Shopping Bag

Eli's words to Nasser

Summer camp 2012.

A great camp, everyone leant a great deal of stuff, new as well as really grounding all their basics.
Last years camp I had a lot of stuff I wanted to say, but it was too soon.
So below is the speech I read out at lunch time on the Sunday of camp.

Monica Mitoli was also awarded level one instructors degree, a much deserved grading to a very dedicated student.

 

My thanks to Nasser Butt. And some feelings and stories about my Dad

By Eli Montaigue. July 2012

If any Instructor in the wtba has helped me to make sure that I know I’m worthy of leading the system, and taking us forward from where Dad left off, it’s Nasser.

Some others would have doubts in my abilities, with me being young. Of course these are only the ones who don’t know me, and have not trained with me.

Not that I ever had any doubts, I’ve always been very confident in myself to lead the system forward.

Many other instructors have been very supportive as well, but Nasser knows me the best. He’s seen me grow from age 17 when I was just a very basic level instructor, to what I am today.
So if he thinks I’ve got what it takes to lead the WTBA, then I know I’m doing pretty well.

Right from day one of Dad’s passing, he was the first person outside the family that I told.

I called him up that night, and he was his usual jolly self, in the middle of teaching a class I think. He said “hey mate how is everybody?” I said ummmmmm, not to good actually.

I’ve got some bad news for you. That was about all I could get out before bursting into tears. He of course then new it was something big.

I finally got out the words that he had had a heart attack, and Nasser just went into help mode, asking !where is he now? Is everyone else ok? “

Thinking he was in hospital or something, wanting to know what he could do to help.

I then said, no.... he’s gone... Dad’s dead.

He didn’t know what to say, as that just didn’t seem like something that could happen, it was the most unexpected thing I could have said.
But I could feel from his voice how much he wanted to be there, like he was reaching down the phone wanting to hug me.

The first of Dad’s workshops that I had to take, was the USA camp. That was very hard for me, as it had all been planned for Dad, he had already bought our flights. I’ve been flying all over the world teaching since I was 18, but this was different. And when I got on that plane and there was an empty seat next to me where Dad should have been, I felt lost.

I kept remembering the year before when we did the trip together, he was there laughing so hard at this film we were watching, nearly hitting the seat in front of him!

Every Boy’s Dad is his hero.

And my Dad was the epitome of that, he was always like Superman to me.

From when I was a little boy and he would throw us all so high into the air to then land in the pool,

or when we’d sit on the chair outside on the veranda under a blanket in a thunder storm.

To our last days together, training, when I could feel and appreciate his awesome power, that I knew would never hurt me, but only protect me. His power came from his love for his family.

At that US workshop the year before, he was on top game, he’d not been over there in about 10 years, and was throwing me all over the place showing how an old bloke could still kick some arse. I got a great beating that weekend!

Everyone was so amazed at how powerful He was at 60 years old.

You could never feel in danger of anything when he was around, the only thing I was ever scared of was loosing him, cause I always knew that he would put himself in the way of anything that would harm his family. He really was the ultimate hero Dad.

One day I was with him in Aamanford, and he was hit by a car. Properly knocked over, with a spin around and slamming onto the road. He just got straight up and was fine! The couple in the car had come back to see if he was ok, as he was about 57 years old!

But he just said nah I’m fine, don’t worry I’m superman!

They couldn’t believe it, as most people of that age would have broken a hip or something!

This figure in my life will never be replaced, but the love and support from everyone helps me to find it in myself.

Anyway, the US camp. Nasser had gone out of his way to make it to this one, to support me, and when I got off the plane he was there to meet me.

A friendly face and a big hug made me know I’d be able to get through camp.

I also had a dream on the first night, before having to teach.

Dad and I were teaching a class together somewhere, having a great time messing about as usual.
He was showing a set of moves from the form, and someone asked a question about it, and so he did it again explaining it.

Then he looked over at me doing the same moves, and just said, “you know what, forget what I just said, look at how he’s doing it, that’s exactly how it should be done” And then raised his voice to the whole class, and said “he’s your leader now, follow him and trust in what he says, I’ve taught him everything that can be learnt” And then he stepped back and handed the class to me, and said “it’s your turn now”

Now I know that seems like a big headed dream, but it wasn’t from my mind, as I was feeling lost and insecure. I do believe it was Dad talking to me.

So knowing I had Dad there with me in spirit, as well as Nasser in person, I was then full of confidence to run the workshop.

Nasser has done so much to help me in heading the WTBA, making sure that everyone else also knows that I’m the one for the job.

Dad told me in his own words a year before he died, that I was a master of the arts. He said “be confident my sonny, you know as much as me now in what we teach”

Some people don’t think that counts, they want to see paper. I don’t give a shit, and nor do any of the people I care about. But even still Nasser has made sure that anyone who makes some remark about me being to young or something, that he stops them right there, and tells them what’s right.

Of course it’s important for instructors to be graded, for your own knowing of where you’re at, but mainly for the point of others knowing what I think of you, it’s a way of me showing how much I think of your Taiji, and so that others that can’t train with me directly can see what I think of each instructor.

From a combination of getting all the basics down over 7 years, then seeing Dad on a regular basis for 8 years, being completely dedicated, and it being at a time when Dad had perfected his teaching methods, Nasser to me has taken the arts to the top.

Dad thought this as well, he would always make comments to me in our Llangadog classes, how Nasser was the one he didn’t have to explain anything to, and how he really understood the art as we teach it.

 

Instructors in the USA, Canada, and Australia in particular have also done so much to help, both with their support, and setting up of workshops and camps etc. My life would be so much harder with out these people. And I want to make sure that they know how much I appreciate them as well, and respect them as experts in Taiji.

The first time I saw Nasser after Dad’s death, I know that I had support.

Not just with the WTBA, but life in general. He’s like a big brother to me.

The times when I would have gone to dad for advice, I know I’ve got Nasser there to help me now. I still speak to Dad all the time, and nothing will ever fill the gap he’s left. But it’s nice knowing I’ve got someone in the physical form to look out for me in life. He is a lot like Dad in many ways.

With regard to Dad’s training, and life with the WTBA, what he would have wanted for it etc, no one knew him like I did. And in our last days together, we had all the same views and ideas. So I do this on his behalf.

So!..... By the power given to me, by my Dad, Erle Montaigue, The Grand Master and Founder of the WTBA.

I, Eli Montaigue, world leader of the WTBA, Master Degree, and Lineage holder to the Old Yang Style and the Erle Montaigue system.

As well as holding a Grandest of supremely grand master degree and doctorate in the Chinese internal martial arts. Which is a proper certificate that is officially official by order and other official stuff, due to the fact that it was signed by an actual Chinese person! (That Leigh found walking down the street in Swansea.) Awarded by my students at Wel Hung Martial Arts School in Swansea, haha

(So I think that’s all the authority I need for this!)

As a way of saying thank you to Nasser, and acknowledging his dedication, support and expertise in the internal arts. 

I award Nasser Butt the degree of “Master”

I also, declare Nasser Butt as WTBA Vice President of the world.

 

 

I cried my way through this speech at camp, as I finished and pulled out Nasser’s certificate, I looked over to Nasser, and was about to loose it, so I went over to him and gave him a big hug.
We both stood there having a good strong cry, then after a while I got everyone else to join in for a big group hug around Nasser.

It was very beautiful and emotional, after that we all beat shit out of the kick bags!