Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sword & Dagger by MAA James A Keating

Master at Arms James A. Keating:
Sword & Dagger 2 DVD set
A review by Terry Trahan
The newest DVD available from MAA Keating is a 2 DVD set entitled Sword & Dagger.
In this video set, MAA Keating teaches Filipino Espada y Daga, as seen through the Comtech
filter. With each DVD coming in around 1hr 10min, this is one of the most in depth instructional
series I have seen offered this year.
In the first DVD, MAA Keating introduces the beginner level EyD sets to teach the basic movements
needed to become proficient in this style of Filipino Martial Arts. What makes this an excellent purchase is
the way the sets build on each other. As in Pencak Silat, there are core movements present in each set, and one
advances by constantly practicing these movements, refining them, and adding the next link in the chain to form the next
set. As the series progresses, and in to the second DVD, the sets get progressively more complex, with more movements
added to cover different angles, or to introduce various "styles" of striking such as Redondo, Witik, etc in to the framework of
long/short weapons.
Because of the complexity of the sets, MAA Keating breaks each one down into its component parts, and demonstrates them
with a partner, and from various angles, to insure a proper understanding of each component, and the flow required to execute them.
In his book "Gentlemens Steel Reader", MAA Keating mentions that the FMAs teach a student on at least three levels at once, and no
where is this more apparent than in this EyD curriculum. There is the obvious level, being able to use long/short weapons combinations
in a combative situation. But, this also goes into deeper territory, it teaches movement, body angling, power generation, and conceptual use
of both knife and empty hand.
As mentioned, throughout each segment, there are ample demonstrations of each set, with different training partners, and also demonstrations of
the variations available in the more advanced sets. In each variation, Mr. Keating encourages the student viewer to make each set, and its accompanying
variation, their own, and adopt the movements for themselves.
At the end of the first DVD, MAA Keating demonstrates the form "Tai Yata" which is a single person training drill that ties the material together very well, as well
as introducing the body mechanics and english required from this dicipline. This portion of the video is very well filmed, and shot from different angles, including
overhead, so the viewer gets a total view and understanding of this form. It is also demanstrated with training partners as a developmental tool, and to sink in the
reason the body mechanics are important.
In the second disc, MAA Keating also performs a Carrenza against all three of his assistants, each armed with a different set of weapons, to show how to get into the flow
and use this material. Also interspersed are traditional drills adapted to the long/short framework such as Sumbrada and Sinawali.
All in all, this series has much to offer, on many levels, and is easy to follow, as to learn each segment.
To order, contact Mr. Keating through


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