Thursday, July 18, 2013

ComTech Visit


I made the journey up to Milton-Freewater, Oregon (hop, skip and jump from Walla Walla, Washington) to spend a couple days training with Master At Arms James A. Keating.

I was introduced to ComTech methods/concepts in the late 90's, via a friend in Australia (thanks, Pete).
Basically, he had done a Riddle of Steel and brought many of the training ideas back with him. This helped me to learn more of the idea of concepts vs. techniques, and brought many of my kung fu forms and training to a viable, 'live' status.

Over the years, I have corresponded with Mr. Keating, on training (knife, empty hands) and some general life philosophies. I have followed his web site (it is on my daily checks) and avidly studied his video offerings.

Finally, this year my schedule smoothed out a bit, and I fit in two days training (actually, two days, plus an evening prior with his regular scheduled class). Well worth it, wish I had done it years ago.

I am used to traveling, arranging my own transportation, lodging, meals, etc. When Mr. Keating offered to pick me up, tell me the places to go, etc., I was a bit amused. Apparently, many people are not so independent. :-)

Our training ranged far and wide - from basic knife concepts (see his latest offerings on 'Knife Coach' for an idea of where we started), to some empty handed kung fu investigations, to fencing and some energy concepts. Not a bit was steeped in the spiritual 'woo-woo' that sometimes come into play - strictly practical, straight forward explanation/applications.

This helped bring a lot of the disparate training systems I have done (traditional Chinese Kung Fu, SCARS/TFT, MMA) and helped me merge them together better. I feel I have so much to keep working on, but now have had a bit of help reading the map ahead. And as I age, the emphasis seems to be to work more on the yielding and softer side of the arts, vice relying on strength. (As I tell my Tai Chi partners - I am relaxed, what are you talking about?)

At no time was I belittled as to having no skill, or treated as anything but a professional. And treated as a friend. His students I met (Andy, Kevin, Jay - forgive me if I mess up names) were all of the same caliber - no egos were allowed in the training hall, just a desire to learn and practice.

I highly recommend everyone check out his websites, video offerings (some on his youtube channel) and prepare for a bit of mind expanding (in a good way). And get your butt up off the couch, seek out ComTech instruction to help prepare you for life.

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