Author: Michael Babin
IN THE LAST five years of teaching a Yang style of Tai Chi, I have come to realise just how important it is to attend an occasional workshop given by someone whose understanding of the art is more mature than my own.
Recently, after several years of correspondence, I and my students had the opportunity to train with Erie Montaigue when he agreed to add Ottawa, Canada, to his Spring 199] tour of schools in England and the United States.
For those who have never trained with, heard of, read the articles or studied the videos of this man, Erie has been practising Tai Chi Chuan since 1968, and trained with Master Wong Eog, Master Chu King Hung and Grandmaster Chang Yiu-Chun. He was certified as a Master in ] 985, on the Chinese mainland; is the Chairman of the World Taiji Boxing Association and publisher/editor of the quarterly magazine, Tai Chi Combat & Healing.
No matter what their level of Tai Chi martial skill or experience, few are so well-balanced in their development that they couldn’t benefit from the opportunity to learn from and compare approaches with someone of his expertise and experience.
Beginners get the opportunity to “sample the wares” of a master practitioner, so as to help them decide what directions they want their training to take. More advanced students get to experience approaches to the art that may be very different from those to which they are accustomed. And advanced practitioners have the opportunity to discuss and refine their theoretical and tactical skills.
No matter what your style or level of accomplishment, a few hours/days applying yourself with more experienced instructors can bring results that would take months or years (or possibly never come) if you were working on your own, or solely with the instructor of your own style.
Perhaps of greater importance, if you are instructing Tai Chi, you do your own students a great disservice if you fail to get those workshop insights that might help you to help them develop. In addition, your rigid example may make them feel …