Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

New Look Coming Soon

At LOTSWild we like to change with the seasons, and the seasons have changed!  Check back soon for an updated webpage image helping us get ready for a vibrant Spring and an Extreme Winter (snowboarding!!!).

Summer Camp updates also in the works.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Schedule 2013

Class in Canton is ON for Monday
No class Christmas Eve in Black Mountain (24th), Tuesday
No Classes Wednesday Christmas Day
YES there is class the 26th, boxing day, Thursday in Black Mountain
Yes on Friday in Canton unless we're all snowboarding.

Merry Christmas and a Happy Wonderful New Year to everyone around the world.  Thank you for the many visits. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Give a gift that keeps on giving! LOTSWild 2014!!!!

Looking for ONE FINAL AWESOME hands down BEST most unique and EDUCATIONAL adventurous STORYMAKING christmas present? Know someone between ages 8-17, or even an adult? Consider a summer camp session with Spencer 2 Dogs on Cold Mountain, NC. Our program, Land of the Sky Wilderness School, is celebrating its 11th year and is unlike any other gift you could give. For $350 per session you can choose from an amazing 2014 line up including; Blacksmith Camp, Scout Camp, Ninja Camp, Sail Camp, Photography and Acting Camp, and more.

Reservations may be made over the phone at 828-280-0847, or via email (paypal) for a small fee. The unique gift of a camp session comes with a signed color photo, and Eugene has been known to show up and teach ultimate survival secrets as well.

For more information please visit our website and take a look at photo galleries, or look at the incredible activity list. In addition, many of the things done in the show are discussed with life lessons taken out for ease of learning. There's nothing else like it anywhere!
 

Snowboard?

Come with us!  We just had a very successful couple of days at a wonderful cabin on Beech Mountain.  Can't pay much? That's fine, split with the rest of us.  Terrible at boarding? You'll fit right in.  Don't have time? Bah....

"Like" our first cabin on facebook and see where we hung out, the owners were very accomodating and easy to work with -

If you are local and would like to learn at Cataloochee let us know, we can get a group discount rate

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Aspen-Ski-Loft-at-Beech-Mountain/221266184553068


Monday, December 9, 2013

CHAOS seminar instructors; Asheville NC, December 2013

Spencer Bolejack, Charly Aurelia, Stephen Opper, Michael Dickenson, Sean Kennedy, Thabiti Sabahive, Steve Ledford

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Bruce

I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations.  And you're not in this world to live up to mine.

-Bruce Lee

Monday, November 18, 2013

Go outside

And see the moon. Hide from it and wander around. This is important training!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I don't understand! How could such a considerate fellow be against Health Care?

Well, here's a response and my official article on the issue. Visit and read what CNN doesn't want you to hear, what George Soros fears more than aything in the world, and what common dreams will not debate. A free man's response to the health care debate, below:
_____________________________________________________
OK, time for my piece I suppose. As it turns out I wrote a short article that sums up nicely my opinion and considerations of the issue and will post it below.

First of all, I hear those concerns folks have. My family, when I was teaching, was exactly in that category. Health insurance for my wife and kid was over $500 month, and when we cleared (after taxes) little over $2,000 / month that was simply impossible, so we had none. We couldn't get aid except in emergencies, last minute, and we couldn't afford the insurance. So why would I NOT be for this government driven reform. Follow closely, please...

I have certain principles, and suicidal as they may be, I believe in these principles even to the detriment of my own ability to see a hospital doctor, if so be it. These principles include the right to a sort of privacy, the right to disagree with my government, the right and ability to ask questions, the right to bear arms to protect my family, home, and country, I believe in the right to my own religion or none at all. What does this have to do with health care? Everything.

You see, health care is the perfect in-road. It is an emotional plea, it tugs on our tender heart, it plays on our fears, and is the perfect way to contract into someones most personal life all the while appearing like a hero. In my opinion, the elitist controllers who relish power have tried and tried to find ways into governing our every day lives to the most intimate detail, but they have thus far failed because the American people value many of those same things I do - from all political stripes!

