Today we are honored to have a very special guest post by Master at Arms James A Keating. A man of many talents, Mr. Keating is especially proficient in the world of blades, fencing, martial arts and survival techniques. What better way to kick off the July 4th festivities than to get back to our roots with some practical, manly wisdom from a true expert!
By: James A Keating
From time immemorial man has strived for survival. Fighting, foraging and fitness have always gone together, they must complement one another due to the nature of this planet on which we all live upon. It can be frantic, fierce and sometimes right down intimidating. This triad of survival is equally shared by man and every other creature on Earth.
Like the legs of a tripod, each of the other legs is equally dependent upon the other two. No one leg of the tripod is more important than its counterparts. Remove one and the entire structure collapses.
Thus it is the same with our triple F set of survival concepts. Each of the elements of survival need the other elements in order to achieve their individual goals, they are co-dependent.
“Foraging” is a term which often conjures up images of mankind rooting about the forest and fauna along with the animals in search of herbs, foods and the like. A hardtack subsistence style of action where eking out a life under austere conditions is the only option. But truth be told “foraging” can take the shape of many, many aspects of daily life. It goes beyond the forests and deserts and encompasses the grocery store, the mall and even the internet itself.
Today the “foraging” of times past is called shopping by many people today. To forage in a successful manner requires “fitness.” Physical fitness, financial fitness, mental fitness and many other factors go into the fitness-forage equation to make it work properly.
“Fitness” is a really over-used term in today’s media. It usually refers to just the physical side of things. Buy a Bowflex and you have “fitness.” If you are physically fit then you will have more appeal to your mate. If you are physically fit you can command more respect from your peers. The list goes on and on!
Physical fitness is an entire industry in our modern world. People join gyms and health clubs for fitness. It can be an ego-based trip of the narcissistic masses in some instances. But in its true state fitness is an awesome, all encompassing universal dynamic.
Like the old saying goes “If you don’t have your health, you have nothing.” To forage functionally you first need fitness to fully realize your true potential as a professional (successful) survivor upon this fascinating planet.
There are times when we “fight for survival,” foregoing dangers and challenges to accomplish our goals. Fighting is the critical third component of our “three F” survival triad.
“Fighting” is truly a fascinating factor for fledgling practitioners of the survival arts. Survival arts and methods can come in many shapes and sizes, but they each depend upon some factor which allows them to stay somewhere near the top of the food chain. Without some type of defense, some kind of personal protection you have nothing. You are consumed both figuratively and literally speaking! Territorial integrity must be enforced or you lose all that you have foraged for.
Fighting is a generic term used by the common man to identify and explain the complex dynamics of conflict. As a dynamic unto itself, fighting can be employed to save lives or to take lives. It is a spirit or feeling that is instinctively there in all beings as part of a greater survival program. In some, it manifests strongly and resides near the surface. But in others it lies deep inside and flows less fluently.
Flawed fighting methods never last long, their perpetrators are not survivors. The line ends with their demise. Victorious and successful methods of fighting (reality based) seem to stick around for centuries. That is because they are viable, effective and successful. Those employing such abilities survive and pass such fighting facts on to other generations, other tribes and eventually to other species.
The three F’s are as old as life on this planet. They are universal in their scope. They are practiced by all beings. The ancients embraced these values on a deeper level than we of today do. They had to. You see its spirit reflected in such disciplines as kung fu and yoga.
All are beneficial paths which lead one to self-realization and self-reliance. If you fracture any one of our three F’s then you cannot be functional. Like a cellular level survival mantra that our genes continuously repeat, these three dynamics are at the heart of our very existence. The “prepper movement” so popular today was called the “survivalist movement” in times past. The game is the same no matter the name.
Mastering the three F’s can be a lifetime pursuit of excellence. A never-ending, fun-filled foray into a zone that few fear to tread. Once you get the hang of it, the way becomes a way of life. In kung fu this way of living is called “the tao” (way). The way is in the way. There is no other.
Whatever way you choose to follow may it be fruitful and fortuitous in all ways!
And I thank you all for sharing your valuable time with us at the MIGHTY F!
For more from Master at Arms James A Keating, check out his e-book on Serpent Boxing Kung Fu (“Comtech Serpent Boxing”) at lulu.com or check out his website, www.jamesakeating.com!