Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Ultimate Survival Technique

I know the Ultimate Survival Technique - and I'm about to teach it to you.

Before I can reveal to you what the Ultimate Survival Technique is, however, I have to first tell you who revealed it to me. Though I had known this technique for years, it was Brent Wheat, a law-enforcement officer and writer for S.W.A.T. magazine, who really brought it to my attention as something that must be front-and-center in our lives, and because of his wisdom, I will use his words:

Gained via nearly half a century of hard knocks at the hands of criminals, enraged animals, stupid people, the weather and every other type of misfortune experienced in this vale of tears we call life, I've managed to figure out the single best method to triumph over those occasional annoyances that maim or kill.

The secret is a profound truth that some men and women have learned over the years while so many others blindly scramble about, groping for the ultimate weapon or tactic that will insure their life against all odds.

I will now present the long-awaited secret: learn how to do everything.

I hope you weren't reading Brent's words and hoping for a magic formula, earth shattering hand-to-hand technique, or kill-all-the-bad-guys weapon recommendation - if so, then I hope you're not too disappointed. Of course I understand that no one person can know everything, and of course I understand that no one person can do everything, but the fact of the matter is that you need to do everything you can do to learn everything that you can learn.

In the training community we get a lot of students, and even instructors, who focus on only one topic - it may be shooting, physical fitness, mindset, or any other skill. Now don't get me wrong - a singular focus can lead to building an amazing skill, but the problem with that singular focus is that it often doesn't leave time, desire, or energy to the development of other skills. For example, perhaps you have taken some firearms training and even reached a certain level of proficieny, but what happens after a gunfight when you or someone you love has been shot? You can make holes, but can you patch them? Perhaps you've become a true master of long-range shooting, taking out targets at 1000 meters with ease - but what about when someone grabs you by the collar and demands your wallet, your watch, and your life? Do you possess the ability to go hands-on with another human being and win?

The preparedness movement, or as we like to call it, the "self-reliance movement", has really taken hold in America these days, and as our economy and government continues to shift and change, the uncertain future drives more and more citizens into "prepper" mode. So they stock up on wheat and dehydrated foods, flashlights and generators, guns and ammo. But what about a hand-grinder for that wheat and the knowledge to make several different meals with wheat? What about the water storage required for that dehydrated food, or the knowledge and skills to use several different types of water purification? Can you fix that generator or those flashlights if they break? How about those guns - can you use them effectively, maintain them properly, and repair them if needed?

What I'm really talking about here is to stop for a second and take a step back to examine your survivability. What do you really know how to do? It's great that you can chop a cement block with your kung-fu, but can you chop wood? Few things are as impressive to me as someone who can shoot fast and still shoot well, but can you sew a shirt? Can you make basic repairs to your vehicle, or at least change the oil? Is there anything in your house that you cannot fix, and if so - what's stopping you from learning how?

As a firearms instructor, I often say that I am first and foremost a student of the gun, as anyone who wants to truly master a firearm should be, but I also believe that outside of that realm I am really just a student of life. And I propose that you follow that path, as well. Find something that interests you and start there. It doesn't matter if it's rock-climbing, shoe making, carpentry, or bee-keeping. Don't know where to start? Google is your friend - there is no topic, no activity, no skill that has not been fully documented, written about, and slapped on the internet for your viewing pleasure. YouTube is full of videos (someof them good, some of them not do good) that can teach you about your chosen new skill. Then seek out professional instruction on that topic and really listen to and learn from the instructor or teacher. Learn as much about your topic as possible, Practice what you learned, Apply it to your life, and then Repeat the process. Learn, Practice, Apply, Repeat - do this until you die.

Remember, the true Sheepdog learns something new everyday, and sharpens their primary weapon everyday. What's your primary weapon? It's your mind, and once it starts to rust it gets harder to sharpen. The edge gets dull, and the quality becomes weak. Soon, without any maintenance, without any sharpening or honing of your weapon, it breaks down, and soon, the rest of your tools follow, and then you are weak. We never know the time or the place when the Wolf will attack, and just because he hasn't attacked yet, doesn't mean that he won't ever attack. The Wolf is not always a big bag bruiser who wants to kick in your front door and eat you for lunch, either. The Wolf can be that broken washing machine when your paycheck is already stretched thin - if only you could use some hand tools, you could fix it yourself. The Wolf is a tear in your favorite pants that you could sew if only you knew how. The Wolf can even be becoming lost in a different town or a foreign country, and lost you will remain with no knowledge of maps, compasses, or the local dialect or customs. The Wolf is adversity, and you can only overcome adversity with knowledge and the willpower to use that knowledge.

I know that you cannot learn everything - but why not try? Start today.

Stay Aware, Stay Safe, and Train Hard.

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