Part 3: A Land before time  – Day 2 – Back to Nature

The search for purpose and meaning is a challenge for most people. Some people are lucky enough to find it early on whether through a specific upbringing or the simple lack of a series of events the lead to a passion. Others struggle to find it or give up before their passion is found or materialized. In a book written in 1946 called Mans Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl it discusses how finding purpose in life helped many Holocaust survivors survive the death camps. Those lucky enough to avoid the death marches or gas chambers had two options, find purpose and meaning in their lives despite the horrid situation they were in, or succumb to the death and despair around them. Why though would I bring up such a terrible experience in this blog series? It’s simple because our search for purpose or more exactly our own meaning in this often confusing existence can often mean the difference between finding happiness and not. Those with purpose or meaning, whether right or wrong are generally happier and live more productive lives.

So in this land before time, with no stimulus, and people who I don’t know that well what could I do with the seemingly endless time. While we had ample food, I thought about what people used to do. There were Builders, hunters, gathers, warriors, child rearers etc. Of course, given my nature, I see my self as a warrior or hunter type. As quite clearly the opportunity to be a warrior was not on the table, hunting on the other hand was. Fishing was something I saw as an enjoyable thing. So imagining that I was truly in the land before time in a tribe, finding my purpose as a hunter seemed the obvious choice. Given no modern stimulus and all the time in the world, what would be your purpose?

 

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The Fairy Grove courtesy the masseuse

 

The next two days would be mostly about doing nothing but enjoying myself, the beautiful surroundings and attempting to catch a fish.

Waking and making my self some coffee was still a luxury I afforded to myself. Luckily for me, I had a small portable MSI Burner and Tin cups which allowed me to quickly brew my own coffee without hassle. Albeit instant coffee but I was not about to be picky. Growing up I had never been much of a coffee drinker as my father hailing from England made sure that our house as a constant supply of tea, Tetleys to be exact. Though in the IDF I was exposed to the Turkish style of coffee which I would gladly have when offered but it still wasn’t something I got into. Turkish style if you don’t know, or at least the way I was taught in the army was to boil some water, put the grounds right into the water letting it boil to the point of a mild froth. Flame off, letting it cool and the grounds to settle. Then either black or with heaps of sugar. Of course, you have to be careful near the end that you didn’t get a mouth full of grounds but it taught me that in a pinch you really don’t need a filter.

On a side note, I found my fondness for coffee, like so many at University. On my second round of University to be precise. While taking a major in psychology (which I stopped in the third year for numerous reasons) I also re-discovered the Canadian love of Tim Hortons. Which was conveniently on every campus and was where every student rushed to on the breaks.

Ok so I digress, but coffee addiction is one of those addictions that seems to be acceptable, and hey most studies I have seen recently suggest it’s even good for you. The irony of such things considering several of our group were recovering addicts. The world is funny like that sometimes.

On this day, I knew I would be getting a massage from the therapist but I didn’t know when. It would be something I would have to patiently wait for. Though I had already made my coffee and had granola and honey when the group all awoke they decided to make a grand breakfast with the little BBQ that could. French Toast, Smokies and Bacon for everyone except the two vegetarians who had vegetables and other items to satisfy. Terrance has recently bought a percolating kettle but the demand for coffee and the BBQ meant it didn’t last long. Someone thought it would be a good idea to close the lid on the BBQ while it attempted to brew. As one would expect or didn’t as was the case, this melted the various plastic parts on the percolator. This also meant that any time I made my own coffee with my tools someone inevitably asked for some, which I obliged until I started to run low on the third day.

Full from 2nd breakfast it must have been close to noon at this point I decided to take a nap. Terrance and several of the others went to a second waterfall back up the lack that was safer to access. I opted for the nap because well I hate cold water. I think I made the right choice, they, however, beg to differ. I awoke probably two hours later after they came back.

