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

“Today, today, live like you wanna,
Let yesterday burn and throw it in a fire, in a fire, in a fire,
Fight like a warrior,” – Matisyahu – Live Like a Warrior

Isolation can be one of the worst forms of torture a human can be exposed to. Loneliness can cause a person to die slowly from the inside out. But what about when a person chose out of their own free will to isolate themselves. With no constraining walls or man made rules, just the laws of the universe.
For so much of our history, so many would live isolated alone or isolated in small communities. There would be little stimulation out of a task or job and the work it took to functionally survive. In many cases, there would be no free time, in others nothing but free time.

Camp my way seems to wish to remove the unnecessary stimulus to allow individuals to focus on the self, while still with people there to support. When Isolated by choice, and in nature, this can be a good thing. There can be no better isolation, no better satisfaction even if for only a brief moment, isolated on the top of a mountain with nothing but the world around to stare and admire in awe. If this is something you have never done, get up and get out, find your mountain top and climb it.

In the literal sense, it can be inspiring full of beauty, wonder and accomplishment. Climbing your internal mountain can be the most isolating of all things, for overcoming that which is in your way can become an isolating journey for it is yours and yours alone. For some, this mountain is too much to climb and too much to over come, but for others, it is simply another challenge to be beaten. So if over coming to your mountain, what ever is holding you back is too much, why not try something more tangible, and climb a real one. Find the kind of isolation that inspires and plants the seed of growth, don’t let it overwhelm you, and if need be, bring those who support you to challenge it together, because after all, we are social creatures. So find your mountain, and climb, experience and overcome.

 

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The Lonely Mountain From a Hobbit an Unexpected Journey

 

Finally, we would be leaving our campsite some to return home but a few of us to climb that mountain. There had been some confusion as to when John had to be home, as he originally said we could return on Saturday, but as it turned out, he had a wedding to get back to just after noon. But it was decided that there is no way were not going to climb the mountain that had been promised. It would have been easy for me to say no, and just leave in a relaxed fashion as I do hate to rush. But it seemed to Terrance it was important, and to me, it was simply something I felt I had to do for what ever intrinsic reason

So the remaining campers set out in the two canoes we had and the rest of us climbed into the two tin dinghies. We still had to pick up the lost canoe we had beached yesterday. Being as we woke up just after sunrise around 5 or 6 am the wind had not had time to pick up yet. This was the reason we were supposed to leave early on previous days yet never did. Of we went.

Calm and quiet. Only us on the lake. Too bad we did not have time for fishing, it would have been a perfect time. Instead, I would have to settle for the view as we slowly made our way back. A mother eagle was perched on a dead branch looking out over the lake. Her nest was 100 meters farther back. We all pondered what could be going through her mind as she watched us in the tin and carbon fibre boats on the way to much gear loaded on. “Foolish hoo-mons, they know nothing” is what I imagined her thinking.

When we beached we began the arduous task of returning all the canoes and gear began. Those who had to leave helped pack up all the gear that needed transporting to Terrance’s house while Terrance and another set out to return the canoes to all his neighbours.

Everyone except John and myself, packed up said their goodbyes except Terrance and company who were still taking the canoes back. Now it was just John, and I left alone to sit and think and talk.

It must have been two hours, and Terrance had not returned yet. I decided to go and check, yet as luck would have it as I was half way down the road to the lake Terrance turned the corner in his Jeep. If you have never seen his Jeep, it is unmistakable, for on the front is a moose skull and it is covered in sponsorship stickers left from when he flipped the tire up Blackcomb mountain. It like Terrance was a head turner destined for big things.

Back in the cabin, and tired we decided to take some time to rest and nap. It seems on this trip I had returned to my liking of mid day naps. Something the past months had not allowed me to do regularly. I can certainly say there is some merit to the siesta even if you are not in the hotter Mediterranean countries. I think perhaps because it forces you to slow down and take a break. Something that sometimes the hectic life of the city does not allow.

Awoke, and ready we loaded up into my Tacoma for despite the moose head on Terrances Jeep mine was in better condition (and probably safer) to take the long unpaved roads up the mountain. Terrance and company decided to sit in the truck bed, with John and me in the front. Terrance explained that he was always the one driving and never got to sit in the back of his jeep. I allowed this only because we were out away from the city and such things I knew to be common. Of course in the city, I would never dare, because I would most likely get pulled over. I think there is much debate about such actions and reasons for or against, but out here there are far fewer rules. Personally, while I fully understand the safety around such acts, as I have grown older I feel we have are too fear full of injury and death and have over regulated ourselves into the depressed insanity that we live daily in the cities. This whole thing would lead to a discussion later when we reached the top which would give me a lot to think about.

