Subjects Close to His Heart

Erle Montaigue on Families

The family unit is the closest subject to my heart. For me, all of the modern troubles of the world can be linked back to the slow but sure disintegration of the family unit. The family can be compared to the very cells we are made of. While the cells are active and strong, we have a strong body, but disease begins with the cells that we are made of. Same with civilisation, the family units of the world are the cells and while they are strong, we have a strong civilisation based upon truth, trust, honesty and love. But when the family unit begins to break down, we have a society based upon self only, hatred, mistrust, dishonesty and eventually anarchy and war.

The biggest problem as I see it is that the things that are important to people are those things that should not be important, and those that should are no longer important. Consumerism and money have taken over as the most important things in many people’s lives. So when we do not HAVE money, our whole lives are thrown into chaos. We do not have that strong family background onto which to fall and to be protected. Often some cataclysmic change in one’s life such as a deadly disease will force us to re-think our values, and we then realise that the most important thing in the world is the family unit, our wives and husbands, and most importantly, our children. Our children do not cease to be our children the minute they grow up and get a job! They are our children forever, and we must nurture and protect them for as long as we live.


Erle Montaigue on Healing

Don’t take your martial art too seriously. Do not live for your martial art, but rather ‘martial art to live’.

How could anyone take the martial arts seriously? I mean the modern concept of the martial arts, the film stars, the fake fights, totally unrealistic techniques etc. I now people who will stand up in a bus while passing their dojo and bow saying "books"! To take something that seriously, is to make it into something other than life, something that is apart from normal life, something were we have to do something different in order to practice. A special time of day, a special suit etc. Men in particular tend to take the martial arts seriously to the point of distraction because they are just so afraid of being beaten in a fight. So they practice their martial art purely for the physical self defence area. How silly, training your whole life in a life art, waiting for the one time ‘if you’re unlucky’, when you could be attacked! It’s like the woman who spent her whole life learning how to move a matchbox using her mind! Why, when we can move it by pushing it and not have to waste a whole lifetime.

The martial arts are a way of life, something that is normal, a way of self-defence in both a physical sense and also in a microscopic sense. That of warding off disease and healing of others. And if we leave out any part of the martial arts training, then we lose the whole. If we practice the martial arts purely for the sake of the martial arts and self defence, then we are not doing the martial arts! If we do the martial arts purely for the healing side, then we are not doing the martial arts. This is like having yin with out yang and that is impossible.

The highest levels of any great martial system is the healing area, but we learn this area through the self defence area as we use the same energy for self defence as we do for healing. I do not mean the very basic and often useless, kick/punch type of martial arts, but rather the internal Qi or energy orientated martial arts. Learning an internal martial art is a relatively easier way to enter into the higher levels of both self healing and healing of others using energy.


Erle Montaigue on Home Schooling

Teach your own. If you are able. Want to do the very best for your children? Then do NOT send them to a school, ANY school. Modern schooling is the most unnatural way of learning and does more great harm than good. What a child gets from having to go to a school to learn from strangers is how to read and write, but their brains are warped with only one side of the brain being developed, the logical side. The artistic and equally important area of the brain, (the other side) is completely left behind and those children who are naturally gifted (most children), before attending school usually lose that artistic ability by the age of around 10!

Children teach themselves, this is the natural way of growing, and it's what children do best. It is what children HAVE to do; it is built into their computer. So it is not that difficult to teach your own at home. You do not have to be a Government trained teacher, as you are a parent! Parents are the natural teachers of their children, but sadly, we have given this job to others, strangers. And so we have lost the ability and confidence to teach our own naturally. But you can get it back by looking around and finding others of a like mind, there are many groups throughout the world now home-schooling their children and we have support in great numbers.

The very instant you force a child to do something, as any parent knows, he or she will rebel. As soon as ‘learning’ becomes a chore, something different that has to be done at a certain time of the day, a special suit to wear, having to put up with peer pressure. Rather than what is normal, the child taking its reference for life from its parents, it will now take it from those older children at school. The parents become something to be disobeyed. This is why the world is in such chaos; the family group is dying. And for the most part, it all begins the very day that we as parents, give our little five or six year old (they are still babies), to a total stranger to teach. Think of the trauma that that tiny brain has to handle, being torn apart from its natural parents, those who for its whole life nurtured, taught and loved. All of a sudden on a certain day, a totally unnatural time in itself, we give the responsibility of rearing our children to complete strangers!

It is amazing how children learn when left to their own devices. Children MUST learn, there is no possible way that a child will NOT learn. My three children (I have two others from a previous very young marriage) have never even been inside of a school. They are brilliantly talented in the arts and their more logical subjects such as math, English and reading and writing, science, geography etc, is also brilliant, simply because they WANT TO KNOW! Their learning is nothing special; it is simply a part of what we do every day.


Erle Montaigue on Modern Taijiquan

Taijiquan (T’ai Chi) was not called the "supreme ultimate boxing" for nothing. About 300 years ago and up until the beginning of the 20th century, Taijiquan was thought of as the most deadly fighting art ever invented. From about the mid 1920’s Taijiquan began to lose its effectiveness as a fighting art, with most people taking it up for its great healing benefits. At first, this was a very gradual change as only small pockets of families in China practiced Taiji. Most of these families, such as the Yang family, only ever taught their own personal disciples and direct family members with only a small number of teachers ever taking on ‘outside students’. So the real fighting systems remained in tact because of an unwillingness to give their ‘family jewels’ to people outside of the family. You must remember that back then, fighting systems were considered to be a natural part of life and most families practiced some form of martial art. The whole country in fact is steeped in the martial arts, it being inherent in every facet of the Chinese culture from their music to their opera, to their cultural tales.

Gradually, however Taijiquan began to gain popularity outside of these family groups and eventually made its way to the West where we did a right job of completely ruining it! There is a bittersweet irony about this migration to the West. We would never have gained this great martial/healing art if certain individuals had not brought it to us. But the western mind was just not ready for the effort that needs to be put into learning such an art. So we changed it to a simpler form of ‘exercise’, the ‘new age’ movement had begun and Taijiquan was just the ticket that fitted nicely into the pockets of those who would be modern profits and mystics.

Taijiquan had already been changed dramatically by Yang Cheng-fu so that all in China could learn this great healing art without losing any of the martial essence. But when it finally arrived in the West, we took great pains to modify this once great art into something that was easy and quick to learn, and something that the mystics could go ‘oh wow’ over! Finally, the martial aspects of Taijiquan were lost, but not forever.

Nowadays, there is a resurgence of interest in the martial side of Taijiquan, but sadly, it had almost died and was very difficult to revive again, as not many even knew that this art was a martial art. The irony is that people are now discovering that even the great healing benefits and spiritual side of Taijiquan can never be found if it is not done as it was originally intended, as a once great fighting art.

Still, thousands more people practice this art for the sake of it and not for its original meaning, that of a way of life! They put on their fancy little Chinese looking suits with a badge on their coat, suits that even in China people no longer wear. They go into the parks in groups and all do their Taiji form in unison in the park each morning. This is purely a social gathering and not a way of life. Modern Taijiquan is an art that allows people to have something different to talk about at parties. You will see them trying desperately to move in a certain way so that someone will finally ask them what they are doing. Then their whole reason for being, ‘I practice Taijiquan’.

Taijiquan was once simply something that was done. It was nothing special, the whole family practiced Taijiquan as a part of their lives. Nowadays it has become some trendy form of conversation with the one who can sprout the most mystical words and quote from the most texts, old Chinese sayings, who is seen as being the most knowledgeable. But they aren’t!