I see Health Care as a trojan horse. Yes, the 'government' pays for the new health care, but who is that? It is us, so taxes and fees increase, and the beauracracy grows and grows.

Where do the congress folk go for health care? NOT the unversal system being proposed, no, they would still have the the high class personal system that we all enjoy today. So there, immediately, there is a classification between the rulers/elites health care and the common people. But it doesn't end there. Do you eat certain foods, what activities do you engage in? The government will now have a reason to find out, and charge accordingly, or administer care accordingly to behavior that is within the acceptable bounds for risk and liability. Remember, our government is about bankrupt, they will absolutely find ways to limit expensive care. Have a gun? Your risk increases of, whatever, so different care for you. Like skateboarding, skiing, all sorts of activities can be used to engineer the behavior of the masses because of their fear and need to be 'taken care of'. This behavioral engineering and allocating of scarce medical resources may very well, and reasonably, become a political control tool - if it has not already done so to some degree.

I do not have a need 'to be taken care of' by my government, other than what basic things are necessary for food and environment safety/preservation, national defense, emergency preparedness, and other things civilization requires.

Remember when the 'church' in the middle ages was the sole source of medical treatment? People who healed and administered herbs outside the system were branded - you got it, witches! Already doctors and folks who are resisting this centralization of health care are being branded and demonized, it's in the administration propaganda as well as the news outlets that already have a stake in the new system of things.

So yes, I may have to deal with a broken leg, but I would rather have a broken leg and be free, than go through lines and procedure and red tape and forms and mindless robots at a central health department, have a fixed leg, and lose what generations of Americans have fought and died for - Freedom.

What we are witnessing is simply an attack on American's soft emotional state, combined with some level of fear, to find an in road to the bastion of liberty that is the American constitutional system, the Republic.

We are tempted to fall for it because we have been conditioned by our teachers and our media, and we do not appreciate, nor are we willing to stand for those bygone things which meant everything to our predecessors.

Health care reform? Yes. Lawsuits. Insurance fraud. Cost control. Access. Common sense. But handing over what would then be 60% of the entire US economy to a government which NO ONE in their right mind, with respect to history, should trust - no thanks.

ESSAY BELOW
http://yamabushi.us/writings_bolejack/ReRun_applyingleftistdoctrinetorightthought.doc

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

San Diego Master's Class 2013

Special thanks to the Parker Linekin Academy of Martial Arts and Cepeda Brothers Stickfighting/Martial Arts for a great trip.  GM Brian Adams welcomed a diverse crowd of top quality students and instructors in working general IMA techniques, Kenpo-Jiu Jutsu chokes, flow exercises, stick fighting and pocket stick.  Attendees cross trained in Aikido, Systema, Brazilian Jiu Jutsu, Kenpo, and more.  The Cepeda family was most gracious in accepting fellow instructors to visit and review black belt and master's promotion.  The humility and skill displayed by all was world class, matched only by the excellence of the warriors present. 





