Nobody wants to hurt other people, but many preppers believe you must be able to defend your community against an attack. Having the training and skills to use firearms is essential, according to Practical Preppers consultant David Kobler. But there are plenty of other skills that Practical Preppers recommend:
Martial Arts Training. In the heat of a close-quarters confrontation with robbers or looters, Kobler says that preppers may have to defend themselves without using weapons. He doesn’t recommend a particular martial art, but advises that whichever program you choose should include some grappling and ground-fighting techniques. Those skills also may be useful in controlling less-than-lethal threats, such as aggressive beggars, without having to inflict more harm than is necessary. Krav Maga, a martial art that was developed for use by the Israeli military, incorporates both striking and grappling techniques, as well as tactics for defending against attackers wielding knives or guns and attacks by multiple assailants. Here’s a link to the international Krav Maga Federation, and Darren Levine’s and Ryan Hoover’s how-to-manual, Krav Maga for Beginners.
Fitness: All the combat training courses in the world aren’t going to do you much good if you get winded easily, or don’t have strong enough muscles to handle the demands that a life-and-death situation may place on you. That’s why Kobler recommends that preppers start a physical fitness regimen and stick to it religiously. “You want a good workout that's balanced,” he explains. “Don't bulk up and become a person with huge muscles who can lift 500 pounds, but who can’t walk for four hours.” He recommends a training regimen that emphasizes functional fitness—that is, the ability to perform the sort of physical feats you might actually have to do in real situations, such as climbing or lifting awkwardly shaped objects. One popular regimen of that sort is CrossFit, which mixes aerobic work with weight lifting, calisthenics and gymnastics-type exercises utilizing bodyweight resistance.
First Aid: Kobler says that ideally, at least one member of a prepper community should have advanced training on how to treat injuries that preppers may suffer in armed or unarmed confrontations. At a minimum, that person should complete a course and earn a certification as an Emergency Medical Technician, which requires 120-to-150 hours of lectures and hands-on training. But to develop an even higher level of skill, invest in earning a Paramedic certificate, which requires between 1,200 and 1,500 hours of work. (From the UCLA Center for Prehospital Care, here’s a primer on the difference between EMTs and Paramedics. The American Red Cross also offers basic disaster preparedness courses, which include some first aid training.)
Combat Shooting: If you’re going to be able to competently handle a firearm, you need plenty of training and practice. “Shooting is a perishable skill,” Kobler counsels. But too often, he warns, people try to get that by going to a conventional shooting range and standing in a booth, and shooting at a stationary target. “Static ranges make people get killed,” he explains. “In a real gunfight, you’re moving, as is the target, and you’re trying to minimize your own exposure as well as get off a shot.” Instead, preppers should take a combat or tactical shooting course that better simulates the heat of battle, and emphasizes survival skills and decision-making as well as marksmanship. The website of the U.S. Practical Shooting Association is one place to look for more information.
If You Only Do Three Things:
Take a basic disaster preparedness course. The American Red Cross offers this sort of training.
Watch some Krav Maga videos on YouTube. If you don’t have access to a class, you can at least familiarize yourself with some basic self-defense tactics and practice them with a partner.
Take a basic gun safety course. Even if you don’t really want to use a gun, it’s good to know how at least how to keep from shooting yourself if you have to pick one up in an emergency.
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