First, we had to make our way past the native reserve and the hydro dam. Then we had to find the entrance off the main road. Another almost barely marked unpaved road that would be easy to miss. This lead to some 20 or 30 switch backs up the mountain. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive up; I went fairly hard on the straight aways and cautiously on the corners. I would have wished to push it and test the Tacoma, but with Terrance and company in the back, I didn’t feel it was safe to do so. I kept thinking about the famous Pikes Peak Rally course and how this compared.

As we reached what appeared to be a mountain top radio receiver station, we veered off on to a heavily brush covered maintenance trail. Thankfully due to the power lines, these trails ran all through the mountain range making it possible for vehicles to navigate the beauty they had to offer. Well, off road vehicles at least, I would not suggest taking your mom’s Honda civic unless you are planning on getter her a new car. Switching the Tacoma to 4 X 4 Low, it was slow and steady as we navigated through the tree covered trail. As we got higher and higher, the trees thinned, and eventually, we came to another fork. Terrence told me to hit a right and park the truck as it would not be able to go further. The next bit of road was probably at a 30-40% incline. We decided to take a break and eat some food, as after this it would all be on foot.

 

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The Beginning of the Hike

Terrance commented on how dangerously I was driving. I was not impressed. For me, it hit a nerve, why I couldn’t tell you. Looking back, I suspect it might have had to do with his previous experience in rescuing people from this very trail. Realistically, there was no way for Terrance to know that I am an excellent and controlled driver with hundreds of thousands of KMs under my belt. While once upon a time I might have taken unnecessary risks now I do not do anything I don’t think is reasonably safer. I also tried to tell him how sitting in the back is probably far more dangerous than the way I was driving. For him though, perhaps it was the perception of the freedom not being trapped by the walls of the truck should anything have gone wrong. He figured he could just jump out of the bed if the truck started to go off the cliff, I am not so sure how safe that would be with out injury. I think this was something we would agree to disagree.

Issues like this always strike a nerve, thinking about it now it’s probably the hypocrisy of it. It’s like the people who yell at me for driving fast at night (20km an hour) in my complex yet are wearing dark clothing making them hard to see. It’s the kind of thing where people try to put their safety in the hands of others with out taking responsibility for themselves.

Anyways, off topic.

Packed up and ready to go, leaving the troubles behind it was time to start the hike. By now it was probably 6 or 7 pm. There was not too much of a climb to the top, but we still wanted to get there before sunset. The climb reminded me again of the forced marches in the army, a struggle but still something to enjoy..well after the fact. In this case, there was no rush, and we took our time to enjoy the scenery. Terrance kept asking us to stop to get some footage for marketing for future camps, which we were happy to oblige. Eventually, we got to the windy yet clear mountain top.

Dropping our packs, we set out to explore. On the top, we found an abandoned and now smashed radio station probably the predecessor to the one we passed down the mountain. It must have been built sometime during the war or after but all that was left were the foundations some of the walls and supports and various construction material. We also found a plaque of some kind that was almost impossible to read. It must have been put there well before the radio tower. Terrance told us how many years ago this was one of the few places there was reception for TV. A friend of his one of the local natives used to climb up here to watch TV on the few stations he could get. I imagine that this was back in the day when rabbit ears were still a thing for TVs.

We realised that the wind might be a problem when setting up the tents. I found a spot and decided to leave off the rain tarp from mine to allow the wind to blow through. Though this prevented the wind from moving my tent too much, it also meant that every large gust of wind would lead to a long and restless night of half sleep. Terrance and crew wanted to find a place less windy, but except for the large crevasses in the rock formations, which would not have been comfortable to sleep on there were no such places.

 

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Loneliness or chosen Isolation, You Decide.

 

I began to think that it was going to be much colder than we had thought and none of us had any winter clothes. I was certainly happy now that I had sprung for the -40-degree sleeping bag. Unfortunately for the rest of them none of them had the same luxury. Someone suggested they all sleep in the same tent for warmth which I then strongly encouraged. While I have never had full hypothermia, there was one time I was showing the early stages, and I didn’t think this would be a great place for any one to get hypothermia. Especially considering we had no reception and no GPS signal (NOT ADVISABLE), there would be no quick rescue should something of this nature have happened.

Eventually, the tents were set, and we enjoyed the sunset around 8 or 9. As it started to get dark, I made some food, and they attempted to find some materials to create a windshield for their tent. As Darker and darker it got. It also got colder and colder. I had no gloves and other than my thermal underwear and shirt I was not wearing much else. It was getting cold far too quickly for my liking. I decided the only good place for me was now in the sleeping bag even though I was not that tired. Boy was I right.

