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Resistance is Never Futile by Mark Hatmaker

Should you always fight back? Yes. “But what if…”

Over the course of many years teaching survival-based strategies and tactics the above-exchange has taken place more than a few times. The “but what if…” question is usually posed by well-meaning individuals who haven’t quite grasped the seriousness of physical violence. These are people whose own humanity, whose sense of civility is so strong that they are caught vacillating between fight or flight decisions. It is a shame that these good qualities can sometimes stand in the way of grasping the essential facts of just how dire the threat can be.

The “but what if…” is usually followed by any number of justifications or pie-in-the-sky hopeful mitigations. These “but what if…” objections are based on unfounded trust and an incorrect grasp of probability. The first objection, unfounded trust, is usually based on the following scenario.

Predator: Do what I say and I won’t hurt you.

Or, some other such promise to the victim.

Now, these sorts of …
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"Scouts," Frontier Awareness, & Hands-On In All Things by Mark Hatmaker

In the course of researching and preparing material for the historical Frontier Rough & Tumble Combat Program I have also been compiling copious notes on indigenous methods of tracking, stalking, skulking, reading sign, reading water, sensory enhancement, elevated environmental interaction et cetera.
These notes [200+ pages thus far] read as a sort of situational awareness bible/survival hacking handbook all 100% sourced from historical resources. We will be offering drills and exercises from these fascinating methods in an upcoming book and side-offering to the RAW Program as an adjunct to the pure combat-tactics side of things.
And I can assure you, just as with the combat side of things, all are tested first for veracity and applicability. I have been kayak-rolling in rivers and learning to sail not simply for fun [it is much of that] but also to get a better handle on “water-reading,” “Iroquois crawls,” norsaq rolls [a Greenland Inuit method to accelerate harpoon thrusts], and…

Boxing vs. Savate: The Boilermaker Exhibition by Mark Hatmaker

Lest we forget, mixed martial arts, mixed matches, and combination fights are not a new development. Whether we reference Greek pancratium and its long lineage through the fearsome hybridization-melting pot of American Frontier rough & tumble, fights that were more than mere boxing, more than mere grappling have been of great interest.
The fascination often lies in the comparison of style vs. style as opposed to athlete versus athlete. We must never mistake that a kicker knocking out a grappler means that kicking holds utmost superiority, or that when a grappler chokes out a striker that grappling is the be-all-end-all. It merely means that in that particular instance the specific victorious athlete held sway or that luck had its way.
With that preamble out of the way, we must admit no matter what is “proven” by mixed matches that they hold appeal. Let’s look to one such historical mixed match.
Heavyweight boxing champion Jim “The Boilermaker” Jeffries was coming off of his victory …

Awareness Drill: The Top-Down Scan by Mark Hatmaker

American Indians, scouts, and indigenous trackers the world over have been observed to survey terrain/territory in the following manner.
A scan of the sky overhead, then towards the horizon, and then finally moving slowly towards the ground.
The reason being that outdoors, what is overhead-the clouds, flying birds, monkeys in trees, the perched jaguar—these overhead conditions change more rapidly than what is at ground level.
It has been observed by sociologists that Western man whether on a hike outdoors or in an urban environment seldom looks up from the ground or above eye-level. [I would wager that today, he seldom looks up from his phone.]
For the next week I suggest, whether indoors or out, we adopt this native tracker habit. As you step into each new environment [or familiar ones for that matter] scan from the top down.
I find that this grounds me in the awareness mindset. For example, I step into my local Wal-Mart [or an unfamiliar box store while travelling] starting at the top, t…

A Conversation With Pirate Historian Ben Little by Mark Hatmaker

Allow me to say the following interview with Benerson Little is ostensibly about Pirate History and tactical matters of combat at sea, but, to my mind it is far more than that.
Ben waxes sagely on the importance of the experimental method versus simply imbibing and regurgitating information and there is a touch of “Get out there and live!” admonishment.
I find myself in agreement with Ben 100%.

For those not in the know, Ben Little is the mighty interesting hybrid of ex-Navy SEAL, fencer, and master historian of all things piratical.
I urge you to have a look at Ben’s work:
Read on!
First things first, Ben, I became aware of your work via your book The Sea Rover's Practice: Pirate Tactics and Techniques, 1630-1730, which is in a word-superlative! Exactly the sort of hands-on in-the-trenches history that appeals to me.I love the immersive aspect that goes beyond the typical academic rehash. Your work feels alive and passionate and “been there, done that.” …