Erle and controversy

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by nzric, Sep 22, 2003.

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  1. nzric

    nzric on lookout for bad guys

    I've been learning Erle Montaigue's "Fajing Taiji" Yang Lu Chan form for a couple of years now and I've always known there's a bit of history between Erle and the general TJQ community. I've heard comments which tend to go "well we all know he's a bit controversial, but...". I just want to know if there is anything in particular that has been controversial in the past or if it's more general.

    From my experience I can see he's a down-to-earth Aussie who has no patience for the "chi power" gurus and is open with his criticism of those who claim to move mountains with tai chi. He is also a westerner and he openly teaches everything he knows - he doesn't hold back certain 'secret' moves or teaching.

    Is it just these facts or something else? I don't want to contribute to spreading rumours about Erle, but I'm genuinely curious as to why he has a big reputation as "the controversial tai chi master".
  2. Jim

    Jim New Member

    IMO (of course it's my opinion - why else would I be saying it!) a lot has to do with;

    His teaching style - I don't like 'talking' too much during classes (his video's come across that he does),

    What he's showing - 'death touch' PP's just don't work against resisting opponents,

    That's about it from my POV. I think I'd actually get along with him pretty well in real life. He's a lot like my older brother. :D
  3. khafra

    khafra New Member

    's interesting, because I'd always got the impression that he and George Dillman had a bit of a feud going on, because he felt that Dillman's interpretation of pp's would be useless in a real fight, while his were more practical.
  4. Kat

    Kat Valued Member

    Nzric(I sure you are refering to my comments,which I make because I have usually found Earle to be well known throughout the internet world of MA)
    The Big Controversity is the naming of the form Yang Lu Chan form.Amongst other TJ people it is considered that Earles lineage is not verifiable,and while some will happily say his YLC form is a type(of Yang Style) mostly found practised in Taiwan most will question that it is not the actual form that Yang Lu Chan practised.The dominate Yang family in china aslo does not regcognize this form.Genarally it is beleived that YLC got his TJ off the Chen family.His Wudan forms are also questioned as to Linneage.Commerically Earle comes under a lot of flack for his marketing and emphasis on Dim Mak tech.

    As you know personally I don't find have a problem at all,(in fact I practise YLC daily)and feel if its feels good for you and you get what you desire from the training I would'nt worry about linneage or other people thoughts on them.Through my trips to China and my involvement with language and other IMA I have found that part of understanding differences in styles is understanding there history of foundation(Linneage)The mainland Chinese place great importance on Linneage and usually apporach it from the "no one but a chinese person can trully understand TJ"

    Check out KFO forum for some full anti Earle veiws.
  5. nzric

    nzric on lookout for bad guys

    Kat - Part of my question was in reference to some of your comments, but I have heard that Erle was controversial from other sources, for some time.

    From my point of view, I like the YLC form as it has the fajing movements, which I think is important. For that reason I am interested in Chen style but I haven't followed that up because 1. I haven't found a good Chen teacher, and 2. I have a good taiji/bagua teacher already and I learn a lot from him so I don't need to switch.

    I know there is a big focus on lineage but if you look at a number of taiji teachers it is obvious that a recognised lineage has nothing to do with skill. Anyway, most of the applications of the different styles are the same, and the forms are only exercises in order to teach the body how to move, so I don't know what the issue is.

    Thanks for clearing things up for me.
  6. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    IMHO I think the controversy comes from acting like a " Know it All"
    If he doesn’t agree with a point , then it musn’t be true.
    Wouldn’t it be wiser to keep an open mind and make allowance for one’s lack of comprehension?

    In the above article , he craps on people who claim to have " Empty Power/ Empty Force" ie. the ability to project Chi out of one's body to disable an attacker.
    His evidence is that he can duplicate these “ party tricks”
    Now I'm no expert , but I won’t be so arrogant as to make blanket statements for or against , just from watching a few video clips from some questionable website.
    Who knows if there are real people who have real Empty Force skills who have nothing to prove, they do not make their skills known via websites .
    People with real power know it and don’t need to convince you or I.
    Yeah I’d a look at his own “Fajin” video clip on his website…..looks like brute strength to me compared to WingChun’s seemingly effortless One Inch Punch.
    Looks more like External Martial Arts to me.

