Controversial claims

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Controversial claims

Postby Josh Young » Sat May 23, 2009 10:43 am

Consider the following articles:
http://taiji-bagua.co.uk/contents/dim-mak.htm
http://taiji-bagua.co.uk/contents/taijiquan.htm
http://taiji-bagua.co.uk/contents/bagua.htm
http://taiji-bagua.co.uk/contents/qigong.htm
http://taiji-bagua.co.uk/about/erle_montaigue.htm
http://taiji-bagua.co.uk/index.htm

And as part of a review I offer the following paragraph:
Erle Montaigue is regarded internationally as one of the leading instructors of the internal arts,
Erle began his martial arts instruction at the age of 11, he has been practicing the internal arts since 1968 leaning from Grand-master Chang Yiu-Chun one of only two disciples of Yang Shou-hou, grandson of Yang Lu-ch'an, the founder of the Yang style Taiji. And Ho Ho-choy, Bagua Master disciple of Chiang Jung-chiao
And is the only westerner to have been awarded the degree of Master from the
old Chinese Masters.



Just to start out they are claiming that Chang Yiu-Chun, a person lacking birth and death records and not recorded as a student of Shao-hou, is one of only two students of Shao-Hou, Wu-Tunan, a real student of Shao-hou who is legitimate and has very clear records of his existence, unlike Yiu-Chun, including video, demonstrates forms that are nothing like that of the WTBA, I believe that the Chang Yiu-Chun may be someone Erle invented.

The people who gave Erle his masters degree were the same communists that award people for acrobatic displays lacking martial ability. The idea that he received a masters degree from masters is also inconsistent with Erle's earlier versions of his travels. For many years he also followed his name up with the title of master, though he does not do that anymore.

I think he is the perfect example of taiji fraud for $$$.
If you read the articles you will note that the translations are in some cases so bad that you wonder if they made them up altogether instead of ever looking into the meaning of the chinese terms. A great example of this is dim-mak. Another related example is how they define fa-jing as a specific technique which incidentally is rather exclusive to their system.

Here is another questionable article:
http://taiji-bagua.co.uk/contents/shortened_forms.htm

I think it is BS, but then I have been learning details of the system for a while anyway just to be sure, have seen over 10 videos of Erles and have read most of his written works. I feel kind of bad for Erle, having never understood taiji as that he never had a decent teacher, at least a decent teacher that could be demonstrated to have existed.
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Postby Josh Young » Sat May 23, 2009 10:49 am



The Fa-jing (explosive energy) movements of the Old Yang System provide outlets for Yang Qi that builds up during practice. This is very important as building up too much Yang Qi (by doing all slow movements) then goes in to its opposite of Yin, thus causing 'Yin Dullness' which is what many of the old Chinese masters who only ever did the all slow form died of!


Another interesting claim. Note that the people who stress the slow forms have been living to about 100 while the people who stress the fast stuff tend to die about 40 years earlier than this. This can be very simply examined by looking at the lifespan of dead taijiplayers.

I believe that Erle will likely be dead in less than 10 years.
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Postby Josh Young » Sat May 23, 2009 11:02 am

His teachers include Master Wong Eog (1968), Master Chu King Hung (1973) London, Grand-master Chang Yiu-Chun one of only two disciples of Yang Shou-hou. Erle became the first student of Master Chu in London in 1973. Chu was one of three disciples of Yang Sau-chung, (1909-1985) the eldest son of the great master Yang Cheng-Fu....

In 1985, Erle and eight of his students became the first Westerners to be asked to perform at the all China National Wushu Tournament in Yinchuan China. There, Erle was tested by four of the world's greatest Chinese masters and was awarded the degree of "MASTER", the only Westerner to be given this honor. Erle now regards Chang Yiu-Chun as his main teacher from whom he learnt the "Old Yang Style" & The Dim-Mak....


In 1995 May, Erle Montaigue became the first westerner to go to China to learn from the Original Wudang Shan group, namely one Liang Shiah-kan, the keeper of the original Dim-Mak Qi Disruptive Forms.


He claims to have learned from several teachers, he provided dates and life and death information for some of them but the man he regards as his main teacher he cannot do this for, nor can he provide any type of proof the man ever existed. This is profound.

He says that the man who has never been seen also taught him "dim mak" but then relates that the learned the original dim mak form stuff in 1995, not decades before when the man who has never been seen, was supposed to have been teaching him "dim mak" But then he translates "dim mak" as literally meaning "death point striking" so clearly whatever he learned, from whomever he learned it from, is highly suspect and full of misunderstanding.

