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With fire season in full glory in California, many people are being forced to evacuate with little notice.  I do an scenario in the Urban Evacuation class where I give the students 10 minutes to come up with a list of the things they would take with them in event of a forced evacuation.  They […]

Skills as Rites of Passage

by Kevin Reeve   “Our games were feats with the bow and arrow. We had foot and pony reaches, wrestling and swimming. We imitated the customs and habits of our fathers.”  – Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa), Wahpeton Dakota   A very good friend and one of the most intelligent people I know, Tuhan Tom Kier did […]

Why City Size Matters for Survival

Understanding First, Second, Third & Fourth Order Effects I have been working to come up with a model that accompanies the model of social breakdown, but in different sized populations.  The five phase social breakdown model seen in many countries like Haiti or Somalia states that after an event the social structure goes through several […]

Good Guy? Bad Guy?

I am a people watcher.  I like to study human behavior.  In my observations over time I have identified some simple categories based on behaviors that different people exhibit.  They are generalizations, but they help me understand and manage expectations. Types of people:      Predators      Opportunivores      Morally Ambiguous, Some Good-Some Bad     Always Helpful      Helpful at Great […]


In a flash, one of my captors whipped a sack over my head. I heard the sucking sound of duct tape. He looped a strand around my neck, and then another several times over and around my wrists. It happened so fast that I barely had time to panic. Then my unseen assailant tilted my […]

VICE reports on Urban Escape & Evasion class

He whispers in my ear, “You’re in for it now.”- I learned how to cut through zip ties, pick locks, and lived through a fake kidnapping—all in the name of girding myself for the lawless world to come. The young one is shouting again, in Arabic. “La ilaha illa Allah!” The Muslim profession of faith: […]

Instructor Matt Smith

Matt Smith instructs high speed survival, primitive big game hunting and all disciplines of tracking. Matt has spent over 1500 days in the backcountry of the Continental Divide and Eastern woodlands in various stages of survival. Matt spent many years transitioning in and out of primitive survival early on in his development as an instructor. […]