Recent success stories from people in the Boston area.
I was curious about tai chi, but wasn’t even sure what it was. I had heard that it was good for flexibility, balance, strength and relaxation. With more than a little nervousness and self-consciousness, I attended one of Rick Wong’s beginner classes. I was immediately welcomed into the group. After some stretching and warming up, Rick had us begin with very simple movements that he both demonstrated and explained. Every week we built on what we had practiced, and within a few months, we had learned a complete form.
In addition to being a martial arts master, Rick is a practicing physical therapist who understands how the body moves. Not only is Rick a very knowledgeable teacher, he is very patient and kind. He never puts anyone on the spot, and he provides a lot of helpful information, including very useful explanations of the martial arts origins of various movements. Rick has many long-time students whose loyalty is a testament to his teaching ability, friendly demeanor and good humor.
I highly recommend Rick Wong’s tai chi classes!
Rick Wong's Chinese Martial Arts Center
As a student who has invested time and money training with a respectable cadre of firearms instructors of various backgrounds (military, police, civilian) in the New England area, I'm predisposed to qualifying myself as a person with enough class and range time to offer a fair critique when requested to do so as an Alumni of said training groups. I highly recommend that students to not only invest in firearms training but to train with as many different instructors with various types of professional backgrounds as possible. This exposes oneself to multiple philosophies and perspectives from which to conclude what would work best for each individual’s needs. Firearms training is not a one-size-fits-all as some instructors would have you believe. We all have different body shapes, athletic ability, professional backgrounds, and training goals. Many are keen to learning to shoot straight and competitively. Others may be focused on home defense, tactics and gun fighting.
That being said, I would like to recommend Keith Hanson of Critical Dynamics for firearms instruction. In February of 2021 I participated in his single day eight-hour Level One Defensive Rifle class at Cheshire County Shooting Sports Foundation near Keene, New Hampshire. Of all the instructors I have had experience with, I would place Keith Hanson in my top three. The main three standards I am grading here are professionalism, safety, knowledge and skill set.
Subjectively professionalism encompasses all the aforementioned standards, however here the focus will be upon the ethical professional. At the beginning of class Keith began sharing his background and experience and requested the same from the students. He asked questions and gave advice in order to ascertain the types of mannerism, level of patriotism, and particular shooting skill sets in participation. He spent a substantial amount of time developing a camaraderie with his students, learning what our goals were, and why he believed he was qualified to instruct us.
As this was a basic rifle course class time was spent familiarizing our selves with our firearm, its parts, functions, and maintenance. After lecturing us on the safety protocols to ensure there was no live ammunition in the room, he demonstrated first and then had each student present their rifles and make them safe. The knowledge I gained by participating was how to break down the bolt in the bolt carrier group and how to find mechanical zero on my irons. We were required to physically execute all that we learned in class. A buddy of mine was there with a Kalashnikov style rifle for which Keith was able to demonstrate and confirm that its operator was up to speed on its mechanics. Keith also shared his experience with various off-hand positions and the pros and cons of each as well as how the tactics within the military and police evolved over time. He also shared his experience with various firearm manufacturers and equipment and what works reliably during intense training or doesn’t. Throughout the seminar his demeanor was patient and respectful. While he commanded the floor his knowledge of firearms became apparent while also attentively listening to his students concerns and perspectives.
Before doing our live fire, a full safety briefing was perfectly executed by the book. As an NRA certified RSO I can certify that no shortcuts were taken, and no misunderstandings were allowed before approaching the firing line. Each student knew exactly what the safety rules were and what the consequences would be as well as what their responsibility would be in the unlikelihood that a negligent discharge should occur. At no moment did I believe that the live fire I was about to participate in would jeopardize our safety. I advise anyone reading this that if there is no safety briefing at an instructor course you are taking, leave immediately and demand your money back. They are absolutely not qualified to instruct anyone.
During the live fire course we learned shooting positions, QCB shooting fundamentals, malfunction clearing, transitions, and basic tactics. Before the live fire each student was required to demonstrate their ability to manipulate and control their rifle in a safe manner. Keith demonstrated each drill as we performed them, gradually elevating the complexity based upon our ability to grasp each fundamental and properly execute the various manipulations. Another nuance worthy of consideration is that we expended less than 200 rounds. Keith believes that a case of 1000 rounds isn’t necessary to train effectively, and most fundamentals of shooting doesn’t require a spent shell casing to practice and master.
Unfortunately, there are some toxic persons within the gun community who adhere to the “my way or the highway” mantra for which I suspect have underlying ego issues which prevent them from entertaining other schools of thought or constructive criticism. Keith Hanson is not one of those types. Keith is a true firearms enthusiast and a fine instructor. He has demonstrated to me his willingness to listen, enhance upon what works, offer sage advise for why something doesn’t, and even allow unorthodox methods if it works for the student and would not present any safety concerns. He recognizes that all students are at different levels of experience and strives to assist them in perfecting their disciplines and firearm transitions and manipulation styles that work.
In his own words Keith strives to give us a toolbox with different tools to work with to help us get the job done. Like Bruce Lee says to be like water I was able to grasp and retain some fundamentals from his class all the while developing my own gun fighting style.
Critical Dynamics, Inc.
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