WTBA two week
training camp. (two weeks to make a family)
For me this was the best camp I’ve ever run. The mix of people was great, from all over Europe, USA, UK, and even Nasr from Dubai.
From people that use to train with Dad when I was just a kid, to new guys that had never trained before at all. We all jelled so well.
The first week, from day one everyone seemed like they were good old friends meeting up again.
Full of hard core training, Qigong in the early mornings, then two hours of bag beating, and working through the Taiji form and other bits and pieces in the afternoon. Also in the evenings doing more Qigong, or form, or Push Hands etc. Seemed to me that I was picking the stuff to teach that people really needed.
Seen as people had put in the effort to make such a long camp, I thought I would put on a party night for them at the end of the first week.
This was the best party I’ve ever put on! Had my band playing, so this was nice to show the other side to me, drumming and singing. As most just see me teaching all the time.
And as a real treat, I had my belly dancing group do some dances, my four girls, Lisa, Kathleen, Mika, and Mary Eve. As well as Fen Clark, a professional belly dancer and model from Bristol. And Dominique Flook, a professional theatrical belly dancer from Newport.
Saw a few jaws on the floor when these girls were dancing! A nice change from training all week J
Was an amazing energy in the room, people were so full of energy it felt like performing to 100 people. Everyone up dancing and singing along. And then dropped their jaws back to the floor when the girls came on!
As another treat, I had my Yoga teacher Ana Chidzoy come
down that night before the party.
Took the whole group through a lovely Yoga session, bending them into places they never thought was possible! Everyone seemed to love this, and again made a nice change to training in martial arts for the last week.
We had Jerry Walker and his boy Zack in for cooking the
first week, everyone loved as usual.
The second week had less people, some could only stay one
So the whole camp became more chilled out, still training at least 5 hours every day.
But started getting into some more special things to do with Qi and Yin and Yang.
Some group Qigong’s were done, linking palms and creating some seriously powerful shit!
This was the most Qi I’ve ever felt in a room before.
Started having movie nights too, so that was fun! Everyone just having a good laugh together.
Also got through the whole of the Small San Sau both solo and two person. And some stick training.
Special things always happen at camps, especially at these camps here in Wales.
Being that it’s close to home, I’m more relaxed, and that it’s more than just a weekend of training, I can get to know people and see what it is that they need from me. And found myself doing and saying things that I’ve never heard before, never been taught etc. But it just came out from somewhere. And I myself learnt so much more about this art that we all practice.
This is why it is so important for everyone who really wants to get this stuff, to come to these Foundation camps in Wales. You might see me once or twice a year in your country, or even train with me every week in Swansea. But when I’m at camp, special stuff that’s hidden inside me comes out. And the only way to see it, is to get to camp!
Also, being involved in it for a week or two, you will find stuff happening to you, that I will see, and then that will make something happen in me, and able to show you something you need that may never have been shown at just a weekend workshop.
I know I did a good job with this one, as by the end, everyone was sad to leave, the second week people in particular had become like a family.
For myself, on the last evening, I thought, it’s done! As I was exhausted! And happy to be going home the next day. But then in the morning, I was feeling quite emotional, and didn’t want it to end.
I gave everything I could in these two weeks, felt
completely drained, but in a good way, as to give makes me happy, seeing that
what I’m giving is being absorbed, and once I recharge, then I’m even better
Really had that feeling that I had imparted wisdom. Wisdom that was planted in me by Dad, and unlocked by you. Thank you all for that.
Here is what some of the members had to say. Some of them thought it was so good I have had to shorten bits.
«Taiji smiles-laughter-cry, Blue-thought technology and Supreme-Care-Bear group work»
Thanks alot to all of you! ((also the one who gave me x5(!?) black eyes:)) Was with no doubt two of the most wonderful weeks in my life so far!!!! And that created while staying 90% of the time inside a simple gym hall! Love to all, and hope to see you next year!! Special thanks to the Montaigue crew for putting it all togheter and making it possible, including a party you dont need to be drunk to enjoy:DD
I could write a book about this camp, but I think you will have more fun doing some extra training than reading my endless thougths and opinions so I will keep it as short as I can.
