By Josephine Anderson
On the weekend of May 8th and 9th (2010), I was proud to host a workshop for Eli Montaigue, head of the WTBA, and son to Erle Montaigue, the founder of this fighting and healing system. This the the third workshop Eli has conducted for the WTBA community here in Ottawa, and following in the tradition of this system, he delivered with superlative skill and grace, insights into both subtleties of energy, and the martial effectiveness of the forms of the Yang Lu Chen form and Small San sau, which press such energy, as a healing agent, into practical use. And of course, as Eli alternated with seamless ease between Yang Lu Chen and The Small Sau, it became perfectly clear to all who attended, that the external and the internal achieve a mutually reciprocating and enhancing dynamic. The healing, then, is inextricably bound with self defense. This constitutes the core of the philosophy behind the WTBA, acting as both a salubrious counter-position to all diluted Tai Chi forms which emphasize only empty form, undermining their own intent to promote healing, and as a critical commentary on hard style marital arts that play themselves out by the overexertion of movement unsupported by the momentum of internal energy. Thank you Eli for delivering this balanced approach in the spirit of your own beautifully balanced character and personality. We look forward to your return..
On the following week, his father Erle Montaigue hosted a workshop in Salisbury Maryland, where he introduced, the first of the four Dim-mak corner stone forms, the River. It was such a pleasure to receive Erle here, in North America, for the first time in twelve years. The spirit of the winding and twisting river found its way through the crowd of participants, raising the volume of their energy, and binding them together. As well, Erle retraced the steps of the Yang Lu Chen form, providing us with the example of his own performance of the art, which, according to my own experience of such past events, transmits something inexplicable at an unconscious level, that takes seed and bears fruit for years to come. And of course, the subtleties of the push hands, which Erle was willing to share with us, has proven to have the same durable effect. He delivered all of this with his usual humor, story telling, and charisma. Thank you Erle, and again thank you Eli, who was present as well, assisting Erle, and helping others.
There are whispers that Erle will be making this a yearly event.
Photo below: 2010 WTBA Workshop group photo