    Someone ( a Caucasian )once remarked that he wouldn’t learn Martial Arts at an indepth level from a Westerner.
    Most Western teachers grasp the obvious but not the finer points which often are accessible only with complete immersion of the culture that developed the art.
    Few IMA Westerners like BK Frantzis, Miller , Crandall, Smith are able to sacrifice 20+years of their lives to “immerse” themselves in China.
    Speaking the language helps with understanding the untranslatable.
    Yes Eastern teachers do hold back, Western one’s tend not to.
    But Eastern teachers are highly selective of their students, Westerners, in keeping with their “open” attitude will teach just about anyone…which has its good and bad sides. A wider community is reached, but the transmission of the art may degrade.
    Another belief held in China is : The more famous a teacher is , the lesser is his skill.
    Which basically means “ Good teachers are hard to find”
    Reclusive Taoist hermit-sage who lives in a cave comes to mind.
    So if a teacher ( Eastern or Western) can readily be found all over the Internet…….. hmmmm
    But the reverse is true when the “teacher” is also a Martial Artist…the more famous they are, probably does mean they are good because in the good old days…they have had killed/ defeated that many enemies to earn that fame.

    I am highly suspicious of anyone who after spending a few months or short trips to China to learn some esoteric style from some self declared Chinese master from the mainland…returns to the West and accepts the Master title.
    True masters spend a life time learning and honing their skills.
    They don’t write books and sell low quality videos of poor audio quality for $60 with cameo screen appearances by their pet dog.
    I’m often reminded by the advice given when selecting a Teacher:
    1. Check the lineage…it has to be established, clear and verifiable
    2. Understand the motivation of the teacher
    3. Does he have something to prove ?
    4. Is he more Personality than Principle ?
    5. What are his student’s attitude like ( those that stay on ) ?
    6. Has his skills been tested/ demonstratable ?

    I have lived in the East half my life I have witnessed incredible feats of power that defy logic. Empty Power is only one of them.
    Remember , we are dealing with Metaphysics, not Physics. Remember Newton’s laws of motion fail when dealing with mass that moves at speeds approaching light speed. Quantum Mechanics takes over, and explains what Newton failed to do.
  7. nzric

    nzric on lookout for bad guys

    Soggycat - that's a pretty harsh email from someone who has only been a member for a couple of days. I see that you've only made one post, in regards to this topic, and you're in Sydney. Have you had contact with any of Erle's students or been to any of his workshops to see him yourself?

    I'm not accusing you of anything, I'd just like to know why you have such a strong view. You're entitled to your own opinion but, as I said when I started this post, I didn't intend to spread any more rumours about Erle and his teaching so I think I should answer you.

    First - whatever your own view about the reality of energies or metaphysics, other people have not had the same experiences or seen the same things you have, and you should understand that a person may need more proof than someone's word about things like a master who can knock you out with a thought.

    Erle has said, many times, that if there is a 'master' who can move him with 'empty force' or 'mind power', Erle will bow down and call him master. As far as I know that offer still stands.

    Erle has the highest standards of researching his facts - just because he wasn't born into a culture or a lineage doesn't mean he shouldn't be respected for the things he has worked hard to learn. I know a lot of his students, many of whom are well-respected acupuncturists and martial artists in their own right, and they also do a lot of research on his behalf.

    Granted, Erle's videos don't come in glossy boxes, and he doesn't wear a silk costume in the videos, but he runs the business literally from his own house. You should focus on the quality of his teaching, not the professionalism of his videos or whether he lets his dog on set.

