Survival is more than just about building forts and rubbing sticks together to make fire. It is about having a mindset to overcome whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. People try to break survival down, and package it in ways to market it, not realizing they are potentially setting people up for failure. This type of compartmentalization causes people to be narrow minded, and lose sight of survival as a whole.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for learning one skill at a time, but too often if it doesn’t fit the mold of bushcraft, people discredit it as a necessary skill. In order to be a well rounded prepper, woodsman, survivalist, or whatever you want to call yourself, then you need to be more than just a gear junkie or primitive skills guy/gal. You need to find a balance in your training that allows you to be the most well rounded you can be.
As a child I loved the outdoors, but I also had many other interest to include martial arts, football, basketball, and playing the guitar. As I grew older, I had to narrow down my focus to skills that were practical. For example: I ran a karate dojo from 2007 to 2011, but after deliberating the effectiveness of the art in an actual self-defense scenario I came to the conclusion that my time would be better spent training in knife fighting and self defense. (Not to say that martial arts are useless, but that many of them are complex)
It is important that we evaluate all of our training in this same light. How effective is it… really? I love primitive skills, but to spend all my time training on only those things is foolish, if my intent is to be prepared and self-reliant. If my goal is solely to reconnect to ancestral skills then that is perfectly fine. This brings up the most important question we need to ask ourselves. Four simple words:
Why do I train?
If your primary answer isn’t to be more self-reliant, prepared, and capable of providing for and protecting your family, then you can discontinue reading.
If you genuinely desire to be self-reliant, then I want you to further evaluate your training.
What area in your skills are you lacking?
What is the most pressing danger you face at this time?
Do you live with a false sense of security?
If you had to protect the loved ones closest to you right now, could you?
These are all very important questions to regularly ask yourself, but here is the reality –you are not going to become a survival or self-defense expert over night. These things take time, but there is an X-factor that you can implement right now, and it takes little time to become proficient at. THE KNIFE. The most important tool to the bushcrafter is his/her knife. Why not carry this over into your daily life?
I have a challenge for you. Put a Sharpie marker into the hands of someone smaller in stature than you, be it your friends or family, and have them wield it like a knife. Challenge them try to mark on you. Chances are you are going to be marked up like a coloring book. The results would be the same if it were a knife. In many close quarter scenarios a knife can be more deadly than a gun, and the fact that most urban places prohibit firearms, a knife can go almost anywhere with you.
The most unskilled person in the world can wield a knife, and become deadly with it. Force of violence is the key to combat. Once you understand it’s capabilities you will have a greater appreciation for a quality blade. Pick a knife that is 3-5″ long, thin, sturdy, stream-line, and suited for self-defense. This knife is only to be used for self-defense, nothing else. Make sure that when it is attached to your person, that it is easily accessible, and can be drawn at a moments notice. This is one of the main reasons I started making kydex knife sheaths. Contact me to have a custom knife sheath made.
Once you have chosen a knife, then learn the basics of knife handling. It is pretty simple actually. You have a forward grip, reverse grip, upward grip, and downward grip. Learn the primary slashing angles, and assume a comfortable fighting stance. From there it is some basic footwork, and your ability to get aggressive. The knife is not to replace quality self-defense training, but to enhance it. I personally train in Krav Maga, which I believe to be one of the most well rounded forms of self-defense available today.
Up to this point my goal has been to encourage you to add defensive training to your skills toolbox, but if you are confident in your ability to fight or wield a knife, then begin to add firearms training. If you are a tactical operative, then maybe for you, you need to focus on fire building. Don’t allow your expertise in any one area to cloud your overall ability to survive. We all have areas that we can be growing in.
Don’t become a statistic. To have all the bushcraft skills in the world, but to get killed by a mugger in a grid down situation would be unfortunate. Train, Fight, Strive, Survive, and Thrive.
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