I decided to attempt my luck at fishing again. Initially, as I was casting from the lake side I was only frustrated for every time I would try to reel it in It would only get caught on the rocks. I hadn’t figured out how to easily get it unstuck, something I wouldn’t figure out until the next day. As sat on the rocky beach trying to fish one of the others who had gone out on the boat managed to catch a rainbow trout. It was exciting though I was mildly jealous I just wanted to catch something. It got me thinking again about how primal humans lived. They might go days with out something and now I can begin to feel the communal excitement every time someone came back with fish or animal meat. We have the privilege today of simply walking down the street in a leisurely fashion, or rushing in a car just to point at a package, put it in our basket and walk or drive home with out much trouble. This makes it far too easy for us to forget just how hard it is to get food with out the convenience of the modern world.

It also makes it easy for us to forget the excitement from everyone, the congratulations, even a little envy that occurs every time hunters bring back protein for a village that relies on hunting for its sustenance. It also helps build a community, something often lost in the big city. No luck for me in the end, but I was happy that I was learning and that at least someone caught something.

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A Hobbit, Barefooted in the forest…

Lunch time or what ever time it was, it was the 2nd err, 3rd meal of the day. With my small stature and bear foot nature on this trip, with all these meals I was beginning to feel a bit like a hobbit. Perhaps this life suits me. Once again, I probably ate too much. Though I didn’t feel bored I didn’t have much else to do but eat. Doing nothing still, despite the adjustment is still and always will be something difficult for me. Later some coffee again. The massage therapist came back from another session and told me that I would be next and when she was ready she would come get me.

 

Back to sitting, contemplating and fishing from the shore. At Last! Massage time. I had wondered where she kept going with everyone for so long and I was about to find out.

Into the heavy brush in the forest we went. There was no clear trail, and again I was barefoot, all the little dry twigs and uneven forest ground was a challenge yet an easy one. Eventually, after a short time, the ground became soft, covered in heavy moss. A purple silk towel hung above a circle of rocks, a yoga mat and a sleeping bag. This is what we would call the fairy grove. Clearly, the masseuse had put more than just effort into this, she put passion. It seems she at least, was one of the lucky ones to find her purpose.

Tucked away from the shore, in a clearing on the moss, I was to receive a massage. This to me is the definition of natural healing, or healing in nature, whichever you prefer. I couldn’t remember the last time I had a massage. While I fully enjoy them, they are expensive and again I have a hard time relaxing. This experience though was sorely overdue. Time continued to melt away as their hands did their work. Somewhere else in the world the same thing might cost hundreds of dollars, but without a care in the world, I think I finally relaxed. I am not sure how long it was, half an hour, an hour, I don’t really know. When it was done, we talked. Talked about our lives, where we were at and personal things you might not normally share, yet in this idyllic place, it seemed appropriate.

Dinner! Yup, it was the hobbit life for me. This would be the last day for the entire group as the Germans and Angel hands therapist would be leaving in the morning. The goal for us would be to leave the next day after a late breakfast and head up the mountain hike that Terrance had mentioned but for now food and relaxed. When it got dark the stars were out again I remember how much I missed looking up at the starry sky from the desert when I was in the Military. The milky way, satellites whizzing by, shooting stars, the constellations. All these things we sorely miss in the city and something I believe where are at a great loss for not seeing. You can’t help but wonder in Awe as you look up into the vast expanse.

 

Hubble Deep Field

Hubble Telescope Ultra Deep Field

This would be the last day for the entire group as the Germans and Angel hands therapist would be leaving in the morning. The goal for us would be to leave the next day after a late breakfast and head up the mountain hike that Terrance had mentioned but for now food and relaxed. When it got dark the stars were out again I remember how much I missed looking up at the starry sky from the desert when I was in the Military. The milky way, satellites whizzing by, shooting stars, the constellations. All these things we sorely miss in the city and something I believe where are at a great loss for not seeing. You can’t help but wonder in Awe as you look up into the vast expanse.

