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Monday, March 22, 2010

Empty Hand Survival, by Joe G.

We are living in a time when all has gone wrong and societies rules and conventions no longer hold true.  People no longer respect the sanctity of life and well established morals and honor have become a thing of the past. You have prepared yourself and your family to survive without the amenities we have grown accustomed.  You have enough food, a secure shelter, preparations for clean water and enough fuel and weapons.  At least you thought you did.

As the evaporation of society continues and you begin to watch your inventory of all things drastically shrink you begin to ask, what now.  Are you ready to venture outside your secure compound to begin to trade to rebuild your supplies?  Are you prepared to handle life without the security of your conventional weapons?  As the ammunition dwindles and ability to procure or even manufacture more is gone, what will you do?  Have you prepared yourself, let alone the others in your group, to handle yourself empty handed?

For thousands of years man was able to survive and even flourish with the empty hand.  The idea of training to protect yourself with your hands alone is frightening to many.  Being within arm’s reach of your adversary is not a comfortable situation to the untrained.  To the trained it can actually increase your confidence.  The internal knowledge to know you are ready and willing to confront any adversary, armed or unarmed, without hesitation or fear can have a calming effect.  To know you have control and are not a victim will bring a sense of security.

The question of what course of empty hand survival you should study becomes key.  Should you study self-defense or a true martial art?  Self-defense can prepare you for certain situations, but will limit you to those specific scenarios.  A true martial art will prepare you for ever changing scenarios.  Your course of empty hand survival is now narrowed to a true martial art.  The next and critical question is which of the hundreds of styles will be most effective?  The answer to this question will be answered differently by individual instructors.  You must be prepared to ask the important questions and filter out the hype and flash of the various styles.  As you begin your journey into the realm of the martial arts it will seem overwhelming.  Do you study Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Filipino or many of the other country specific styles?  As you begin your search, any style that includes the word sport can immediately be discarded.  We are not looking to win a tournament and have a big trophy on the mantel. We are not looking to get our name in the paper or become the next internet YouTube sensation.  You can never forget the ultimate goal is empty hand survival
Many may have family or friends already studying in the martial arts.  Ask them for their opinions.  Begin visiting the various schools within your locality.  Ask if you can observe and possibly participate in a couple classes (without cost).  If the answer is no, then move on, do not waste any more time.  Any serious martial arts instructor should have no problem with such a request.  Ask for a brief history of the style and the instructors.  Ask if any of the instructors have had to utilize their skills in a real world situation. It is important to know how long the instructors have been teaching and how long it took them to reach the rank they currently hold.  If they claim to be a master and have only studied the art for a few years, thank them for their time and move on to the next style on your list.  To be a true master you have to put a many years of hard work and dedication.  Inquire as to what the progression schedules to advance and the associated fees.  Again, if the progression schedule is too fast and the fees increase as you move up or you must pay to advance, move on. 
You need to find the instructor that is doing this because of their love of the art and desire to pass on the knowledge they have learned.  They are doing this to honor their previous instructors and prepare their students for real life situation.  Those types of instructors are out there, they do exist.  Trust your instincts and first impressions of both the instructor and the school. Do not be taken in by the amount of stuff in the school.  They may have pictures, weapons and the latest training equipment strewn throughout the school.  There are many out there who will tell you what you want to here in order to take your money.  You must be able to see through the words get down to reality of the style.  Ask them if this is a style they can do effectively as they get older.  A true effective martial art will be just as effective for the 18 year old as well as the 80 year old.  When you find the instructor that will allow you to both watch and participate you are closer to the martial art of your choice.  Watch before participating as you can miss many things while participating.  Observe not only the higher ranking students, but the beginners as well.  Are the movements natural to the way one would normally move?  Are the beginners learning the foundations of the system or being thrown in with the higher ranking students?  As with all things, without a strong foundation it will fail.  You must be prepared to ask the question what if.  Your goal is to survive a real world situation.  Does the style effectively move from one technique to the next?  One cannot assume to have a single strike that will stop every attacker.  There are those out there that will require an extended serious of strikes to subdue or eliminate.  If you cannot effectively transition to the next technique in your arsenal, you will fail.

