This article explains the various types and philosophies of survival schools listed in this directory.
Modern or Primitive?
Schools usually fall into two major categories. The first focuses on Modern Techniques and equipment . The second is more interested in the mastery of Primitive Skills, more for the sake of the skills themselves than necessarily as a means to surviving an emergency. Naturally, there is usually a great deal of overlap between the two types. For instance, primitive fire-starting methods are often taught as part of modern courses as a backup in case modern equipment is not available.
Modern schools usually focus on being prepared with the best equipment technology has to offer and how to use it. They tend to address real-world emergency situations such as a when a hiker or hunter becomes lost and must spend an unexpected night in the woods.
Primitive oriented survival schools are typically more interested in the lost art of the skills under study. This type of school is more likely to espouse environmentalism and invoke some degree of Native-American religion. They often promote the philosophy of minimalism, that is, possesing knowledge and skills to use the resources available in the surroundings is more important than carrying equipment. Tracking is sometimes the cornerstone of primitive skills schools, as popularised by Tom Brown, Jr.
Some schools are more interested in providing the “experience” and the Personal Development that may spring from it. They feel that pushing students past their perceived limits can foster new-found confidence and self-esteem.
While many schools cater to the real needs of military personnel, some Escape and Evasion courses are actually designed for the entertainment and adventure experience of civilians playing Rambo for a weekend.
Aviation survival is a subset of the modern category, specializing in the aftermath of a small-plane or helicopter crash and possibly utilizing the remains of the aircraft to improvise useful resources. Ditching schools offer very specialised training in escaping from submerged aircraft using “dunker” equipment that ranges from a PVC pipe cockpit mockup to a full-scale helicopter fuselage.
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