Company: MTG Video
Tape Name: Yang Lu Chan Old Yang Style Form
Tape Cost: $50, discounts on larger orders
Length of Tape/Time: 2 hrs 8 min
Number of Moves/Techniques: one complete Tai Chi form
Return Policy: defective merchandise will be replaced
Experiences in dealing with this company: Fantastic
The Instructor: Erle Montaigue
Company's Address: P.O. Box 792, Murwillumbah, NSW, 2484, Australia
Company's Phone Number: +441550740136
Web Page:

Primary Grading Criteria:

1. Production/Tape Quality: 8
2. Instructors demonstrated skill level: 10
3. Comprehension Score/Immediate Understanding: 9
4. Degree to which this will make someone a better Martial Artist: 9
5. Score on delivery vs. hype: 10
6. Degree to which we'd recommend this product: 10
7. Wasted Time (The higher the number, the less "fluff"/repetition): 10
8. Playback Score/Watching it over-and-over again: 10
9. Would I purchase more of this company's products: 10
10. Overall grade based on cost vs. value: 10

Grand Total: 96 %

1. 80%-100% = 96%
2. Poor, Fair, Good, Excellent = Excellent
3. 0-5 stars = 4 stars

Secondary Grading Criteria:

1. Beginners benefit: Fair
2. Intermediate benefit: Excellent
3. Advanced benefit: Excellent
4. Time to benefit: Prior knowledge of slow Tai Chi form highly recommended, otherwise normal parameters apply, i.e. if you practice a lot, you get to be a lot better
5. The need to buy additional tapes to understand this one: None

Written Summary:

As stated before, we at MAVR have been getting quite a few requests to do reviews of videos on the Chinese internal arts. Some of these requests have specifically been for certain individuals and one of the more often requested ones has been Erle Montaigue of Australia. Coincidentally, Erle Montaigue was also one of the first two internal arts teachers to submit videos to us for reviewing purposes.

Erle Montaigue has been one of the of the most important and often most controversial teachers in the internal arts over the last twenty years. I remember having lunch with a Tai Chi instructor in London's Chinatown in 1990 and being told not to go to Erle's seminar in Manchester the following week, since his way of doing Tai Chi would give me all kinds of chi (internal energy ) sicknesses. Needless to say I went anyway and have never felt better.

Erle ( he dislikes being referred to as Mr. Montaigue or other even fancier titles) has practised and researched the Chinese internal arts like few others. Being somewhat outspoken and also not holding any knowledge back, the number of enemies he has made could easily fill the average football stadium. On the topic of objectivity in video reviewing, I have already commented extensively in my Oleg Taktarov reviews, suffice it to say that I do not believe that it is possible to be completely objective, nor do I even believe it to be very commendable. A review is not a mere table of contents, it is that PLUS the reviewer's informed opinion about what he has watched.

I therefore do not feel in the slightest that my personal background with Erle - whom I consider my friend- disqualifies me from reviewing his videos. I have over thirty of his videos in my collection, having first started corresponding with him in 1985 or 86 and do not by any means agree with everything he does or teaches. Since I have been doing the Chinese internal arts since 1979 or 1980 and am still practising and researching them and since I have a strong self defence/combat bias, it would seem only natural that I have come into contact with a man who was trying to tell people that the internal arts could be useful in combat terms way back when most of the practitioners were spaced out hippies trying to get in touch with the universe, alien spaceships or the tooth fairy .

This, the second video he produced, has Erle teaching the Old Yang Style form, which is very different from the more common version of the Yang Cheng Fu form. At the time of production (1985) this form was unknown and there were those that accused Erle of making it up himself. Recent publications on the Chen Pan Ling form ( another student of Yang Shao Hou) however show a form very similar to Erle's. Then again, I remember sending him some photocopies of a heavily illustrated book I found in Taiwan in the early eighties showing a very similar form.

One of the most obvious and important questions to be asked regarding such a form- teaching video is whether it is actually possible to teach yourself from a video. Equally obviously, it depends first and foremost on your own background, the complexity of the form being learnt and how good a teacher the man on the tape is. For myself I would have to say that I believe it to be possible for the simple reason that I did it ! ( Remember, you saw it first at MAVR: A reviewer who actually taught himself completely off one of the tapes he reviewed , what will we think of next !?) Erle cautions that one should already have learnt a slow Tai Chi form, before attempting to learn the fast form. In my case I had done four or five years of the Yang Cheng Fu form, was busy learning some of the basic Lo Ho Pa Fa gung ( power production exercises) and wanted a form with a little bit more "bang for your buck" and this fit the bill quite nicely. The only negative comment being that I nearly wore out the rewind button on my video machine.

The first ten minutes or so of the tape cover some basic "standing post" chi gung. Erle then goes straight into teaching the form. No applications are shown, these can be found on later tapes ,aside from which at just over two hours ,the tape is long enough as it is . There is a great amount of detail given ,"notice how the wrists turn in slightly", "sort of squeeze in with your elbows" and I found that I had no real difficulties following the instructions; although it's been fourteen years, I remember clearly knocking over various bits of furniture in my living room.

Interestingly enough, my copy of the video, although fourteen years old, still plays perfectly, something I have not found to be true in every instance when it comes to watching tapes that are more than ten years old.

If you cannot begin to imagine what the form would look like , try to think of a form that is somewhere in between the Chen style first form and the generally practiced Yang Cheng Fu style form. Some slow Yang movements, then some typically explosive Chen style type movements.

So yes, I would recommend this tape to anyone wanting to learn this form, IF they have already learnt a slow form to a fair degree of competency. This would not be the best form for an absolute beginner to start off with.


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