I firmly believe that how my generation (that’s anybody under the age of 57) makes use of our TIME in the next six to twelve months could very well determine if we and the next generation survive the next five to ten years. I am not going to waste your time qualifying why I think this way. I think all of you who read my blog KNOW down deep in your bones that what I am saying is the gospel truth. The bottom line is this: If we are not using OUR TIME WISELY right now to TRAIN and PASS ON to the Next Generation all of the Necessary and Practical Martial Skills and Knowledge they need to SURVIVE, they will PERISH SOONER THAN LATER, it’s that simple.
A majority of zoomers for one reason or another, call it single parent homes, lack of masculine influence or kids becoming addicted to electronics at an early age, were not exposed to the “practical” martial skills of life like most Generation X kids were. See us Generation X kids did not get computers and game consoles until later in life (Atari 2600/5200 and Tandy Computers) and even then because of the cost, ownership was not as widespread like it would be today. So a large majority of Gen X kids actually played outside and had those meaningful social interactions that helped shape us into worthwhile adults. I was blessed as a kid. I had a Christian Father who took time to teach me things. He took me hunting and fishing, he MADE me help him do everyday household task like changing the oil in a car or replacing an electrical socket. See my Dad did not grow up with a father so he had to learn the hard way about things, which made him extremely self-reliant and tough as nails. He told me later on in life after I had my own children that the worst thing you can do for a child is to NOT INSTILL IN THEM SELF-RELIANCE.
So I decided right then to follow in my Father’s foot-steps which is part and parcel of why I am writing this essay.
So this article is not so much about teaching kids about how to use tools (firearms and knives) as it is about teaching/instilling in them a martial LIFESTYLE.
As I was raising my kids I quickly saw the need to “direct” them away from modern culture with all of it’s immorality and deviant behavior to a lifestyle that promoted self-reliance, self-respect and good ole’ fashioned family values. One of the easiest ways I found to do this was to take my kid’s outdoors either hunting, fishing or camping. When you take your kids away from the distractions of the modern technological world and the hustle and bustle of loud city life, they are much easier to instruct. Growing up I can recall several occasions where I learned a skill from my dad or brothers while hunting, fishing or camping simply because I did not have anything else to distract me. Another important factor is to make it FUN. It’s OK to have structure but don’t make it so rigid that it isn’t fun. I had to learn this over time with my kids as my upbringing and military background had the tendency to make me kind of an anal retentive drill instructor! After a while I learned to loosen up and let kid’s be kid’s! As my Mom was fond of saying “Don’t sweat the small stuff, it will all come out in the wash!”
One of the key things you don’t want to overlook or let “slip through the cracks” in promoting a self-reliant martial lifestyle with your kids is health and fitness. As I said before I was very blessed with my kids as they kind of naturally gravitated to a healthy lifestyle as they grew. I would like to think this was all me and my wife’s doing as we “led by example” but that would not be completely true. Kid’s today are much more health conscious than my generation was. Granted, I was always into physical fitness growing up mostly because of school sports. I worked out regularly but did not always eat right. Today’s kids are way different. They are much more aware of nutrition. I saw this first hand when my fifteen year old son put on ten pounds of solid muscle over a summer simply by following a rigid exercise and nutrition program he researched on his own. My son also got into Mixed Martial Arts around this time (he is a Huge UFC fan) so it was very easy to begin teaching him the fundamentals of Self-Defense Street Combatives! One of the key things he realized very early on was that the better conditioned you are (cardio wise) the better edge you will have in the fight. For those of you that have been involved in a street fight you know that potent cocktail of adrenalin and testosterone elevates your heart rate FAST and if you are not careful you can get “gassed” (tired) very quickly! Learning the facts about Conditioning will be fundamental as you move on to Firearms and Knife Training because no gunfight happens standing still.
Regarding firearms training, kids mature at different rates. I made the decision to begin my kids rifle training with semi-automatic firearms (AR and AK) at 12 years old. Now this may not be the case with everybody. Granted I exposed my kids to hunting firearms (single shot, lever-action and bolt-action rifles exclusively) much earlier, so gun safety and proper gun handling were drilled into them starting around seven years old! I personally feel that Riflemanship is one of the most important MARTIAL SKILLS you can pass on to your kids. When the SHTF we are going to need RIFLEMAN, not pistoleers! Not that I am discouraging handgun training, yes, it is important but in the big scheme of things currently, I think the majority of your Training Time should be spent on the RIFLE.
So what else? As always my advice would be to think PRACTICAL not TACTICAL.
Knowing how to tie 10 Basic Knots is a good place to start. Pat Mac’s Knot Video is also a good one. While you got the rope out it would not hurt to learn some rappeling basics and how to tie a Swiss Seat as well. On the prepping front passing on basic gardening skills is a MUST. Our kids worked out in the garden with me and my wife since they were toddlers, so this was a very natural thing in the Hermit Cave Household! I kind of touched on this already but teaching your kids to Hunt and Fish is in my humble opinion one of the Most Important LIFE SKILLS you can pass on. Being able to put food in your belly without depending on anyone or anything else is KEY! I can almost promise you that if you start kids early enough and make it fun, they will gravitate back to this as a LIFESTYLE, and that is exactly what your goal should be! Make no mistake, being ouside in the fresh air away from the hustle and bustle, even if just for a few hours, can have AMAZING effects on your mental health.
In Closing, Let’s Get off our Ass and Do Our Part for the Next Generation because in the Words of Lt. Colonel Hal Moore:
“There ain’t no reinforcements! WE ARE IT!”