    I have to challenge one of your views though - what is all this about masses approaching the speed of light and quantum physics??! That must be a joke. Nothing you can ever conceive even comes close to the speed of light, or the distances when talking about quantum physics. As any pop scientist will tell you, your body would break down into a jelly WAY before you reached that speed. I've never heard a sonic boom from someone's punch and I don't think I'm likely to (and that's just the speed of sound!).

    It sounds like you have some personal grudge against Erle. I respect your right to criticise and have a different point of view, but from what I have heard you don't have much evidence to support your arguments. Yes, Erle has a very direct way of teaching and he is guilty of teaching anything and everything to anyone who asks, but I don't see that as a fault. I think you should complain first about the hippie, new age 'tai chi' teachers (you'll find their flyers at your local vegetarian cafe) - those are the ones who are guilty of distilling the culture.

    The reason I put up this post was to find out why he can attract such controversy (your post being an example). Erle is just another guy with another opinion - he'd tell you that himself. Everyone has the right to have an opinion, it's just that he puts his on video and the internet. It's your choice to agree or otherwise.
  8. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    I may have been here a few days, but I am familiar with Earle for alot longer.Yes I did meet some of his students, most are impressed by him, some say he's rather sloppy and not pedantic enough.
    But don't we live in a world where many think Mcdonald's taste great ?
    Strangely enough, most of the people who heap praise on Earle are Westerners. Ever wonder why?
    My strong view is a direct reaction to his strong view ( see his article on Empty Power) and anyone else like him.
    I have no prob with people wanting proof. But before they get it, they should respect and give others the benefit of the doubt and avoid accusing others of fraud. Guilty(of fraud) till proven innocent ? Double standards ?
    And why should any Empty Force Master have to prove anything to Earle?
    Who does he think he is ?
    True masters need no such bowing or endorsement because they are already superior.
    I'm not taking anything away from Earle, but he should be more respectful of other Masters if he is to expect the same respect. If he attacks others, he should expect to be attacked on valid points.
    Frankly I hate the silk costumes, they obscure movements but at $60per video, we could at least expect better quality. And I like to know why a person from outside Australia can order the same video for 50.

    Sub atomic particles are brought close to the speed of light in Particle Acclerators during Nuclear experiments. Think Super Collider project.
    Also me thinks you misunderstand what I meant. I was not comparing Metaphysics to Newton and Einsteinian Quantum Mechanics. I wasn't trying to imply that Empty Power occures when the hand is accelerated to light speed . That would be plain silly. I was trying to make the point that from Newton's time late 1500's to late 1800's, Newtonian Physics was the "be all and end all " theory to explain motion. But it failed to explain the motion and behaviour of objects that approach the speed of light. Einstein and colleagues then developed Quantum Mechanics...which suceeded where Netwon failed. Quantum Mechanics accounts for all ranges of motion from slow to Light speed. As another analogy, growing up in the 60's I witnessed the arrogance of Western medicine, that was the be all and end all of the day. Western doctors would crap on Herbalism, Accupuncture, Naturopathy , Yoga , Meditation.......why ? because they didn't stand up to rigourous Western testing standards, and there wasn't reliable "Proof" of their efficacy. They shat on visual evidence that PRC doctors were able to carry out brain surgery without anaesthesia..relying solely on accupunture to stop the pain. They claimed the filmed evidence was a fraud.Today MBF or HCF will give you a rebate for a visit to a registered Acupuncturist. The point is, dont condemn something too quicky just because you dont have the proof ( yet). Keep an open mind . You learn more that way.
    I'm not complaining about the "new age hippie TaiChi" teachers even if half of them are not as good as they say they are for the reason they dont act like they know it all, and go around knock things they dont understand. It's the presumption that he has all the evidence derived while sitting in Murwillumbah and perhaps visiting Mainland masters once in a while for a crash course.
    Have a look at his CV: ( middle of page) Chairman of this , President of that.
    He says he was tested and conferred by 4 of the Greatest Masters in China. What's wrong with this statement ? Such masters whilst they exist, dont identify themselves...and who are these 4 Greatest masters ? Where's the proof? Is there an Official Document with a seal ?
    It is possible to state an opinion without denigrating others. Once that starts, expect karma to kick in.
  9. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    For more constructive commentary about Empty Power phenomena, please refer to the book by:
    BK Frantzis: The Power of Internal Martial Arts Page 19, his encounter with 80 yo Tai Chi/ Pakua master Wang Shu Jin.