 

The next day rolled on by. I Awake and made coffee as was now my morning routine. The Germans etc had already left. They must have left at 5 am or so just as the sun was rising, I did manage to say good by the night before. It seemed that though the sun would rise just after 5, and up by 6 I would wake up anywhere from 7 to 8. Even if I awoke early I would go back to bed despite the fact I kept telling myself I would get up with the sun and go fishing. The early bird catches the worm after all, but alas, I was too lazy, or relaxed either justification is fine with me. It had been decided the day before that today would be a day of relaxation for all. A slow morning, and 2 breakfasts as usually. I knew though the lack of general activity would make me pay as is the nature of things. A group of us decided to walk up the cost into a sheltered bay, one in which the waves couldn’t quite reach. This we thought we be a perfect spot to fish. As we clambered across the shoreline to reach the spot we could see little minnow like fish hiding in and around the rocks. We eventually reached the spot. It turned out to be a good spot, as 2 others caught fish. for me, however, I had no such luck. Both my self and the fourth of the party continued to get our lines stuck, then I figured out a way to get it off most of the time. Except for the time I lost a lure, I think that made 2 for me so far this trip.

At some point, one of the lake families decided for no reason to come in with their speedboat stop right in the middle of the bay and then leave. This would be the last of the fish caught for the day. Some people clearly have no consideration. Back to camp for dinner and more relaxation. Tomorrow we would be leaving to start our mountain trek that had been put off in favour of relaxation.

 

Part 5: A Land before time – Day 5 – The Lost Canoe – To Come

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Learning Hurts

The Continuing Adventures of a Would-Be Krav Teacher.

Anyone who has taught will tell you that, at least at first, you are your greatest obstacle to being a good teacher. For a variety of reasons, it’s unlikely that a neophyte instructor is going to be particularly good right out of the gate. Sometimes it’s lack of confidence, sometimes too much confidence. Sometimes it’s just that the base -you- isn’t necessarily a great fit as a teacher. Yet.

 

This is not a bad thing because that’s what learning is all about. Before we can teach well, we have to learn well.

More than halfway through my time in the Assistant Instructor Course for Urban Tactics Krav Maga, I have (re)learned the above a few times. Multiple written and verbal tests later, it has at times been a struggle to adapt to a curriculum and regimen not of my setting, while learning skills I don’t yet have. You forget simple things – names, dates, even techniques – you knew. You trip over the different methods for teaching different people, getting the methods and even the people mixed up.

The bright spot in this has been the students. You’d think people that sign up to learn how to survive and defend themselves when things go bad would be a grim, focused lot, bent on the destruction of weakness. Not so. Krav students that I’ve met have been interested, eager, cooperative and fun to teach. Patient when I do something obviously wrong or say something too quickly to understand. It’s a cliche that teachers learn from their students as much as the reverse, but it’s a cliche for a reason.

Learning to teach Krav Maga is an exercise in not only technique and memorization but also forethought and empathy. Patience and perspective. The first two are rote – the rest is the real work of a student teacher. And to get them right means having to adjust how you think and speak and react to people.

Midterms and exams, arduous though they may be, are not where you learn what you don’t know. That comes in class when you’re in front of all those watching eyes. Actually knowing the techniques is just step one. It gets harder after that.

On the bright side, it is pretty fun and it’s a job worth doing. So, onwards towards the final and the oh so fun orange belt test. Onwards!

 

 

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Part 2: A Land Before Time  – Day 1 – An attempt to relax

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We often forget despite our advances as a species, our concrete and steel cities, our iPhones, Computers, Video games and another day to day technologies that once upon a time we the people of this planet lived in and with nature. When I was a child the Disney movie lion king came out. One line stuck with me.

“When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.” Disneys Lion King – Mufasa

Despite our attempts to deny it, through religion, or science, we like everything else living on this planet are of nature. We can deny it all we want but it doesn’t change reality. Our 21st-century morals and beliefs can change to be “modern” yet the planet will still act and operate the same no matter what we do because just like it, we are of nature and of the universe and are subject to the same rules as everything else.

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A View of Things to come – Part 6 – The Lonely Mountain

Prior to this trip, I had come to the realization that I actually didn’t have that much camping gear. A friend and student of mine had recently got the prepping bug into me in addition to me wanting to start to hunt I decided to go full army mode and get everything I could possibly need. Not just for the camp but also for a change of pace in my life. As I was not entirely sure what to expect in the camp, however, I ensured I had enough food for myself and the various things I might need. I planned to take only what I could carry in my own bag.