Taiji-smiles is a word that came to my mind many years ago training with Eli and Erle. It is the kind of smile that appears when getting a new and better feeling in a certain move they will show, that will also open up and improve all the rest of the training and how you enjoy things. And people will just stand there doing the move over and over again, stopping up a bit, with face covered in mild smile on the outside, but highly exited calmness smile inside. Later on I have also felt that with a couple of other instructors and training partners. Amp it up and you will get taiji laughter, when the feeling is so cool you just have to giggle/release some satisfied humhuming a bit about it from pure joy. First time I had that laugheter myself was at Erles Qi-develpoment tool summercamp in Leicster. I havent had anything in life that made me feel like crying past two years, one way or the other, (but if getting a bit sentimental, would feel nice to cry, but dont have enough to cry about I will put on «Dear Mama» with «2pac» and send my mother some thankfull thoughts.) However, Thanks ELI, and the whole group. In this camp to me it amped up even a level more!! Taiji crying of amusement!! Training the postures from the Yang Lu Chan form and small san-sau I had several taiji smiles and taiji laughters, and on two of the ocations I went outside the hall to just giggle and digest bymyself while class was moving on to a new move. I felt filled with so much thrill for everything that several tears of joy came out of my eyes:o) :D ;D ;D
All of the above, I dont think is possible if the teacher and the student does not have a «blue-thought-technology» connection. (And a supreme care bear group which the teacher will attract more and more at this level will make it even more accesible) I guess more commonly in the WTBA it is called «internal learning qi», and more commonly overall: «transmitting». Not when the teacher is just teaching/»transmitting» you how to punch harder or kick faster by yourself via oral instructions and the teacher demonstrating and correcting you in the three physical dimensions. More like your teacher is able to extend and amp up his «something» and you tap into each other via something outside the normal known mediums that might feel like magic but is not. It is a connection that is very there, but cannot be heard, seen or touched. (Hence the analogy to blue tooth:) The students and the teacher become like a pack of animals and everybody becomes more aware about another and them self. I think all good teachers in any kinds have this, but in alot of other stuff you can get away alot easier wihtout it. Erle was always brilliant with this. In this camp Eli showed that he is up to his match not only technically and verbal exlplainig skill, but also have caught up in the uppermost cool skill that is cruical in a good taiji teacher; «the blue-thought-technology-organicgly.»
A funny anecdote outside the direct training to example this, was one random morning I was upstairs fiddling with getting on my clothes and the class was already about to start. Heard Eli say downstairs, «well what are we going to do!!??» I was just about to shout down: «Can we do some kicks!!?» But as my mouth was about to open I allready heard Eli say «Kicks!! Shall we do some kicks today!??» That would not have been funny if we had already talked about doing kicks that day, but we had not. It would also not been funny if in general I was always keen on practicing kicks. But I am not, I would say I usually prefer to go for a run, og go to the gym over practicing kicks. While doing taiji, kicks would be the only thing on the bottom of my list together with hitting soft squashy pads. My point is that there was an open clear connection, and if not too mumbo jumbo for you; the teacher had already extended unconsiously his «something» into kicks, and that made me feel like kicking. Not that he was on purpose thinking hard: Kicks-kick-kicks-kicks!! Come on class! get ready for kicks!Kicks is going to happen!!! Or that there was some literal telepathy going on there a la Eli could hear: Oh, Lars-Erik is keen on doing some kicks today, lets make him a joke and beat him to saying it.... u-hum, he also is keen on having a small can of coke before coming down, and is planning to go to Tesco to get some more after lunch. Lars! can you also bring some more veggie burges if you are going down anyway? Yes mate, I will bring you 5 packages as that whats you wanted wasnt it? Yeah sure!
