Brass Fetcher Ballistic Testing

The word ‘survival’ has different meanings to different people. Knowledge of the existence of a past, present and future world and having the ability to cognitively link the events that take place in all three tenses is the hallmark of the higher-level thinking that characterizes human planning and behavior. What is unfortunate is that modern society reduces the perceived need to be in touch with the natural world and the concerns and behaviors that allow one to function in the natural world.

Many people are shocked to learn that aggressive psychopaths reside in their neighborhoods. After all, no one would intentionally move to a ‘bad neighborhood’ — they will convince themselves that it is a ‘good neighborhood’ first. Psychopathy exists at all levels of society and will rear its head any time that a sufficient amount of force is not perceived as being present to counter it. Put simply, survivalism is the realization that we still live in the natural world despite the clever window dressing created for us that “submission = safety”.

While there are mostly well-meaning people occupying government and corporate offices, psychopaths will always attempt to take control of power. As such, the environment that you thought you lived in one day might be a very different environment the next week. Survivalism is the ever-present realization that it might ‘rain’ suddenly wherever you are standing.

This section of the website addresses the technical and, briefly, psychological concerns about survival. I extend this definition from fighting for your life in self-defense all the way to trying to live off of the land and providing your own food.

Royce Gracie 2011

The number one concern is mindset. Ask a medical doctor sometime about the will to live. A man who is very close to me has been medically dead at least a half dozen times through the years due to heart failure. He was just too tough to give in … and he is living happily today.

Lots of acronyms and flowery talk exists about the will to live. What I have to say is that your life has great value and you have influenced people, in a positive way, more than you know. Humankind now faces an enemy that is stronger and more insidious than the megabank-fabricated enemies of the past such as “the Red Menace” or “those Yankees” or the fascist governments of Germany, Italy and Japan during World War II. We are now living literally at the turning point in human history.

If enough people wake up and realize the threat that we are under, a potential nightmare future is averted. If things continue unabated, humanity will be confronted with an extended period of tyranny with no external army this time to liberate the oppressed populations. The conflict for survival is as much physical as it is spiritual. You must adapt a will to live in order for all of the fancy camouflage equipment to be of any value. Here is a story of Sammy Foust of Florida. A woman who was violently assaulted but decided to fight. This action saved her life and removed one client of the prison-industrial system from the street (The Story of Sammy Foust).

There are many lessons to be learned from this one story. The ‘good guy’ had a gun which in this case was a 25 ACP. Reportedly, there were only 4 rounds in the weapon. The smallest 25 ACP firearms hold 6 rounds in the magazine and 1 in the chamber. The half-loaded state of the weapon indicates to me that the gun was more there to ward off evil spirits than to function as a tool for self-defense.

The attacker took a little less than an hour to halt his attack despite being shot in the mouth and heart. Discussions of caliber aside, the attacker continued to function for an hour after wounding. The victim also continued functioning at the level she was capable of—and eventually prevailed. Training and caliber are important but the will to fight and to live are essential.

Desmond Doss: A Hero

To the left is an image of Desmond Doss. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in the Okinawan islands during World War II. The citation for the award of his medal is cited below:

You don’t need a gun or any weapon to be brave. These tools help your confidence if you know how to use them and drive your foolishness if you do not know how to use them. Despite some advantages provided by social networking, one of the unfortunate byproducts is the mistaken belief that “anybody can be a star.” Post your latest photo and you will feel like you are a star for a few minutes. As such, the process of self-reflection is rapidly fading away. Such technology encourages you to pretend you are something you are not while ignoring who you really are.

Men like Desmond Doss are blessings to our species but are unfortunately very rare as well. While we may strive to be as brave as people like him, video evidence of gun fights suggest that most people are timid under threat to life and limb. So how do we develop a proper Survival mindset? I will offer an acronym from the US Army and then some concrete steps at the conclusion.

First: S.U.R.V.I.V.A.L

Size up the situation
Use all your Senses, Haste makes Waste
Remember where you are
Vanquish Fear and Panic
Value living
Act like the Natives
Live by your wits;


You need to think about potential situations that you are concerned with, study them briefly and then formulate a plan to deal with those situations. These are ‘immediate action drills’ but you must carry the thought through to reality by practicing your response and obtaining the relevant training. The cognitive functions of our brains largely shut down during extreme stress. At that point, your reaction will be purely dictated by the muscle memory and instincts that you developed before it ‘started to rain.’ Make those instincts good instincts.