Friday, August 16, 2013

Nutrition, strength, portability

Nutrition, strength, portability

                The most drastic thing to change my training and physical development in the last two years has been a focused and consistent look at nutrition, and then using that knowledge to make daily choices.  Different body types have different requirements.  I am that person who rages when the school lunch lady won’t let you get a potato with your meal because “too many people are obese.”  I can’t stand seeing only low fat yogurt in the grocery store and often buy baby yogurt because it’s the healthiest.  I actually have some opinions on the effectiveness of no calorie and reduced nutrition foods even for people trying to lose weight.  But for ectomorphs like me, high metabolism freaks of nature, every calorie is like gold!  When I try to push my daily intake to a level that will increase size and muscle mass I quickly see that it is a daunting, expensive, time consuming challenge.  I find myself saying, “700 calories? Great give me two.”  While overall caloric goals can be approached by breaking eating up into 4-6 meals a day, what makes up those calories does matter also.   The program I have followed and developed over the last couple of years is something I plan on teaching soon and sharing with others because there’s just not enough good information out there for skinny martial artists who want to retain lightning fast speed while gaining effective muscle strength and size.
                I use the word effective because of the criticism people often levy against resistance training.  Folks say, “The size you gain from weightlifting is useless, prone to damage, and not truly efficient.”  Of course that’s mostly a load of crap based on a few poor examples.  Having your vital organs and bones on the surface of your skin is never favorable when someone is trying to poke, punch, kick, grab, jab, or otherwise cease your mobility.  Muscle is armor, in addition to strength.  And while one can slip out of balance, proper muscular development and tone is vital for optimum performance in any physical endeavor.  It’s paramount that the muscular development be brought into a mold that mimics the requirements of a given field, and that’s where my program comes in – but that’s not what this short writing is about!  It’s about an easy meal you can fix yourself that covers a lot of bases.
                Time is precious for most of us.  For most guys learning to cook is really a matter of impressing some girl, or girls, women, whatever.  I mean we like good food, but a pot of mac and tuna does just fine at getting us full.  A little salad answers the persistent voice of mom.  Broccoli has some complex carbs, and we want strength and energy and to not burn existing muscle, so we steam that.  Besides broccoli can have butter and a little cheese.  Mmmmm. Cheese.  So what is it we are looking for?
                We want a food that isn’t too expensive, doesn’t get old fast and isn’t too exotic to enjoy over and over again.  It should be capable of slight changes in flavor, have some vegetable element, carbs, healthy fats, and a GORGE of protein.  Omega stuff, calcium, and be able to last all day without going bad or getting gross.  There’s more; it should be portable.  Bonus if we can throw it in a bag or box and eat on it all day.  Add a few little staples like rice, noodles, bread, or whatever you want and this precious food source can become a meal.  Add alfredo sauce and wine and you can impress your girlfriend.  Or friends.  Whatever!
                Enter Salmon.  Wild caught Alaskan Salmon to be precise.  I remember when it was like a buck per can, I bought at least 50 cans for my Y2K stash.  It was a good investment.  In fact I still stock up on salmon from time to time.  Note that the farmed salmon (often called natural) is colored with weird stuff you don’t want.  The wild stuff sells for around $3 a can and can be eaten right out of the can if you can stay in true bachelor mode.  We got this in the can.  Add a bagel and we’re done.  79 grams of protein.  But that doesn’t fit the bill as mentioned above.
                RECIPE: Ok, drain the can of salmon and dump the whole thing into a medium to large bowl.  Add a raw egg and crush a few handfuls of saltine crackers (or substitute of your choice), add those.  Now dice a small onion, put it in with a few pinches of cayenne or other hot sauce, Curry is great!  A pinch of Cinnamon can round of the flavor and add some nice anti-oxidants.  Mix well.  Crush the bones with a fork if you don’t like them, or if you are fixing this for your girlfriend or whatever.  I’ve tried substituting everything for the crackers; corn meal, oat meal, crushed acorns, cereal, unknown dry substances in my pantry.  In the woods this is where you add bugs and berries but that’s a different article I think.   The onions are critical and sweeten the mix.   Anyway, form the congealed substance into a small ball and pat it out flat.  Have hot oil ready to go in a pan and drop in the patties starting with a ring around the edge, add the center patty last.  Some oils are better than others.  In general, veggie oils produce the most poisonous heat related by-products, bacon grease handles high heat without oxidization, olive oil is in the middle, Coconut oil is superior.  The center patty cooks extra fast on most eyes.  I find the best texture happens with higher heat (Medium); crispy outside and tender but cooked inside.  Rotate the ones on the outside of the pan because often only half of the patty gets well crisped.  One can of salmon can make anywhere from 9 smaller patties to 5 or 6 large ones.  But the fun is not over.  Of course flip them at some point and place on a paper towel of you have one.  The finished product is good ALL DAY, even overnight.  Heck I’ve probably pushed the boundaries a little and eaten them many days later.  All ingredients can be stored without electricity in a primitive environment – yes eggs stay good a long time outside the fridge, but if you have a water source you also have a good cooler.   Plastic bags work but they are strange when it comes to moisture, and plastic breaks down into estrogen-like compounds, which for us guys is kind of the opposite of the whole goal here.  That might explain a lot.  In general strive for less plastic, dudes.
                The best non-impact resistant storage is a small box with patties wrapped in foil, cardboard ok.  Reheating works well but they are great cold.  Add granola, fruit, or rice and some sauce and you have a world class meal on-the-go.  Getting back to weight gain; fix a load of these in the morning and eat between every meal all day.  An evening dose of salmon helps keep the body from consuming itself in the early morning hours as you sleep.  Let me rephrase clearly; it is not a meal, it is in addition to all other meals!
                Let me know how it goes!  I have fun salmon stories, one of which being a trip to Jamaica where we had a delay and spent the night at the airport eating our box of patties all night, freezing cold, blowing a didjeridoo and looking weird in general.
                Bonus tip: If you eat the salmon within 45 minutes after a hard workout, the protein uptake in the muscle tissue is at its highest and will result in stronger synthesis if practiced as a routine habit. A good digestive system lengthens the window up to an hour and a half, poor systems need fixing but mean you should start eating as your sweat dries.  The body should be hydrated from drinking water before and throughout the workout.  Translation; eat salmon patties after training and get stronger.  Drive on!