Supreme-Care-Bear group work
Do you know the cartoon Care Bears? The group of bears that every one has a special single coloured energy ray coming out of their bellys with special feautures on its own. And when they all team in together they make a complete rainbow ray with even more features and nothing is impossible. Well to sum it up thats how I felt stronger than ever before on this camp, we are a bunch of care bears meeting up making magic rainbows, during getting some physical exercise and improving our martial style while out in excile:D
And every night going to bed, but to exicted to go straight into sleep, going over and repeating in the head all the new stuff learnt that day, while the wind blowing outside and the welsh spring rainstorm hammering on the roof. I heard this hymn from a swedish rock song in the back of my mind as we were all moving into dreamland and the storm was amping up:
on the roads tonight
the healers are Hunting
No need for
map or compass
rest or ease
And then getting up for a final breath of fresh air out of Christians pocket seeing an old VHS cover of the movie «Boys in the hood» put up on display with Ice Cubes slogan:
« Increase The Peace»
Love from Lars-Erik, Norway
I never thought we could top autumn 2011 foundation camp, but we have well and truly powernoodled it out of the ball park!!! it is very late, so I will just say, I love you all! you are all brilliant!!! thank you for being you! (except for Christian, he stole my windscreen wiper!!! so I love him the most :-) xxxxxxxxxoooooooooooo (more to be said when I have slept)
Christian Zietsch. Berlin
It is not that easy to write something about the foundation camp Apr. 6th – Apr. 20th 2013.
To make a long story short – it was outstanding, amazing, stunning …. and it was a regular WTBA camp as well, because WTBA camps are always special.
Also it is impossible to distinguish between the training and the friendship or better the family life. The WTBA is a family and exactly that’s what I felt about.
It was like “coming home again”. Meeting good old friends and making new friends, that’s part of being a WTBA member.
The two weeks of training were hard and niece as well. Due to the reduction of participants the second week was even more intensive. It was announced to be a “foundation” camp and exactly that happened. No new forms etc. just consolidation of form and technique. Every time I think “o.k. there is the top of the mountain and I can see it” the same thing happened to me: “shit, I do know nothing at all”. But this is a beauty to me.
Eli showed all the Taiji and Bagua stuff (excellent as every time of course) and I showed (on request) some of my good old Ninja techniques like disappearing into nothing without doing anything. Eli promised a Yoga session and Ana really stretched the crap out of us, but she did it the most beautiful way ever. Ana is a miracle.
Books have been written and legends have been told about the Friday Night Party. Belly dancers, musicians and crazy worriers are a perfect combination
but not least: the venue itself was perfect for the camp. One can brake a
wooden ground plate and fix it again, as we did. Everything is there, even a TV
and video player. Yes it’s not a mistake it was a good old VHS video player,
the movies changed form coloured to b/w and back to coloured and so on……
At the end I just can say: Looking forward to the October 2013 camp – it will be a Bagua Camp and therefore it will be an outstanding camp – believe me and join it.
Joel B Fant USA
"I've attended a few workshops prior to the April 2013 Camp and, no matter what fancy forms were being taught, the most important thing about them is always the fellowship. I figured a two week camp would simply be more so, but it seems I underestimated. It was magnificent to live and play and laugh and cry (but mostly laugh) with some of the finest friends I know. The elephant jokes were pretty good, too. My hat is a pocket on my head. Here's to the hope for such a camp being annual!"
Romina Naito. From
here and there
Thank you very much Eli. I learnt a lot from you and from all the participants at camp. For me the jewels were the times when you just followed the flow and saw what people needed to learn at that time. Being with us in the present moment. It was very eye opening and little things that I was feeling were guided into explore into more new little things, which eventually will take me onto more exploration . It gave me a lot of points to practice and to put my intent to when doing my practice at home. The people were wonderful and the camp had a good feeling of a family training together. :)
Frank Ranz Austria
It was a fantastic camp!!
Morning Qigong was great, also to get to now the moving stuff from your system which I haven’t done before. I had the feeling I could deepen my understanding of the mind whilst doing the form.
I never did so much bag work before, that was great. Your input with the heavy hand on basically every strike did a lot for a good activation while not tensing up and delivering some force.
Although I have seen you and your dad at workshops before and watched quite some videos, to look at you doing it and having a chance to ask you and get correction is probably the most important part of learning and progressing. Be it for the more relaxed attidude - not having a form to learn, or knowing that there is more time to get into it - or whatever other reason it felt different from previous camps or workshops. The general idea of a foundation camp, concentrating on stuff you have seen or done before ia good thing to have anyway.
