Training And Advice: Getting It, And Getting It Right

30 Dec, 2014


As a trainer, I get a good bit of email and Facebook inquiries relating to what I offer in training, and why they should pay for the training offered, because “It’s available on youtube, or in a manual”. (Side note: If I post any AAR’s, they’re usually for a new class I’m  offering, I don’t need to pat myself on the back by posting what people think about my training for every time I have a class, it get’s somewhat redundant.),  I always advise them that although they might watch a video or read a book that good info can be gleaned from, getting it in person, from a QUALIFIED trainer (example: Taking rural small unit tactics training from a guy who has only ever done metro SWAT, is not what I’d call getting your moneys worth, that’s not a qualified, EXPERIENCED “instructor” in that skillset), gives you a more solid understanding of the fundamentals. There are a number of reasons for this:

1) You are shown a tactic or technique, and are able to see details that can be explained, and that isn’t always available in a video or book.


2) You are able to ask why it is performed that way.

3) You are able to ask about something you think might be effective (the “I saw it in a movie once.” question). An experienced instructor, generally speaking, can tell you if it will or will not work, and why it might be a noisy version of suicide.

4) I’ve heard the “You don’t know, what you don’t know” phrase a lot recently, well to add to that, here’s why I think you should take training, “You don’t know, what you do know.” By that I mean this. Most people that are willing to pay for training, have some common sense, right? There are things you know and experiences you’ve had in life that can be used as a way to help you understanding what you’re learning. This is why I always ask what the student’s background and occupation is. Here’s an example: A successful deer bow hunter will, in a crude way,  understand principles of camouflage. Why?  Because he’s used the  practical application of that skill to bag a deer. Or this: A pilot understands how to read a aviation map, right?  Sure he does. The key as an SUT instructor, is making that map “Down to earth REAL” to him. Until you make that terrain go from an “academic” understanding of what he’s seen on a map and flown over , to REAL “Foot Pounds”(copyright, patent pending, trademark MDT2014) because he’s walking it with a load on his back, and  learning how to pick a good ambush site based on the terrain (developed from an initial map recon), he doesn’t really understand what he’s been looking at when he surveys a map, at least not from a combatant/defender’s point of view, but he still understands maps, and that’s a start.


Land Nav “academic”



Land Nav “practical application”



5) Although meeting people of like mind, and networking with them is not what I’d say is a primary reason for taking certain types of training. The ability to network with people you know are serious (you’re serious, and they’re taking the same class as you, right?), can not be underestimated. I have met more quality, like-minded people while instructing (as a business owner) in the last 4 1/2 years, than all the time prior to that. I attribute it to this fact, everyone I meet in a course, is serious about their survival, and learning the skills necessary to advance their ability to do just that. They don’t pay lip service to it, they put their money where their mouth is, get down, get dirty, TRAIN and LEARN. In all seriousness, youtube and books, are just half measures, and anyone who has paid for decent instruction will tell you that.

DSCN1032   DSCN1215-1

Get out and train, do your PT (not some BS program geared towards a “physique”, but a practical exercise routine, designed to increase your endurance, and “real world” strength). Don’t make the sixth principle of patrolling “In all things, look cool” your mantra. Think “Tough” (farmer), not “Fluff” (the pretty boys), when it comes to training and PT. Figure out a routine you can do anywhere, even in the woods (that’s unless you are taking your bowflex, or free weights with you. What, you thought you didn’t need PT after SHTF?).




Don’t fall for the “You don’t need hands on training, just buy my DVD/ watch my YouTube channel, etc.”, You’re already good to go, ’cause you’re a ‘patriot’.”, or “You too can be a “commando” in three easy steps” crap. (On a side note,this just pisses me off, everyone knows what Commando’s were, and are. Those who want to downplay the history of the men, who were not half ass actors, but TRAINED, HARD ASS DOERS, don’t get it. They are trying to make out like commandos were the norm, not the exception,  and anyone espousing this belief should be questioned about their true motivation, realistic understanding, and introspective ANALysis.) Can you be as hard as those guys? Sure! Do you need to be to do what needs to be done? No, but every little bit helps. Will you be, when the time comes? I doubt it, but it’s a great standard to shoot for, right? Giving yourself a “Highspeed” name/title/rank won’t save you when the hammer drops. What will save you is “what you know”, how well you know it (the goal is to make it second nature), the physical ability to do “what you know” well, and the HEART to give it your all, stay in the fight, and never give up!

