samedi 30 novembre 2019

Reading: "Street Survival Skills" part 2/2,204,203,200_.jpg

The first five chapters have been reviewed in my previous blog post >>>here<<<.

Chapter 6: Bare Hand and Knife Fighting

There will be blood, and it better be your opponent's. Bare hand fighting is covered on six page. Judo, Brasilian Ju Jitsu or boxing are cited as best for self-defense. Basic tricks like holding your guard, throwing elbows or palm strikes give you the essential theory to survive but it's in no means a full course on how to beat your opponent.
Then you'll be introduced to self-defense with a knife on four pages: how to hold the bloody blade so that you make massive damage and how to effectively counter a knife attack with a jacket. Anyways, you don't want to be disarmed by your enemy !
Following is the description of best places to strike on a human body: liver, kidneys, carotid etc. You want to read this chapter well after meal time... In a survival situation, you'll have to deal the maximum damage in the shortest time possible, and finish the enemy by stomping on him or her.
Knowing how to attack with a knife is good but you'll also need to know how to  defend against it. Putting distance and obstacles between you and the attacker, slap the hand holding the blade with a jacket or distract and close in to get hold of the wrist... Just don't get cut !
The chapter closes on the handgun disarm technique. This is hairy for sure, you'll need to quickly twist the attacker's wrist while blocking the hammer if it's a revolver or the slide of the pistol to avoid several shots to be fired, the idea being to avoid the line of fire. That would demand much practices in my opinion to master this technique so my advice would be to find a sparing partner and to train with a fake gun !

Chapter 7: Improvised Weapons and Armor

There are countries or circumstances that don't allow wearing weapons or body armor and you'll have to make with whatever's at hand. Reams of paper can block handgun ammunition, put two in a back pack and you'll be ready to go. You can also plan in advance and put a SAPI plate in a backpack designed for this purpose, that may be much more efficient !
The author then describes improvised weapons such as broken bottles, sharpened sticks, metal pens, keys or even umbrellas. The idea here is to use whatever you can find to damage your attacker, be imaginative ! Sulfuric acid in a spray bottle seems quite nasty...
A focus is made on the belt, the flashlight, the umbrella and the chair as a weapon. You'll need a strong belt with a heavy buckle that can be quickly remove from your pants, so not too wide. Concerning flashlights, tactical models with a pointy crown are preferred. You'll obviously hold it in a reverse grip and aim for the head or the knuckles when getting a punch. Umbrellas give you distance and you'll be able to use it both in thrust or swing strikes, the former being the best according to FerFAL. A chair used correctly can be very handy in a fight, hold it by the seat with the backrest on your shoulder to shield you from attacks.
The last topic is the making of a leather coin pouch. You can simply buy one I suppose but it makes good practice to make things yourself. Use the pouch full of coins as a sap, but be warned, it's can crack skulls !

Chapter 8: Defensive Driving

20 pages are dedicated to defensive driving or the art of getting out of dodge when you're behind the wheel. This starts like the whole book with the awareness you must have while driving. Keep an eye on all sides of the vehicle, leave some room in front so that you can anticipate, drive around a block if you suspect a potential follower, park your car so that you can leave quickly, keep your doors locked and much more.
If you have to ram a vehicle blocking your way, aim for the rear as it's lighter than the front where the motor sits. You need to ram at a speed lower than 15 mph to avoid the deployment of the airbags.
You'll also get tips to make emergency turns with the handbrake or the J-turn. Reminds me of GTA San Andreas driving lessons ! Especially the PIT (Pursuit Intervention Technique) maneuver that allows you to make the car in front of you turn 180 degrees.
The author gives advice on how to deal with armed attackers when driving, the main idea being to roll the bad guy between your car and another one parked on the roadside. How to deal with a car ambush is also included, that surely could happen in a collapsing country. You must stop and turn around as soon as you smell the ambush, but then if you can't, just stop the car and get out to try to flank the bandits.
Finally, you'll learn how to use a car for cover when you're caught in a shooting incident. It's all about the difference between cover and concealment. The hard piece in a car is the motor, so you need to put it between you and the enemy, while staying out of sight.

Chapter 9: Moving, Barricade and Gaining Entry

Beginning at page 182, the ninth chapter gives tips on how to move, barricade yourself and enter closed buildings. If you're into parkour, then you can step over a few pages as moves like the safety roll, the step vault jump landing, dropping in an orderly manner or going over a wall are described in details. As for defensive driving, I suppose it requires practice to be performed well in a stressful situation. It helps if you're athletic, a lot of readers may just not have the physical fitness to perform these moves...
In a survival situation, you may need to open a closed door and two options are proposed here: lock picking and door breaching. The first technique requires small dedicated or makeshift tools while the second is done with your foot (or with a shotgun if available). I think lock picking videos are best when you want to learn this trade, but you'll find enough details to try it on your own. I've tried some years ago to lock pick a padlock and it worked in the end ! Practicing door breaching is a bit more complicated hey... You'll also learn how to use a paint roller to open exit doors from the exterior or busting a padlock with two wrenches !
Also included are many techniques to barricade a door, which may be required in case of a mass shooting for example, using chairs, screwdrivers, belts or furniture. I'm eager to try the one with the belt to jam an automatic door closer !

