’s Leicester Workshop in February 2013.
SPIRALS I've got to say that the rather random way Nasser has taught tai chi had always frustrated me. I started my first lesson in my back garden all those years ago just learning the "wind screen wiper" foot work of the small San sau. As the weeks went on we stuck to the basic structure and as I just began to feel that I was getting it. We moved onto something new. Training went on like this for years. I never really felt like I completely knew any one single thing properly. I was doing very basic push hands but also had some very advance ideas thrown in to make it interesting. We looked at double push hands when my single was laughable. To top it all off Nasser tends to have very long discussion about things that make no sense to you that just go over your head. So, when I was invited to train with Erle for the 1st time, I thought finally a "proper" teacher, who will be more structured and make more sense. So we arrived in Swansea ready to train. Was it the structure I was seeking? Was it fuck! More chaos then ever before. Spirals? Way too advance for all but a few. A waste of time and money? The only thing I really remember from those 1st few trips was Erle saying something like "the universe moves in spirals". I loved the spiral drills we learnt. And nearly pissed myself with laughter watching some of the guys imitating Erle's spiral form. It was much of the same for the next few years, chopping and changing different drills and different forms Until.... Until you come back to something you haven't done for ages and then it hits you like a ton of bricks. Fuck me we've been doing this all along maybe not this physical drill but this principal is the same. In that moment you kind of try and go over every conversation you have had to try and dig out them little gems you may have missed but nothing comes to mind. It's only that movement you were doing that you have finally understood and then you remember Nasser saying "the form speaks to you!" Well, yes it does but then you don't have one of them moments again for a very long time. So anyway I've just had one of them moments. All to do with spirals. Not just in the form but in everything. My eureka moment came when I truly started to understand multiple strikes from fa-jing. It was really nothing I hadn't heard before or was taught before. You know the whole thing about the beginning of the next strike is the end of the last strike. But it was more a feeling of my body just doing it and my conscious mind not trying to do anything. I would say you have really got to try it but I suppose it will just be me rambling on about something like my instructors did all those years ago when their own training was taking them in a certain direction and we were just along for the ride. It really is the best way to be taught.
By Kamran Butt
35 Weeks in the
E r l e Montaigue System Nasser Butt
“The following, I thought would be of interest to those who are studying my system. This is how I used to train my students when I had my own school in Sydney City. Nowadays, I am a little gentler. When some of my older students come to visit and tell stories of how we used to train in the old days, my current students are amazed at some of the stories. Here is a 35-week training session that I found to be the best way to train people in the use of Taijiquan as a fighting art. Note that it is called the "Australian" and not the "World" Taiji Boxing Association, as is it now. The following methods are of course in addition to the normal Taijiquan and Baguazhang form training. Some of the below, you would have to be there to appreciate it, however, I have left all of it as it was written down for my personal students back then.” Introduction to the 35 Weeks in the Erle Montaigue Training System by Erle Montaigue
lmost seventeen years ago when I first came across Erle’s Taiji World website, one of the first things I downloaded was the
manual - 35 Weeks in the Erle Montaigue Training System. I was fascinated by this ‘diary’ or notes that Erle had used to train his students between 1984-1990. It was a rare gem hidden amongst all the other jewels that Erle gave away so freely! As a beginner, I was totally oblivious to most of the things that Erle talked about. The language was foreign to me having trained previously in my only other martial art, Wing Chun, for several years, yet, I recognized and understood many of the physical drills. I started to use the ‘diary’ as a blueprint for my own training, at least the parts I could make sense off. Erle, himself, had stated in the introduction that to appreciate some of it “you would have [had] to be there”! However, I persisted with it to the best of my ability and then hit a wall! Many of the drills no longer made any sense and some of it was way off the scale for my level of understanding. So, I put it aside for the time being. As the years rolled by, during one of Erle’s Instructor sessions dealing with the physical side, I suddenly felt a sense of déjà vu. Some of the methods had a familiarity yet I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I felt I had done the drills before but couldn’t remember Erle actually teaching them and then it hit me - the 35 Weeks!!! When I returned home from Wales on that weekend, I dug out my file and started pouring through it again. To my surprise, I was now reading and understanding most of the notes. It made a lot more sense. True, there were still components which were difficult but, hey, now I could ask Erle. So, I started to harass him. I wanted Erle to convert the diary into a book, with pictures, for publication as a formal training manual. He swore at me! Next time I was around his place, he took out a long ‘To Do’ list which he had by his computer.... “Where shall I add your new request amongst all your other requests?” he asked. I smiled sheepishly, which was appropriate since we were in Wales! But I didn’t give up. That ‘diary’ for me was important. I would discuss it with him on many an occasion and he would often remark that he thought, “I was the only one of his ‘new’ students who was reading it!” For me, it represented a linear program of how Erle trained and why wouldn’t anyone want to train that way? I mean that’s how Erle got to where he was. From our discussions, it emerged that although Erle had discarded or altered some of the training methods, they were still valid tools for physical development and the development of many other ideas. So, again, I started to use the notes as a part of my own foundational training. Although I never managed to persuade Erle to publish it as a book but my persistence paid off in the end... Erle agreed to film some of the ideas, as they were valuable indeed, and place them amongst the current DVDs he was working on at the time. I was as happy as a pig rolling in muck and for a Muslim to liken himself to a pig ought to tell you how happy I was indeed!