The “What you know” is the point of this post. Don’t tell me you can’t afford training.  I personally have cut costs in half for groups (see website), specifically because I know times are hard! I know others who are doing the same, and/or offering some courses (DTG) at very economical rates, so don’t give me the “I can’t afford your training, can you cut the cost.” BS, while your 50 lb. overweight ass is sipping a Starbucks venti cappuccino with extra whipped cream, eating a bag of Chips Ahoy (name brand of course), in your brand new Chevy Tahoe after picking up your $3,000 AR (that you just had a $1200 optic put on) from the gun shop. You know, the AR that you have no idea how to use (sorry, that’s right, you watched a video, right? My bad. True story BTW).


Practicing tactical handgunning skills (you wear your gear, right?) is just one of the many tactical skills needed to be a “well rounded” Survivalist.



Here’s one more thought. As my friend Bergmann likes to say on his blog and forum, “SEAL’s are not Survivalists, and Survivalists are not SEAL’s.”.  That simply means this. Are survivalists, commandos? No. Are commandos, Survivalists? In a very specific arena, they learn how to survive what they do for a living, but they are not Survivalists. A Survivalist needs to be a “Jack of all trades, and a master of some.”(generally, you want to try and master the “saving Life and Limb” category). The point is, you don’t need to be a commando to survive SHTF (Hell, you have to know a lot more than what they learn in the military, in a broad variety of topics. I can just imagine SEALs conducting a hydroponics class LOL). You will need more than militia/martial skills to survive SHTF. You will need to think like a Survivalist. What, are you just going to run from firefight to firefight? I think not, and if you believe that’s your destiny, you might want to set down the controller, and stop playing Modern Warfare 3 for a couple years.


Bottom line, what do you want? Do you want to be the guy who everyone says, “Damn, that guy sure had some awesome gear but was fatter than a prized swine!”, or “Remember that guy who showed up with the $5000, 17 lb. sniper rifle, with no clue how to use it, and couldn’t carry it a mile.”? This is what they’ll be saying posthumously about you, if you’re that guy. If you don’t have the wherewithal to train (Not just tactical training), or the intestinal fortitude to do the right kind of PT (Not just for tactical engagements) to enhance what you’ve trained in, don’t bother with the gear and weapons. Your survival will be based on dumb luck, or the pity of someone who took training and PT seriously. It’s that simple, I believe Clint Smith said this about the topic, “If you look like food, you will be eaten.” Refuse to be on the menu! Have a Happy New year my friends, I believe it’s gonna get real interesting.



American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

22 thoughts on “Training And Advice: Getting It, And Getting It Right

  1. I spoke about this just today on a question thread someone started on my page. It went something like this (part of a reply) :

    “Your post is a true story.. Because it easy to dress up and pretend you’re GI Joe thats gonna punch the bad guy in the nose and save the country from tyranny and kill all the bad guys because you’ve spent 8000$ on kit you cant carry and another 13,000 on a wall locker full of guns and ammo you shoot a few times, every few years. Its a pure crutch against reality. IMO if more ppl simply thought “OK this is gonna suck so bad” and really looked at what they will be into and get on with it they’d be a lot better off..Its turned into a hobby of sorts. Bush-craft went the same route.”

    Frankly I dont get whats going on other then the clipping of mens nuts and neutering of any drive to be real and to challenge ones self for the preparation of the hammer dropping. The only thing i can see is survival has went the way of a hobbyist. Much like Bikers use to hard men that got shit done. Now anyone can go to the Harley store to drop a credit card and dress up like a hard man for the weekend and be home in time for Sons of Anarchy and The Walking Dead. Its all bull shit!!

    I get loads of emails from ppl asking me if i have picked up the latest and greatest knife or tarp they saw on YouTube. (what ever) If I bother to reply I always asked them what paces they put the current knife or trap through that makes them need to replace them. Ive gotten few replies back but the ones I did were really good. They were from ppl that have put in the dedicated physical active TIME wearing shit out and being productive. I get about 4 emails a week from all over the world from ppl asking about the latest and greatest dumb shit they rush out to buy. Especially about Camo. More so I suspect they are looking for some pat on the head to validate their soft shell of esteem rather then really caring about if i tried a knife or new tarp or camo… .