Chapter 10: Food and Cooking

A book about survival will necessarily give you tips on how to start a fire or to filter and purify water. No difference in this book: you'll learn how to make a firestarter with napkins and vegetable oil, how to start a fire with any battery and gum wraps, how to obtain clean water with bleach and makeshift filters, etc.
Regarding food storage, FerFAL advises the use of oxygen absorbers with soda bottles or mylar bags stored in plastic buckets. The illustration for the soda bottles indicates a shelf life of 20 years but I'm really doubtful about it ! I'd rather trust well sealed mylar bags. I do have such bags which I made almost 9 years ago: Vidéo : Stock de nourriture longue durée - Mylar bags food storage
There's also four pages on recipes for eating on the cheap. I like the combination rice/lentils that I used a lot when I was cash-strapped. Crepes, banana pancakes, dulce de leche are detailed too. Illustrations are a bit useless and could have been replaced by a more relevant content...
Then we learn how to make a can stove that burns alcohol. Okay now, it could help you in certain situations but in my humble opinion, it would be wiser to store camping gas stove and cans ! I bought this morning such a can at a 75% rebate in a thrift store !
Finally, the author talks about the wonderful technique of thermos cooking (that I learned from Kurt Saxon if I remember well, and used for oat meal) and the use of a shopping cart to grill meat for a small street burger business. This latter part is a bit far fetched but who knows what you may have to do to earn a living post-collapse...

Chapter 11: First Aid and Sanitation

Did you know gargling with warm salty water can treat a sore throat ? I didn't before I read this book. If you're a first-aid geek, you may not learn much in this chapter but I'm not sure that the average Joe knows how to improvise butterfly strips with medical tape or how to correctly strap a tourniquet. I think you need a dedicated book for first aid matters because you can't really go deep on a dozen pages.
A tutorial on the Fireman's Carry is included and walk assistance is also explained. It's good to know how to move an injured person as the environment may not be safe: think demonstrations for example. If you're pretty sure the person has no spine damage, you can try the ranger roll detailed by the author. Either techniques must be practiced as always.
If you don't have hand sanitizer on hand (pun intended), you can make your own with the recipe given here, though you need to find some aloe vera gel which may be harder to find than hand sanitizer ! I'm not convinced this recipe can be of any use...
The end of the chapter gives tips to wash and dry clothes. You may need to know this in case you washing machine / drier is broken or the electricity is out, but why not going to the laundromat ? Imagine it's hell out there, civil war / pandemic / zombie outbreak, you'll be happy to know how to efficiently wash your clothes. I did wash by hand on regular occasions when I was a poor child, it's not funny... Use a toilet plunger and a bucket or a hand-powered washing machine. Roll humid clothes in a towel to dry them. Easy fix !

Chapter 12: Improvisation and Practical Skills

In a collapsing country, you'll have to deal with daily power outages. FerFAL gives here different tips to turn flashlights into tabletop lanterns. He advises to buy a solar charger, as I did, it's a convenient way to face a long power outage. He also describes the use of plastic water bottles in the freezer that you place in the fridge when the power is out.
He then writes about homemade insecticide based on Borax or homemade body armor based on fiberglass and resin. Of course, it's better to buy the real thing, but that could help when you're out of it.
FerFAL gives detailed directions on how to correctly sharpen a knife when you don't have the right tools at hand. The illustrations come handy as they help to understand the movements needed to sharpen the blade.
We then have tips on gun cleaning (e.g.: Ed's Red recipe) but also gun and ammunition mods: sawed-off shotgun, wax/cut/glue slugs. As the author puts it, removing the stock of a shotgun makes it much less ergonomic and I can only concur on that one as I had the occasion to test such a gun once.
The chapter ends on the detection of counterfeit dollar bills and silver coins. Bills have many anti-counterfeiting features that you may not be aware, though the risk of ending with a fake bill is quite small as FerFAL tells you: one in 10000, so no worries in my opinion. Fake silver coins from China are making their way to Europe and USA, so it's important to know how to spot them and the author gives several solid tips on this.
The book ends on a page about reality based preparedness which sums up as: "Enjoy the good time while happily preparing for the bad ones".

My conclusion

I didn't read all the survival-related books in the world but I can tell this one's good enough to deserve a place in my library. I won't be able to test every tip given inside but the notes dedicated page at the end of each chapter invites me to make my own experience and write down the result for further use. Illustrator is a job in itself and like many authors, FerFAL fell in the trap of creating illustrations by himself so this could be improved in the next edition. Thumbs up for this new book anyway, that's a lot of good info !