Author Spencer Bolejack directs Land of the Sky Wilderness School in western North Carolina where he teaches martial arts from a variety of perspectives, systems, and schools.


Monday, August 5, 2013

THIS IS SPARTA!


Welcome to the last and final camp session of 2013. Our small group will be covering an array of fascinating studies; strength training, stretching, diet and wellness, kicking from tang so do, trapping from jeet kune do, grappling and submission from Jiu Jutsu, stick strikes locks and chokes, pain compliance and environmental weapons, situational defense (cars, closet/elevator space, ground, stairs), balance games, tracking/stealth, cold water endurance (lactic acid purging), anatomy, firearm skills, sword (filipino and Japanese), kung fu two man set (kenpo), spears, medicinal and edible plants for bruising and muscle fatigue, precision drills, blindfolded training, disarms, and daily instruction from grandmaster level teacher. Our unique compilation this week brings in contact lineage from such forward thinkers as Ip Man, Bruce Lee, Hwang Kee, David German, Pedro Chan (Chinese medicine), Ed Hasty (koizumi sword), Wei Doo (white tiger kung fu), Chuck Blackburn, Ed Parker, Dan Inosanto, Rajneesh, Hatsumi and Ed Martin, Moti Nativ, Cherokee Scouts, and more. Techniques and knowledge are designed to be universal for your own style and background; don't look for cult like religious worship of dead guys here, just constant training and honesty, humility, and fellowship in martial art.
 

 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sail Camp 2013

Was a great success! Thanks to all who made it possible.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Yucca, Yucca, Yucca (fire, suture, soap, baskets, cordage)


Yucca, Yucca, Yucca

 




One of the plants I find myself talking about most is Yucca.  There are a few varieties within the United States including y. glauca and y. filmantosa, the latter being native to the southeast US.  Planted as an ornamental shrub around driveways and mailboxes Yucca has expanded along roadsides, drainages, and parking lots throughout western NC.  Known by settlers for its ability to produce soap suds (roots), and therefore shampoo, Yucca has a few other important uses for mountain people and nature students.  Some times are better than others for harvesting, depending on purpose, and we are in a prime time right now for one of the most exciting uses!

 

Few outdoor and primitive skills are more fundamental than the ability to make cordage, start fire, weave a container of some sort, catch fish, repair a wound, or stay clean.  Yucca can provide for all of these.  It amazes me how many people walk around with a haughty attitude about natural knowledge and the woods because they live in the country or occasionally hunt when in reality they know very little.  Just as in martial arts the attitude of “I already know that” is a roadblock to learning and should be dismantled immediately regardless of age or experience level.  Do you know about Yucca?  If not, follow onward!

