Eli Montaigue is a self
appointed Master...But so was Yang Lu-chan.
By Eli Montaigue August 2017.
I have been accused many times of being a self appointed Master, so I thought I would save anyone else to hassle by stating clearly that this is absolutely correct.
As I have always said, I technically have a self appointed Masters Degree,
but is that a bad thing?
Yang Lu chan was a self appointed master.... Sure he was probably tested by a lot of people with challengers who he would fight etc, but he created his own system, he did not have teacher who would have given him a Masters Degree on paper, he would have simply proved himself to these people, therefore he could then proclaim himself to have a Masters Degree.
It's the same for me, my dad never actually said "Eli I award you the degree of Master" He never gave me any grades on paper, apart from a grade 2 when I was 18 as I needed it to be able to teach at the YMCA in Swansea. However, he always gave out official Grades to all other students, as it is important for people to know who's who. The highest he ever gave was grade 6. These were given to Al Krych, USA. Peter Jones, UK.
As well as John Ross and Jim Marincic, in Australia.
He never gave out anything higher than grade 6, and certainly never gave out a
The things that made me think I should have the masters degree are:
1. Dad told me that I had finished my training and that he had taught me everything he could. This is what is regarded as achieving your Masters Degree in the wtba, but Dad never did anything formal with my grades.
Please see an article here on what a Masters Degree Actually is.
2. Dad said publically that I was his only and rightful successor, and that I was the only person that he had taught nearly everything he knows.
You can read this statement here.
3. I trained with Dad's main training partner from the 80's and he said I had a deeper understanding and skill than that of Erle's back then when he got his Masters in 1985.
Please note! this does not mean I think I have the same level of skill and understanding as my father in his later years, again please read the article on what a Masters degree is here to explain.
I feel I should hold this rank based on the above, I do not think it big headed of myself to do this. If there were someone above my rank that I could be graded by I would do this, but there isn't, the head of the system said that I was the highest ranked, and the only one who knows the whole system, who am I to dispute what he said?
So unless I take what he said to mean that I have reached the grade of Master, then by the thinking that you should never self grade, there could never again be a Master grade in the Erle Montaigue System.
Often people tell me I should go to China and get my "real" Masters Degree, but I always say back, how can someone give out a degree for a system they do not practice? What we teach no longer exists in China to my knowledge. Of course there may be similar things being taught, but Dad always said he didn't know of anyone still teaching what we teach, always stating that he is the only person holding this system.
So, from what my dad told me, there is no one left back in China who knows this system, that is to the best of his knowledge of course.
My Dad tested the crap out of me! He trained me harder than anyone, making sure that I was not just practicing the forms, the main thing we did almost every day was to fight! He gave me my first black eye when I was 14, and through the years training with him we gave each other many more :-)
So my skills have been tested to the max by the only person who's opinion I care about, Erle Montaigue.
In his last years with us, he was no longer able to kick my arse, he would get back as much as he gave, this made him smile like I've never seen before, because he could finally see that I had it.
Even though these three did not hold the highest grades from Dad, Nasser had a grade 4, Wally also had a grade 4, and Leigh had a grade 3.
These were the people I felt deserved this rank, at least out of the ones whom I had trained with, because I will never give out a high grade if I have not trained with the person.
The four grade 6 instructors who were technically the highest ranked, I have still never trained with.
Al Krych was my good friend, he was always there for me right till the end when he passed away. By the time I thought I should do some training with this guy so I can then give him a Masters Degree and also learn from him, he was too far into his cancer and could not train, though I'm sure if he were still alive today I would have given him this grade.
Peter Jones was also my good friend, I wanted to give him his Masters to show my respect, but I had never trained with him, as he had not attended any workshops of Dad's since before we moved to the UK in 2003, I asked him almost every month over the last two years could we meet up and train as I wanted to learn from him as well, but he never wanted to, then like Nasser he left the WTBA and the Montaigue family with no reason given.
Jim Marincic, also a good friend, but again I have never trained with him, so cannot give any grades out, but he has a good excuse, he's about 104 years old! Haha, no I think he's about 75 or so, still strong and teaching his classes in Canberra, he still supports the WTBA 100%, having been with us since 1983.
John Ross, I don't really know John personally, I met him a few times, and we went through the Bagua Pole form once together when I was 16.
I hadn't heard from him since then, until just a few months ago he got in touch saying his had retired and was wanting to get back into training. So again someone I have never trained with, but he has been with the WTBA since 1984 so I hope that in the coming years I will get to train with him.
Anyway that's just to explain why I gave Masters Degrees to three people who were not given the highest rank by dad.
I will never give out grades without hands on training.
Yes I am a self graded master, but only because there is no one else alive who could have graded me, the Erle Montaigue system is a new system, it is based in the old arts, but we do them the way Erle developed it into. I personally I think the statements my father made about me are better than any certificate anyway.