It turns out I was the only person who came with this mentality. I was a little surprised to find out that most people had a full cooler per person and far too many things for such a short trip. Or in the case of same, almost nothing in the way of camping preparedness. I guess I was the only one prepared for a true backpacking trip. As usual, it seems my own nature makes me stick out like a sore thumb.

Prior to heading out to the boats, I made the conscious decision to leave any time keeping devices and phones in the truck. How could the land before time have any meaning if I still have the ability to measure it? It was surprisingly easy for me, but not so easy for everyone else who still brought their phones despite the fact there would be no data or wifi.

The issue of too much gear was not a real problem. We still managed to find space for all of it in the canoes. Which as camp my way is still in its pilot phases were borrowed from most of Terrance’s lake neighbours. Anything that could not safely be put in the canoes with their matching owners was piled on two one of two Tin dinghies, one with a small 7hp motor This included Terrance’s half working BBQ and myself, the real extra baggage. Terrance had told me that on previous pilot camps they had even fewer canoes (we had 4, plus two dinghies for 13 people) and had to carefully pile up all the gear and some people into the not so sea worth dinghies. Lake worthy maybe, but not sea. Good thing we were on a nice calm lake, where nothing could ever possibly go wrong.

With a life Jacket for everyone, a partner and a canoe. With the exception of my self, as my partner was the BBQ. At least we were being towed by that little engine that could. Camp Fires would have been so much easier, and far more in line with a land before time, but at this time much of the area was on a Fire Ban due to forest fires and dry conditions. Like a rag tag band of gold panning pioneers, we set off onto the lake to start this mysterious adventure.

More than one group comment on the fact I didn’t have to paddle with comments like, “I thought you were supposed to be a soldier.” To which I simply replied, “Exactly, Strategy. Work smart, not hard.” to which I usually followed with a paddling motion in the air. This easy start and doubt by others would of course later be confronted on the calm lake that wouldn’t be.

We with the monstrous engine sped ahead to our camping site for the next few days. It would be an idyllic place, right at the mouth of a glacial fed river with two rocky deltas on each side and a forest leading up the mountain behind. The rocks and pebbles ranged in size from small smooth stones perfect for skipping across the water’s surface to softball sized ones who clearly had not been weathered by the elements yet. The image of this is something you might see out of a tourist brochure promoting Beautiful British Columbia. Looking up the river into the forest it reminded me of one of my favourite horror movies and psychological thrillers the descent. This image gave me a sense of awe, curiosity and a little fear. It made me glad I had a survival hatchet and hunting knives just in case.

It reminded me once again that I love the outdoors, something to which I discovered in the military yet is something that I have spent little time exploring in my own backyard. Yet here I was, in the outdoors, with a group of strangers getting back to nature.

This day would be one of assessment and adjustment as we got used to the environment and to each other. Apparently, we were to be split into two groups. One would stay at camp and one at a time get a free massage from our volunteer massage therapist. The other my group would go off on a walking meditation and that partake in a trauma therapy session with the two men we met at the bar earlier who would not tell us who they were. Turns out they were from Angel Hands Wellness centre in Vancouver.

Back to the canoes, we went on the still calm lake as we made our way to a second beach around the corner. This was the site of a previous camp as Terrance mentioned that last time the water levels were too high to camp where we were now. It was more woodsy with tall trees on all sides stretching back from the beach side.

 

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A Cabin Forgot in Time.

Terrance then lead us up a trail where we stopped at an old homesteader cabin. Also, like something you might find in some psychological thriller. It was clear that this cabin had been left and forgotten in time and yet at one point someone had clearly made some improvements. The original log cabin walls could be seen in the upper parts of the walls or rotting away on the inside. It had been shored up, who knows when with a proper foundation and cement walls but these two were now crumbling from neglect. There was still what appeared to be the original wood burning stove that would only need some wood to work. In the opposite corner, another more modern stove from what I can only guess was the 50’s that was not in working condition. The roof made of old wood planks was still being supported securely even if it is now in no shape to stop the rain. A place like this makes the mind wonder about the solitude of living in the middle of nowhere, secluded. How many people had chosen this cabin as their home? were they permanent residents or just passers-by. For the time being, we will not know.