His life history has him learning some aikido in London, I believe that his so called Dim Mak is adapted from the atemi strikes and point knowledge of Aikijutsu, which is why his terms bear little if any relation to the chinese.
He records some interactions with the aiki teacher in London, but very conveniently forgets his name, while he employs the names of people he spent less time with. This selective memory of his may only be a deliberate way of avoiding revealing the truth of how he formed his system and where he got the information from.
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Postby Ralteria » Sun May 24, 2009 12:47 pm

Aaaah Erle...

When first becoming interested in Taijiquan I found Erle's website and preceded to devour anything labelled *free*. However, though there are some similarities to Erle's martial art and the Taiji I'm learning, as well as the taijiquan I've seen from others, I'm not sure they are quite the same thing.

From my perspective, it's very easy for someone to approach a Western audience and claim to have some sort of secret knowledge. We are saturated with movie ideas and a hong kong cinema approach to martial arts. We in the west are pretty obsessed with power, or display's of power as it were, so something like *ultimate dim mak killing death stroke uber punching* is appealing to alot of people in this hemphisphere. We are constantly trying to control, master, or kill whatever stands in our path.

What is so interesting is that kind of approach is rather contradictory to the ideas inside of TJQ. Anyone with a basic grasp of push hands, I think can attest to this. Not to mention the focus on striking takes away from alot of the awesome control and takedown techniques. IMHO anyways...
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Postby Josh Young » Sun May 24, 2009 1:27 pm

I do appreciate Erle's work from a martial arts point of view, as well as from a marketing and business point of view, there is a lot to learn there.

I don't think he made very much if anything up, choosing instead to amalgamate and draw from various arts.

The WTBA taiji based forms are crafted or at least molded in the WTBA context and thus are not often compatible with many well proven traditional methods and styles.

The majority of the techniques they teach are effective martial methods, however in the WTBA there tends to be a profound level of misunderstanding about taiji outside of their organization.

Members of the organization often fail to realize that Erle is not the product of his own system, he put the WTBA together, he did not go through it. The background of training that Erle has is to put it simply: not what the WTBA contains.

I challenge the next generation of the WTBA to continue doing what it is doing, develop and refine the legacy that Erle has created. His son Eli has had extensive training in the system(s) his father adapted. Thus Eli is the test of the WTBA and I hear he is quite skilled, Erle cannot be the test of the WTBA because the compiler or author of a system is not a product of the system, rather the pupils are.

More important however is that the test of a systems authenticity is not found in the development of skill within the system, it is important to recognize that words and claims count as the test of a system as well.

I also challenge any martial system to be able to provide proof of their claims about who they learned from and when and where. (YMAA has done this very well) Several of Erles claims are easily proven to be correct, a few of them however are disturbingly scanty on evidence and it would appear this is deliberate coming from a man who otherwise shares all the pertinent details. His selective memory, varied accounts and misinformed dismissal of the credibility of other taiji schools and techniques is something I find disturbing.

I think that the WTBA contains impressive martial arts methodology and technology, however when martial arts are about self mastery being impressive in a martial sense is simply not enough.
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Postby Ralteria » Mon May 25, 2009 6:56 am

I really haven't seen enough of Erle's stuff to provide an opinion based on wether it is effective or not in the martial sense. Just enough to realize though it's based on Taiji, the emphasis doesn't seem to be on Taiji principles. No Taiji principles, no Taiji.

I'd be curious to know what your general concensus of the 10 videos you saw was. At points in your posts you seem to focus in on him being a fraud and having a pretty grave misunderstanding of things but at the same time support his art from a martial sense. I found this to be rather confusing and want to know what in his videos you felt was effective.

This brings up an interesting point in my mind. I read a serious of posts between Mike Sigman and another martial artist recently while cruising the Formosa Neija archives. It was a sort of idealogical banter between closed door/indoor student traditional martial arts and the more open door policy/"information for all" attitude that people have in the West. The topic isn't really all the important as much as what came out of it. With the advent of more knowledge being injected into the west about internal power, conditioning, structure and technique, when do we cross the line between traditional and modern. When does our own martial art cease to be that which can be considered the original quan and become something else. Can any of our knowledge be considered pure, with no crossover, with nothing personaly unique from ourselves or from our conglomerate of knowledge accumlated over the years.

Under those circumstances, with all possible knowledge being accounted for, can Erle's martial art really be called Taijiquan?
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Postby Josh Young » Mon May 25, 2009 9:49 am

Some of his videos are better than others, for example he has the advanced cheng-fu video, here he goes over stuff I consider the most basic and at the same time gives explanations that come clearly form his own imagination.

