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Sergeant Endri Kennon, a student rider with Total Control advanced riding clinic, turns his head during an exercise Oct. 21, 2010 at the Combat Center’s motorcycle range. Kennon is in Weapons Company 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.

Photo by Lance Cpl. M. C. Nerl

Coaching, riding, mentoring all at once with Total Control

29 Oct 2010 | Lance Cpl. M. C. Nerl

Total Control, a professional-level advanced riding clinic, visited the Combat Center Oct. 18 – 22, 2010 to teach Marines about the finer points of motorcycles, the road and how to keep it all under control.

“Working with [Total Control] is great for the Marines,” said John Flemming, an instructor here who had the opportunity to work with the company, training Marines. “So far we’ve had nothing but positive responses to everything they’ve learned.”

The clinic was geared towards Marines who are already experienced riders. The classes, along with plenty of coached practice, helped the riders improve exponentially compared to not having the opportunity, added Flemming who is from Twisp, Wash.

“The clinic gives them the tools to help them stay safe,” he said. “The knowledge they receive helps them learn about the limits of the motorcycle and their own limits, too.”

The class’ emphasis isn’t just on the science and mechanics of a motorcycle on the road, but also how to control and overcome natural riding instincts that can kill, said Wayne Miller, an instructor with Total Control.

“We especially focus on the mental aspect of riding,” said the Waverly, Tenn., native. “We don’t just tell them to do something. We take the time to explain the psychology of why to do some things. It’s been our experience that understanding why is just as important as how.”

Miller, also a retired Marine, said he not only enjoys teaching, but also educating the Marines he still considers family.

“I love being with the Marines,” said the former gunnery sergeant. “It’s a very small opportunity, and an honor to help educate Marines again.

“Basically, our job is to keep them alive,” he said. “It does have its challenges however. Taking a twenty-something-year-old who’s just been shot at for eight months and telling them to be patient and not always ride fast isn’t the easiest.”

Lance Cpl. Jose Rivas, an electrician with Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 1, said the instructors’ motivation and love of riding was very obvious.

“A teacher who is collecting a paycheck and someone who has had a passion for riding their whole life are two totally different things,” said the Houston native. “It’s great these guys got a chance to come out here again, and even better I was lucky enough to get involved in the class.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms