Thursday, July 5, 2012

Some Self Defense Basics

Hey, everyone. If you haven't noticed by now I've been focusing a lot on self defense lately. It seems to be almost completely ignored by people in preparedness circles. I can understand why. It takes a long time to get good at it. There's a lot of getting sweaty and rolling around with other sweaty people. It's pretty easy to get hurt. Especially, if you're just rolling around with your buddies in your backyard. Quality training is pretty expensive. Besides, why learn how to fight when you can just carry a gun? Realistically, though, there aren't too many situations that we should be prepping for that are more likely than getting jumped on the street and sometimes pulling a gun will get you in a lot more trouble than it's worth. Here are some really good videos on self defense basics. Stephan Kesting has a lot of BJJ videos online and he's one of the better "youtube instructors" that I've found. He sticks to the basics and he does a good job of explaining everything thoroughly and simply so that it's easy to understand. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Friday, June 15, 2012

10 Natural Disasters Caught on Surveillance

Today I've got a guest post for you all. If you've got an idea for a guest post you can shoot me an email at artyboy at gmail dot com. If I like it then I'll post it up. Just make sure that it's original content and not something that's been posted on a million other blogs all over the internet please. Anyway, on to the post.

About the Author: This article was written by 2MCCTV Surveillance, international supplier of surveillance cameras and complete systems. They offer complete security solutions for home and small to enterprise-level businesses. 1-877-926-2288

The past decade has been filled with natural disasters. These recent disasters have had drastic consequences on the environment and the people affected. Tsunamis and earthquakes destroyed homes and displaced millions. What are your plans for a natural disaster; do you know what to do?

There are thousands of recorded videos on the internet depicting the tragedies. Here we’ve compiled 10 natural disaster videos captured by surveillance and security camera that do a great job of capturing disasters in action.

Keep in mind, these videos aren’t intended to ignite fear, but rather increase awareness (as is the purpose of The Urban Survivalist) of all the potential dangers out there that would require preparation, in case you are ever caught in such a catastrophic event.

1. Live Earthquake Cam Turkey Hospital, Erdbeben

Turkey was hit by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in October 2011. What would you do if you were in the same situation?

2. Data Center Security Cam recordings of 09.09.09 flood at Vodafone Istanbul, Turkey

Watch as the flood tips over the desk at 3:20. Tip for next time: Bolt down your desk!

3. Haiti Quake Seen on Surveillance Cameras

This earthquake had a magnitude of 7 Mw. An estimated 316,000 people died and over 1,000,000 were made homeless.

4. Family's Surveillance Cameras Rolling as Tornado Hits West Liberty, KY

Luckily the family is doing fine. Watch at 0:20 to see how the tree is ripped out from the ground.

5. Joplin Tornado: East Middle School Surveillance Footage

Check out the Main Entrance view, which starts at about 2:45 in the video. This really shows just how powerful this thing is, with pieces of the building just coming apart.

6. EF5 Tornado Rips Apart House (embedding disabled on this video)

Don’t think that because of the construction of the house this happened. On the contrary, the winds were so fast, 205 mph to be exact, that no matter what the house was made of, it would have been destroyed.

7. Surveillance Cam Footage of Hurricane Ike Storm Surge in Louisiana

Within just 6 minutes, this Louisiana school is flooded when hurricane Ike comes into town.

8. Extreme Camera Captures Volcanic Eruption

This extreme CCTV camera captures the eruption of Mount Erebus volcano in Antarctica in infrared.

9. Japan Earthquake: CCTV Video of Tsunami Wave Hitting Sendai Airport

The whole airport is flooded in less than a minute! The tsunami hit after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit the Pacific area.

10. 8.8 Chile Earthquake – Office footage

In February of 2010, Chile was hit with an 8.8 magnitude earthquake. This one does a good job of showing how violently an earthquake can suddenly start shaking a room.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Why you should train jiu-jitsu (or some other "real" martial art)

"Where there's discomfort there's fear. In these very tough positions you're in a little piece of hell. And through this daily suffering, you learn to survive in these situations. You have to find comfort in uncomfortable situations. You have to be able to live in your worst nightmare. Jiu-jitsu puts you completely in the moment where you must have complete focus on finding a solution to the problem. This trains the mind to build that focus, to increase your awareness, your capacity to solve problems. Sometimes, you don't have to win. You cannot win. But that has nothing to do with losing." -Rickson Gracie

This is why I continue to train jiu-jitsu. At a good school you'll do a lot of live grappling (we call it rolling). You get choked out, arm barred, leg locked and put into plenty of other uncomfortable situations all the time till you get used to them. Then you start learning how to defend. Then you find yourself submitting people. Then a new guy comes in the gym and you realize just how effective this stuff is when you feel like you can do whatever you want to them. Things that I would have tapped to in a heartbeat 6 months ago I find myself escaping now. Guys that used to crush me when I first started tell me how tough I am to submit now. The high level guys that used to toy with me actually have to try a little bit now. I've only been doing this for 6 months so I don't consider myself good by any stretch of the imagination but I just keep improving. It's like anything else. Apply yourself and you will get good. It takes lots of time and work, though. It's uncomfortable. It's inconvenient. It's frustrating. It's humbling. You can get hurt. It also gives you a sense of achievement. It makes you stronger. It will get you in shape. It won't make you invincible but it will make you feel a lot more comfortable in uncomfortable situations. Jiu-jitsu won't just make you better at handling some guy who jumps you in a dark alley. It will make you better at handling all types of bad situations.