Terrance stopped us outside and told us to take our shoes off. Now we would begin a walking meditation to the waterfall that supplied the water to our campsite river. Through our bare feet and with, slow, deliberate steps, we were to take our time and contemplate as we one at a time made our way to the end of the path.

I went first, though for me going as slow as Terrance demonstrated was a challenge as going slow is something I have always had problems with. I eat fast, I work fast, I talk fast and I think fast. Coming back to nature was a way for me to attempt to slow down. The Barefoot thing was not an issue as so far though I had my Vibram 5 finger toe shoes had mostly opted to be barefoot for most of the trip so far. It just felt right to me to be barefoot as I attempt to slow down and try to get back to how things might have been for us as a species in the past.

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The source of life in the mountains.

One step, two step, three step. Breath. Slowly for me at least, I was made it to the waterfall. Whoever had made the improvements to the cabin down the trail had also opted to make a rock and cement wall at the one edge of the cliff. Clearly, this was not only a great place for us but for them as well. The waterfall itself must have been 20 or 30 meters tall as it fell into a basin of water feeding the river perhaps 15 meters wide. The rock formations dipped away from the wall into the pool on one side and might prove a challenge for anyone who got too close. Another scene out of a nature brochure, or a horror movie. I could only imagine seeing some cannibalistic native standing at the top peering down only to be gone the next time I looked. This, of course, did not happen, but it has been so long for me since I was back in nature that such scenes only appear in movies for those who opt to be in the city most of the time.

Back to the beach. Sitting down on logs or the ground Mihael of Angel hands gave a talk about trauma and what it means in the modern world. Detlaff his partner in crime turned out to be the president of the Canadian hypnosis society. Under normal circumstances, I would be very sceptical of both practitioners but here in this environment, I thought I would give them a chance. They told us about the therapy session we would one at a time be going through. Detlaff would put you in a light trance while Mihael would use shiatsu techniques to assess your body and relieve pain or stress.

First, we watched as Terrance was put in the trance and asked a variety of questions about his life and past traumas. The concept of colours and auras were also discussed. I wondered if watching it first might actually “prime” our responses to the treatment as I had really no idea what to expect. But it is certainly a possibility.

Eventually, it was my turn. and 3, 2, 1. Gone!

I was actually mildly surprised at how difficult it was to open my eyes. I am fairly sure if I really wanted to I could have but I didn’t want to disrupt the process, none the less they did feel heavier. As they walked through the series of questions, I was asked to imagine different traumas, points in my life, or people in my life as well as to do various things with the images in my head. At no point was I being controlled I was still fully conscious. For me though, I am not sure how effective the process was. I tend to have a very strong mind with regards to such things and I am not easily manipulated. It was difficult for me to even imagine some of the tasks they gave me for me my mind was more blank as I tried to assess what they were doing while also trying to imagine the things they said. It was certainly an interesting experience and is something I may be open to again. The conclusion from

The conclusion from Mihael was that happiness is a difficult thing for me. Or at least my interpretation of his words. I think many in my life might agree to this statement though its hard for me to figure out if it’s simply his years of experience as a therapist interpreting my words during the therapy session or if he intuitively felt it. Either way, his words were thought provoking as I contemplated my existence.

Is happiness hard for me? I am not really sure. Perhaps I am so driven and goal oriented I never stop to smell the roses or live in the moment. Perhaps my version of happiness is simply different than others. Perhaps my clinical depression makes it hard for me to maintain happiness. At this point in my life, I am not really sure, but I will only ever keep moving forward one way or another.

Back to camp. By now the others had all finished their massage therapy and apparently, it was great. It was certainly something I was looking forward to.

Something that had also been brought to camp was fishing rods and a tackle box. Fishing was something I had only ever done as a child. And as I found out it really is an exercise in patience. I found a fishing rod that I liked and figured out how to cast. But I did not really do much more than that, but I certainly wanted to try more as it like so much on this trip.

