The annual international WTBA Summer Training Camp was held near Rostock in the North of Germany, end of May 2006. WTBA instructors and students from 12 countries attended in a spirit of friendship and dedication, humour and comradeship.
Around 45 WTBA instructors and students from Switzerland, South Africa, Germany, UK, Ireland, Australia, The Netherlands, France, Slovenia, Norway, Greece and Sweden attended the first Summer Camp held by Erle Montaigue in Europe. For those instructors who for some reason could not attend, you really missed something special. So please see if you can attend in 2007 as it is important for your own training and that of your students to be seen to have a connection with 'head office' so to speak.
The camp was held over 4 days with most arriving on the Thursday evening and leaving on the following Monday after class or Tuesday morning. Schnatermann is the name of the venue for the camp and is a family run purpose built camp which caters for everyone. From those wishing to actually camp in a tent, to those who would like to have the experience of sleeping in a Covered Wagon, to a little more comfort in lovely wooden cabins and then there is a wonderful Hotel right at the camp for those who like their creature comforts. The Baltic Sea is only 10 minutes drive while a huge lake is right at the edge of the camp where sail boarding and canoeing can be done.
Included in the accommodation fee (which is very reasonable) are three meals per day, mainly vegetarian. However, those who must eat cow or other large animals, this is available to order at an extra cost per session. A very nice dinning room is provided for our benefit and a huge training shed is also available if the weather cracks up.
Having held many camps in the past, I must say that this one in particular was the most friendly and sharing of all. Perhaps it's just that I am getting older and push less the macho fighting stuff concentrating upon the healing aspects, although the fighting is of course included, it's just that I place less importance upon it nowadays.
I took my whole family this time which was such a lovely way to do it as I was much more relaxed knowing that we were all together. Eli and Ben taught, also helping me out when I needed it and also took some private lessons in the off times. And the Moontagu Family band performed in the evening along with others who could play a musical instrument.
However, it was the training that everyone came for and that was the best ever as we were able to get through all 8 palm changes of the Bagua Original Circular form, plus the Bagua Snake form and Yang's Secret 4th House where we take our push hands and turn it into something real in the way of realistic self defence methods.
An excellent 2 hour session happened after dinner each day as well. This was not a formal lesson as it was an extra training session thrown in for those who wished to cover things that weren't covered in the normal training sessions. So we covered things like Yang Lu-ch'an corrections where the students were able to ask questions about the different parts that they were having difficulty with and this 2 hour class proved to be a real winner with everyone.
A number of WTBA instructors also received an upgrade to their level as I am able at these camps in particular to watch everyone and see how they are going etc.
From now onwards, this is one of the only ways that instructors will be able to receive upgrades. So next year, this camp will be held also at Schnatermann in Germany over the weekend of August 3rd to 6th. See my class time table for this information.
My sincere thanks to Ron Beier, 3rd Degree, WTBA instructor and my representative for Germany and his lovely wife Frauke for organising the whole camp. I know how difficult it is to organise 50 or so people, catering to the different likes and dislikes etc. And Ron and Frauke took it all in their stride and did an amazing job.
In the end, the camp was a huge success as far as training, friendship and WTBA bonding was concerned. Many new friends were made and old ones renewed. Those who live relatively closer to each other are now getting together to train on a regular basis and those even from other countries are making arrangements to visit again for training.
Mark your calendar for 2007 as you have over a year to plan for this in 2007. It is important that all of our WTBA instructors attend at some time in order to catch up with the training personally from myself.