    I also wont train ppl. And Ive been asked a lot. 1 Because i hate just about everyone and 2. I have never met anyone that wants to put in the time for free so there is no way I’m letting them pay me to make their problems mine. In the end, like with most things, the best will out shine the worst, to rise to the top and the survival of the fittest will remain the law of nature. But one things is certain there gonna be a lot of dead or suffering people being torn out of their bubbles of delusion when the hammer drops..

    There will also be a lot of unassuming folks taking the helm with a lot of tasks that the constraints of normal society as we know it wouldn’t have put in front of them. That guy who couldn’t get your order right at the Hamburger Joint Drive-Through might be the guy who tinkers with chemistry and become the teams Wizard mixing shit up and making stuff work that otherwise wouldn’t get done and he will do it well..

    The future is fuked..Prepare. I too think 2015 is gonna see some real issues.

    Be safe and be wise..

    Eisenheim, Alaska

      • One should never confuse truth with perspective, or vise-verse . A perfect example of truth is 1+1=2; Math can never be taken as opinion or perspective. Its just an irrefutable fact of the universe. Your perspective of my perspective is just that, a perspective. Or otherwise known as an experience formed opinion that I doubt you really share. I would disinvite anyone from taking my perspective as truth. I dont take responsibility for others blunders.

        That is all.

  2. Great post,I just want to make a couple points-not about the need to get training from a qualified trainer part-that’s spot on.
    First is that you really are not giving us hunters enough credit concerning map reading skills/land nav. Yes,you are right about many of us not knowing how to use grid coordinates,but there are a whole lot of us who could look at a topo map,and pick the best ambush points,we see natural choke points,because that’s where we arrow deer/elk/moose/bighorn sheep/bear. That also means we can pick the best travel routes,best escape routes,etc.
    Many of us also are very good with camo,as you said we have to use it,to successfully use camo- whether you’re using it for “tacitical” or hunting reasons-the object remains the same.

    The other thing is cost of training,there are guys out there who really can not afford to pay for training who have never set foot in a Starbucks,do not own new cars,and have the same rifle they bought in 1992.
    I was in that financial position myself for a few years,just now getting out of it,and have enough put aside to take a land nav class so I can learn the military methods of using map and compass,grid coordinates,etc.
    Just don’t be so sure that those who say they can’t afford training really have $$$$ to piss away on dumb stuff or fancy cars/trucks and rifles,or dumb assed tacticool stuff.

    Happy new year to all of you at MDT !

    • I know a lot of hunters understand maps, but too many that I see these days are way too reliant on GPS, and haven’t a clue what a “Pace count” is, or how to use it conjunction with their map. I understand the “economics” issues, and I talk to people about them all the time. My point wasn’t that some can’t afford the courses, my point was that the people usually asking for a break CAN, and are just some cheap fucks who feel everything revolves around them. Those who can’t afford it tell me so (and have never asked for a discount), and I have no problem giving advise to those in need.

      • “but too many that I see these days are way too reliant on GPS, and haven’t a clue what a “Pace count” is, or how to use it conjunction with their map.”

        Okay,I’ll have to agree with that one,I’ve seen guys show up for a backcountry elk hunting trip without bothering to bring a compass,who don’t know how to read a topo map,and who thought they were going to get cell reception after a 2 day horseback ride into the Montana backcountry-those types will just be removed from the gene pool if things get sporty.

        “My point wasn’t that some can’t afford the courses, my point was that the people usually asking for a break CAN, and are just some cheap fucks who feel everything revolves around them”

        Okay,that one’s fair enough-seen too many of that type,they usually call themselves Captain or Major or Colonel, and are only in shape if you consider that round is a shape…

    • I think besides basic map know how ppl should get use to using less conventional means . Hell I had my guys use tourist maps with funny cartoons one time and maps that were actually place mats from a local diner that had a map of the area we were gonna use that none of us knew. It was interesting. Regular car road maps are a feast of learning experiences too… IMO most folks will not be using much above basics, like hunter as you mentioned. But I guess that’s the difference between a fighter and a survivalist. The line can be blurry. One original start point for preparing for the collapse may not be where they end up as far as priorities go on what should be focused on as a basic.