Panoramic of Sunset on the Lonely Mountain

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Moon of my life, My Sun and Stars

 

I was glad that I could see the stars, for falling asleep the other day with out the tent and a clear view felt great. I probably could have done the same as the tent didn’t provide any protection from the elements, but I had it, so I guess I just set it up with out thinking. Eventually, I fell asleep though it was more of a constantly disturbed nap. At one or two points in the night though I could not entirely see where the rest of them were in their tent I could certainly hear them. I don’t think they got much sleep either.

I had set my alarm for 5 am, to watch the sunrise. 5 am arrived my alarm went off, and I awoke. The problem I felt was that it was still far too cold to get out of the sleeping back, so I decided to stay in, which was probably a good idea.

A while later, Terrance came over to the tent and told me that it was too cold to stay so we were packing up to go. I had to quickly pack up all my stuff myself, which was difficult especially with out gloves. Did I mention it was cold? By the end I could barely feel my hands and clipping in the straps of my bag was difficult. I would periodically have to stop to warm my hands up so that I could function. Once again I was reminded of how much I hate the cold.

After, as best as my hands would allow me I saw them laughing and talking. And here I thought there was a sense of urgency to get off the mountain lest we all freeze. I may not have been the most polite, but they didn’t seem in that much of hurry. Maybe they had better cold tolerance than me, or maybe they just enjoyed being cold. I couldn’t tell you, but I am fairly certain I said, “I have some good advice, Stop talking and let’s get the fuck off this mountain.”

Again, and I can’t stress this enough, despite being Canadian, I dislike the cold very much. Israel and its awesome climate ruined the cold for me, and after I came back to Canada I was never quite the same in my ability to tolerate it. Oh well.

Down we went. It was much quicker the way down than the way up. I guess that’s how gravity works. Up is hard, down is easy. Well except on the knees. I had considered bringing my carbon fibre knee brace before this trip, but I thought it was a bit much. It turned out to be fine, even if I almost ate shit on the way down once or twice.

The truck at last, what a great sight for cold eyes…

 

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Except for my Ridiculous outfit, this could be something out of a catalogue #Tacomanation

 

We packed up chatted for a bit and headed down. This time with everyone in the cabin. I definitely went slower on the way down, because well gravity and also because I didn’t feel like getting into another dispute.

At one point someone saw a Bear cub run up a side trail. We attempted to follow for a second just to get a better view for a photo but I opted not to go too far. This mainly because where there is a Cub there is a mama and well this was a new truck. I am not sure how to explain bear claw marks to the insurance company (Which is BC is TERRIBLE, and despite the fact everyone hates them they still have a government supported monopoly…).

We chatted on the drive about what ever and eventually made our way back to Terrance’s house. I was glad we made it up the mountain and back. Terrance had kept talking about what a great view it was, which of course he was right. Also, the climb is supposed to be part of the full Campy My way experience. As Terrance explained it to me, eventually this would become a two-week program. Starting at one end of the lake, to where we had been camping. Then a short portage of the gear. Then the mountain and then trekking the second of two long lakes eventually ending in a hike ending in Lillooet.

You may have noticed by now I have not given away the exact location of this whole experience, but that’s because I want you to figure it out for your self. OHH, how interactive.

At Terrance’s We separated our gear from his and said our goodbyes. Off John and I went.

Terrance was right; the road back looked a lot different in the day than night. A cliff on one side and a mountain on another. Though not as steep or windy as the road we were just on there was far more traffic. Truck, Truck…wait is that a neon with a spoiler? And Terrance thought I was crazy here was a fully loaded Neon with a spoiler gunning it on the mountain roads. If you didn’t know, as I know, as I once drove a neon they are toasters on wheels and can barely handle paved roads.

I once again enjoyed having the truck. I haven’t said it yet but #Tacomanation all the way. It was a beautiful drive back, and I kept my eye out for any for sale signs. Having a property in a place like this was a new goal. Though this will not be happening anytime soon, it is a good goal to have. Back through Merrit, then Whistler then Vancouver. John would make in time for his wedding after all.

I though roughly enjoyed this trip. Once of exploration of both myself, others and beautiful British Columbia. It got me thinking I wanted to get back into nature more often. Now I had the means; I just need to find the time and the will.

The Next Day, it was back to the grind in what would be working for seven days straight on various things. Man what a change of pace it is. It makes a difference, but I was glad I made the Journey.

Camp My way is a Brilliant and yet simple idea and is something though I know it needs a lot of work to become something great, its concept is already something great. It is a cause that I look forward to supporting in the years to come. I hope you enjoyed this adventure story I sincerely hope there will be more of these in the future.