I began my martial arts study at the age of 10.  I was introduced to the arts through my father whom felt it was in mine and my brother’s best interest to begin our training.  For the past 30+ years I have been training in the very effective and deadly art of Chinese Kuntao.  The system has been passed down in its purest form throughout the years.  I have had the fortune of participating and seeing many other styles during my martial arts journey.  I have yet to see one that I feel would be more effective.  Many of the questions that were posed above have led me to continue my training in Kuntao.  The school I trained in is a non-profit organization and the school I operate charges no fee.  My instructors and I do this for the love of the art.  We are not motivated to promote or carry large numbers of students to generate income.  We do not have to be politically correct for fear of losing students.  The art is presented as it was passed down from generation to generation.  It is a pure fighting art. We do not participate in tournaments and you will not find us on the Internet.  The instructors throughout the years have had to utilize their skills in real life situations.  It works and works effectively.  The movements are natural and the Grandmaster and Masters of the system are just as effective in their advancing years as are those of the younger black belts.  The art has become second nature.  No thought is required when a situation arises nor do you have wonder what to do when the first tactic fails.  You move on immediately until you determine the fight is over.  The situation does not end when your opponent has said enough; you end the fight when you decide.  You must neutralize the attacker, this may be giving yourself the ability to flee or it may be terminating your aggressor.  You will learn how to read the situation and apply the necessary force without thinking. 

In my youth I had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or at least my aggressors thought so.  I found myself in a not so friendly place late at night in a large city.  I could see the situation was deteriorating quickly as the number of aggressors increased from 4 to 10.  Through my training I became calm and collected, I knew they could not all attack at once.  I positioned myself with my back against a wall, thus protecting my flank.  My attackers could only come in from the front and sides.   The first attacker struck quickly with a blow to my face.  I then proceeded to subdue him while the second attacker came in from the right.  As your peripheral vision will allow you to react quicker, I immediately recognized the threat and eliminated it.  As the remainder of the aggressors realized I was not going to be a victim they broke off their attack before they ended up like their comrades.  As you have read, I did not come out without a scratch, but my training caused me not to panic and continue.  The training allowed my fight or flight instinct to be fight.

 The task of selecting the most practical school may seem overwhelming and impossible.  However, if you take the emotion out of your search and be analytical and methodical you will find the system that best suits empty hand survival.  Do not wait, the longer you train the more effective you will become.  You will be able to make your art part of your life and everyday routine.  You will become an empty hand survivalist.

Children in TEOTWAWKI, by J. Woo

Even if you do not plan to have children at your retreat, they will eventually find you. Kids are survivors and they always find a way to make it – it is the human condition. My wife and I lived in East Africa and we have seen street kids endure things that no child should ever experience. Despite the horrendous circumstances, they move ahead and children in this country will also move forward. We are all planning for the worst, and for some of you, the worst would be lots of children hanging around your retreat. If you are not used to being around children, then you should start making it a point to be with them. Volunteer at your church nursery or work at the YMCA. If you have not been around kids lately, they are much louder and more energetic than you remember. A few brief tastes of their company now could make the transition to life with children easier later.

| This article will discuss the following aspects of children and TEOTWAWKI: our attitude towards children, building strong family relationships, retreat safety, work, education, and health.

Attitude. Regardless of our current feelings toward children, if in the midst of TEOTWAWKI, we still fail to see children as the hope of tomorrow, then we are just as evil and blind as those who are destroying our country today. In preparing for TEOTWAWKI, we all feel a little stressed and overwhelmed at times. Imagine how kids are going to feel. Their inheritance is anarchy and chaos. When TEOTWAWKI does happen, I think the first thing we should do with children is tell them that this is not their fault. It would also be a good idea to ask them to forgive us and the past generations for making some really bad choices. The buck must stop somewhere, and there will be no point in passing the blame onto our kids. Then, we need to invest our energy and resources in a younger generation that will exhibit a spirit of honor, respect, and bravery which this nation has not seen since its creation. We can be the parents and grandparents of the next founding fathers.

| The Bible says that children are a blessing. We must lose our modern distortions that make our kids a liability. As we move back into an 18th century lifestyle, we must also understand that children are a valuable asset in the day to day. For a contemporary model, look at an Amish or Mennonite community. Kids will help in the daily routines and take care of us when we are old and gray. When given the chance, children can also bring keen insight and intuition into a situation. Kids bring huge amounts of joy, laughter and comic relief to the mundane.