If you're interested in looking for a place to train I suggest you start by looking for an academy that teaches Gracie jiu-jitsu. I train under Relson Gracie. I would, of course, recommend any school listed on his website over all others. If you can't find a Relson school that's convenient then just keep a lookout for a few things.

First of all, there seem to be a few different types of schools. First are the schools that teach "tournament" jiu-jitsu. For these guys competition is what it's all about. You'll learn jiu-jitsu here. They'll just focus more on how to win competitions. They're all about the sport. Maybe they'll have a token self defense course. Maybe they'll only teach self defense to women and/or higher belts. These schools are fine but in my opinion they're more about getting recognition for their school by winning tournaments than anything else. When they get a ton of people registered at a local tournament and they're winning every division then it attracts a lot of attention.

Then there are the McDojos. These are the guys who are just in it for the money. They give you a free week/month/whatever and then want to hard sell you on a big contract when your trial is up. You know...after you "get to know" everyone at the gym and it starts to "feel like home". Then they charge you hundreds of dollars to test for your belt after 6 months and want you to pay more to take the "higher level classes". The longer you train with them the more you pay. If you feel like you're getting quality training and you're happy with what you're paying then there's no reason not to stick with a place like this. I'd just suggest trying out some other schools if you find yourself in a situation like this. A lot of times the training seems good because the people training there have never really trained anywhere else.

I prefer the type of school that I train at. It's not overly expensive. When it's time for a new belt we just get it the next time Relson is in town. The main school is in my instructor's garage. He also does some classes at a few other places. His students are allowed to attend the classes that he teaches. This gives us the opportunity to train with a lot of different people. We spend a lot of time on self defense and wrestling takedowns. Being good at jiu-jitsu is worthless if you can't take the fight to the ground. Competition is encouraged but no one cares if you don't want to compete. We're all really just about getting better at jiu-jitsu. Whatever style you choose to study, that should be the primary focus of your school.

So you don't have a jiu-jitsu school that's convenient. Now what? There are plenty of martial arts disciplines that work in real life. Kickboxing and boxing are both really good. The best part of both is that if you're training at a good gym you'll get to spar a lot. Did you read the quote at the top of this post? He's talking about a sparring match. If you spar a lot then you'll get used to getting hit, you'll just start reacting correctly naturally and you'll get more and more comfortable. That's the key to being good at fighting. Just get comfortable in a situation where you know you're about to get hit/arm barred/thrown/etc. If you feel confident that you'll know what to do when someone tries to hit you in the face because you've done it a million times in the gym then you'll usually have a huge advantage over the dumbass that's trying to hit you in the face.

When I first started doing this stuff I was sparring at my kickboxing gym with my head coach. I kept dropping my hand trying to low block his leg kicks because of some crap that I learned in Tae Kwon Do when I was 15. He kept telling me to stop dropping my hand to block his leg kicks. I kept doing it out of habit. Then he faked a low kick and damn near knocked me out with a kick to my face. That was a lesson well learned and I have since forced myself to forget everything that I ever learned in Tae Kwon Do when I was 15.

Just because you "spar" at your academy/gym/whatever doesn't mean that you're learning anything. In fact, you might be learning some really bad habits. Some obvious rules like no intentional groin shots, no eye gouges, no other cheap bs are pretty obvious but if you're in a gym where you're learning to hit someone then you should practice trying to actually hit them when you're sparring...and you should spar a lot. When you're practicing ripping someone's arm off or choking them out during class then when it's time to spar you should actually try to do it and, once again, you should spar a lot. It's like anything else. Practice makes perfect. Perfection is just that much harder to attain when you're getting hit in the face. But if you can get there when someone wants to smash you then you can do it anytime you want. That's why I train jiu-jitsu.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Just watch it

I've been a Joe Rogan fan for a while. I've followed the UFC for years and he's always on point. That got me to take a look at his standup comedy and that's always been entertaining. Until recently I had no idea that he does podcasts until one of the guys I train jiu-jitsu with started posting them up on facebook. Interestingly enough, the dude is pretty freakin brilliant. He digs pretty deep into politics and human nature. Here's a pretty good sample of what you can expect from his content.