    U may be aware that Frantzis is an American who learnt Mandarin and spent 20+ years in China learning Internal Martial Arts before returning to USA . His certificates are on display.
    To see his Fajing demo try:

    U need to have QuickTime sofyware to view this.
  10. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    You are right, Nzric, I did not provide ANY evidence to support my arguments. Because I've nothing to prove to you or anyone who doubt's Empty Power. I merely attempted to challenge Earle's arrogance with logic and reasoning.
    I'm merely pointing the way to look at the possibility of Empty Power.
    Here's another tip:
    Doa Google search for " Empty Force " or Yiquan or Yichuan.
    Dont foget to include the " " quotation marks makes difference.
    You's find articles on both sides of the argument.
  11. David

    David Mostly AFK, these days

    I don't remember any reference to empty force in that book! Will check p19 later...

    I have a book on training Empty Force which paradoxically succeeded in convincing me that no such thing exists. It is said that empty force only works after 'attacker' and 'victim' have built up a relationship. This implies some kind of mindgame.

    Anyway, I look forward to reading BKF later.


    PS AUD60 = UKP20 which is not expensive. In fact, I've never seen a tape cheaper.
  12. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    U r right. BK FRantzis never did use the label " Empty Force" but his description of what went on when that Taichi/Bagua master "attacked" him ie. transmitted Qi, during a training combat session leaves no doubt that that is indeed Empty Force. Labels can be misleading.
    Like I said before, I'm not here to convince anyone for or against. I'm just saying , keep an open mind investigate the subject yourself and dont rely on "authorities like Earle " to tell you if it's real or not.
    Therefore I'm deliberately holding back any (internet & books) evidence I have encountered. People who are serious about this subject, not just a curious onlooker will know what to do.

    If I order a typical Martial Art training video from USA or China , it cost AUD$50
    From UK , $60. Why should a locally delivered video ( from Earle) also cost me AUD$60, considering he sells it to an American at 50 ?
    If I buy the same video from a China town book shop in Sydney , it'll cost me no more than AUD$15...and yes I have many of those.
  13. nzric

    nzric on lookout for bad guys

    If you believe in empty force and it helps you with your life, that's fine - but some people need more proof. Maybe it's being stubborn. Yes, hypnotism and acupuncture weren't given the credit they deserved in the beginning, but then again, what about the Cottingley Fairies, phrenology, aura photographs and Nessie? If something doesn't correspond to any known laws of physics, and the so-called masters don't accept constructive criticism or an offer to test the abilities under controlled (or any) circumstances, it's right to call them frauds. Look up James Randi and/or

    The placebo effect can cure many illnesses and self-hypnosis is real and effective (see my post on 'how to feel chi'). You can still gain the benefits of these practices without believing the mysticism. That kind of belief is dangerous - right now there are child soldiers in Africa and the Phillipines who have been brainwashed into thinking that some kind of witchcraft makes them bulletproof (see for just one story), or what about parents who refuse to take their child to a doctor in the belief that faith in God alone will cure them? It's ok to believe in these things in your own life and in a ma forum, but these beliefs are dangerous and they can, and do ruin lives. For that reason, people have a duty to be sceptical and to denounce the frauds.

    As I said, anyone has a right to an opinion. Erle has said if someone can convince him that these things exist, he'll call them master, and I have no doubt that if Erle was convinced, he'd change his writing and promote the ideas of empty force as much as he promotes his other views (so why hasn't anyone taken him up on the offer?). Then again, he's just another guy - of course I look to other sources and look at other points of view, but I'm not convinced of the supernatural. Maybe I'm just stubborn.