Anything that is challenging builds confidence once you are successful. Perhaps now the dumbing-down of public school standards starts to make sense. Old timers said that “hardship makes men, prosperity makes monsters.” Make things too easy for people and they will get stomped once they experience the real world. The introduction to the ‘real’ appears to be right around the corner for most developed nations and it will be fascinating to see how the results of the half-assery of recent years plays out under extreme hardship.

There are, of course, still many challenging activities in life. Physical fitness is right at the top of the list. Getting into shape makes your happier, healthier and as a result much less dependent on modern medicine and its damaging side effects. Military personnel are expected to be near the top of their physical fitness potential. Not to state the obvious, but combat is unpredictable and physically challenging beyond anyones capability. So the goal is to get as close to that level of fitness BEFOREHAND. Because there will not be enough time to ‘get in shape’ once trouble starts.

My physical fitness activities occur an average of four days per week. Fast jogging is the basis of my physical fitness program, though I do sprint (from standing still to 50m distance) occasionally. That is tough on your joints, but it helps me run faster on the next fast jog. Depending on where I’m at I also take courses in Brazilian Ju Jitsu and Arnis. Let me get the hate-train started with its own paragraph. For the record, there is a lot of benefits to any martial art. If you take Three Flying Tigers capoeira, or something other than what I’m going to mention, good for you. I don’t want to hear about it in an email. What follows is my recommendation for someone looking to take martial arts for self-defense.

Number one is Brazilian Ju Jitsu. I used to cut and split my own firewood when I lived in Pennsylvania. The exertion in Brazilian Ju Jitsu is the same but its an even better whole body workout. If you put in an honest workout and roll at the end, it would not be unreasonable to say that you will burn 1000 calories per hour of class. This is a ‘submission wrestling’ martial art and was initially made famous in the United States by Royce Gracie’s performance during the first Ultimate Fighting Championships.

At left is an example of Brazilian Ju Jitsu and these moves constitute an attack from standing. BJJ is both an offensive art and a defensive art and does not involve any punching or kicking. It’s what you are going to be happy you know if the fight gets closer than punching distance. Many advantages: the average western “male” today is not accustomed to close physical contact, especially with members of the same sex. The fake tough guy is accustomed to having a lot of tattoos and looking tough. As such, most people are apprehensive when dealing with them. When you violate their personal space and seem to have a plan as to what you are doing, your attacker will begin to question the intelligence of their plan and will begin to feel fear. They will know a little about what you are doing, from their time watching television but the stress of the situation will prevent them from forming a plan to counter you.

Unless your attacker has wrestling experience (from high school for example), after 2-3 months of Brazilian Ju Jitsu, you should be able to dislocate arms/shoulders and apply simple chokes to incapacitate an opponent. BJJ is a ‘high return on investment’ martial art.

Drawbacks. I don’t think that it would be practical to handle multiple attackers. Predators run in packs. It’s a rewarding but physically-demanding martial art… you will lose weight and be exhausted at the end of your first few classes.

Also highly recommended is Arnis. This martial art is called by many names: Eskrima, Kali, Arnis, and Filipino Martial Arts. What it is is a knife fighting art. Many people fancy themselves to be “knife fighters” yet they have no training. Don’t let yourself be one of them. There are entire martial arts dedicated to using an edged instrument as a weapon. Classes will primarily feature rattan sticks (curiously the same length as the bolo, a machete common to Southeast Asia) and are mainly arm and shoulder exercises though footwork is important.

Exertion is at the medium level, so it’s still a great calorie burner. The benefits of this martial art is that it teaches you how to protect yourself against impact weapons like knives and bats. Forget what your karate instructor told you about ‘eating’ the impact from a bat using some kind of block. You need to ‘parry’ the shot and step in to counter your opponents attack.

This military art was designed with multiple attackers in mind. There are 12 basic attacks in this art, 12 parrys and 12 blocks. It is simple and effective. Speed is critical but the great advantage here again is that your attacker needs to know something about what you are doing. If they don’t, they are lost.

Drawbacks are that Arnis appears to favor distance. It’s a striking art, though the joint locks and other close-range attacks are vicious. Some schools integrate elements of a Visayan wrestling art called Dumog into their curriculum. These techniques are not as in-depth as Brazilian Ju Jitsu, but they are fine if your opponent has no knowledge of wrestling.