Always Back Down (Why I will never accept a challenge to a fight)
By Eli Montaigue March 2017.

As head of the wtba I get threats and challenges from people, not all the time, but I’ve had a few, particularly since my Dad died, mostly from ex wtba instructors, either because they had some grudge against Dad for kicking them out, or because they saw Erle as a god, 100% perfection, so if I say something they deem as being different to what he said, they think I am disrespecting him.  

It’s all part of the job, something the head of any organization has to deal with, particularly in the martial arts world, and even more so when you’ve taken over from another Master.

Challenging someone to prove who is best.
Why? I’m not talking about sport fighting, if you want to fight as a sport, then ok it’s just like any other sport, I’m talking about a real fight to prove who is best.
You’ve got two options, you can choose a set a rules, and put gloves on, but then that’s not a real fight, so even if you win, you still don’t know for sure who would win in a real fight.
Second option, have a real fight... Really? Do you really care so much about proving how good you are that you’re willing to get seriously injured, or seriously injure the other guy?

If two good fighters have a fight, there will be serious injury to both parties, with one ending up worse off.
To me the whole point of learning martial arts is to become better than that, to control your ego, to use your skill to create peace.
Sure if someone comes flying at me I’m not going to bend over, but that’s being attacked, a totally different situation.
We can learn a lot from animals, but banging your chest and screaming to show you’re the toughest gorilla is not one of them.

I really don’t care who I can or can’t beat, I don’t train martial arts to fight other martial artists, I train for good health and to protect myself and my family from an attacker.
Sure I like to train with people who could beat me, because that’s the best way to push my skill to a higher level, but I don’t train with them so that one day I can beat them, we should be training together to help each other become to best we can be.

I’m sure there are thousands of people out there who could beat me in a fight, I’m never going to be the world’s ultimate fighter.
I can fight but I’m not a fighter, I can heal but I’m not a healer, I can teach.... And yes I am a teacher.
I have spent my training life trying to become the best teacher I can be, to do this I have to know how to fight, and I have to know how to heal, but I haven’t put 100% of my effort into being the best fighter, that effort has gone into being a teacher, that is my calling in life, so when some guys says he could beat me in a fight, whether he can or not, I’m simply not interested.

Size in a fight.
If you’re a big guy, you can’t challenge a small guy to a fight to prove you’re the better fighter, even if you are the better fighter, you can’t prove it by beating someone smaller than you.
I recently got a very aggressive email from a guy challenging me to a fight.
Now I currently weigh 71kg, (still carrying some London fat, should be 67kg)
This guy must be about 120kg, so if I beat him in a fight, sure everyone could then see that I am the superior fighter, but at what cost? There’s no way I could take out someone that big without doing some serious damage. He has a wife and a little girl who love him, so I’m not going to risk that little girl growing up without a dad.
And if he beat me? Well that wouldn’t prove anything for him, as what does it prove to beat someone up who is half your size.

Now by all means if I have someone come to a class and want to test my skills in push hands for example, as long as they have a good attitude, then I’m more than happy to train with anyone, but if someone came to one of my workshops and challenged me to a fight, my first question would be with or without rules? If he says with rules, I’d say that won’t prove anything, if he says without rules then I would say it’s not worth the risk.
So what if he calls you a coward, someone who feels the need to do this clearly has issues, so why should you care about what someone like that thinks of you, take the higher ground.

So please if you teach for the WTBA, never get sucked into taking a challenge of this sort to prove the worth of the WTBA, these people don’t deserve the energy, spread love not hate.

Here is a little quote from Erle, it was a reply to a question from one of his good students about how to deal with these kind of people, one week before he died.

Well, I have had a lot of experience with this and it just takes some time of KNOWING that these people are only a spec of dust in the ocean! Usually ignorant people who know no better. As soon as I receive perhaps a comment on Youtube in the negative, I instantly block them from ever even looking at anything on my youtube and don't even answer to what they have said. I just ignore them. But in the old days I was up there challenging them to fights etc., young and stupid, not knowing, childish!  
If you THINK about it even for more than a few seconds, it will take over your mind and you will find yourself thinking about it all day long and that causes You to become negative!
But if you just think of it as a piece of shit and wash it away, it goes away in an instant.
They aren't important to you!!! There are so many others who are and who are in the positive. You cannot ever please everyone all of the time, so just please the ones who you can.
Love from E

(Keep in mind when he says he blocked people from youtube he means people who just say horrible things with no point or context, he would speak to people who were just giving their point of view on a subject)

I really like the way Dad put it here, they are just a piece of shit to wash away.
For the most part all we need is a broom and shovel, we can handle that on our own, other times we might need something a little larger, depends how big the shit is,

but hey that’s what we’ve got friends for :-)