    It's these teachers who really damage the art. Why is it that you can be an expert in any skill - any sports or any martial art, and if you have something to offer you are respected for your ideas, but if you want to be called a master you have to have all that plus some sort of magical power? The internal arts are amazing skills - why bring in levitation or force fields or invisible punches? the old masters were respected as fighters who trained hard to get the skills they developed. When Yang Lu Chan brought the art from the Chen village and made it popular, he was named 'Invincible' because he won his fights through martial skill. When you say things like 'no westerner can ever understand the internal arts' or speak about 'empty force', it continues the give tai chi the stigma that it has had for years.

    What historical art, skill or knowledge do westerners have that an Asian couldn't learn through practice and dedication? Nothing. The principles of the internal arts are rooted in chinese culture and history, but they are predominantly martial arts. They are meant for fighting and defending yourself, and once you are taught the methods (that the old masters discovered), you develop them through rigorous training of your own mind and body. It's strange that you think you can gain this knowledge if you're an old Taoist hermit at the top of a mountain, but not if you're out in a farm in Murwillumbah.

    The bottom line is "does it work?" Erle emphasises qigong, chi disruption, acupressure and a host of other things that are contrary to western thinking, he just doesn't believe you can throw a student through a sheet of plywood by concentrating on him for ten minutes. From what I have seen, Erle teaches a very effective internal martial art with clear applications in the real world. As a martial arts teacher, he doesn't claim to be anything else.
  14. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    Some people will “scientifically” analyse all photo evidence and still dispute that Man never landed on the moon.
    Fairies, Nessie…well who know’s if it’s there ? But I’m not knocking or challenging anyone’s believe.
    Whilst I like to see proof, I avoid demanding that they prove it to me.
    If I don’t believe in it, I go about my way growing in the things I believe.

    I agree about your point on placebo effect. The Chinese Boxer Rebellion of 1900-1 started when Martial Artist were convinced that their Kung Fu could make them impervious to Colonial invader bullets. Cheng Ting Hua died after killing 10 Germans with his sword.
    But I allow myself the possibility that Science often ( erroneously) rejects what it cant understand.
    Didn’they used to burn people for insisting the world was not flat.
    Same for “ witch craft “

    U keep saying “Earle has said if someone can convince him….”
    Therein lies the real issue.
    Empty Force Master have nothing to sell. No 4 day courses, videos or books or a fan club.
    They are not persuading you to give them any money .
    It is arrogant of Earle to insist that he be convinced before he withdraws his condemnation.
    An Eastern skeptic’s view would be rather different.
    He’d be less arrogant and perhaps say “ who knows, it may be possible, I like to see more evidence…but he wouldn’t damn anyone else a fraud all over the internet “

    No I don’t think you are stubborn.
    You’re just trying to be a careful , rational skeptic but view Eastern matters thru “Western glasses”
    Because IMA and associated powers were discovered and refined in the East, it would be more conducive for learning if one views thru “ Eastern Glasses”
    You draw a line between the physical and the non-physical world .
    Therein lies the another Critical issue that hinders Westerners’ comprehension of Eastern insructablity.

    Maybe u r not aware that Taoists ( who developed the most of the IMAs) do not separate the physical from metaphysical and spiritual realms?
    Therefore Physical Punching, Levitation and “ Invisible Punches”, Dim Mak, Accupuncture , Herbalism, Psychic Phenomena belong to the same skill set.
    This is where it is most evident that a Westerner will have immense difficulty grasping the finer aspects of IMA.
    Conflict of Philosophies and Perception methods.
    Linear versus Circular thinking.
    Western science rejects what it cant see, measure, explain or replicate.
    Taoist alchemists invented Gunpowder 1000 years ago when most Europeans were still living in nomadic tribes.
    ( Gunpowder was originally consider Black Magic by all knowing Westerners)
    Acupuncture has 4000 year roots, all developed without the dissection of Western Science.
    If Western scientific methods were used to research and developed Accupuncture , the art would never have gone very far.
    Yet even today, Acupuncture works despite a lack of Western scientific explanations
    Recently, archaeologists discovered 2000yo Chinese mummies drenched in mysterious preserving fluid , the bodies were not decayed to the same extent as Egyptian ones.
    What secret arts have been developed and lost over time that even the science of today cannot replicate ?
    Does it mean it’s a fraud ?

