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Riddle of Steel 2004 Seminar Report
Hells Canyon, Copper Creek Lodge, September 23-26

Training with Jim Keating - Ready to Rock!

 The Riddle of Steel is an annual training camp hosted by Master at Arms James Keating of Combat Technologies (Comtech) in a remote wilderness camp on the Snake River Canyon. Every year the Riddle brings together a diverse group of martial artists for 4 days of top notch tactical training and adventure in this majestic setting. After reading about the event for many years I was finally able to attend, and the experience was truly magnificent.

Mr. Keating put together a wonderful experience for everybody, from novice to seasoned veteran. The theme this year was "Counter-Knife Tactics" and the training encompassed many facets of this equation, as well as the more traditional Filipino and Bowie styles that Jim is famous for. Concepts were stressed over techniques, and in almost everything we did a more advanced variation was shown so that the more experienced guys could get a deeper appreciation of the material.

Bob Humelbaugh of Survival Sheath, Rob Patton of Patton Knives, and myself "on the rocks" as it were.

The tomahawk, sword, and bowie knife are all custom pieces made by Rob Patton. The sword and knife both float in your hands, and as a set and I spent a few moments in blissful "espada y daga world" with them.

Bob and Rob taught me the basics of using the sling, and I highly recommend Bob's nylon slings. So simple, yet so powerful! Since I got back home, I've been launching tennis balls for my pooch with the sling, and she loves it.

Interspersed with Jim's classes were blocks of instruction by other instructors, such as "Big" Ken Smith (unarmed translations of knife work), Mario Domingez (Systema / Amok), Doctor Kaye (test cutting), Scott Homschek (flexible weapons), and myself (knife disarming). Each instructor added something special to the mix, and the overall effect was exponential. A great bunch of folks, too!

Hangin' with "Big" Ken Smith. He is a real powerhouse who punctuates his flow with moments of intense destruction, yet one of the most respectful people I have seen when it comes to taking care of his demonstration partner (uke)

Ken is one of the guys behind the
Washington Research Council of Martial Arts (WRCMA), which is hosting an annual conference to promote the scholarly side of the arts. Like in the old Kempo salute some of you may remember "The scholar and warrior go to battle together, they fight side by side, they fight back to back, they return in great victory..."

The ever gracious Santos Garcia taught us about awareness and perception, and we must have needed a lot of work because the poor guy hardly had time to fish! Hats of to him, his hot salsa, and all the many things he brought to the table which lay far beyond the realm of conventional "martial arts" training.

The location its self, 100 miles up the Snake River, was nothing short of spectacular. Laying on the docks at night, enjoying the stars and the flow of the river, I could see what draws people back here time and again.

Great place, great folks, great training, great time - what more can you ask for?

You've read about it, so if you want to attend the Riddle of Steel 2007 - September 13-15 - Then contact Jim Keating at comtech@bmi.net and arrange to make a deposit ($400) to hold you seat on the jet boat!  Jim needs 25 serious, committed players by JULY 1 for this event to happen, so it is up to YOU - contact Mr. Keating and set you plan in motion today to attend!

The 1992 Riddle Of Steel Training Camp DVD
Learn Comtech grappling, knife combat sets 1-12, unarmed translations of the knife, pushdagger and more from this early Riddle of Steel Camp.

More Pictures from the Riddle of Steel, 2004
Shot and Archived by Vin!

Write up of the 2003 Riddle of Steel
More Pictures and Cool Info

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