My Time in the land before time was short, though eye opening. In the city, we measure everything so precisely and are bombarded with so much stimulus. One of the things I did upon returning home was cover all the lights on my computers and electronic devices with tape so they would no longer affect my sleep. I also decided that I would always sleep with the blinds open to allow the air and sounds of the water in the park next to me to sing me to sleep naturally, just as the river at camp had done. One day, I will find and make my home in nature, and live a life without time. But in the mean time, I will continue to build UTKM to give people around me the strength to live better, happier and safer lives. Just like Camp my way gives people the time to look within. I will do what I can to give people the skills they need to do the same. For Krav Maga, is not just a set of physical moves, it is a way of thinking and a lifestyle.

With this, I end with another Matisyahu video – Live Like a warrior. To encourage you to have the spirit to live life the way you want to so long as it makes you happy and does no harm to others around you. With, Of course, the exception of Self Defense.

Please help Camp My Way become the program I know it can be and DONATE TODAY!

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Part 4: A Land before time – Day 3 & 4 – The Fairy Grove & FIshing

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I have talked about the litany against fear many times. It is from one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time Dune, a true masterpiece and one of the few books I have read that truly changed my perspective on life and how to interpret it and the people in it. The litany against fear is an important moral that we should all learn yet don’t. It discusses fear but not in the way you might think at first. There is a concept of No Fear, and it was even a popular slogan trademarked by a clothing company many years ago. The thing is, however, that a person with out fear is dangerous. This is because they are out right ignoring their intuition, that feeling internally telling us there is severe risk ahead. It is foolish and often leads to actions with little regards to those around us. The litany against fear, however, talks about overcoming fear through acceptance. About allowing us to use the fear as a productive tool to move forward and build inner strength. I find too many people live their lives through fear for what ever reason. Fear of failure and fear of the unknown are two of the biggest things I see controlling people and their decisions. Instead of accepting these fears and moving forward and growing to many individuals choose stagnation rather than facing their fears. This mentality is one I hope people to over come through my teachings in Krav Maga or these blogs. So that they may walk in peace allowing their fears to pass over them and through them to be better, stronger and happier.

Today was suppose to be the day we got up to go on that mountain trek Terrance had kept telling us about. It was, after all, suppose to be the second part of the camp. For numerous reasons and set backs on all camps, it never quite happened. We ended up waking up late for what ever reason, I suppose people were all too comfortable letting go and relaxing. It wasn’t a bad thing. When I awoke, after coffee I immediately started to pack up my tent and gear because for me rushing is not something I like to do. Like a good soldier, I was ready to go at moments notice knowing the wind and lake conditions may affect departure as this was one of the reasons we held of leavening the day before. After another late breakfast, there was a discussion of whether we should go or not. The waves though not too bad were certainly not calm. The assessment of whether the risk was worth it was the real challenge. Several of us decided that we would try our luck and go out on the canoes to the second beach where the therapy had taken place before. If we could comfortably do it, then we would leave camp a little later. We made it no problem, and I ended up hearing some of the stories of the both Terrance of the others during their drug rehab and before. Perhaps we hung around for too long, but when made it back Terrance was cautious, and the others were unsure as to whether we should collectively leave or not. I voted to go now before it got too bad. For if you allow fear to overcome you and you keep putting things off then things will never get done. Again, I do not allow fear to control me when I consciously can. In the end, I was outvoted, and the decision was to stay for another day even though it took a long time. For me, there is nothing worse than indecision. For me, the longer it takes, the longer things may pass you by. This and having not been on medication (SSRI’s)for a few days made me irritable, and it reminded me why sometimes I just don’t like people.

Either way, we waited too long, and the waves picked up. My point about indecision was proven correct, though I didn’t say much about it. We could have left earlier if we had stuck to the plan yet didn’t. Now with the rest of the day free, it was decided that we would walk up the river and do the walking meditation that several of the group had yet to experience. Eventually, we found a log crossing that had been constructed previously, by settlers or campers, who knows? There was a more modern rope on one side indicating that someone had used this crossing more recently. Eventually, we found the abandoned cabin again.

I was surprised at how quick a walk it was considering it was in the bay over that we had previously canoed too. Another discovery at least to me is that at one time this cabin had numerous fruit trees, some of which were still producing fruit. We explored the cabin a bit more and then picked some apples. Terrance asked me to explain how the walking meditation works to everyone and again one by one people set out. This time I went second to last.

We admired the waterfall once again, this time with more pictures. Someone noticed another trail that went farther up the mountain, and we decided to go up to the second water fall higher up. This time it was less of a calm winding path and more of a steep hike. I was starting to understand why so many hikers take hiking polls. At least we didn’t have our backpacks which for me made it easy work as my Vibrams allowed me to stay low and nimble. The second waterfall was probably twice the size of the first and much farther back in the mountain. We could only watch from the cliff side as it would be impossible to safely access this pool with out serious climbing gear and experience. Again we noticed that there was another less obvious path going further up the mountain. Terrance had never seen the next waterfall and suggested we explore. So up we went.

