18. HF Survival Knife and Multipurpose

18 HF Survival Knife and Multipurpose

In the video linked below I give reasons why I think the HF Survival knife isn’t a very good tool.

But the video is more than just that, as I share some other thoughts about tools and multipurpose thinking.

One thing mentioned in the video is weight. Often people from all sorts of sports and forms of recreation look at tools or equipment that can serve a multitude of purposes.

And on the surface this can seem like a good thing. Sometimes it works out great and other times it leads to frustration.

Often, people will try to find equipment that is light-weight.

Light-weight shoes and boots, light weight bicycles, motorcycles, tents, knives, axes, clothing, sleeping bags, tarps and the list goes on and on.

A multipurpose tool is meant to replace several pieces of equipment and thus save weight.

Yet all too often the person is packing around 20-50 pounds or more of excess body fat.

My thinking is, rather than paying the big $$ on acquiring some light-weight multipurpose piece of equipment, why not try getting into better shape?

Get stronger and better conditioned and that bicycle or motorcycle or pack won’t feel so heavy.

This is often where the search for multipurpose equipment of any sort comes into play. The thinking goes:

“If I can buy something that serves many purposes then it will keep me from having to move or pack around as much weight.”

Now in some cases this is a good thing, depending on the goal. If you’re trying to get from point A to point B as fast as possible as in a race or competition, something light-weight and multipurpose may be the way to go.

But generally someone who is in a race or competition is already conditioned to what they are trying to accomplish and hopefully has trained strength and endurance so they can reach their goal.

Even then redundancy is often a wise thing, as the saying goes: “One is none, two is one.”

That’s why vehicles have a spare tire. That’s why that flare gun came with more than one flare.

When it comes to acquiring training equipment for the gym, look at your goals.

If you’re an aspiring Powerlifter it makes no sense to buy an Olympic Barbell meant for training the Clean & Jerk and the Snatch.

If you are into playing tennis and that’s your sport, loading up on equipment meant for strongman training makes no sense either.

Often the sport picks the person. And in the same vein, the sport picks the method of training and the equipment you should invest in.

Some pieces of equipment lend themselves to being used in a wide variety of ways. Others are pretty much one ticket items.

For example, a bicycle: you pedal it and that’s about it. Now of course it can be used to train for long distance riding, short sprints, commuting and transportation. But it still is only useful for pedaling and basically building endurance to varying degrees.

How about a barbell?

We use it to lift weight plates, whether solid metal plates or bumper plates of some sort. In that sense that’s all it’s good for, holding weight plates so they are easier to lift and we can progressively adjust the load.

Yet with the barbell you can develop all sorts of qualities or skills: the three power lifts, the world of Olympic lifts and the regressions or breakdowns of the Snatch and Clean & Jerk. You can do barbell complexes to develop work-capacity. You can focus on pure strength or hypertrophy.

Is one tool better than the other?

Well, it depends on YOUR personal goals.

If we’re going to compete in the El Tour de Tucson as a serious competitor the typical $100 box-store bicycle won’t cut it. We’ll need a top of the line bicycle.

If we’re going to bomb around the neighborhood on a bike for a bit of aerobic training in conjunction with lifting weights for strength and health the box-store bike will work.

What’s our goal?

Are we trying to improve in a particular sport?

Maybe we’re trying to improve our ability to function in our occupation?

Maybe we want to do better in a certain form of recreation, like skiing?

Or maybe we want just general all-around functional capabilities? And if this is the case, what level do we want to take that to?

That’s the thing with any sport or certain occupations and even in our personal training. They all contain various levels of skills or we might say qualities.

This too must be addressed in figuring out not only what and how to train but also with what tools, implements or pieces of equipment.

We can be a recreational skier. Or we may compete on a local ski team or we’re going to the Olympics. Pretty much all sports and forms of recreation are like this. Even occupations have various skill levels within themselves: security guard, LEO, SWAT, each a major step up in level of skills.

Each level is sort of like steps leading up to a platform where we can say:
“I’ve reached this level.”

You may even get a certificate for doing that, but it’s expected you will continue to build and hone your abilities.

We can stay there at that level and try to improve within that level or we can begin the climb up the steps or ladder to the next level.

A person can display the same skill level as an international soccer player and yet still be content with playing local games with friends. We’ve all met people who could have played for a professional team at some point in their life.

Even with Dan John’s Q1 and Q2 there are varying levels. Quadrant 1 is a lot of qualities at a low level. This is what Dan John calls PE class in grade school.

So let’s think about that for a minute.

A 13 year old has a higher and deeper level of Q1 skills than an 8 year old.

And the level of Q1 skills and ability to express them improves by the time the teenager hits his 18th year of age. And if that person continues to play a variety of sports and engages in various forms of other types of training, his Q1 capabilities will become even greater by the time he reaches 22 years of age.

That person is still displaying Q1 qualities but at an ever increasing level of difficulty and mastery.

If this course is continued that person could eventually hit the upper levels of Q1 and transition into Q2 which are the skills and qualities displayed by, for example, NFL and Rugby players and certain tactical-type occupations.

Thus, if we determine what level we want to attain in any particular sport, occupation or outdoor activity, this knowledge can help us decide what type of equipment to invest in. And it can help us somewhat answer the questions of what, where, when, why and how to train.

I said somewhat because everything in the training world is not always a concrete fact.

Certain pieces of equipment or tools are great for many things; others operate best in a singular mode.