Strong Relationships.
Know your kids and allow your kids to know you. (This also applies to you knowing your spouse.) Yes, this does take time and effort. For families accustomed to working, studying, and playing independently of each other, being thrown together 24/7 will be stressful. The more you know and understand other family members, the easier communication and life will be in general. A good starting point to guide you is to know your child’s love language and to know his/her personality type. There is a ton of information about the five love languages: touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, and gifts. Everyone speaks at least one of these love languages. Oftentimes, the people we “feel” loved by are the ones that speak our language, and the ones we do not relate well with are the ones who speak a different language. For example, a friend of ours did not feel a lot of love from her dad while growing up. He was a Vietnam vet and he worked two jobs to provide for his family. After studying the love languages, she realized her love languages are touch and words of affirmation and her dad speaks the love language of acts of service and gifts. Now she realizes that her dad was trying to show her love her entire life by working to provide everything for the family. However, she did not perceive his efforts as love because she spoke love in physical touch and words of affirmation. They were showing love to each other but the different languages did not translate well. She was thankful that her dad provided, but she really needed her dad to give her hugs and affirm her with positive words.

| I use this example because you could be speaking your language of love, but your child is not hearing it. Learn your kid’s language early on and speak it frequently even if it is a “foreign” language to you. It may be awkward at first, but I promise that it will get easier with time. Check out Gary Chapman’s books on the five love languages.            

There are numerous models for personality types. You can research online. Personality will make a huge impact on the dynamics of your team so you might want to include a simple personality test in your supplies. It is often helpful for people to realize that other teammates simply deal with circumstances differently. They are not trying to be difficult. (It just comes natural.) Children are going to be a part of the team. Building good team dynamics is possible even in very stressful situations.

Besides all the security of the retreat, give special attention to the safety of your children. When the SHTF, people will lose their sense of power and the feeling of control. People will be looking for a way to feel power and control in their life. Children will be an easy target for physical and sexual abuse – especially from people in your own retreat. Yes, I am saying that family, friends, neighbors, as well as strangers could be your child’s predators. Statistically, children are already more likely to be victims of abuse by friends and family than strangers. Putting families and friends together in a small space during stressful times will only increase the likelihood. Also, I believe that taking hostages for ransom will become a common event – just look at Somalia. When people figure out that you are the owner of a well stocked retreat, your kids could become an easy target. Regardless the situation, the following are some steps that might make things safer for your children.
Safety in the Retreat. As previously mentioned, most abuse to children is inflicted by people know to the children, therefore, safety within the retreat is a big deal. You must give your kids and their living space special attention when thinking about your retreat. Start today by making it a habit to know where your children are right now– especially your younger children. Never leave them alone at the retreat. I am going to investigate a tracking device that might be hidden on my child’s person. This might be helpful if we do get lost in the hordes. (If anyone knows anything about this, I would love to know more.)

| In regards to the retreat, I recommend an open floor plan for several reasons. First, an open plan allows you to keep tabs on everyone’s location and activities in your house. Second, an open floor plan allows for a clear line of sight if any unwanted guests come through your front door. Put a mud room on the outside and you have an even greater defense. Third, an open floor plan allows your kids more room to run and play. A small room to a child is big. A big room to a child is humongous. The more elbow room the better for everyone, especially kids. Fourth, (we have learned this by having foster kids) an open plan allows your family’s rooms to be physically separate from everyone else. Everyone else can either live on other side of the house, (or your family upstairs and everyone else down). No one feels “put out” because the large open space is very inviting and hospitable. Also, design your rooms so that the only door access to your children’s room is through your room. Alarm your kid’s door and windows – some on your door and window would be good too – these alarms are separate from the overall retreat’s alarms. If you have a different floor plan or you get stuck somewhere, sleep the entire family together in one room.

Safety in Obedience. Children must learn to obey upon command – 1st time. This is the best way to keep them safe and secure when it all goes down. If your child does not obey now, how will they respond when you give commands in a life and death situation? You cannot afford to have kids who will not obey you. However, strive to be a leader; not a dictator to your children. Also, understand that a child making mistakes is not the same as a child disobeying. Making a mistake is not wrong. Disobeying is. Know the difference and make sure your child knows the difference. Moreover, consistently enforcing obedience will allow your kids to feel safer. Even when things are falling apart, your kids will find comfort in knowing that dad and mom are still in control of the household. Shepherding a Child’s Heart is a great book to guide you on this path.