    Ever wonder why it's call martial ARTS not martial SCIENCE ?
    Many people try to learn it as a science and get frustrated when things aren’t shown according to scientific principles ( Cause- Effect- Evidence - Replicatable Proof)
    That's why many Westerners and some Easterners too, will NEVER truly understand IMA. They need to see it thru Eastern eyes before they can proceed to a higher level. For this reason some believe they should go to the source ( or as close as possible) and any learning from a Western teacher will be limited, unless he takes the trouble to 1. learn Chinese ( to grasp untranslatable words) 2. live in the midst of the culture for MANY years 3. think like a Chinese/ Japanese / Indian etc
    And that's one reason why Eastern teachers HOLD BACK from explaining to Westerners .... believing it's futile to explain color to a blind man ( or someone who insists his eyes aren't closed when they really are) Yes, they do hold back for other reasons, like in case the student attacked the teacher, the teacher will defeat the student with the ‘held back” technique.
    Another point is, you seem to believe that just because a Master's out there , every Tom **** or Mary has the God given right to learn from him and demand proof if it "works" . Whilst that is the basis of an egalitarian and democratic Western society, that wasn't the atmosphere IMA developed in. In China, often one had to be a worthy student and toiled to earn the right to be accepted by a Master. It was more a case of the student convincing the teacher that he is genuine in learning, not the teacher trying to convince the student . Again a big East-West divide. The Martial Arts is not for everyone. Just because one fancies oneself to be a Martial Artist . True Masters had nothing to sell. They had no need to convince that they are real. The only time when they do demonstrate their powers is when they are challenged or threatened…and the result is usually injury or death for one party.

    Let me make another controversial point. Ever since Martial Arts was made available to the West, the Art has degraded due to this Weekend student, video , 4 day-summer camp, anyone can learn it - McDonalds Kung Fu mentality . IN the East, the Art is learnt over a life time. Bruce Lee had 7 years of DAILY formal training before he ventured out. Even then he wasn’t an elite fighter…despite what the Public thinks ( Thanks to movies)
    I have met several IMA teachers ( Eastern and Western) and they seem to teach a very External form of Pakua / Xing Yi or TaiJi ( Wushu comes to mind). Therein lies the irony. And they will ridicule me if I ask them about applying Chi in fighting. But they are more than happy to discus Chi in the context of Health and Fitness.
    But I have also met Masters who emphasis Chi.
    In the tradition of doing my bit to protect the transmission of the Art from dilution and degradation, I will not disclose these teachers so readily. They are not hungry for students, they don’t run franchised schools, write books or sell videos. They charge minimal fees, just to make ends meet, they are hardly commercial like Earle or Jim Fung. But if people are serious and worthy student they will hunt them down. When the Student is Ready , the Teacher will appear.
    Sounds selfish ? Yeah, but who said Martial Arts is a democracy .

    If you do a little more research on Yang Lu Chan, u might be pleasantly surprised that there are accounts of him using Empty Force….like many other IMAs of that time. Dong Hai Chuan as well. But again, who knows …a lot is shrouded in time and masked by legend.
  15. RobP

    RobP Valued Member

    I suggest soggycat gives up on bad western science and writes to us on something other than his computer powered by electricity from his comfortable modern home in suburban Sydney.

    His views seem to completely ignore the fact that the arts had degenerated in the east long before they got to the west, that China isn't full of stereotypical hermit masters in caves , that the west has its own mystical, religous, martial and occult traditions (as well as its share of frauds and mysterious "hidden teachers").