The rest of the time was mostly eating and talking and relaxing. I had anticipated losing weight on this trip but with the amount of food that was brought it didn’t end up happening. Not that I complained much, I mean I do like food and having little to do with my time, what better way to pass it than eating, talking and contemplating.

At least today I felt relaxed, being back to nature felt good.

With that, I leave you with one of my favourite artists Matisyahu and his song: on nature

Part 4 – A land Before Time – Day 3 & 4 – The fairy Grove & Fishing 

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Orange Belt Testing – Sat, Sept 23rd

Posted: September 13, 2017 by urbantacticskravmaga in Testing
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Just a reminder that we are doing Orange Belt Tests on Saturday, September 23rd at UTKM HQ in Richmond, BC. Yellow belts are required to volunteer to participate if they expect to test for their orange belt when the time is ready. If you have not already signed up then let your instructor know if you would like to volunteer. Remember, tests are cancelled if we do not have enough volunteers.

*Test Candidates have already been notified.

The Specialist vs the Generalist

Posted: September 12, 2017 by Jonathan Fader in Krav Maga Opinions
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On Sat August 26th one of the most anticipated fights in boxing history occurred. If you do not know what I am talking about, then you live under a rock. For one of the greatest Boxers of all time, albeit not such a nice person, Floyd “Money” Mayweather squared off against UFC Bantam and Feather weight champ Conor “Notorious” McGregor. They would be of course be fighting in a boxing match under the appropriately established boxing rules. In the end, the champion boxer won out with a mildly controversial TKO in the 10th round. Despite Conor’s domination in the early rounds eventually, his gas tank ran out allowing Mayweather to turn it on. However, had this been an MMA fight or a fight with no rules than with out a doubt Conor would have easily won and probably quite quickly.

The fight brought up a good question. That is the one of specialisation vs Generalisation both in life and in Self Defense.

If you follow the traditional academic model, they will often push for specialisation. The entire post secondary structure is set up for this. Take a B.A. with a major, then masters focusing more on that topic and then a P.h.D further specialisation. Because of these or society or at least in the west has been heavily convinced that specialisation is the way to go. As many Millennials will know, all their post secondary education still has them working at the corner Starbucks or some other low paying job. So much for the dream right?

Or how about the trades. I know more people in the trades employed right out of school than traditional education. So are they specialists or generalists? By definition, they are experts usually specialising in plumbing, electrical, frame work etc. However, I would make the argument that the excellent tradesmen are a mix. 60% specialisation in their trade and 40% knowledge in the other occupations. This is because a building requires many trades with many skills all working together to put up the same thing. So a tradesperson that only knows his craft as experience will tell is more likely to make decisions without regard to what the other trades needs are causing problems in building construction.

So how about Krav Maga or self-defence. Well, in a real fight, it was established Conor would win and that’s because he is a generalist. A good Kravist will be a little good at every style and maybe very good at one, usually striking but not always.

When it comes to self-defense, and I would make the argument in life it is better to be a generalist. Why? That’s Because generalists are far more adaptive to any given situation and can draw from more information and general experience to come to the correct solution for all. When it comes to life or death situations, you do not get to pick what form of attack your assailant will have. Nor do you get to pick when or how. As such being prepared for anything even if your skills are only mediocre in each gives you the greater probability that you will succeed. It’s not like you will be going 12 rounds after all wear a specialist can wear you down. You have 10-20 or 30 seconds to block the attacks and get to safety.

In life, I also make the argument to more of a generalist. While once upon a time the average person had maybe 1 or 2 jobs their entire life meaning specialisation was a requirement now we are probably looking at anywhere from 6-10 or even more jobs in their life. Not only that with technologically advanced life changes so rapidly it can be hard to keep up. By being generalised or less of a specialist, you will have an easier time adapting to a situation no matter what it is as you have not painted yourself into a corner with a specific mindset that limits you when you are outside of your comfortable parameters. This is particularly the case as in the past your entire family were known as the blacksmith or the farmer, and you could make a guaranteed living. Now in the 21st centurury, there is so much competition for almost all fields that unless you are the best of the best then specialising is risky business as you now have limited your options should the world change.