        • indeed.. I’m also prone to making my own maps up here since I always seem to be out of ink for my printer 99% of the time..I actually prefer it but its time consuming. I also draw maps inside my smock of relevant and imports matters. Eg: Hides and cache drops.

      • I’m working on celestial navigation on my own,it’s good to know because compasses can break or get lost.
        If you know your AO most of it’s common sense,as you know the landmarks already.
        I just keep learning what I can,when I can-I’ll be trained to the best level I can when things go south-and that’s really all you can do besides keeping up on PT,having your food and supplies stocked up,and caches around your AO.
        I think those of us who are lifelong hunters will do ok,as long as we have some training,I’m not talking about the guys who have 43 trail cameras out,along with an equal number of stands,and can just pick what deer they are going to shoot,and walk in the woods a half hour before they know it will be there-I’m taking about those of us who have worn out lots of boots scouting the areas we hunt,and who hunt from before sunrise,to just after sunset-and who hike to our stands or ground blinds,not the trail camera guys who are shooting pet deer in suburban back yards,or over bean fields.
        It’s a lot different when you’re in roadless basins between mountains,and one drainage looks pretty much like the next one over.

        • Stars are a great navigation resource.. I dont get to see them much up here. In fact i have only seen the northern lights one time because its a constant overcast..

          • I’m in Ohio right now,so can see the stars often,I’m just far enough away from the big city that I can see all the constellations on clear nights.
            I believe in knowing more than one way of doing things when possible.

        • Trail cameras aren’t just for taking pix of 4-legged critters. It’s useful to see who, when, how many (and with what) come walking/riding down a path. Travel trends now will stay trends later. The wide worn path that leads down to water is the easy path. How many steps will a typical driver take from the car up a trail from a rest stop? Does he have a bag? A hat? How about a couple or a family? Log these things over a few seasons and develop information from data, while there is all of this cheap food/power/time.

          “It’s a lot different when you’re in roadless basins between mountains,and one drainage looks pretty much like the next one over.” -gamegetterII | December 30, 2014 at 10:26 PM

          This is why there is a spare compass, and the main one is on a lanyard sewn to pocket lining or webgear pouch. The world outside your daily walking distance used to be unknown and dangerous, but with a map and compass it’s merely dangerous. Bring a friend with a rifle.

          • I always have a spare compass,and my primary is attached to my gear,been doing that since the 70’s when the outfitter I was working for for showed me how and why you need to do that.
            just making a point-shit happens.
            I was not “talking” about using trail cams for intelligence gathering-I was referring to the “hunters” who have so many cameras,so many different stands set up,and get real-time data from the trail cams that they can pick what deer they’re going to shoot,and when and where they are going to shoot it. That ain’t hunting.
            I get your point about using trail cams for establishing travel patterns,amount of traffic,etc-good idea.

          • I have spare compasses sewn into my clothing. You can get quality button compasses for a decent price. But dont get the cheapest, you’ll end up with junk. There really is no reason to not have one or 6 extra on you. Unless you’re captured by OPFOR and stripped w/o the opportunity to swallow on..

  3. Pingback: JC Dodge: Training & Advice – Getting It And Getting It Right | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  4. Excellent essay. I now realize that it was smart on my part to volunteer for every bit of training the MC offered to me although it did not feel that way at the time. Semp Fi

  5. Ha ha ha.

    I will see all you “professional trainers” who know that “most people are too dependent on GPS” and raise you ONE. Most people can’t navigate with a sextant. Can you? If not, you can’t navigate with a sextant. Not gonna do very well if you need to go somewhere on a boat.

    Keep training, there is always more to learn!

  6. If the majority of the US Military stays with DHS and You are in the woods as part of an opposition force…..thermal imaging Apache helicopters will end the camp-out quickly.
    You may survive better in a rural residence scenario minding your own business and keeping your head low until the “sides” shake out.
    An urban city network in the concrete jungle may ironically offer the most cover and concealment. Well stocked and armed units like in prohibition days. The “bootleggers” Won that war with public support and/or indifference. At least a successful historical model more adept than the earlier one from the 1700-1800’s when open countryside was a given asset.
    But any resistance, even futile, is better than none. Who lives forever anyway.

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