. We must train our children. Oftentimes, we mistakenly have a fast food mindset when it comes to training because that is the paradigm that we have often been “trained”. On some jobs I received maybe one example of how to do something, and then I was left alone to figure everything else out. Real training takes time because we must walk with them and they must walk with us. It becomes not just about getting a job done but about building a relationship. One of the major reasons we must develop quality training habits is because our supplies and parts will be extremely limited. We will not be able to break things and simply go to the store and buy new parts. We can take better care of our equipment by properly training everyone on the retreat including the children. Everything we are learning, we must pass on to our kids. All the things that technology has stolen from us that we had to relearn (preserving food, making buckskin, etc.), we must teach that to our kids. We all agree with that, but we have to implement it into our lives. Watch one. Do one. Teach one. As our child is watching us do something, we need to talk them through the why’s of doing it. We must show them how to do it the way we want it to be done. We must watch them for a time as they do it, and they must be competent enough to train someone else to do the same skill. This will be an essential lifestyle change when TEOTWAWKI.

It is essential that our kids do not have this spirit of entitlement that is so rampant in our culture. Three easy ways to “vaccinate” our kids against the disease of entitlement is eliminating television, giving generously, and doing daily chores. For those of us in suburbs or towns, your kids might not have a goat to milk, but there are plenty of small jobs to be done. Wash the dishes or dust the light switches -something. They must be a part of the daily grind. My almost two and almost four year olds wash dishes, fold clothes, pick up, and help cook. Of course, they do these jobs like a two year old and a four year old, but we are not aiming for the cover of Good Housekeeping. Kids need to know they have a part, and they are needed. If you invest heavily in children before age five, then they will easy pay dividends for the rest of the time they are under your roof.

Americans spend a ridiculous amount of money on toys that break or are quickly outgrown. Buy your kids useful tools that they can play with and learn a skill at the same time. Our boys got a tool set one Christmas with a real hammer, measuring tape, etc. My wife and I got them some scraps of wood and a box of nails – they hammered on those things daily for months. Of course, it might have taken him several minutes, but by the time my son was 22 months old, he could drive any nail, no matter the size, straight.

After you give them some useful tools, allow them to work on a real project with you. This past fall, I let my boys work on a chicken tractor. It took twice as long as it would have with me alone. They did a lot of the work, and they were proud of their efforts. I was too. This was not only good for them, but it was good for me. It made me slow down and enjoy the journey. When TSHTF, there will be no cards to punch and no schedule to keep. If we do not start now, we will be stressed by the slow pace of retreat life. A great way to grow accustomed to the slow pace is to let your kids help.

You have taken inventory of your possessions, but do not forget to inventory your children’s tools and “toys”. Keep your bikes and your kid’s bike in good shape in case you have to bug-out on foot. Their snow sleds may be useful. Even your child’s tree house could serve as a nice guard tower. Our current retreat has enough traffic from family and friends that a fortified watchtower would raise too many questions. So, I am thinking about strategically adding a tree house for the boys that will also accommodate sand bags and insulation for a future guard tower.

. I believe a huge emphasis on future education will need to be on social studies – government, history, and true economics. Without the re-creation of a stable government, all the inventors, scientists, mathematicians will have no other choice than to be subsistence farmers for the feudal lord. The only way to get out of the dark ages is to have another renaissance. There is coming a generation that will have to put a government back together again. Our current U.S. Constitution is politically brilliant but it leaves out the one thing that caused the American Revolution. “Taxation without representation” was about economics. Sadly, the checks and balances of our Constitution did not extend into our economics, and it is very evident that our economy has indeed been hi-jacked. Therefore, our kids will have to be educated on what makes money and politics work. Develop your library. Teach them about Blackstone's commentary on English law and political philosophy (including fascism and socialism). The Bible says a lot about law and economics – debt, currency based on precious metals, seven-year economic cycles, and stewardship. Again, someone is going to grow up and be in charge. It might as well be our kids.