One easy to find source of fiber for making cordage, or natural rope woven by hand, is the inner bark of various trees.  Tulip / Poplar is a fun material that works best when slightly rotted or wet for a period of time but it can be a little weak.  Human strength can break a small to medium cord, but it works well for necklaces and bracelets, especially if you’re concerned about wearing an unbreakable garrote.  Yucca fibers, however, are incredibly strong.  I haven’t applied scientific testing in comparison to the cordage from Basswood, which is not breakable by human strength, but Yucca is far stronger than Poplar bark.  My friend Eugene Runkis made a 25 foot tapered fly fishing line from Yucca fibers that he has used for years and which is featured in the Moonshining episode of Hillbilly Blood, season 1.  Splicing is easy, and for short sections, the length of a single lance shaped leaf, the fiber comes complete with a needle attached to the end.  The needle is so sharp it can pierce skin and be used to sew a wound.  I once thought wound sewing was some far-out advanced stuff but have saved at least three animals with wound sewing prowess; learn to suture.  One of the more odd facts about Yucca is that it’s a fish narcotic, and when used in a contained area of water can cause fish to become slow and dumb, even floating up to the surface where they can be collected by hand.  Since we’ve already mentioned shampoo I’m just going to skip to my personal favorite use of Yucca and why RIGHT NOW is a crucial time for YOU to go and grab some!

                I sometimes call myself the lazy survivalist.  In actuality what that means I like to stay warm, dry, comfortable, and enjoy my place in the wilderness and use intelligence and natural resources to provide time to enjoy the view, smell the flowers, watch the critters, contemplate existence.  Imagine what life is like when humans struggle every moment to survive; warzones, extreme poverty, natural disaster zones.  This means very little in the way of thinking; no philosophy, art, music, innovation, etc.  Striving to get ahead of struggle is a worthy accomplishment for more reasons than being lazy I assure you.  Well, in the pursuit of speed and ease I have found Yucca to be #1 of all possible materials to be used in a fire by friction kit.  Fire by friction is a term that refers to the production of fire by the process of rubbing things together.  For a bow drill FxF kit one needs a hand hold, bow, spindle, and fire board or hearth.  Yucca not only makes a fine cord suitable for temporary use on the bow but the stalk of the plant is the perfect balance of all qualities for a coal starting material.  It’s hard enough but powders quickly.  It is already round so we don’t have to carve anything! That’s a big deal!  Simple shaving to shape the cylinder is adequate.  The only real problem with Yucca as a fire spindle is worms.  These little worms crawl in to eat and hang out all Fall and Winter.  When you grind your spindle down into one they squish out adding lubrication to the fire hearth, which is the opposite of friction.  No coal = no fire.  Worm squish.  No fun.  If the worm has eaten enough then the spindle can actually fall apart and break from weakness, plus all the worm holes let in water which degrades the stalk faster.  There is a very easy fix for all of this, however.  Harvest your Yucca before the worms get to it.  That’d be the happy middle between when the plant flowers and seeds and when the worms get in!  That’d be just about now depending on your location!  Up here in the high elevations we have a little longer to go before the plant fully reproduces for the season but some areas are getting very close.  If your Yucca source is in no need of conservation because there is plenty then harvest away.  Let it dry naturally, and of course choose the straightest stalk you can find.  Some people like the thick stalk but remember thin stalks reach a higher RPM/spin rate so they make up for the reduced surface area.  Experiment with both.  Thinner weighs less too and is smaller which can be helpful for light travelers. 

                Yucca is hard to cut with a pocket knife and worse to break by hand, a small machete or chopping knife makes quick work of the stalk.  And ask land owners before jumping out and cutting down their stuff.  I usually just say I use the plant for crafts unless they seem interested then I really let loose and before long they are like, “Ok ok take the freakin Yucca and get out of here!”

