The following article is based on an interview with Science of Skill Expert Mikal Abdullah and borrowed from the full course Military Survival Secrets, which is no longer available in the official Science of Skill store but can be bought through the link provided.
In survival situations, it’s extremely important to make sure that you have some kind of armament to protect your body. This might not be the first thing that comes to mind for many civilians looking for advice on how to survive in an emergency, but it’s one of the first pieces of advice for an escape and evasion scenario as suggested by Military Veteran and Martial Arts Practitioner Mikal Abdullah. You should plan for short-term solutions, but you also need some kind of plan for a longer-term scenario as well. And just how do you go about planning for what to bring? Is it as simple as ordering an emergency survival kit online?
Planning really depends on the type situation at hand – whether you’re located in an urban or non-urban location, the scenario at hand (a natural disaster versus an invasion), etc. In most cases, there are “staples” that should be present in every “bug out bag” i.e. survival gear bag. You should have waterproof matches and some kind of shelter covering, along with enough food to survive for about a month. Of course, the more people in your party, the more supplies that you’ll need to have on hand.
Meals ready to eat (or MREs), common in the military, are made specifically for bug out bags. When it comes to MREs, Mikal emphasizes the need to save as much space as possible. It’s illogical to throw heavy food items in your pack, and it pays to think of how to get more for less. Things that take a lot of prep time, like dried beans or anything with too many ingredients, are probably not going to be ideal. “Just because an entire meal is set up in an MRE – especially if you don’t know how long you’re going to be out in the field – don’t think that you’re going to eat tlhat whole meal. That’s a lot of calories. You can definitely make those things stretch,” says Mikal. He suggests that one prepared MRE could stretch you half a day or more if you plan it right, up to an 18-mile stretch. On a side note, if you want to be found, then having some type of flare gun is a good idea. If you’re in possession of a firearm, you can also fire off three shots, a universal signal that communicates that there’s some kind of SOS situation.
A common military concept entails getting a unit of people together in one jump-off or meeting location while on a mission or getting out together safely to a specific location. How do you determine a rally point? It might seem like some place on the other side of a city, for example, that’s as far away from danger as possible is the ideal spot, though that’s probably not the best idea. You want the rallying point to be close enough for everyone in your group to reach by foot (though Mikal stresses that most people are capable of traveling further distances than they give themselves credit). Make sure that the place has good visibility from a distance so that you can visually check the rally point before you get there and make sure that it’s actually safe.
Mikal suggests moving away from an urban environment if possible, especially if you’re in a suburban area that borders a slightly more rural area. An isolated and distinct clearing or an abandoned home could be a reasonable option. “I would train the entire team or family up with the understanding and knowledge of what it takes to assess that it is still a safe place from a distance,” Mikal says.
When it comes to prepping and getting your family to this rally point, it important to practice (like a drill) and go over key metrics, one of which is travel time. Mikal notes that it’s important to understand how long it takes for everyone in your group to get to the prep point before they even get to the rally points, in order to assess whether or a planned rally point is safe. Practicing twice a year or every six months is a recommended minimum, and if you’re in a location that is subject to diverse seasons, it’s to do one drill in the winter and another in the summer to test out the various parameters of each.
Also, depending on how big the group is, everyone should have some kind of pack. “I’m not talking about a two-year-old toddler, but everyone should have some kind of gear that is on them to be able to withstand the situation,” says Mikal. Planning with a family requires answering a list of common-sense questions, such as ‘Whose job is it to carry the kids? Whose job is it to make sure who gets where? How long does it take to get to the prep point?’ Everyone in the group, including children who are old enough to handle objects safely, should also have a small amount of knowledge on how to use a field med-pack in the event of an emergency.
Another important concept to practice is ‘cover and concealment’, something many people don’t understand, says Mikal. “I’ll just give you the quick and dirty – concealment means you can’t see me. Cover means you’d have a hard time shooting me, which is pretty important. So, how do I move from cover to cover? Often times, you see people who aren’t trained try to move great distances to get to cover when they didn’t have to, as opposed to a 3 to 5 second movement in which you can move and stop…from safe place to safe place,” explains Mikal. In other words, don’t just run through the largest clearing because you can run fast for a relatively long span of time – even 30 seconds is a long time to be exposed in a dangerous scenario. Instead, look for and actively have your antennae up for sheltered safe places along your route to your rally point, ideally spots that what would protect you from shells or other ammunition that might be a threat.
About Mikal Abdullah: Mikal Abdullah is an experienced military man (honorably discharged from the U.S. Army) and martial arts instructor. Specifically, he is a BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) competitor (black belt), practitioner, teacher, blogger, and professional MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighter. Mikal is currently the Head Coach/Founder of Aces Jiu Jitsu Club at the Domain in Austin, Texas. You can also find him blogging on his mixed martial arts and paleo-focused nutrition site at http://mikalbjj.com/.
Image credit: On Point Preparedness
Coach Daniel is the founder and head publisher at Science of Skill, LLC. A martial arts black belt and self defense instructor, Dan has spent years training with and interviewing some of the world's best self protection experts. His passion lies in encouraging others to train smart and to improve the skills that make them safer and stronger.
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