Not only that, the success of a species when it comes to an evolutionary perspective is all about adapting. The environment can change around you, and you may not know why or how, but if you can adapt and change you will thrive. For as they say, adapt or die.

Now I am not saying we shouldn’t have specialists. If I needed brain surgery, I would rather go with the specialist who has done it 100 times that the generalist who has only done it once. What I am saying is that though in particular scenarios such as medical surgery specialisation is needed, in general, it is better to be a generalist. Let the best of the best be the specialists. For everyone else, both in self-defense and in life I guarantee you if you have a more general and adaptable skill set your life will be better off for it.

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Part 1 –  A Camp My way Adventure

“I Can’t Relax. I find vacations problematic” – John Oliver

While I used to admire John Oliver for his with, I have found myself wanting with tolerance towards him with his politics over the last few years. But the above quote whether rightly or wrongly attributed is something I can relate to. Like so many city folk and more importantly entrepreneurs, it is always hard to truly relax. I almost never go on purely vacation vacations. I always find a way to spin business into it. Perhaps it’s just my nature but doing nothing to be is very problematic. Though time is relative, our existence as we know it on this planet in a time perspective that we can understand we have so little time to achieve anything great. So many strive to create legacies only to run out of time in their own lives. To me often, time is the enemy and that along with my need to sleep or nap it is a constant battle to overcome and achieve all that I need to get done.

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And so it began, the quest to relax, the beginning.

We (Sam Glennie aka John Sambo) were told to arrive at the famous Scandinave spa in Whistler, BC. To what I wasn’t entirely sure but as it turned out the spa supports camp my way and donated time for all the camp my way participants. The time for arrival was mentioned in an email but other than that we weren’t quite sure what we were supposed to do. Were we suppose to wait for everyone? would there be the standard icebreakers? We waited for a bit and then decided to ask the front desk.

To our surprise, they told us we just have to check in and then they preceded to hand us towels. Apparently, all we were suppose to do was enjoy the spa and relax. I have to be honest, I’m not really a spa person. At first, it was very uncomfortable for us both as we really weren’t sure what to do. I am a person that is always on the go or at the very least doing something stimulating whether I have Netflix on in the background, or I am playing a video games, to writing blog posts, to business strategy, to marketing plans for UTKM, to Planning curriculum, to teaching, to working a part time job, to training. Always doing, and always on time or trying to be as I juggle everything I have to do in a given week.

Yet here we were trying to hit pause on the hectic lives we left while dripping in sweat in the saunas, or steam rooms or sitting in quite slowly pruning away in various warm pools of water they keep at various temperatures. Part of the spa experience also included jumping into to pools of glacial cold water. Neither of us found this part particularly relaxing but it’s good for you evidently.

Despite what we knew we were supposed to be doing, relaxing, we were still really out of place. In addition, they have a no talking policy on most of the grounds, something both Sam and I struggle to do for various reasons. Why should we be uncomfortable though, people from all over the world pay a lot of money to come to this spa? Yet, trying to be relaxed and calm was a struggle. We only lasted about 1.5 hours even though we had far more than that. We finally stepped out, got changed and went for a snack.

Finally, Terrance and crew arrived. He wondered why we weren’t in the spa. Acknowledging we had a hard time relaxing, we sat down for a chat and briefly met some of the people on the trip. We were told to meet at Nesters Whistler at 5:30. So we decided to find the outdoor store for some last minute supplies. Then to the bar. Why the bar? well, I knew many of the people on the camp were recovering addicts so it would be reasonable to assume that camp my way was a dry camp. So time for one last beer for the week. The two others we met earlier had the same idea, clearly, they were not there as recovering addicts. What could they be there for then? The answer when asked was

“you will have to find out, we can’t give away everything all at once.”

5:30 hit, and Nesters market we were at. Some more last minute shopping and meeting with some of the other camp participants. 3 individuals who had for various lengths of time checked in with a program called Together we Can, An addiction Recover and education centre. There was also a Czech woman who as it turned out was a massage therapist who was donating her time to the camp. This was something that sounded great, camping and a massage therapist? Awesome. We ended up chatting with everyone as we waited for some of the last members of the camp to arrive. Two individuals from Germany who had met Terrance when he was there to bring awareness to PTSD.