                Below are some links and a picture that should help demonstrate the plant and its use in fire by friction.  If you have any questions write me anytime.  Take care,

Spencer 2 Dogs

 

The 5 second coal (using yucca and sycamore)


 

General fire by friction and tinder (yucca, sycamore, and poplar)


 

Eustace Conway building a fire kit from scratch and talking about cool stuff


 

 

 
 
 
 

Monday, July 1, 2013

吃点苦 - To Eat Bitter



吃点
Chī diǎn kǔ – To Eat Bitter

There is a fun movie that I sometimes play for my martial arts students named Iron and Silk.  While at once playful and light hearted it does a great job of exposing some of the cultural differences that have existed, even into modern times, between the West and Chinese tradition.  As the character of Teacher Mark begins teaching English he also studies Kung Fu from Sifu Pan, a master who plays himself in the movie.  There are many wonderful moments throughout the film, but perhaps my favorite is when Sifu Pan is rejecting Mark’s request for training, the final question being; “Can you eat bitter?”
                While there are some valuable improvements in modern education that use terms like ‘child-centered’ and student directed learning, we also risk making the error of giving kids the impression that they are the center of their Universe.  Martial arts training is by nature tough, and it should be.  One must condition the body to be stronger, to take blows without injury, to push beyond ordinary limits and perform with grace under pressure.  Additionally, wilderness skills require a foundation of perseverance, the ability to choose happiness in the face of physical challenge and emotional stress, to find humor and peace in the uncomfortable, to see good in the midst of rain, cold, heat, exhaustion, long distances, and hard work.  What is it that traditional Chinese people found so valuable in hard work that the phrase became a virtue to be passed on and highlighted from generation to generation?  Have we done a good job of teaching our own children to ‘Eat Bitter’?
                You can probably imagine the difficulty of operating a wilderness and martial arts school.  The classes are engineered to enlarge comfort zones, to increase boundaries and potential, to overcome limitations.  The other day I had to ask my wife, “Am I just getting older or are the kids whining more than ever these days?”  And it has financial overtones.  Do I run a camp that sticks to the mission, mixing in fun and social elements and games and entertainment BUT STAYS TRUE to a program that makes kids eat some bitter? Or do I sell out and just cater to their needs and stay away from things that make camp drudgery for them in the short term?  Well I know the answer, haha, the question isn’t really there, but the same thing happens in martial arts class.  I hear the most stupid things sometimes from people; “Well, we quit because we just really wanted to see more belt promotions, you know, he’s only tested twice in the last year so we’re going somewhere else?” Are you kidding me?  My favorite, “You made my kid do pushups.” Ok.  “This is hard work, I mean, it’s fun and all, but I think my son just needs a little more playtime.”  I’m feeling like some old stick in the mud at this point.  And you’ll notice here that my frustration is usually more with the parent than the kid.  You see, kids don’t know any better.  Like a horse that eats corn until it dies, kids feed the comfort mechanism to their own peril.  My 3 year old daughter would eat candy until she fell over and croaked, if it were up to her.  But it’s not. 
                In some ways we have gotten backwards.  There is a school that used to visit Turtle Island where the students give the teachers ‘grades’, and this feedback determines whether or not the teacher returns to their job.  So the teachers are afraid to discipline the students and rely on us wilderness counselors to do that, which I gladly provide in a professional and appropriate way (that ends up garnering more respect and personal admiration from the kids anyway).  Parents listen to a kid’s camp experience and hear, “It was really hot and we had to walk a long way, I don’t want to do that again” and somehow hear that as a negative thing.  I would say, awesome kid, way to drive on, guess where you’re going again!  Why?  Because there is value in learning to eat bitter.
                We are not enduring hardship for hardship’s sake.  Instead we are learning that investment pays off, that there is a return on our hard work, that discomfort is a matter of choice and that we can learn to be comfortable in a wide variety of settings!  We are learning that sometimes the ticket to beauty, to nature, to adventure and the unknown, is something that is hard!  We are learning that it’s ok to get mad for a moment, to feel frustration, to feel like we can’t continue, and then step into the most brilliant light at the end of that tunnel!  As humans encapsulate themselves in the soft cocoon of safety, wanting to control every moment and guarantee their expectation of reality THEY DIE! They lose freedom.  They miss mystery!  They grow old, disappointed with life, afraid of shadows, and jealous of those who live!  I’m only 36 but I’ve seen it, and I see it. 
                So yes, my frustration is with the parents because there is something worse than not wanting to eat bitter.  It is tasting it, then spitting it out never to return to the table of hardship.  These kids who are taught to shy away from the uncomfortable not only play into the hands of social manipulators on a global scale, the corporate driving forces that wreak havoc on both Earth and our Spirit, they carry the habit of failure into everything they do.  School.  Jobs.  Relationships.  Goals and dreams.  God given vision and destiny.   Incredible potential, things that we can hardly imagine – who are we to rob them of their greatness by teaching to accept a lesser self?  So here we have it, while we are causing a certain humility and discomfort and willingness to work and endure we are in fact unlocking a greater person in that child!  When we buckle as a guide and leader and only give them what they want when they want it we aren’t building them and empowering them as we may think we are; we are smashing them, lowering their self-worth, teaching the idolization of greatness in those rare masters of their art instead of producing it!
                Where does that leave us, we teachers in the classroom, in the woods, on the floor of the musty dojo and training hall?  Tonight I’m listening to the crickets call after a long soft rain.  The students enjoyed a fun movie and have full bellies of warm food.  They sleep soundly in safe quarters after a day of learning and playing.  But I feel good that they were prodded into the cold water, that the little blood on a scratch made it a ‘good fall’, that they did many pushups in the non-air conditioned dojo. I’m glad that the stinging nettle taught them awareness of our plant friends and that river currents are stronger than they are.  Some of them will go home after this summer and complain, but many of them – MOST of them are destined to find that sometimes the sweetest taste can only be found after eating a little bitter.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Skills Training, Fun, and Friends - Firefly Gathering 2013!

