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Course Series Overview

Survival, to Grandfather and to me, is a philosophy unto itself. With years of living close to the earth, without the umbilical cord of society, I understand a certain "oneness" that only knowledge of suvival can bring. When I think of modern man entering the wilderness, I see a scenario much like an astronaut landing on the moon. So also when man enters the woods. He carries with him his backpack full of provisions, a sort of lifeline back to society. Both the man on the moon and the man in the woods are severely dependent on that lifeline; life without it would mean certain death. There is also a further insulation from the earth by heavy clothing and shoes, outer garments and tents; all to "protect" man from the spleindid forces of nature. And their fears of being separated from the lifeline, whether conscious or not, keeps them close to the burdens of life. Survival is more than just and insurance policy. With the practice of survival one begins to relax into the earth, to learn its rhythms, to blend in balance and harmony with all things.

-- The Vision

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Course Prerequisites

There is no prerequisite for the standard course

Course Description

As the prerequisite for all other Tracker classes, Standard provides for each student a common vocabulary and a consistent understanding of the foundation of all of Tom’s teachings.  To thoroughly prepare students, this Standard course provides a comprehensive introduction to each of Tracker’s seven core tracks, which are: Philosophy, Teaching, Healing, Prophecy/Vision, Scout, Survival Skills, and Tracking.

Nature Observation: Participants will be shown how to observe nature more deeply, and learn the basic philosophy that Tom considers the most important part of the school and the basis for all of his beliefs. Through skills including stalking (the ability to move silently and unseen through the forest) and camouflage (the means of concealment that allows one to become part of one's surroundings), students will learn how to immerse themselves in the natural world.

  • Tracking: Participants will learn the basics of tracking, including track identification and analysis, pressure releases, sign tracking, scat identification, and how to follow a trail.
  • Survival: The following survival skills will be covered:
  • Shelter: techniques for constructing the debris hut, wicki-up, mud hut, cave dwelling, thatched shelter, and pit dwelling.
  • Water: collecting water using a solar still, sink hole, plants, and other methods; purifying, transporting and storing water.
  • Fire: making fire from friction using primitive methods, including the bow drill and hand drill, as well as how to build a proper fire.
  • Food: finding food from plants and animals found in North America, ranging from desert to mountain terrain. Harvesting, preparation, and cooking of food will be covered, though in the interest of conservation only a sampling of such food will be prepared.
  • Trapping: trapping animals using primitive snares and deadfalls. No animals will be trapped during the course, but participants will understand how to do this, if necessary.
  • Tools: making stone tools, cordage and bow drills, as well as techniques for creating digging sticks, cooking utensils and bowls from a variety of natural materials.
  • Tanning: primitive methods of brain tanning and making rawhide, as well as many useful items that can be made with the hide.
  • Native American Lifestyle and Philosophy: the oneness with nature that is the underlying philosophy behind the skills learned, and how it is essential to survival.

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