This time it wasn’t just steep, and the path was not so clear. The mountain side, littered with loose shale and steep, uneven terrain proved tricky. We hug the cliff side. Shortly after much of the group got too nervous to continue as it was not such an easy climb. My self and another decided to push farther to explore and see if this was a viable path for future camps. We discovered that shortly after the trail died in what appeared to be the scorn of winters rath, an avalanche path covered with fallen trees. Perhaps at one time, there was a trail but not anymore. After climbing up and around to look down the cliff side, we decided that there was no point in continuing as it would most likely take hours to scale to the peak and we didn’t have the proper equipment, so we carefully went back down to the group. Some indicated that it was a dangerous decision, but to me, it was just a calculated risk as the weather conditions were good. Again, my relationship with fear seems to be vastly different than others. Back to camp, we went, this time we found a path that came through the fairy grove, which was easy to find as the purple towel was still there floating suspended on some twine.

Upon arriving it was noted that something was not quite right. 1, 2 and…wait… there was no 3. Apparently, the Tin canoe was nowhere to be found. It had been left sideways on the shoreline rather than pulled right up and the best we could figure it had been swept away by the wind and the waves. Terrance and several others were still making their way back. In my head I thought, if we don’t get it now there will just be more excuses tomorrow, and we will never be able to hike the mountain. As John Sambo was standing right next to me and as he had claimed he had been in rough canoeing conditions previously I asked if he wanted to come with me to find the canoe. He obliged, and just as we pushed off into the water, Terrance and company came out of the tree line just in time to see us pushing off the shore. Theirs was a look of worry. To me though, this was a mission no different than any challenge I had faced previously.

On the way to find the canoe, we were moving with the waves, which made things easier. We, of course, made sure to take lifejackets. I should note, that had we not had life jackets there is no way in hell I would have done this. I neglected to mention earlier, that I don’t like deep water, for you see I had a near drowning experience when I was younger and since then I prefer to keep my feet on the ground. Despite this fear, I was confident in my ability to face it and overcome it…with the life jacket on of course.

We stayed close to the coast so as not to be swept out into the centre of the lake where the waves were the larger. As we moved forward, we spotted what we thought might be a canoe. Nope, just a large boulder.

We kept going, and in the faint distance, we spotted something blue. The Tin Canoe had blue wooden structures on it which I believe was at one point meant for a person to treat it like a row boat. Too bad, they were not set up as such, it would have made things far easier. As we approached, I noted that not only was this beach a rocky, bouldery one making it hard to land, but the waves were crashing onto it every few seconds. It was lucky in reality that it was the Tin boat that had been taken as it was likely here for hours and any of the fibreglass canoes would have probably been smashed up by now. Never the less we had to attempt to return this boat, so we very carefully beached our fibreglass boat and pulled it up to the shore as far as we reasonably could.

We were pleasantly surprised to find, that not only were both the oars and life jackets were still in the canoe but also someone’s boxers who had made the ill fated decision to use the canoe as their drying rack.

The priority was pulling the canoe up the shore so that we could empty the water now gathered inside. Initially, we tried to bail the water out using an old empty plastic bottle we found and our hands. This proved far too tedious with the waves crashing in every few seconds. We decided to pull it up further as we then tipped this cumbersome boat on its side to allow most, but not all of the water to drain out.

The plan was to tie one boat to another using the paracord I had brought. Then one person would get in a boat push out a bit, then the second would jump in, and we would paddle out. This, however, failed. John sambo tried twice to launch in the tin boat but twice capsized. I assessed that it was too shallow, the boat and John were just too heavy to move out safely. Plan B. I would get in the tin boat get it off the shore and John would get in the fibre glass boat and together we would go out into the wildness of the lake. This too did not go exactly to plan. While I managed to get the lead boat out and John managed to get the second boat out it was a struggle. For you see, John had clearly exaggerated his ability to paddle and steer in rough waves. I found my self-being dragged back as John paddled his boat in circles. His inability to control the direction of his canoe kept causing my starboard to be facing the on coming waves. It was now becoming dangerous as we both now risked cap sizing. I attempted to give firm clear directions how to steer while trying to do this same. After a few minutes of this I said, ” I am sorry, but I have to cut the toe line”. I pulled out my Leatherman and while keeping the canoe as straight as I could I cut the line. While team work is preferred, sometimes it is just is not possible. The waves were too big, the wind was too aggressive, and I just did not have the strength to steer and pull both boats. Off I went. I righted the direction of the canoe and began what would be a longer journey than I had originally thought.