The best way I know to research home schooling material is to attend your state’s home school convention. My wife and I like the Sonlight curriculum but each family is unique. My wife and I decided not to purchase all the curriculum for every school year (K-12) in case TEOTWAWKI happens before our boys graduate. It is a lot of money and a lot of storage. Since we currently do not live on our retreat, that curriculum might not make the cut if we suddenly bug out. Instead, we have been talking a lot about what truly constitutes a good education. First, we feel that if our children do not know the LORD, then we have failed as parents. This means that our children need to learn how to pray and how to hear the LORD’s voice. I recommend checking out Mark Virkler and his teaching on hearing God’s voice. (For me, this is the greatest tool my family has when it comes to preparing for TEOTWAWKI.

Besides knowing the LORD,  there will need to be a  practical application of learning that many Amish and Mennonite communities now use. Forget the curriculum mapping. Frame education around life. Honestly, allowing your child to help with calculating the logistics of preparation for TEOTWAWKI will cover math and science up to high school. It would be great if you had room for instruments and art material. I do think that high school students will need some textbooks. I would prefer lower level college textbooks. Just buy an older edition for pennies online. My essential high school textbook list would include the following: world history, United States history, United States literature anthology, English literature anthology, geometry, algebra, pre-calculus, calculus, biology, chemistry, physics, a broad art anthology, and possibly a foreign language of whatever country is invading us at the time.

Facing TEOTWAWKI, children must be educated about the life cycle. Birth and death are complicated matters for any child, and most children in our society are exposed to the life cycle through television or video games. Kids and adults will have many questions about this topic when the SHTF. Already having a paradigm for life and death will make things slightly easier on everyone around you. A farm is a great place to learn. If you are not on a farm, connect with a farmer and take your kids along to see a birthing or a death of something, anything. We involved our kids (age appropriate and what my wife could handle) as much as possible with our last home birth. At the bare minimum, expose them to funerals and funeral homes.

Along with the life cycle, kids need to understand that good and evil do exist and that good does prevail. I believe that story telling is probably the best way to convey this message. The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, and the Bible are great sources. Almost every night, I tell my kids stories before they go to bed. They request accounts about “good guys” and “bad guys”. I usually tell them stories from the Bible – unedited. We do our children a huge disfavor when we only give them the edited Sunday school versions. My boys love the story of David and Goliath (although my two year old insists there is a shotgun somewhere in the telling of that story) and how David chops off Goliath’s head in the end. Which led me to a realization one night as I told them a story: after the adults screw things up and cower in the corner, God will use a kid (a Joseph, a David, a Daniel, an Esther) to make things right and save an entire people. Ultimately, I tell my boys that Jesus is coming back and his garments will be stained red from the blood of killing the wicked (Isaiah 63) and that Jesus will establish his Kingdom to rule and reign. Happy bedtime stories at our house. But I want my kids to know there is a greater Hope that leads us through the sometimes difficult journey.

Health. I am certainly not a doctor, but I am going to outline our general philosophy on children’s health. You are free to take it or leave it. First, I strongly recommend praying for those who are sick. Besides complete healing miracles, there is research showing that prayer does bring healing quicker. I am not going to suggest that I know why some are healed and some are not. I do know that I am commanded to pray.

I am amazed at how many people, including children, are on prescription drugs. Our friends adopted a girl who was on eleven prescription drugs that cost $800 a month. For the past 12 months, they have worked with the doctor and have her down to four prescriptions. They are on schedule to eliminate those drugs within the next few months. Work with your doctor to scale back and eliminate everything if possible. One alternative to prescription drugs is to study naturopathy and homeopathy. Many pharmaceutical drugs are synthetic imitations of chemicals that exist in plants. There are many resources out there, and I am not qualified to expound upon them. However, my wife is currently studying naturopathy, and we have been using homeopathic solutions with good results. We are open to any type of medical care that works: chiropractors, fasting, Genesis/Levitical diets, muscle response therapy, iridology, etc.

With children, it is important to diagnose quickly. Baby 411 and Toddler 411 are geared toward the modern medical philosophy, but they have saved us numerous trips to the pediatrician. Children will recover from many illnesses when given enough recovery time. Knowing which symptoms are “wait and see” and which ones need immediate attention by a physician can bring a lot of peace of mind. We are currently researching more alternative children’s health resources. If you know of any, please post it.