FIREFLY THIS WEEK: Hello friends, the firefly gathering is upon us, I am no where near packed (I plan on going in style this year complete with solar power, multiple covered teaching area and a motorcycle) woohoo.....

it's not too late to get your tickets to one day or the whole thing, and the schedule is AMAZING.  I will be teaching the following classes; Stick Jiu Jutsu parts 1 and 2 (Thursday am and pm) - learn strikes, locks, parries, chokes, escapes with a variety of stick lengths.  Cherokee Knife throwing - not much to say there, Trapping (the big picture) - a look at trapping from a global perspective, meaning, psychology, behavior, weather, mantrapping, vehicles, animals, noise alarms, trigger systems, strikers, national maneuvering, and animals that display trapping prowess.  Also Solo Whitetail Bow Hunting, offered twice - mostly a discussion with resources, techniques and strategy, stories, and some fun drills for awareness.  Lastly a kids Ninja class that will not only include physical training and some self defense, but also improvisational acting and 'being in character' as well.

Read about the other AWESOME classes and teachers, AND reserve tickets at this link;
www.fireflygathering.org

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Makin do!

Tonight on destination America, in Hillbilly Blood, Eugene​​ and I build a primitive vine fish trap, make a coat from gathered grass to counteract hypothermia and almost get washed down a gnarly flooded river. As if that wasn't cool enough, we then use junk yard parts to create a large scale water filtration device and engineer a machine that turns wood chips into electricity!!! Check it out.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Walk Like a Ninja



Walk like a Ninja?