After watching John capsize previously at the shore, I assessed that the seats of the canoe were far too high allowing for a dangerously high centre of gravity. I decided I was going to sit on the floor at the bow of the boat. It turned out to be the correct decision as It kept my centre of gravity low and kept the weight in the front preventing the waves from flipping the boat. However, I knew this was the right decision I don’t know, but it just felt right at the time. Later I justified it by explaining that by weighting the front I could break the waves easier and paddle hard to keep the front from being over come with water. The truth is it was an instinctual decision, as having little to no previous experience in such conditions and in a canoe no less I really can’t tell you how I knew other than I just did.

I looked back and saw John still paddling in wide circles; I didn’t know what to do. I yelled at him to try to get to shore and wait while I went for help. I don’t think he heard as he kept going in circles. I had no choice but to move forward. I started to paddle hard when the waves came and continuously so that they wouldn’t push me back and the little progress I was making for nothing. After a while, I started to think about all the warriors of the past that would endure such situations. I thought of the Maori in New Zealand, the Polynesians in Hawaii and the Vikings. I too felt like a modern day warrior. It was not a great situation, but I felt great. For thousands of years, these kind of situations were common. Many had to prove themselves a warrior would have to complete such tasks alone with out help. It made this easier as I fought through it and kept paddling.

I looked back and saw John going in circles still and then trying to beach himself. He succeeded but then tried to make his way out to water again. It failed. It must have been 2 or three attempts in total but none worked. Since leaving camp, it must have been about 2 hours now. I must have been alone for more than an hour of it and was probably only halfway back to camp. The swells up until this point must have been between 3-4 feet, it what seems like a never ending battle with the gods of the lake. No, I don’t really believe that, but hey I was just trying to get into the Viking mentality.

Eventually, I saw the little dinghy in the distance. It so happened that the waves had calmed down and I used my paddle as a signal. They got close enough for me to yell, ” I am fine, go help John and I pointed in his direction.” as I gave a thumbs up. They received the message and continued passed me.

They too tried to help John the way I could, but even with the motor, the waves were just to pick and well, poor John was really out of his element. They eventually gave up, beached the fibre glass canoe on the beach and told John to walk. They then came out to me. It was Terrance and his helper Alex. They came around and pulled up along side me. I wasn’t sure what their goal was. I assumed that they were going to toe me, which I was mildly relieved as it was still a long way to go, and the waves were only getting bigger. I was wrong. The dinghy and its motor were not designed for these rough conditions. Back to my warrior’s mind set. They tried to tell me I needed to bail the water out of my boat which I kept trying to tell them it was fine. In the time it took them to decided what to do the boats had turned side ways. I got impatient and recognised they were not helping but making things worse. I yelled, ” either one of you gets in this canoe to help me paddle or disengage.” Startled, Alex got in the canoe grabbed a paddle. Terrance disengaged and headed back to the beach disgruntled.

So Alex and I would finish the journey, while I am fully confident I would have made it on my own, I was glad I had help. The waves were now probably reaching 6 foot or more. It would have been an epic struggle like something out of an ancient Greek story had I been required to do it by myself, but it was still epic even with two people.

We started to go on what would be another hour paddling. At some point, Alex began to chant in a loud booming voice.

“NOW I AM THE VOICE.
I WILL LEAD NOT FOLLOW.
I WILL BELIEVE, NOT DOUBT.
I WILL CREATE, NOT DESTROY.
I AM A FORCE FOR GOOD.
I AM A FORCE FOR GOD.
I AM A LEADER.
DEFY THE ODDS.
SET A NEW STANDARD.
STEP UP!”

It was epic. It turns out it was a Tony Robbin’s mantra, while I am not a fan of his, an argument Alex and I would have later, at the time it truly was epic and very appropriate. It gave us both strength for a time and quite frankly makes this story even better.

Eventually, though, the mantra wore off, and the long hard grind was starting to wear on Alex. Despite the fact I was exhausted long ago, I had to dig deep and embrace the suck. I told him this, he had to embrace it and not give up. Slowly, one paddle at a time and with a little team work we made it closer to camp. The problem was that we couldn’t simply bee line it to shore. Because of the waves, we had to paddle past the camp and then turn around so that the waves would guide us to shore. If we turned too soon, the waves would push us past our beach. Imagine, the goal in sight after what was getting close to 3 hours, but unable to reach it for a time because rushing could mean imminent danger.

We paddled passed as our comrades look on from the shore. Eventually, we got to the point where we could turn around. Unfortunately, it took several attempts as the waves weirdly kept pointing us back in the same direction (rather than flipping us). Finally, we got coordinated enough to turn around.
Finally, we were back on dry land.

As we landed on the beach, there was what I imagined a collective sigh of relief from all parties. Ironically John had just beaten us to the camp not a few minutes earlier. Perhaps We should have beached earlier too, no I thought, as then we would have been down two boats and not one. I made the right decision.

