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Article & Video Series | What Is Wilderness Survival? | Interview With Tom Brown

Tom Brown describes the why, wherefores and how tos of wilderness survival in this introductory 3 video series.

What is True Wilderness Survival?
According to Tom Brown Jr., a well-known wilderness survival expert, true Wilderness Survival capability is when you can go out into the wilderness with nothing and not only survive, but survive “lavishly well.” True wilderness survival is also a philosophy, a science, a sublime connection of flesh and spirit, a spritual commitment of understanding and surrender to the power of the Earth to reach a personal survival “nirvana.”

What Is the Most Important Tool In Survival?
The most important survival tool is mental attitude, Tom emphasizes. A positive mental attitude is absolutely critical. “Looking upon survival as an adventure rather than some kind of torture is what really counts,” he says.

The 4 Steps of Survival or “Sacred Water”

1. Shelter
Humans can freeze to death in 50 degree temperatures when wet. Shelter is the most important first step. Tom describes a “debris hut” that can keep someone warm and dry overnight, even beneath a cold downpour.
2. Water
Within 24 hours, humans can suffer brain damage without water. In a few days, a person without water may die.
3. Fire
Fire is useful for purifying water. Fire also can provide warmth. The cut end of a grapevine can provide a gallon of water. Getting a tinder bundle heated with a wooden rod with friction is one of the easiest methods to start a fire.
4. Food
Food is actually the least of one’s immediate concerns, yet nonetheless crucial. This is also the most difficult steps to take as it can involve making tools, weapons, traps and knowing what plants are edible and which can be toxic, harmful or deadly poisonous. Also crucial are medical skills including knowledge of medicinal plants.

Fitness is not how strong you are, but what you know. Knowledge is power. Respecting and honoring the wilderness takes the human to a new level, a child of the Earth, almost on a spiritual level. Solitude in the wilderness becomes a temple, a source of inspiration and awe, a source of connection with, and a reverence for the Creator. It is, says Ton, a visceral thing.



Grandfather “Stalking Wolf”
Tom Brown Jr. claims to have been taught by “Grandfather,” a native American Lipan Apache named Stalking Wolf. Although Tom does not provide any proof that such individual ever existed, Lipan Apache tribe members have not publicly made any negative comments regarding Tom or Stalking Wolf.

Tom’s Believability
As Tom says in the beginning of his tracking school introduction: “”If you believe every word I say, you are a fool. Prove me right or prove me wrong.” The point may be, not to believe everything you hear, read or even see; but instead, figure things out for yourself. Take what you are taught and prove it for yourself. Do your own research, learn to appraise information, think for yourself. When someone is able to think creatively and on their feet, they are more likely to be successfully self-sufficient.

Tom the Businessman
Above all, it is important to know that Tom is a businessman. His tracking school is very profitable. Tom drives a Humvee, owns tons of the latest electronic gadgets and gizmos, wears a rolex watch, has all the modern luxury conveniences, a luxury home, smokes cigarettes, which, all in all, flies against his philosophy of deep communion with all things natural, spiritual, of Mother Nature, of the wilderness.

Nonetheless, a number of his former students found life-altering value in attending his wilderness school, even at high expense, and few have been publicly critical, whether due to non-disclosure agreements or simply because they were satisfied.

There is no doubt that learning to survive out in Mother Nature, devoid of civilized props and conveniences, one is much more likely to get in touch with their primal being and have time to contemplate a number of personal values and issues. Additionally, it can help stimulate a sense of appreciation for the more simple things in life when the modern world can seem so complex.

Tom’s Tracking School Website: | Classes are generally about $700 each and are taught via both volunteers, interns and some paid instructors.


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