People will never cease to associate Ninjutsu training with blowguns, black outfits, throwing stars, and smoke bombs, but in small steps I enjoy exposing my students to a larger perspective on training that is as fun as it is educational and rewarding.  Kids even sign up for LOTSWild’s Ninja Camp thinking they will suddenly inherit deadly skills of ancient stealth warriors, and parents think it sounds fun, and a dozen area Karate schools have Ninja Camps or something similar that has nothing to do with Japan, let alone Ninjas – so let’s discover one aspect of our training!  Kutsukae, or “Changing your footwear.”
                Like many things in Japanese culture and language this term can be interpreted in various ways.  It can, in fact, be as straightforward as changing shoes to mask already laid tracks.  It can also be wearing shoes that mimic another animal, which cannot easily fool a good tracker, but it can throw off a novice.  Some clever folks have even made shoes that stamped a backwards shape into the ground making it look like the walker was moving in the opposite direction.  Like all things, practice makes better, experience teaches hidden lessons.
                “Changing your footwear” can mean much more than these simple tricks.  Any hunter knows the importance of stalking, and it doesn’t take a creative genius to find a small stick and scratch a squirrel pattern in the leaves, or make turkey scratches to fool an approaching deer and cover our own slight sound moving through the woods.  There are many types of footstep methods that can be explored in a variety of games and drills, then tested in higher stakes situations that raise the heart rate and teach how adrenaline truly challenges us.  Nukiashi is a very quiet method of walking and highlights the many correlations between the Japanese Shinobi and native American Scouts.  Quiet walking may be different depending on what it is we are walking on!  Wooden surfaces, decks, steps, gravel, grass, leaves, dirt, rock, in water, on rooftops, all have variations that need attention in technique and foot placement.  We also have Shuriashi shuffling steps, and Kataashioto or gimping gait.  Students must learn first to walk with an injury, then hide the injury, then walk like they are trying to hide an injury.  The best false-injuries to portray are ones we have actually had in the past so we know the full emotional and mental effect of that injury and not limit our actions to the physical level alone.  Running, or Hashiriashi, can go in multiple directions especially in a mountain or forest environment.  Different concerns might include quiet running, running within shadows, running for concealment, running quickly, running with items or weapons, or running up and down, over surfaces including rock, mud, grass, and through streams.  Even Tunenoashi, or normal walking, becomes a wonderful study on a quiet afternoon in camp.  What is normal walking?  We watch and listen to each other and in a moment find that everyone’s normal is different.  A fun game is to watch and listen to each other and then copy each other to the smallest detail in sound, personality, stepping length and raise of the foot, and so on.  Emotional states greatly affect our strides, as does physical health – these are important understandings for the tracker!   And How can we walk differently and embody an array of subtle internal feelings and thoughts?
                If you are interested in exploring these topics further get in touch!  I’d love to invite you out for a hello, or have a new visitor for a weekend clinic this Fall.  We may not ever need such skills to evade a sword wielding pursuer, or to infiltrate a castle to steal vital plans, but learning to walk like a ninja is good for general awareness, fitness, flexibility, and opens our mind to a larger world that is always at our fingertips.  Even as a schoolteacher I used to wear keys on my belt, but then hold them silent as I approached the room after a short absence!  Students assumed I was always accompanied by the soft jangling of keys and click-click of dress shoes.  Not so!  For more information visit www.lotswild.com , and spend some time watching other people and animals – even without formal instruction your creativity and awareness will in time have you Walking Like a Ninja.


Monday, May 27, 2013

LOTSWild -

Salutes all of our men and women in uniform and their heroic families this memorial day 2013!

Drive on!

Friday, April 26, 2013

This Sunday! Cruso NC (April 28) - SAVE CAMP HOPE!

THIS SUNDAY: Save Camp Hope, this Sunday April 28 from 1-5pm Eugene Runkis and I will be demonstrating some cool survival stuff, meeting folks and doing whatever TV people do to bring attention to a worthy local cause in Cruso, NC. Camp Hope has served our local community and is also the film location for an upcoming new episode of Hillbilly Blood where we catch fish to smoke and preserve in an old fridge. Free drinks and lots of fun stuff going on. Bring attention to the preservation of this local landmark that is open to the public most of the year. I'll probably bring my guitar. Don't let the rain stop you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 http://themountaineer.villagesoup.com/p/all-should-pull-together-to-save-camp-hope/990680#.UXsjVkrneSo