At the end of this particular video he actually shuts up and shows you a form all the way through, a rare thing for Erle. I kind of like it, but the moves in his Cheng-fu are a modified version of the form of Fu Zhongwen who Erle received "corrections" from even after Erle has been claiming all along to have the correct version. I think the form does show that Erle doesn't comprehend taiji in the martial sense so modifies it to fit what he thinks is proper for martial attitude.

He often qualifies his so called historical versions by saying right before them "this is my theory" He doesn't care at all to try to learn the facts, instead he just forms his own theory to support he conclusions he already made.

His knowledge of biology and physiology are very poor, but his familiarity with anatomy is pretty good, he just seems to have no clue how the body actually works, so his explanations are almost always worthless despite many of his techniques being effective. Imaging if you took taiji movement and then applied an external style philosophy to it, this is pretty close to what Erle has done.

I agree though, that the lack of taiji principals means that it is not actually taiji. It is pretty clear he has no concern for the actual meanings of the Chinese terms he uses. Any student of his can take the terms erle uses and look them up and find out that most, if not all of the time, when Erle gives a translation, he doesn't know what he is talking about.
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Postby yeniseri » Mon May 25, 2009 2:53 pm

Just to start out they are claiming that Chang Yiu-Chun, a person lacking birth and death records and not recorded as a student of Shao-hou, is one of only two students of Shao-Hou, Wu-Tunan, a real student of Shao-hou who is legitimate and has very clear records of his existence, unlike Yiu-Chun, including video, demonstrates forms that are nothing like that of the WTBA, I believe that the Chang Yiu-Chun may be someone Erle invented.


In all fairness to Erle Montaigue, he is as popular as any other out there despite the background of Chang Yiu Chun, supposedly a Yang family member! Just a note that there are a few Yang family who have their own version of Yang style and they rarely try to market it, or on many occasion they refuse to capitalize on it!
People seek what they are looking for so Erle is as righteous as any other regarding his skill!
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Postby Josh Young » Tue May 26, 2009 11:34 am

I don't think popularity can amount to authenticity or reliability.
For example the Nazis were very popular in America before WW2, they even based their pograms against the jewish people on US policies towards native americans.

Hitler openly adopted US policies and embraced the US led eugenics movement: the US practice of sterilizing poor people and minorities against their will, something that continued in some areas into the later 1970's, was one of the precedents that Hitler employed in his treatment of Jewish people.

My point being that popularity is meaningless. A billion people can believe in a bad idea and it is still a bad idea. Testimonials mean nothing.
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Postby Ralteria » Thu May 28, 2009 12:31 pm

don't think popularity can amount to authenticity or reliability


Thats what I find disturbing about Erle. Not his martial art, or his theories really, but that they are aimed through and marketed as Taijiquan. If his knowledge is that off from what Taiji is than it is either an accidental or purposeful misdirection.

i.e. a) This is Taijiquan b/c I don't know anybetter

or b) This is Taijiquan b/c Taijiquan is popular and there for easier to market than my own style of martial arts.


or possibly c) This is Taijquan b/c the rest of the world isn't privy to the same information that Erle is....

Who knows...it just seems like it shouldn't be called Taijquan if either A) or B) are relevant.
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Postby southcraig » Wed Oct 21, 2009 1:26 pm

Josh Young wrote:

The Fa-jing (explosive energy) movements of the Old Yang System provide outlets for Yang Qi that builds up during practice. This is very important as building up too much Yang Qi (by doing all slow movements) then goes in to its opposite of Yin, thus causing 'Yin Dullness' which is what many of the old Chinese masters who only ever did the all slow form died of!


Another interesting claim. Note that the people who stress the slow forms have been living to about 100 while the people who stress the fast stuff tend to die about 40 years earlier than this. This can be very simply examined by looking at the lifespan of dead taijiplayers.

I believe that Erle will likely be dead in less than 10 years.



This claim is all BS! if you do any self-defense movement in a real situation then you better roll up and kiss your behind good-bye.
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Postby yeniseri » Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:55 am

Josh Young wrote:I don't think popularity can amount to authenticity or reliability.
For example the Nazis were very popular in America before WW2, they even based their pograms against the jewish people on US policies towards native americans.

My point being that popularity is meaningless. A billion people can believe in a bad idea and it is still a bad idea. Testimonials mean nothing.