Our kids were getting sick almost every other week. As soon as they recovered from one cold, they would get another. A chiropractor friend told us the best way to keep kids healthy is to keep them on a routine with plenty of scheduled sleep, vitamins, and probiotics. We started by cutting out some activities that occurred in the evening because we were getting to bed late. We read how many hours our kids were suppose to sleep and set-up a sleep schedule for them to follow.  Also, it became important for our kids to always be dressed appropriately to conserve their body’s energy. It was amazing how much healthier our kids were. Our plan on the retreat is to keep our kids on a schedule and to practice quarantine-like practices for those who are ill.

Children are our future. Our attitudes toward them, relationships with them, and physical, emotional, and spiritual concerns for them all deserve consideration and careful planning.

Top Ten Fire Safety Questions For Children

By David Archer

The sirens ring and the lights flash, attracting the attention of children everywhere as the fire trucks speed past. But what if those trucks were racing to your house? Would everyone in your family know what to do, how to get out, and where to meet?
Most children never have to face the danger of waking up with their house on fire, but every child needs to know what to do in case they find themselves in a smoke filled room. See if your kids can answer the top ten questions about fire safety.
1. If there's smoke in the air, what do I do?

To escape during a fire, Crawl Low and Go! Hot smoke rises, so there's better air to breath near the ground below the smoke.
2. Should I wait for my parents to find me in a fire?

Get out as fast as you can. Fires are scary but you should never hide in closets or under beds or from firefighters who may come in to rescue you with a big air mask on.

Don't Hide - Go Outside!
3. When should we call 911?

If there is a fire, first GET OUT, then call 911 from a phone outside or from a neighbor's house. Practice giving your name, your address, and how to explain the emergency.
4. If your clothes are on fire, what should you do?

Do not run. Running makes the fire burn faster. STOP, DROP & ROLL until the fire is out!
5. How fast can a fire spread?

In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for a house to fill with black smoke and become fully engulfed in flames.
6. Should I sleep with my bedroom door open or closed?

Bedroom doors should be closed at night to help slow the spread of smoke if there's a fire. If there is a fire, feel the door with your hand to see if it is hot before opening it. If it is hot, use your window or other escape route.
7. Would the light from the flames help me find my way out?

No. Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness. If you wake up in a fire, you need to know how to get out with the room totally dark, so practice feeling your way out with your eyes closed.
8. What should I do if I find matches or lighters?

Matches and lighters are tools, not toys. Tell a grown up right away if you see these items.
9. Where is our family's meeting place?

Choose a meeting place outside, such as a big tree or by the mailbox, so you will know that everyone has gotten out safely.
10. Are our smoke alarms working?

Smoke alarms should be tested once a month and replaced every 10 years.
Why Guy Productions has created the perfect kids DVD for children who want to be a firefighter, featuring action footage of fire trucks, a tour of the fire station, an interview with a fireman, and important fire safety information! Bonus material includes a step-by-step video to teach kids how to draw a fire engine. Learn more at http://www.whyguy.com/kids_dvd.html.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=David_Archer


Pathfinder 10pc Kit

Great video from Dave Canterbury about his concept of the 10pc kit--the minimum 10 things you should bring with you into the wilderness. While geared bushcraft/wilderness survival, there's some good stuff that can be extrapolated for EDC and bug out kits. For the lazy, here's the 10 items he recommends (you can get most of them from CanteenShop.com or Amazon):

1. Knife (fixed blade, 3-5 inch, recommends RAT-5)
2. Folding saw ( recommends kershaw/bahco folding sawKershaw/bahco folding saw)
3. Ferro rod (recommends Strike Force Fire Starter)
4. Compass (recommends Brunton Adventure Racing Compass)
5. Whistle (recommends JetScream Whistle)
6. Flashlight/Lighting device (recommends an LED light like the Streamlight Sidewinder)
7. Vessel (recommends Guyot Designs bottle)
8. Basic First Aid kit (towel/bandana, bandages, in water proof bag--keep it small)
9. 100ft. paracord
10. Tarp


Wilderness Survival : How to Treat a Sprained Ankle