Tacoma at dusk.jpg

Tacoma at Dusk, before the dark.

Once they arrived we left in a caravan which immediately reminded me of the army as we followed Terrance to his house near the lake side to which we would be camping at. I couldn’t understand why he simply wouldn’t tell us how to get there on our own, with an address or GPS coordinates. It didn’t make sense to me until as dusk set upon us we arrived though a small native town to a poorly marked dirt road. As it turns out this dirt road led to an hour or so drive on more dirt roads and switch backs through the mountain side to an even smaller town to where Terrance resided. Not shortly after we started it was dark and we had to carefully navigate these roads all while trying not to lose the car in front. I later found out that there was another road to the town but this was the “shorter” route and thus to expedite the trip we took this one. I was thankful that my recently purchased truck was not in vain and I got to test its off road capabilities. I was very satisfied if you must know and strongly recommend Tacoma’s for your off road needs.

Arrival at last. By now dusk had long since past. There was not much else to do other than to mingle and stake a claim for sleeping places. Though as is common with all new groups there is always an air of reluctance to mingle outside the initial contact groups. For the most part, everyone stuck to their travel groups. We eventually all found a spot to pitch our tents on Terrance’s property to set up tents except the Germans who took advantage of his guest bedrooms.

Tomorrow the adventure would begin.

Part 3: A Land before time – Day 2 – Back to Nature 

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This video has been circling my Facebook feed for a while. There is much wrong with this scenario and I would like to discuss it, but first, watch and contemplate.

Here are a few things that come to mind:

  1. Never draw a weapon you are not willing to use –

    The police officer had already given the man numerous warnings. The man had already attempted to physically steal something from someone indicating he may be violent. When he drew his taser he gave several warnings and was almost in arms reach. Yet he hesitated. Why he did so I can only guess but the reality is from the moment you draw any weapon lethal or not you must do so knowing that you may have to use it in a matter of seconds. I always teach that hesitation can mean death with it comes to life or death situations. This perhaps is one of the reasons I dislike indecision. In Canada when it comes to firearms safety there is a rule that you should never point a gun at something you are not willing to shoot and the same goes in this case. The officer gave far too many warning for my liking and got far too close to a man who had his hands in his pockets and a history. Thus if you aren’t willing to use the weapon no matter its lethality then drawing it will only make things worse.

  2. Always assume they have a weapon –

    This is one of the basic concepts I teach. Along with assuming they have friends. In this case, a police officer should assume this 100% especially when they refuse to take their hands out of the pocket after so many warnings. Even if it had been a knife the individual would still have been close enough to launch forward with it, remember the 21-foot rule. In failing to make the decision that this individual had a weapon it could have delayed the response of the officer who could have clearly shot the taser in time to at least stun the attacker prior to pulling the trigger (though this would not be a guarantee.)

  3. The proximity is concerning –

    The officer got very close. Drawing the taser means he could have shot from a farther distance, again I bring up the knife scenario. Being this close, however, and with a free hand (not on the taser. The officer could have if he knew how used his free hand to re-direct the firearm or the assailant’s arm just long enough to avoid a shot and deploy his own weapon. It is, however, quite common for police officers to be lacking such skills. Which is especially dangerous the closer to someone you are as with this case. Had he been farther away also it is possibly more shots would have missed due to the fact pistols are hard to shoot and the nature in which the assailant was holding the pistol.

  4. Luck had every thing to do with survival –

    Luck had every thing to do with survival – This officer clearly misread this situation and was extremely lucky. As mentioned above pistols are difficult to be accurate with out training but at point-blank range which this was can be deadly. THe officer is lucky that he turned in time to avoid any fatal shots. Sometimes when you make the wrong decision, or even if you make the right one the difference is only ever luck and nothing more. Never forget this.

 

If you have more videos you would like me to analyze or comment on sent the links to info@urbantacticscanada.com

 

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