I attempted to lift myself out of the canoe but couldn’t. The moment I stopped paddling my arms gave out. It took me several attempts, but I finally managed. Soaking wet and with a smile on my face I was back at camp. I think people thought I was crazy as is common in my life but I didn’t care, at least I had something interesting to write about.

It took me a second to settle in and then me and Alex high fived. Then, Finally, some luck, while we had been struggling they had made food. At least I got to eat to replenish some strength it was a good day after all.

I then took off my wet clothes and put on my some long johns and a thermal shirt. I knew all to well from the army how quickly hypothermia can set in. I told both Alex and John they should change to warm clothes so they could avoid it as well.

The day ended with me, John and Terrance looking up at the stars once again. Discussing the universe and me attempting to explain what little I know of it from an astronomical point of view. Despite the hectic day, it ended it calm. Because I was tired and had previously packed up my gear, I decided that I was just going to sleep out in the open looking up at the stars. It was the right decision as I looked up at the milky way I smiled as I was at least for a brief moment happy. Then with heavy eye lids, I faded off to sleep.

Part 6: A Land before time – Day 5 – The Lonely Mountain

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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 

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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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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.

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.

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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 

Please help Camp My Way become the program I know it can be and DONATE TODAY!

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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Yes, an actual VHS Cover.

 

The land before time was one of my favourite movies when I was a child. As is with most children’s movies there is so much lost on the child when it comes to the contents of movies. Sometimes, with children’s movies, the jokes or dialogue is intentionally written so that the child does not understand but the adult watching it does. Sometimes though, it is more nuanced. The title of the movie, whether intended or not, to me, now has so much more meaning.

The land before time implies that the dinosaurs lived in an age of no time. It implies that time is a human construct.

Yet Einstein famously theorized that time is relative.

A watched pot never boils as the old saying goes but what does it mean? Really, time is simply the measurement of the relative position two points in space from one instant to another. The movement as provided by the energy is what time is. Take away the energy, or hit absolute zero and time ceases to exist. Or at least this is my rudimentary understanding of such things.

And yet to us humans, time has so much meaning, and so little. We can be slaves to it or forget it even exists. Yet it rules everything no matter how we perceive it as with out it the entire universe might as well be a picture frozen in well…time.

Einstein QUote.jpg

These are things I forget to think about because I am too busy or I don’t have enough time. Yet from time to time, I find the moment in time to have some quiet time to myself to contemplate time.

Had enough yet? Well, I suppose it’s all about your perspective, I mean time is relative after all isn’t it?

So what then got me on this existential thought process regarding nature or time and humans reality. Or even how little foot from the land before time could even understand what that even means.

Well, Recently I met a man named Terrance Kosikar and even had the pleasure of sitting down with him to do a podcast. Long story short, he invited me to partake in one of his initial exploratory camps from his creation Camp My Way.

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In his struggle with PTSD (though he hates to call it that) he found true recovery, or at least the process in it by spending time in nature, near his cabin in the interior of BC. He spent time, in the mountains, by the glacial rivers admiring the stars and contemplating. Away from the big Cities to which he grew up in, away from the bad influences that lead to his troubled past, away from the noise, away from the busy lives we all lead. To realize that time is relative and we focus so much on it when never take the real time to notice that sometimes it doesn’t matter at all. He realized that if he could heal away from time so could others and thus the idea of camp my way.

Camp my way to sum it up, it’s a place for first responders suffering from PTSD and recovering addicts can go to hit the reset button, with out time and in the peace of nature, that place we all came from.

So here in this Multi part post, I will talk about my experience and why I think more people should forget about time more often and get back to nature.

Part 2: Day 1 – An Attempt to relax

Please help Camp My Way become the program I know it can be and DONATE TODAY!

There is a myth among the public that a quick seminar can teach you everything you know about self-defense. Quite frankly this is a lie. I bring this topic up every once in a while and I am sure a repeat myself but it comes up so much when people ask me about seminars it’s worth repeating.

No, you cannot learn much in a 2-hour seminar that attempts to cover the entirety of Krav Maga. So please stop asking me and stop asking any serious self-defense expert. Yes, Krav Maga at least is easy to learn but not that quickly.

at my schools though I do offer seminars but they are topic specific seminars. Each topic ranging from knife survival to clothing and weapons of opportunity is usually about 4 hours. Usually, In this time I will cover as much of the UTKM white-Orange belt curriculum that pertains to the specific topic and as much of the advanced application I can pending the skill level of the participants. However in reality, for each topic, I could probably run a week long seminar and still not cover everything.

The purpose of the seminars at UTKM is to give a broader more complete perspective on the specific topic that might other wise take months of a regular training to get. They are also to help new students understand how much there is to learn and how much practice they will need and for the more advanced students to refine their skills and also learn something new.

