What Are You Bringing To The Table?
By Matt Kahn
Matt has been a friend of The Knights Hall in New Hampshire since 2012, participating in Hall functions and lending his artistic talent when needed. Matt started training for armored combat and joined the Armored Combat League in 2015. Since then, he has fought in several Chapter Matches, Knight Fights and became a crowd favorite at The New World Cup II. He is currently on The Dark Knights Team of Boston and is trying out for The US Knights National team that will be going to the 2016 IMCF World Championships, May 26 - 29, in Montemor-O-Velho, Portugal.
What Did I Have To Offer?
In order to move forward, I needed a place to start. Any good personal trainer will start off their clients by creating a baseline. They look at your natural attributes: How tall are you? How much do you weigh? How strong are you? Do you have an athletic background? How good is your work ethic? Then, they begin to assess what you can do and what you can't. This is what I needed to do. To understand what I had to offer, I first had to analyzed every last bit of relevant information I could and make a starting platform on which to build.
Creating A Plan:
Let's say you are very similar to myself; you are short, relatively out of shape, low stamina, lacking in physical strength, and your body shape is ill-suited to physical combat with short legs and short arms. BUT you have a high passion and zeal for what you are doing and you have an enormous work ethic. That’s what I had! I freaking love this sport! And I know how to work hard!
Zeal, passion and a great work ethic are huge! You can have all the potential in the world, but if you don’t have a love for the sport, a desire to make it happen and a willingness to work for it, you can still fail. As Cat Brooks and Jaye Brooks Sr, (two very big luminaries in this sport), can attest, lots of people have tried armored combat that were very physically gifted in all the right ways. And yet, they failed and faded away. Either they didn’t have the passion for what they were doing or they just weren’t willing to do what was necessary to succeed.
This self critique was my first step in creating a plan. I would use my strong work ethic, desire and sheer force of ‘will’ to train. Do better. Get better. Essentially, I was willing to throw down whatever was necessary to achieve my goals. I started hitting knight-fit hard, 3 to 5 days a week. Once my body was up to that task I started adding additional supplementary workouts to bolster whatever knight-fit alone couldn’t do. My diet also needed adjustment to lose what remained of my excess weight and to start really growing in muscle size and strength.
It was a process with a plan. And it was working! In December, 2014, I won my first singles match, simply by outlasting my opponent.
Understand Your Roll On The Team
Before you can prove you belong, you must first understand what the team needs from you.
Ask your teammates and especially your team captain/local leadership what you can do to make yourself the most effective team player you can be. Understanding your roll on your team will help you find your focus.
In November, 2015, I was drafted onto The Boston Dark Knights. After discussions with my Captain, Lane Atteridge, I knew I was not going to be a frontline man dealing out loads of punishment. Captain Atteridge told me to train to be a rock. Make myself extremely hard to knock down and just stay on my feet by whatever it takes. This might not sound like the most glorious option, but honestly, in a sport that determines its wins by who is still standing, it can make all the difference in the world.
Some of my teammates like Cat Brooks or Al Caron are meant to be bruisers. They look the part with their size and stature and are monsters on the field. When the opposing team sees me on the field they go right to me like moths to a flame. Why? Because, I'm the "small guy" and they think I'll be easy to roll. Too bad for them. I am a rock. I will stay on my feet and I will not fall! The beauty of this is that my opponents are going to exert quite a bit of energy before they figure this out and that leaves the punishers on the team free to do what they do best… knock heads.
December, 2015, The Dark Knights squared off against The Black Wolves. This time I was able to fight for my own team. My focus was on Lane’s words, “Be a rock!” Not only did my training keep me going, I outlasted many on the opposing team, kept my feet and was never knocked down!
Getting a roll like “be a rock”, is not glamorous, but remember, your first priority should ALWAYS be, how can I best support and be a valuable asset to my team. If your focus is only on yourself and attracting attention to you, it will show and your teammates will no longer want to work with you. But if your priority is being an asset to the whole team, everyone will benefit.
In January, 2016, The Boston Dark Knights faced off against The Nashua Knightmares. We all train together at The Knights Hall and know each other very well. Both teams are formidable and we all knew we were in for a tough fight. Again, I focused on my job. “Be a rock!” I not only managed to stay on my feet and be the rock my team needed me to be, but I was even able to get a few takedowns and twice ended up being the last man standing! This meant I was partially responsible for two of the 5 points my team ended up earning!
We lost the January Chapter Match against The Knightmares, but I finally felt like a member of the team. I felt like I could actually be someone my battle-brothers relied on and not a liability.
… And that meant the world to me!
Proving You Belong On Your Team
Self-assess. Find your base. Build on it.
Learn what roll you can do that will best help your team and train for it.
Build on your strengths and overcome your weaknesses.
The goal is to build the team and be part of everyone's success.
Your effort and dedication will show and you will do great things in the sport of armored combat...