This one is much shorter but it's still good. Check it out. More to come.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sorry for the blackout

Things have been pretty crazy around here. I somehow managed to download a virus on my laptop that made it pretty much impossible for it to do anything. Trying to write up posts on my phone has proven to be very frustrating so I've just been neglecting the blog. I've also been ridiculously busy. I've lost 45 pounds since I started training mma/jiu-jitsu. I didn't really consider myself fat to begin with (5'11" 220) but I was getting there. Training for 2-4 hours a day 4-5 days a week, holding down a real job and being a dad tends to cut the schedule down to pretty much nothing. I've still got some posts in the works and now that my laptop is fixed I should be able to find more time to get them written up. Thanks for reading. If you need to get in touch with me you can email me at artyboy at gmail dot com.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Welcome to my new sponsors

I'd like to take a moment to welcome two new sponsors to my blog. I had the pleasure of meeting both of them at the Denver Self Reliance Expo. The first one is LPC Survival. If you've ever been to a survival blog with direct banner ads then you've probably seen one of their banners. For years they've supported several of the survival blogs in the prepping community. I'm happy to be the latest one on the list. They sell several different Berkey water filters and the parts to make your own (you did see my DIY Berky bucket filter post that I did sometime last year, right?) if you don't want one that's made out of nice, shiny stainless steel or that has a built in LED lighting system. They also sell everything from Wise food storage survival buckets (keep an eye out for an upcoming review) to emergency seed banks. Go check out their site, have a look around and patronize them if you find something that you need.

Forge Survival Supply is another new sponsor. They had one of the coolest booths at the show by far. Why? Because they were selling a wide selection of those cool survival tools and gadgets that we all love to play around with. Crank GMRS radios? Check. Knives that don't suck? Check. Ultralight 4 season bug out tents? Check. Hell, they even had a collapsible grappling hook. So what stands out about the products that they're selling? They're not junk. They don't sell anything without testing it first and they review a lot of their products on their gear review website Survival Cache. Thanks to them I finally got to put my hands on a Fallkniven F1 before buying. It's the survival knife that the Swedish Air Force has issued to their pilots since 1995. Look for the review when I finally get a chance to put it to good use. Check out their site when you get a chance. They're good guys who have good taste when it comes to survival gear.

I still have room for more banners so if you're interested in advertising feel free to shoot me an email at artyboy at gmail dot com. I'm cheap, I've been around a long time and I'm not going anywhere. I'm also selective. I only take on advertisers who sell quality products and who take care of their customers (my readers).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Denver Self Reliance Expo was a hit

So this weekend the Denver Self Reliance Expo was held at the Denver Western Stock Show Complex. It surpassed all of my expectations. Granted I didn't expect much. I'm not even sure what I expected, exactly. Regardless, at the end of the day I was impressed by everything. Everyone was very professional, friendly and willing to make a deal. I managed to pick up some needed preps at a good price, I met some great people in the prepper community, I got some great ideas for future posts and I even landed a couple of sponsors. I will welcome them all within the next few days in dedicated posts.

The majority of the booths consisted of storage food. "Survival buckets" were the most popular item for sale by far. You've probably seen them before. They generally consist of several packages of individual, freeze dried entrees sealed in mylar, packaged in lightweight, space saving buckets. There were also a lot of vendors selling #10 cans of everything from freeze dried fruit to eggs to mountain house entrees. Besides the typical fair that you'd expect from a preparedness expo there were a couple of standout products.

The 40 day/night preparedness pail was the best "survival bucket" at the show as far as I'm concerned. It contains a 36# assortment of organic, vacuum packed, dried whole grains, beans and other necessities. It also includes a meal supplement that they call "enerfood". It's a dried powder that contains most of the essential nutrients that you're body needs. Even if you're not in an emergency situation a tablespoon of this stuff every day will be extremely beneficial to you. If you are in a prolonged emergency situation and you're down to nothing but your five year supply of beans and rice you'll wish you had something like this to ensure that your body keeps getting all of the nutrients that it needs. Would you prefer to choke down a super compressed multi vitamin ever day that's made out of a bunch of stuff that you can barely even pronounce (and barely digest) or would you rather mix a tablespoon of powder made out of easily recognizable, easily digestible organic herbs into every meal? I thought so.

Another standout food storage solution was Life Sprouts. Sprouting is something that I've always encouraged preppers to look into. Life Sprouts will show you how to do it right and provide you with the products to ensure success. They've been around for about 20 years so I'd say they know what they're doing. They've got good prices on seed that's produced especially for sprouting. Check them out if sprouting is your thing or you're interested in trying it out.

There were plenty of other really cool booths there with original ideas. There was a company selling NBC shelters that they can build under your garage floor. I've looked into several different designs and that's the first one that I've seen that may actually make sense for someone with limited space in an urban environment. If you're an engineer with knowledge on NBC shelters feel free to rip this one apart for me. The solar oven booth was cool, too. They had a few ovens set up outside when I showed up with some bread baking. It seemed to be making good progress. I'm confident that the $20 solar oven design that I have in mind will work just as well, though. I just haven't gotten around to testing it. Maybe I'll hold off until we get a nice, cold, sunny day this winter. Amanda's Darn Good Salsa was a definite winner. If you can find it you should give it a try. You can also just order it from her website if you want to take my word for it. There are plenty of flavors to choose from.

I could go on all day. I'll be mentioning some other vendors in future posts. Overall, it was a great couple of days and it was nice to see my wife get excited about preparedness for once. If stuff like this is what it takes to get the masses behind it then I'm all for it.