I recently read a news story where a Japanese soldier survived in the jungles of the Philippines all the way through the Second World War into the 1970s, without being detected and surviving in the jungles. When discovered, he thought the war was still on and had to be contacted by his retired superior officer to believe the news that the war was over.
My first thought was, ‘How the heck did he survive all that time?’ Being cut off from civilization for nearly thirty years is not a small amount of time and even though he was part of the military who had given up the war and the search for him, he himself did not lose hope. This is what you’d call the power of will. The soldier wanted to survive enough that he did so for the time he did. I looked it up and that’s what you call a ‘survivor mentality’. The will is more important than the tools you need for survival, even though items like a knife and a tent can go a long way, if there’s no will to survive, there’s no way to survive.
The Japanese soldier got me thinking. What if I were to find myself stranded, perhaps on an island, or marooned in the ocean, how would I survive. Well, firstly, I’d want to survive and not give in to the immediate onset of depression and shock—but everybody panics, there is no stopping that. The trick would be to calm down and come to terms with the reality of the situation. Yes, things can get grizzly, but if I’m alive and safe, and if I put my mind to it, I’ll stay that way.
Then I’d have to make sure that those that were with me were also safe. Some might need medical attention, so a course in emergency medical treatment, like the one the Red Cross provides, could be of help. When health matters are under control, the next immediate concern is shelter. Let’s face it, when disaster strikes, you could be anywhere, on land or on sea, and getting to shelter and safety is also a very important part of survival. Most national parks provide courses in camping and the outdoors. Organizations like the Boy Scouts and the American Camping Association give basic as well as advanced courses on outdoor survival.
Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘I don’t need to know about surviving the outdoors’ or ‘I’m not an outdoor kinda person’, but just for a moment think about this. You’re travelling with your family and you are faced with a life threatening situation. It could be a terrorist attack or it could be a natural calamity. You could be yanked away from the comfort of your home and put into a terrible situation.
Day by day, man and nature are at odds with each other. At the same time, political stability isn’t what it used to be anymore. So any of the situations I mentioned earlier, such as a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, can come true and hence we should be prepared for it. I don’t know about you guys, but I’d rather have some sort of training to give me the peace of mind knowing that I’ll be able to take care of myself and others should any form of bad situation take place.