In terms of push hands I feel, it went to the next level. Your input on how to turn was very helpful and your intervention of doing it with some of the guys who are used to rather hard and stiff version helped a lot. Lars advice on turning the arm was great.
Doing the form with you and with the whole group was a special experince again, too bad we didn't have it more often.
I wished you'd have more help for the organisation, I admire your attidude of doing everything yourself, beeing the driver, the dishwasher and the teacher.
Friday night was really something special, the programme was excellent, hearing the band the first time and getting the whole group to dance and have fun was really special. The belly dancers were exeptionally good
Ralph Kemp. Wales
It was a really excellent camp, I thoroughly enjoyed it, I got an awful lot out of you taking small parts of the form and going over them in detail.
I thought it was a great mix of people and I enjoyed making some new friends and seeing some old ones – I’ll really look forward to next year’s camp!
your camp was a great experience to me!!! Thanks to you and all the other participants of the camp who helped me to overcome the barrier between "absolute beginner" and "beginner", especially Pece, Guy, Lars and Christian!
What impressed me most, was the cooperative atmosphere during the week. I've never experienced that in other camps in other sports before. Thanks, and I hope to see you next year!
Gie Kiesekoms, Belgium
Thanks for a great expirience. I didn't know what to expect when I decide to come to Wales. but it turns out to be two of the most fantastic weeks of my live
The way you make every training a different one is very nice. Its good to learn the small san sau and yang lu chan form together, do a bit of bagua en train with sticks and then realise its all about your OWN foundation KEEP YOUR STRUCTURE
Training together with people who have more expirience means you learn every minute of every day for 14 days. Sometimes I got so much information in two hours that my head was spinning. ...... An then again you realise that everything is a variation on a few principes KEEP YOUR STRUCTURE...
this camp gave me also the opportunity to learn a lot about myself. I think that you told us the second day of camp that a person who practice tai chi stands in live more peacefull and with an open mind. And then again at the end of camp I realise this is also about your own foundation.....KEEP YOUR STRUCTURE
Camp was great and I hope to come back
I'll always remember Mad Max ;-)
So far I would just like to thank you once again. It was an amazing time and perfect if anything in this world ever can be.
The most amazing thing for me was, that so different and crazy a people can grow together so fast, that every small aversion you may have had against somebody in the beginning was just melting away in this pool of good energy and everything and everybody felt simply right and wonderful in the end. And that on the base, that we were working on "martial arts", on "hitting and hurting people as effectively and relaxed as possible"! If ever it was needed to prove once more that the "Internal Martial Arts" are a healing art as well if not above all, it could not have been better demonstrated and proven than by this camp! (And still we learned of the rougher side as well).
And: Eli, your teaching is definetely becoming even more & more sophisticated. Just great. And a big "thumbs up" for the thrown in Yoga exercises.
Roswitha Flucher, Austria
The camp was great as ever. No, not as ever, since your are getting better every time. I think, is was a good mixture of methods and skills we were working on and I turned back home quite inspired, trying to remember all the corrections I got and to keep the spirit of the camp in everyday life.
7 days of trainig instead of 4 make a big difference.
Friday night was marvelous, the music, the dancers, I really enjoyed it.
This was indeed a great camp!
At the beginning I didn't felt at home (well I wasn't :)), but I made friends pretty quick, so even the second day I already felt like I know most of you.
Before coming to the camp I knew about the martial aspects of the system, but I now realized it is really a full featured, complete self defense and healing system.
It's really nice to meet people like yourself, Lars, Jerry, Leigh, etc. which are really great people with great physical and spiritual appearance.
It shows you the quality of the system.
I didn't expect the punching / kicking session in the morning, and this was a really good surprise for me.
I liked the most the session where people were running with bags trough the hall, and you needed to punch whoever comes to you :)
I loved the non-session periods as well.
It was full of push hands, sticky hands, and friendly ass kicking.
I think talking to the others during the breaks compensated for the missing personal training.
All in all it was a great camp, and I have learned so much :)