    Saying "I know something you don't but I'm not going to show it to you" is just so typical of the CIMA world. If you really didn't want us to know about it, you wouldn't be posting.
  16. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    Perhaps u might like to read the origins of this thread before commenting on something you obviously have glossed over before you make thinly veiled sarcatic remarks . It serves no objective purpose nor does it contribute useful information to the debate.
    To say that the MAs may have started to decay long before it began is spread to the West may be true, but coming from someone who practises Russian SYSTEMA and no first hand experience at Oriental MartialArts is as credible as an Obese person offering slimming tips. Anyone can be an armchair critic.

    My point was not to emphasise "I've something but I wont show you." It was ( if you bothered to read from the start) to address Earle Earle who had claimed by implication that he has the last word on Empty Power, by stipulating that he's wrong because I've got evidence that I refuse to show to just anyone.
  17. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    Oooops,my apologies ...if RobP =Rob Poynton then you are experienced with IMA. Can you help me with a few questions ?
    In which way is Systema more effective than IMA ?
    Does Systema encourage Qi cultivation?
    Am I correct to assume that all of your TaiChi teachers ( Caucasian and Chinese) were based in UK ?
    Did you spend a few years learning from masters in China?
    Did u manage to learn any Chinese?
    Was your dissatisfaction in CIMA which lead you to switch to Systema, due to the fact you were did not grasp the highest aspects of IMA or were your Chinese Masters "holding back" the innermost secrets from Westerners ?
    Also I'm curious as to why there's an massive interest in IMA in Russia , but not indigenous Systema ? (I chat on ICQ with Russian IMAs regularly.)
    Is Systema like Israeli Krav Maga , but the Israelis dont refer to it as a Martial Art, just a fighting technique.
    Is it true that Systema, which has a 60year history more effective than other Chinese/Thai/Japanese/Korean Arts that were developed and refined over hundreds of years? Is any aspect of Systema inspired by or borrowed from the more traditional arts ?
  18. RobP

    RobP Valued Member

    To address your last questions first:

    Systema is more effective than CIMA all round, IMHO. More efficient training methodology, similar principles but more practical than theory based, field tested, basically the top guys can do all that the top CIMA guys can do and more (except nice forms!)

    Systema has "energy" work though not based on TCM. Revolves around breathing, diet, dousing, prayer and other practices.

    No, I had teachers from China, the USA, Malaysia.

    Didn't train in China

    Yes, a little

    My dissatisfaction was for a number of reasons. Some teachers may have been "holding back" but I would question what they really have to hold back. As I mentioned, I've seen the equivalent in the System without any holding back. My feeling is for the most part CIMA have a different view of reality than the Russian guys. Different experiences, cultural background, etc.

    Systema is a generic term, a bit like kung fu. It's still not all that widely known in Russia (it wasn't that long ago it was reserved for military). Interest in foreign cultures and their arts is not unusual in east or west, sometimes the grass seems greener.

    The CIMA work very well on promising something profound and mysterious. That was very strong here in the UK a few years back, when almost everything was explained with "chi power" and stories of incredible feats grew in the telling. Sad to say much of it has, IME, been revealed as hollow. In Russia I guess exposure to CIMA is new, so they are still in the "honeymoon" period.

    Systema is different in approach from KM

    Aspects of Systema are based on Russian traditions. There are some clips on my site of Russian boxing, staff work, etc. This weekend in London Mikhail Ryabko demo'd work with the sabre. It also has strong roots in the church.

    I've not seen any evidence of training methods from the oriental trad arts though I'm sure influence has gone back and forward in the past. According to some sources aikido has a lot to thank the Russians for, but I guess it's all speculation.

    Hope that answers your questions!

    cheers :)

  19. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    Then would it be correct to say the CIMA teaching available in UK was already waterdown ?
    No wonder you were dissatisfied.
    No wonder 60year old SYSTEMA is more effective than 800 year old HsingI, 700year old TaiChi and 150year old Pakua.