In essence you are right but no one has stated that popularity=authenticity!
As evil, as dastardly and defeated the Nazis were/are, their symbols have been/are being repackaged and tolerated in both US and Europe in the guise of freedom and expression!
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Postby madmax » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:28 am

Erle cannot provide any type of proof as his first teacher Chu King Hung cannot show the picture of his discipleship with Yang Sau Cheung ?
It is so strange, isn'it ?

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Postby Carl Rutherford » Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:31 pm

Dear all,
Why bother to bash Erle montaigue unless there is something in him which you like ?

He has contributed a lot to the martial arts, he has a beautiful family, is a good man at heart and sincere in his endevours to pass on the knowledge that he has.
Maybe you should follow his example, and get on with your life and enjoy doing whatever your believe to be right, and help others. We are supposed to be a brotherhood, maybe if we all let go of our egos and shared our informed knowledge for good, the world would be a better place.

Why be the judge over a fellow human being who is trying to impart the little light that he has to give, in the best way he knows how.

With reference to money, he is not in the game for $$$$$$$ as he could of made a lot of money by playing the taichi game. If you new him you would know that this is not in his heart

Real taiji has so much more to do with theses things in life, than being bound by "taichi commandments" that everybody considers to be of such importance.

I do not want to stir things up and I never normally post on any websites, but give the man a break. Talking about the potential death of somebody is never good or respectful.

Everybody is human, knowbody is perfect and all of us are different.
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Postby madmax » Mon Nov 16, 2009 2:39 am

I totally agree with you, Josh:

"I don't think popularity can amount to authenticity or reliability.
For example the Nazis were very popular in America before WW2, they even based their pograms against the jewish people on US policies towards native americans.

Hitler openly adopted US policies and embraced the US led eugenics movement: the US practice of sterilizing poor people and minorities against their will, something that continued in some areas into the later 1970's, was one of the precedents that Hitler employed in his treatment of Jewish people.

My point being that popularity is meaningless. A billion people can believe in a bad idea and it is still a bad idea. Testimonials mean nothing."

In martial arts we do not need popular people. We need a true lineage, that is all we need. In the case of Erle, we have serious reasons to doubt about his lineage, no picture of Erle with his master. Even if he seems to be a good person.

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Postby Josh Young » Thu Nov 19, 2009 6:25 pm

I like Erle. He is a nice guy and his system is good.
I view it as something that can only come from him.

I have given up the issue of questioning what cannot be answered in regard to him. All I can offer is my opinion and that changes with time. I am not unfamiliar with his WTBA material, so while I question his lineage and many other claims, I have been doing so while giving his material, not his words, a chance. I am far more impressed by the content of his system, than by his words or claims of lineage.
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Re:

Postby John the Monkey mind » Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:31 pm

Josh Young wrote:I like Erle. He is a nice guy and his system is good.
I view it as something that can only come from him.

I have given up the issue of questioning what cannot be answered in regard to him. All I can offer is my opinion and that changes with time. I am not unfamiliar with his WTBA material, so while I question his lineage and many other claims, I have been doing so while giving his material, not his words, a chance. I am far more impressed by the content of his system, than by his words or claims of lineage.


In tribute to the now sadly late Mr Montaigue I thought I would post a link to an early video of him in action in the 80's. He sounds as though he was a nice guy and when I was living in Wales I was told his son was very good at his art and also a nice chap.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IA5SVFDu ... ideo_title
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Re:

Postby wpgtaiji » Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:29 pm

Carl Rutherford wrote:With reference to money, he is not in the game for $$$$$$$ as he could of made a lot of money by playing the taichi game. If you new him you would know that this is not in his heart

If you only knew how true this statement actually is! !
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Re: Controversial claims

Postby Josh Young » Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:02 pm

I don't know Erle, but I do know several people who know his son Eli and one person who trained with Erle.

However Erle and i did speak via email a number of times, including a couple of months before he passed away.

It was clear that he did the WTBA as a career, for money, and was deeply passionate about it.
It was also clear he was not greedy and he cared about the arts, he offered to send me free videos, and though i declined his offer because i have no interest in his system it was my impression that he was in it for the right reasons.
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Re: Controversial claims

Postby wpgtaiji » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:36 pm

Josh Young wrote:I don't know Erle, but I do know several people who know his son Eli and one person who trained with Erle.

However Erle and i did speak via email a number of times, including a couple of months before he passed away.

It was clear that he did the WTBA as a career, for money, and was deeply passionate about it.
It was also clear he was not greedy and he cared about the arts, he offered to send me free videos, and though i declined his offer because i have no interest in his system it was my impression that he was in it for the right reasons.

I asked him one time about what to charge for lessons. He told me the last time he charged for weekly classes was in the 70's!
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