It doesn’t matter if you have done the seminar before with the same instructor or a new one. There are always new ways to approach things and new drills to practice. Especially as there is so much to learn about each topic. I have never gone to a seminar I have already been too and not walked away with at least something new. And to be honest, even if you learned 100 new things the reality is you will probably only remember a 10th of it so even if you are learning the same things you will still probably walk away better for it.

Remember one of UTKMs core values is to never stop learning and growing so to all former, current and potential new students when time and budget permits always come to our seminars or other peoples seminars when you can.

Life:

noun
1. the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.
2. the existence of an individual human being or animal.

You have to want it

But what is life really? This is a question so many of us ask our selves, as is simply existing life or is it something more.

As always when teaching students Krav Maga inevitably come students that are not quite aggressive enough. Upon teaching one student recently I told them, “cmon you have to want it. ”

You have to want it more than youre afraid of itThis got me thinking. In Krav Maga, wanting it is committing in an aggressive fashion apply Krav Maga principles and retzev while being relentless until the threat has stopped. In this case, wanting life is due to an immediate threat to life. If you hesitate or let up, there is a good chance in a violent situation things might not go your way. In Krav Maga, wanting life is about commitment to your action, in an almost singular focus driving forward with constant pressure until you are sure your life guarded. In such cases, you wanted your life bad enough to do what it took to survive.

In some ways, you might say I have adopted this attitude towards many aspects of life, hence the saying Krav Maga is a lifestyle and a way of thinking.

As an instructor, teacher, coach or what ever title some wish to give to me, I find my self often giving out advice to students or people outside of Krav Maga class. Sometimes it’s wanted, and sometimes it’s not wanted but needed. The thing is my advice often ends up being the same. You have to want it!

On Mental Health:

I often tell people the story of my manic depressive episode, which I won’t go into lengthdesire-to-change here. But for me, it was a 2-3 week period where things were not the way they should have been. After realizing things were not right, I got my self off the couch, I got my self-help and I did everything for my self to get better because I wanted to. In my case, those around me didn’t know how to help or didn’t recognize a problem so I did it my self.

Often when I talk to students or people about mental health issues, I will listen and in the end, the advice is always the same. How badly do you want to get better and what are you going to do about it. The choice is simple, you have to want to get better and you have to take the actions (not words) in order to get better. The choice is easy, the execution is hard, and so many are too fearful to make the required changes. In such cases, can’t is often won’t (Though in some cases biology wins out and medication or other things may be required to create a baseline level)

 

 

Mental health can be tough, and for some, they need out side help. But remember, YOU HAVE TO WANT IT. YOU Have to get better and YOU have to take the actions to make your life the way YOU want it.

On Entrepreneurship:

You have to hard workOn this topic I often find myself banging my head on the wall because I see the same thing over and over. I see people who like the idea of being a business owner or entrepreneur but fail to understand what that means. What it means is working 60 + hour weeks, working second jobs, being your own marketer, being your own carpenter, being your own driver, being your own well EVERYTHING. Why? because unless you are lucky enough to get large investments and I mean LARGE investments you will not be able to hire the people with the required skill set and drive to do those things for you. Because trust me, the people who can are worth a lot. Volunteers and helpers unless they are as driven and hard working as you will often just be a hindrance or at the very least a great source of frustration.

So you want to be our own boss, and take your life into your hands. Well, guess what, YOU have to want it. YOU have to do more work than you ever imaged. YOU will deal with the hardships and the millions of non-stop obstacles that other people and the world will throw at you. Belief is not enough if YOU don’t do the work.

There was a myth propagated a while ago by the book The Secret that many people bought into that if you simply believe you will get what you want. The issue is the common thread among all the people used as examples was that they all put in lots and LOTS of hard work and time.

If YOU aren’t willing to put in more than you thought you would and YOU are willing to forgo your social life or other things to make YOUR life the way you want it through business and entrepreneurship then YOU are only lying to yourself. so are YOU going to want it bad enough for your own life’s sake?

In General:

I could apply this to numerous other situations but in order to simplify it and keep this short, I will say, in general, YOU need to want what ever it is you want. So long as you keep it legal, and do not physically harm anyone in the process then YOU need to do what ever it is YOU need to do to get where you want. YOU want to survive a violent situation, then YOU have to want it by applying the appropriate force and strategy even if it hurts or is not comfortable or pushes your boundaries. YOU want to get better from mental illness then YOU need to take charge and make the required actions in your life including hard changes to get better. DO NOT BLAME YOUR MENTAL ILLNESS, or use it as a crutch or excuse. YOU need to take charge and move forward. YOU want to own your own business so take charge of your life then YOU need to do the work until it has been built into something more. No excuses, YOU just need to do it and move forward. YOU, not other people.

So life, do YOU want it?