As we age, we need to understand our new limitations and be able to adapt to them, overcome the ones we can and add new skills commensurate with our abilities. The timeless adage “if I knew then what I know now” is quite applicable to my prepping and survival journey. The focus of this article will be on adding new skills that will complement our existing skill set so that we can still be of service and not just survive but thrive in a TEOTWAWKI  scenario.
The Importance of Family and Like-Minded Friends
Having a wife and family members that are on board is a huge asset and probably one of if not the most important aspect of preparedness. No man is an island, nor should we try to be when it comes to survival. The most important group of people that should be involved in your efforts are those that live with you. I am blessed to have a family that has a preparedness mindset. My wife as I will demonstrate throughout this article has accepted the challenge of being prepared. She is continually looking for ways to enhance our position in preparing for TEOTWAWKI.
I am fortunate to have a very like-minded wife. She is not turning a blind eye to what is going on around us. It was not easy at first to create buy in with her. Initially, I did not push, but I proposed things for her to look at and allowed her to reach her own conclusions. When a person allows themselves to look objectively at the truth, understanding will come quickly. There are now many days when I come home from work and my wife is pointing out issues out to me.
The Impact of Age and Health
I am now over 50 years old and I do not possess the physical abilities that I had 20 years ago. I am not nearly as fit as I was even 10 years ago. When I was forty, I graduated from a special teams training program at the department of corrections where I worked. It was a proud accomplishment in and of itself but being the second oldest person to ever complete the program made it more special. I turned 40 on the last day of training. We were roused out of our racks in the middle of the night to celebrate my special day with 40 push-ups, 40 mountain climbers, 40 Iron Mike’s et al… Along with basic training it is one of my proudest accomplishments.
Not only am I in decline in my physical strength, but my overall medical health is not the best. I will spare you all the intimate details but suffice it to say some of my medical issues involve, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal and other conditions that leave me susceptible to infection which could possibly leave me compromised in a TEOTWAWKI scenario. After years of making poor lifestyle choices I have lowered my general health to the point that I cannot return to where I was, but I can work to prevent further deterioration.
I will now show how I am addressing these issues to make myself more of an asset and less of a liability in the event of TEOTWAWKI. What I will recommend is not for everyone. I have only recently started prepping over concern for the downward spiral that our moral, social, political and economic systems are in. I have been seriously prepping for less than seven years. Hopefully most of you have a good skillset and do not need this advice. But, the one thing I have learned in my prepping journey is that I can never learn enough. Knowledge is as important as equipment, possibly more so. It is my prayer that this is a blessing to all and a help to those that seek it.
The first thing I have started is a physical exercise regimen. After leaving the department of corrections my job became less physical. I still move around at work but training to pass the physical fitness test had gone by the wayside as I don’t have to pass a test to remain on a team. I don’t train nearly as hard as I did, but I do ensure that I get plenty of exercise. I spend a lot of time walking and hiking. I occasionally hike with a pack. Not only is this great exercise, but it is a skill that may be needed during TEOTWAWKI.
I am a bowhunter, so this walking and hiking exercise regimen also helps me to be able to perform that task as well. As I have always hunted, I do not consider this as adding to my skillset, but if you do not hunt, this is something you should consider. Becoming proficient with a bow and arrow could help provide you with food in the event that the stores have closed or have been decimated. It is also a very stealthy method of self-defense. These could be very valuable skills in TEOTWAWKI.
Another part of my growth is learning self-defense. Apart from what was taught at the department of corrections, I have never seriously studied any self-defense or martial arts program. I have chosen to study Krav-Maga. After having looked at the number of different programs that are available, I choose Krav Maga because of its efficacy and simplicity. What Krav Maga teaches are real-world type scenarios that can be practiced by a wide variety of participants of varying abilities. Krav Maga puts forth a highly aggressive style that should catch a perpetrator off guard by the amount of resistance they will face. Most attackers look for the weak and vulnerable so when that aggression is returned, they usually will not be prepared for it. Additionally, this is something used by the Israeli military. I know enough about military systems that if Israel uses it, it must be good.
I have also recruited my son to study Krav Maga with me. For anyone that has studied any martial art or self-defense skill, you know that you cannot just go to class once or twice a week and progress in that skill. The skills must be practiced outside of class to develop the muscle memory needed to make them effective in a real-life situation. So, not only do I have a built-in training partner, but in the event that these skills need to be employed in an actual self-defense situation, I will have a partner that I am very familiar with when we need to defend ourselves, our home and our families during TEOTWAWKI.
Another skill I am gaining is First Aid and CPR. This was required at the department of corrections, but I had let it slip since I left the department. I failed to realize how important this skill will be in a TEOTWAWKI scenario. Not only have I taken basic first aid through the local safety council, I have assembled quite an extensive first aid kit. I have many items in the kit, but many of the items in there I have never used before. Take the Israeli bandage for example, I have never used one of those. An additional bandage was also purchased to practice application. My son and training partner comes in handy for situations like these so we can learn practical application.
Another area of our medical preparations is in using food for health. I will cover this in more detail in a later section but suffice it to say there exists many natural and herbal remedies that will effectively replace chemical alternatives. Waiting to discover these until you need it is failing to plan. It is important to begin a study of these now. And not only to study them but try them out to see what works and what doesn’t and what needs to be changed so that it will be effective when needed.
Another skill I am developing is that of amateur radio. I recently received my technician ticket and am now becoming proficient in the use of an alternate method of communication. I have volunteered to serve as a net control operator for the local radio club. This not only gives me and other amateurs the opportunity to practice radio communications, but it has exposed me to many individuals with a wealth of knowledge in this art. This network of people has already been and will continue to be a vast resource in amateur radio operations.
This spring I will be attending a Storm Spotter training class. As a qualified storm spotter, I will gain valuable knowledge that will help in the event of severe weather. The training scenarios and the actual deployments will also provide a means for practicing radio communications. One can never get enough practice in any area. Radio is no different. The ability to help the community is a bonus.
Along with growing my skills in amateur radio, I have acquired several handheld radios that should last me a lifetime if not abused. As recommended on SurvivalBlog, I purchased a large quantity of the Baofeng UV-5R handheld transceivers before their sale was restricted due to the radio’s ability to broadcast on the FRS bands. There are many complaints against this radio, but they are $20 – $25 each. What you get is a transceiver that can help you communicate effectively either through a repeater or simplex. As part of my prepping, I am also teaching my family the basics of radio operation on the Baofengs. I have cards printed out containing the FRS and GMRS frequencies and we routinely practice communicating on them. This also helps us test the range of the radios under different conditions. It doesn’t do any good to have 10 plus radios if you have no one to talk to. Get your family involved.
I have also joined the American Redoubt Radio Operators Network (AMRRON) in an attempt to meet like-minded patriots here where I live. I participate in the Channel 3 project, but I am yet to contact another AMRRON member. I have contacted one individual via e-mail who lives close. I will have to keep pushing and eventually something will get established here.
(To be concluded tomorrow, in Part 2.)