Narrow it down by investing in tools that give you what you want and need and will carry you to the level of capability you desire.

And always keep in mind:

If you are a cyclist, you pedal. If you’re a swimmer you swim. If you’re a powerlifter you lift. If you’re a baseball player you hit baseballs.

Train according to your sport.

If you’re into multipurpose capabilities or functionality, you’re going to have to do more than the program minimum and arm-chair-surfing.

Send your roots out deep and wide.

There’s a dirty little secret to the analogy of strength being like a glass, and it applies to all sorts of skills and qualities. We’ll hit that subject in the next article.

Enjoy the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25Vqk6sWToU

17. The Canopy and Other Stuff

17 The Canopy and Other Stuff

What do you do when things become difficult?

What do you do when you don’t have what you need or conditions are not exactly in your favor?

Well, hopefully we don’t just throw our hands into the air and give up.

When it comes to training, we might not always have the best place to train.

We might not have the best equipment or the environment may not be conducive to training.

I for one, have often had to train outdoors.

Probably the use of the term “had to” isn’t entirely correct, lol.

I actually enjoy training outside much more than indoors, and will always train outdoors if at all possible, having lifted and trained in all kinds of weather: rain, snow, howling winds and extreme heat and humidity and conditions of single digit humidity, which has its own challenges.

I’m not saying this is always easy or even the best way to do things. Of course, it’s a lot nicer to train outside when the weather is more to our liking and personal tolerance.

At certain times of the year, whether due to high heat or very cold temperatures, it may be wiser to train inside in a controlled environment.

If the body is too cold, training can be difficult and must be undertaken carefully to avoid injury, and the same is true if it’s too hot and humid or hot and dry.

Exposing ourselves to the outdoor environment can actually be an integral part of our training, a toughening up so-to-speak, so we can handle more extreme conditions.

But in so doing, we need to be aware the conditions may hinder training effect and recovery; and even carry a certain amount of risk of life.

If a person finds themselves in a lost scenario situation in the great outdoors, survival often depends on finding proper shelter.

Or if you can’t find proper shelter,  you improvise, adapt and build your shelter.

With that in mind, if some of the training we want to do needs to be done outdoors and the weather is extreme one way or another, what do we do?

Well, in a survival situation you adapt as best you can mentally and physically to your environment. But you also adapt the micro-climate as best you can to make things more bearable.

You build a shelter to serve as shade, a wind break, snow or rain shield. You create a smaller environment to heat or keep cool.

So in the linked video I build a canopy/awning in my tiny back yard, to somewhat control the outdoor temperatures.

I’m adapting my outdoor environment to my personal situation. I’ve had heat exhaustion before, and once that happens you just can’t deal with the heat as well as you once did.

It’s also a fact of life, that the older you get the less apt your body is able to deal with temperature extremes.

So, rather than relegate myself to training indoors, where I have hardly any room to train the way I want (and some things I can’t do indoors), I decided to change the micro-climate of my backyard.

I used salvaged materials. Metal from a scrapyard cost about $100 and the billboard vinyl about $35. The grommet machine was around $50. But it is something I can use for many other projects.

Always invest in tools and materials and the time it takes to learn how to use them properly.

I feel much the same way about training. Not only learn about different ways to train but actually try it out long enough to determine the effect on your own mind and body.

Otherwise, how do you really know that back-squats work for you or perhaps front squats are much better for you and your individual needs, past injuries, skeletal make-up and goals?

Don’t be an internet athlete.

And realize that there is a difference between an athlete and an athletic person. Most people are not athletes but they most certainly can be or become very athletic.

Unless you’re in paid professional sports, where your sport dictates how you train, or you only have a few years left to live, most of us have plenty of years left to train and explore the world of the training environment.

Don’t be afraid to explore that training environment, because the bigger the pool of experience you can dip into, the greater can be your ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

And when you acquire enough knowledge and experience, then you can better shape the training environment to suit yourself in that particular part of your life journey.

“Suit yourself” can mean selfishly doing whatever we want.

But “suit” also carries the definition of a group of things forming a unit (which can be applied to a group of exercises forming a training routine/program) and the thought of something tailored for you: a suit jacket. It can also mean to “suit up” get dressed or get prepared.

So with enough experience in a variety of methods and tools of training you can begin to suit yourself or tailor the suit to fit you personally.

That’s what a great coach or PT will do.

With the right humble and modest mindset and documented training journals and ear to the ground, a person can gradually become their own tailor.

You have to listen when your body says: “Don’t do this anymore!” when it comes to particular exercises, implements, training modalities or even something as seemingly benign as training outdoors in any kind of weather.

Being humble in training means others can and do have more knowledge and that can be a great source of learning.

Being modest in training means you do recognize your limitations. Sorry, just because you wake up in the morning, walk to work or drink bullet-proof coffee does not make you superhuman , contrary to what some may infer.

Maybe we once deadlifted 8 times bodyweight (internet athlete) but a lower back injury that gets tweaked here and there from training is a sure sign playing teeter-tooter with a risk-to-reward ratio on deadlifts just isn’t a smart investment.

Life, occupation, injuries, age and other things will affect what, where, when, why and how we should train.

So do we adapt to this journey and adapt how we train?

Or do we stubbornly keep trying to use what once worked, but now simply seems to keep us in regressing-injury-recovery-mode?

Here’s the video on my Canopy build and a few other thoughts sprinkled within: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyw_im3owYI