Such a strangely rare thing. “Shadow boxing” is one as art while facing one’s shadow. That is, as spoken: A dark coloured wall in which you face, with a light source behind you. Particularly in private, facing only wild, beneath moon. All distances creating a shadow that is life like, at least from knee or upper leg up.This is similar to training in front of a mirror. Yet greater. For a mirror only views oneself. The shadow is ones potential. The shadow stares back with a view not your own. The shadow is a reminder of self, yet a glance of something different. A glance of a face foreign, a face intimately known. At times it seems your shadow is more dangerous than your body. As if you could command it to act. Almost a relationship. A mutual alliance. This shadow and body. I once listened to a blind man wandering the mountains…
There are three aspects of wilderness survival that come before others. Common knowledge: The finding of a water source, the building of a shelter, the creation of fire. All self-explanatory. Fire is simple to make, the techniques are few and basic. If wood is wet, seek out large logs, to be split into dry centers. Perseverance is the flame. Shelter building deserves its own post. As this is dictated to someones ability. One can build a basic weak cone structure, or one can build a frontiersmen cabin fort with palisade fencing walls, deep foundations, and strong roofs. Just focus on the floor being above ground, and the roof being strong enough to protect from falling branches. This is your ability and knowledge at work. The water source, obviously is a dictation of camping location. Always collect rain water in large quantities. If one has a tarp, create a storage tub form dirt lined with tarp, and channels for water to collect. Such as hollowed out sticks, leaves, ponchos, emergency blankets, etc. Once again techniques are simple. Perhaps I will go into greater explanation another time with photos and step by step methods.
The next equally important skill, one that is absolutely necessary, is hunting and fishing. When fishing, one should cast semi-permanent lines bound to trees and branches, or build fish traps, unless you wish to fish and watch for hobbies sake. But you should probably be building a stronger base structure. Hunting and breaking down game is a simple process. Every aspect of the deer is usable, especially the guts for setting up traps to catch carnivores to eat, such a coyotes, foxes, etc. Hunting is easy, especially when you have gun and bullets. Yet even unarmed, the patient hunter could hunt deer with a simple sharpened wood spear. This requires patience and lots of mud, perhaps even a water source. Turkeys are easy to take by hand. One deer provides dozens of pounds of meat. The dryer you can make it through smoking, the longer it will last. Eat up, stay strong, hunt again. Pelts, obviously for clothing, blankets, and indoor insulation on walls and floor of structure. Structure roof can be water tightened with tarp until you craft roofing tiles to properly apply to structure. Once again very easy to create. Always take this attitude towards survival, as to keep control of environment and mind. Have an understanding of the foraging aspects of your enviroment. This will be a supplement to hunting, as in many places it is difficult to find large quantities of anything edible. It may also be wise to carry a small guide book on plants and edibles, for security and safety. Carry this in your large survival backpack, as opposed to the “ranger belt”. These are two different yet overlapping kits. Both set up for “ I am never returning to civilization again” scenarios. Carry large quantities, of plant seeds. These could become a small farm in the future with proper work and understanding. These tools will spearhead you into permanent and successful survival. Always prepare for the worse.
Practice leads to understanding. Do not post your hunting photos. No one cares, and it is quite weak. The men that believe it is a display of masculinity have real men through the ages rolling in their graves at ones falsehood. The vegan deer or rabbit you took by gun is nothing worthy boasting about. When you take that wild boar or bear with a knife, then perhaps a little pride may settle in. Be noble and worth respecting, or act like an ignorant peasant, your choice.
‘Then I will make you suffer as if you had fallen into the depths of hell. And I will serve you so effectively with locks and dislocations, that you will quickly acknowledge my superiority.’ -The Flower of Battle
On the subject of grappling. I do not stand with any modern arts. Nor the sports practices. I stand with the European Arts of War, from a time such techniques were needed for war. A proven, violent time. Many sport arts, such as “wrestling”, the various “jiu jitsus”, etc, claim to have war forms. Yet I do not see this, as the principles remain the same, principles that do not stand up to war. One can always filter in dirty fighting in grappling systems, and call it war, this is assumed, and false. Dirty fighting does not change the arts body mechanics and principles. A duel is a duel, war is war. Yes, many submissions lead to death and breakage, yet when ones fingers are allowed to poke or tear any hole on the human body, this changes things, changes the principles of the fight. If a blade appears, submissions are suicide. Understand what it is you do. All grappling is supplemented with striking of some sort. Combatively, fists are never the way.
The grappling I trust is ‘The Flower of Battle’. The early 15th century war codex created be Italian master Fiore de’i Liberi. The codex of Sigmund Ringeck, of the Germanic Liechtenauer tradition, I trust. This is visceral brutality and maiming given technique. War survival and killing. I also recommend Fabian Von Auerswald, this is the beginning of the non lethal sportification of western grappling. One may be overwhelmed be the amount of techniques. Yet when understanding settles in, you will see all these systems have the same principles. You are doing similar motions again and again upon different points of the body. Do not look to the movements of Hema practitioners on the internet. You will find something far off the mark of what this art appears like. They are still caught up with the aspects of modern wrestling and mma, struggling with one another when there is no struggle. Applying pull and push contests instead raw explosiveness and hard crashing limbs. As every grapple is a strike. Every strike a grapple. Even Muay Thai understands this: one calls it an art of striking, yet truly it is called ‘the art of binding’. As if your limbs are to be swords, understand this…
It is not an argument of which system is better. As words can continually encircle one another. One must move as they wish. We have many different body types, minds, and spirits. Every man must find what he puts trust in, and allow no opinion to change this. The fight comes down to the man, to who he is.
Image from ‘The Flower of Battle’. Circa 1400
There are many types of strength training. All are beneficial. The most practical forms, combatively, are found within the “strongman techniques”: The bending of metal and tools, tearing books, the proper use of heavy sledge hammers, etc. This goes hand in hand with other strength workouts. Such as powerlifting, at least squats and bench press. “Crossfit” is highly beneficial, especially in long term reality based situations. One should always have a day of running within the week. As no lung is no life. Muay Thai falls into this category as well. As not a “combative” form, although it can be supplemented into one with ease. It focuses on endurance, body hardness, and overall striking power. Stretch, allow your body to function properly. Yoga will stabilize your stance.This type of training is to be in addition to combatives, or martial arts. As neither will focus on all aspects of physical encounters. This is why many very well trained martial artists will be overcome by others simply more athletic or harder.
Always practice throwing objects. It is common to see one skilled at hand to hand, and unskilled at throwing. Combatively, throwing lends the initiative, a distraction as distance is closed. This is not cinema. It is not about always landing the blade on moving target, if knife, axe, machete, or anything that spins with handle. It is the element of surprise you are after. There is always a hard object to throw around you. Bullets throw best…
All training, all mind. Balance. Speed is not the Way, nor is Strength. Technique is poison to yourself, only technique will create reliable instinct.