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A Conversation with Master Bladesman, James Keating by Mark Hatmaker

For those not in the know…
James Albert Keating: Master at Arms - Astonishingly good with all small weapons. A graduate of the ESI Bodyguard academy. A knife designer of note. A writer of poem, prose and storied tale. Four books to his name so far. Currently residing on a large Arabian horse ranch in the mountains of Oregon. Keating is the owner and operator of the Comtech Training Studio known worldwide as home to a vast array of fighters, fencers and fast guns. Keating has operated the training hall since 1972 when he first began teaching publicly. James Keating has trained in various combative systems since age 10. Just shy of being sixty years of hard work in the martial arts and tactical fields. His 2018 season of training seminars looks as strong as one of his hand made Bowie knives. His beliefs are as follows: "We advance together into the unknown future with the strength of our abilities sustaining us through thick and thin. Skill banishes fear. Skill is the secret, otherw…
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"Training Scars," Task-Saturation & Comanche "Becoming a Stranger" by Mark Hatmaker

Let’s start with a couple of definitions.

Firstly, “training scars” are not the casual war wounds incurred in the day-to-day bumps and bruises of combat sports training and street-operative preparation. Those bumps, bruises, scrapes, abrasions, busted noses, lost teeth, et cetera are collateral damage, accidents, part and parcel of the fun.

Training Scars refers not to a physical phenomenon that you can point to for bragging rights in your own version of the USS Indianapolis scene in Jaws, but to a cognitive quirk of the human mind.

Training scars, aka path-dependence, refers to bad habits in training [for our purposes combat training] that will carry-over from training to real-world application much to our detriment.

Training scars does not specifically refer to bad habits in the bad-form sense of the actual training of your chosen combat endeavor. That is, you “swimming your jab” [leaving an open line as you fire or retract the jab], “Sweeping out of plumb” [paying no attention to eye-…

Indigenous Water Survival by Mark Hatmaker

Human beings have an intimate relationship with H2O.
65% of our bodyweight is water.
The salinity of human blood is remarkably similar to the salinity of the ocean.
The human animal possesses the Mammalian Dive Reflex which can be triggered by merely plunging your face into a sink of chilly water. Once the face is submerged, signals travel along the trigeminal and vagus nerves to the central nervous system spawning a lowering of the metabolic rate. The pulse slows and blood rushes to where it may be needed most-the heart and brain.
The mammalian dive reflex is responsible for our ability to hold our breath and swim readily in our infant stage.
We flock to beaches, rivers, lakes, pools, recreational waters of all kinds to relax, refresh, and to, well, recreate.
The vast majority of human societies sprang up along shorelines, in fact, a quick look at the globe shows that even with the ability to open a tap and get water practically anywhere you live, the vast majority of humanity still clus…

Quantifying Grace Under Pressure by Mark Hatmaker

[This offering is an excerpt from the No Second Chance Book of Drills available only to RAW Subscribers.]


Mark Hatmaker

HOMEWORK PROTOCOL: Upon the completion of each written-assignment, simply email it back. Drills requiring video evaluation can be sent via Private YouTube Channel link. We will provide an evaluation (and follow-up assignment if need be) before proceeding to the next assignment.

“FIRE DRILLS” There is a Special Ops axiom that we need to keep in mind at all times throughout our training: “Never do anything for the first time in combat.” In other words, no passive consumption of the material; everything (everything) must be drilled, drilled, drilled.

It is with the above mantra in mind that we approach all the drills and exercises in this material.

Quantifying “Grace Under Pressure” Stage 1

As good self-defense practitioners, as effective human beings, and as good animals effective coping strategie…

Training with Intent, An Apache Lesson by Mark Hatmaker

I wager the vast majority of those who take the time to read an essay with the title “Training with Intent” are involved in some physical training of their own. You may be a combat sports enthusiast, a street-combative operator, or simply trying to get in front of the waistline spread that comes easier with the years.

I also wager that those of us who do train put the vast majority of our thought/intent into the raw data of training. That is, “I will lift such and such weight this number of reps, then I will run this far, then I will bang the bag for this designated time, and follow that up with a mat-roll that emphasizes this or that pre-selected technique.

This raw data approach to intent engages our Western-minded penchant for the quantifiable. Numbers are easy hooks to benchmark progress or to place numerical goals on the horizon. Numbers let us know how long we did something or how fast we were. They allow us to graph where we are, where we were, where we’d like to be, and they g…

Personal Security Theater by Mark Hatmaker

The Transportation Security Administration [TSA], designated cops in schools [aka School Resource Officers or SROs], gun-free zones, random bag checks on subways, and other like-minded safety initiatives have been called security theater by more than a few wise minds.

Computer security maven Bruce Schneier is credited with coining the term security theater. Mr. Schneier is author of the prescient and illuminating book Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World.

He offers that the TSA does little to nothing to “keep us safe” and this large outlay of expenditure and labor is there to act as nothing more than a pacifier or Linus’ security blanket for a cowed populace.

Mr. Schneir is not alone in this assessment, Ross Anderson, is a Professor of security engineering, University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. His research bailiwick is that of the economics and psychology of information security.

Professor Anderson is equally as scathing in the review and record of…