Since before Erle’s passing from the physical realm, I had decided that one day I would recreate these training sessions with my own students. However, it is not an easy thing to do, to get folk to commit to a 35 week training program! So, I bided my time. Finally, at the beginning of this year, I thought I had the right bunch of students and the training facilities to be able to fulfill my ambition, so I approached them and they agreed! I had to make some adjustments though. Erle’s diary was based over training together several times over a 35 week period. However, with family and work to consider for most, this was going to be an impossible task! So, I came up withe the idea that we would all meet up on a Saturday after our usual training and train for a further 4-5 hours, and each session would represent 1 week. Then, individual students would go away and train these methods for the rest of the week, alongside their normal training and were free to contact me or come to the school if they were unsure of anything. Then, the following week we’d do the next session and so on. Being a linear way of teaching and learning meant that if you failed to train or understand the drills or ideas one week, then you’d struggle the following week. This forced the students to start developing their own training week. Right from the word go, I realised that we had hit the right format. Students took responsibility for their own training and we started from scratch - standing before moving onto and building into 40 minutes of three circles qigong. I, also, modified some of the training methods. I have kept things simple. Get the basics right and develop more advanced ideas from there. I also substituted the Bagua Linear form, since many of the guys training with me currently don’t practice Bagua, to other training methods such as the Eight Stepping Methods of the Wudang and the Ten Fa-jing Methods, which have been equally invaluable. I still left intact the Bagua training methods, as well as the grappling and locking aspects, alongside all the high kicks. Yes, grappling, locking and high kicks - you heard right! Although Erle didn’t advocate we use these in our self-defence, it doesn’t mean that we don’t practice these. They are amazing physical development tools and the grappling side was certainly an eye-opener for those who had never been involved in a physical confrontation. Each week presented it’s own challenges and it was really satisfying watching the team develop. So, here we are in week 22. We’re having fun. We’ve broken bones and bloodied lips. We’ve bruised each other and bust knuckles, and there are still another 13 weeks to go! Hey, we’re supposed to practicing the ‘supreme ultimate’ - what do you think was going to happen? I can honestly say that this has already been a success and probably one of my best ideas. It has also made me reevaluate my own training from a totally different perspective. All the students have gained and are suddenly moving with a new found confidence in their own abilities, so much so that I am already planning on making this an annual event. For those who participated this year, there will be a follow up ‘Additions to the 35 Weeks’ next year. Yes, it’s a long commitment in time and financially but the dividends you’ll reap in your development are even greater. I do believe the students are beginning to understand the transition from the physical to the internal. They now have a road map to work with. So, if you’re interested in joining next year’s program, which will begin around Easter, contact me or watch this space for details. Your only requirements are the eagerness to learn and leave the ego behind. Yes, there will be much physical stuff and definitely some injuries but don’t let that scare you. Better to make errors and learn from your mistakes in a class amongst friends then on the street! Finally, I want to say a big thank you to all the guys who’ve participated this year and covered the miles, especially Tony Gough, Woz Levins, Sunny Palahey, Sarb, Dave Stevens, Dev Teeluck, Krish Chedumbarum, Praful Chauhan and last but definitely not least Altea Alessandrini, who being the only female in the group has never allowed us blokes to intimidate her and has handed out a few bruises of her own! Also, thank you to all the guys who have popped in along the way from overseas... Joel B. Font and my beautiful brother Colin Power. On the following pages are a selection of images from the training this year. Hopefully, you’ll join us for next year’s event.
From learning to stand to developing the physical side. The 35 Weeks in the Erle Montaigue Training System takes us right to the heart of understanding the internal arts.
OTHER DATES FOR YOUR DIARY IN 2013/14
Congratulations to the two newest Instructors of the WTBA family: Woz Levins and Tony Gough
Holland: Sint Annaland October 26th/27th 2013 Norway, Skjbeerg March 1st/2ndÂ 2014 Swansea Two Week Foundation Training Camp Â March 15th-29th 2014 More to come. Check taiji world For updates!
Woz and Tony have both been training for a number of years in Leicester with Nasser, as well as with Erle, himself in the past, in Llangadog, and Eli. It is always a great pleasure to see dedicated students rise through the ranks and achieve their potential. Their real journey has only just begun...
Erle demonstrating a lead leg kick as the hands work independently of the feet.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
WTBA Vice-president & Senior Instructor Editor Combat & Healing http://www.fajing-chuan.co.uk CombatandHealing@gmail.com email@example.com 07792242150
Peter Smith Senior Instructor WTBA Representative for the United Kingdom Email C/O Georgina Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org
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