    Morehei Ueshiba who derived Aikido from JuJutsu , spent time in China/Mongolia, learnt some Pakua and upon returning to Japan in 1940's introduced Ki into Aikido , thereby "softening" Aikido into an Internal Art.
    Is it any surprise it is the only Japanese IMA?
    Aikido and Russian influence ?

    I'm quite amused by your reference to PRAYER and CHURCH.
    Isn't this even more intangible & unprovable than Chi and Empty Power ? What would Earle have to say about this ?
    And wont it go down the same path as Chi as the "flavourof the month" ?
    I agree there is a preponderance of claims about Chi feats even now , it just makes it harder to separate the genuine from fraud. It is the main reason I refrain from offering specific evidence of what I said about Empty power. I would be lumped together with all the fraudsters. Why put up with it when I have nothing to prove ? And pray tell , why should I share this elite Killing Art with you or any Tom , D.ic.k or Mary who may use it against me or on innocent people ? God forbid if the CIA or KGB equivalent got their hands on it. I'm not saying I have Empty Power, but in the small class I attend ( not found on the Net,so u neednt bother looking) people have been thrown back several yards by a touch or a stare. I've personally been "paralysed" by a touch . And yes, some of these things are done by senior students, of which I'm not one(yet) . Yes, I'm quite familiar with "Subconscious Compliance" And yes I have degrees in Physics.

    A wise teacher once advised me:
    "There is no Superior Martial Art
    .... Only superior Martial Artists. "
    Granted that some styles are easier to learn , are more efficient and usable at 60.

    In 1930 Sun Lutang ( Hsing I/Bagua / Sun style TaiChi founder ) was surprised by 6 fit & young Karate experts sent by the Japanese government to assasinate him in Shanghai. He managed to defend himself, although he sustained such serious injuries he died 2 years later. He was 69 .

    In 1900, Cheng Ting Hua ( Bagua) killed 10 armed German soldiers before falling to a bullet in the Boxer Rebellion uprising. He was 52.

    Is a SYSTEMA practitioner capable of that at those ages ?
  20. RobP

    RobP Valued Member

    I don't see what the age of an art - particularly when it's true age is open to speculation - has to do with anything much. Steam engines are over 100 years old, but would you fit one in your car?

    The Chinese mainland stuff I have been exposed to is the same as the UK - some is watered down, some isn't. In fact generally I would say the mainland stuff is more watered down, given political and cultural events there over the last 50 years. Still, maybe there are hidden hermits capable of all sorts - after all, Erle found one...

    The akikdo - pakua connection is as disputed as the aikido - systema connection. I heard Uyeshiba was also in Russia.

    Why should I be worried about what anyone, has to say about church? I don't know about flavour of the month - it seems to have been moderately popular for the last 2000 years.

    Elite killing art? How many people have you killed? Personally I prefer an art that teaches me how to live rather than kill.

    As for age - Vladimir is a few years older than me, Kadochnikov is in his 70's and very effective. So the answer is yes.

    I've seen people paralysed by a touch a couple of times - once from Yap Cheng Hai, a teacher from Malaysia, other times with Mikhail. I've seen people manipulated without contact plenty of times - all of it psychological, IME, though it wasn't always explained as such.

    The difference is I can point to the people who are doing it and say "go and see them". They are people with real life experiences who are willing to share their knowledge for the benefit of others.

    Your stories are nice, but they are no more amazing than stories from people who have been in combat situations. Humans have amazing potential in survival situations.

    Of course an art only exists through the people who train it. But it comes down to methods, same as anything else. I could teach you to swim in 5 years by starting you off "swimming on dry land", or in less time by giving you a float and putting you in the water, or even less time by just throwing you in. Which do you think would be commercially most popular?

    Do you not think the Soviets have not thoroughly investigated all aspects of combat, particularly under Stalin for his own bodyguards?
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