HomePublicationsTrue TracksSummer-Fall 1997

True Tracks - Summer-Fall 1997

Grandfather Class Rocks

Any new class is a risk, but when the new class is titled, "Grandfather" the risk has to be diminished. In July, the newest class on the Tracker curriculum will be taught. In fact, by the time you are reading this it will be recorded history.

The focus of the class is on the philosophy behind the individual skills that Grandfather taught. For example, the bow drill fire is one of the most basic skills. There is a specific philosophy behind it, how and when it is used, and symbology surrounding its use. There are also stories -- mythology around its origin. These are the types of topics that will be covered.

Because of all that Grandfather taught Tom, it will not be possible to cover all the skills, but there are many stories that Stalking Wolf told Tom as he taught these skills that Tom will relate to his students.

Response to the class has been strong, and enthusiasm for the class is there. Perhaps this may be a class that will be added to the permanent curriculum.





Greetings! WELCOME to the sixth edition of the True Tracks Newsletter! We're all very happy you have enjoyed them so far! Many of you have called about receiving past issues, but the only extras we have are from issue #4. If you didn't receive it, call the office and we will send one. Please - there are no more copies of the first three newsletters, so we cannot send any. Perhaps you know of someone who can make a copy of theirs. There are always glitches in large mailings so we apologize if you haven't received them. Also, they are available online at the Tracker School website.


E ach year we allow a limited number of Scout Class graduates to return as Shadow Scouts to stalk and challenge the skills of the current Scout students. In order to participate as a Shadow Scout in next year's Scout class, you must be a Scout graduate, and you must register in writing with Richard Cleveland. Unfortunately, we cannot allow drop-ins and non-Scout graduates to participate in the experience. Every application will be reviewed. Once you have been selected, you will be sent a set of guidelines that you will be required to observe. If you are interested, please drop Richard a line.


It is not unusual to meet up at a class with someone you want to stay in touch with. If that is the case, make sure to get their name and number in your notebook - or better yet - make up a class list. The school respects the privacy of students and cannot give out addresses or phone numbers.


Ninja Joe wants to let all the Ninja/Trackers out there know that Tom and Deb will be at this year's New Jersey Tai Kai July l7th thru 20th. We will also have a Tracker booth there.


Last issue Seth wrote a wonderful article on Heat and I of course forgot to give him the proper attribution. So let it be known that Seth is the author of last issue's articJc on Heat.


Say hello to our new interns - Brian Richard and Dan Stanchfield. You may remember them as caretaker Dan and Brian. They will be working as interns and helping the instructors with transportation and logistics. Say hello to them when you see them.


It is now possible to contact the school using email or visit the School website.




Tips for a Great Tan
By Hilary Laurer

This article is on the Wildwood Survival website




by Seth Recarde

This article is on the Wildwood Survival website




by NINJA Joe Lau

Many beginning students have very romantic expectations about the Tracker school. This is, of course, only normal after having read Tom's stories of his education and training under Stalking Wolf. Because of this, many students sometimes unknowingly put the Tracker family under a microscope, longing to see those of us who work here stalk silently across a bed of dried leaves. I remember coming to the school with these expectations myself.

It is in this frame of mind that many will miss some main points of the lessons taught here. Tom is very well known for saying, "Kill the White Winged Buffalo." Meaning, many students come to the school with their head in the clouds looking for a spiritual sideshow. Our way however, is to have students create their own "miracles" by helping them create a solid foundation with their feet firmly on the ground.

The ancient skills are the starting point. The spiritual benefits of the physical skills begins in the feelings of "oneness" that are activated by them. It is the deeper understanding of humans' relationships with the natural world on a level that cannot come by logical analysis, only by experience.

Our physical/spiritual relationship with the Earth is very distant since we no longer live a hand-to-mouth existence in nature. We are also no longer living in close knit tribes and clans. Our physical spiritual relationships with each other as human beings seem just as distant. Many times we get disgusted with each other's behavior. "Environmentalists" especially sometimes seem to turn into human haters. You should know that the people who make up the Tracker family live normal lives without fantasies of running into the wilderness to forever avoid the disappointments of society. Years ago, I too had to re-clarify my perceptions that there is a balance possible between living in nature and living in society. It is the school's vision and purpose to teach others to find this balance between society and nature.

In my last article, I wrote about Dr. Robert L. Humphrey's dual life values theory of self and others. "Others" seem to have a slight edge over "self." It would seem as we look at the world that we are self-preservers. However, as Budo Taijutsu (martial arts) teacher Jack Hoban said in his article "Human Nature and Mother Nature", when it comes down to a matter of life and death we tend to value "Women and Children first" over "Every man for himself." We call a person who saves himself a survivor, while we call the person who saves others a hero.

In my opinion, these same self preservation and species preservation values are found in nature. Have you ever accidentally disturbed an ant's nest? What is the first thing they do? They grab their eggs and take them to safety and protect them. Animals can have instinctual species preservation values to help protect against Mother Nature's "survival of the fittest." But in humans, we seem to honor most those who protect the weak. Maybe Human Nature is the choice of the two values -- of having the courage to choose others over self.
I feel that when one studies the ancient skills, one should practice with the feeling of "providing life" rather than "I am ready to take on any wilderness situation." I feel this is a more enlightened view and to me it simply feels better. Try it if you don't believe me. Because of the skills we carry inside, as Dr. Humphrey says, "Wherever you go, everyone should be safer because you are there, and everyone in need has a friend." Maybe in the past, some of us have been guilty of thinking, somewhat self-importantly, that "I'll get by even if he/she doesn't." To me this doesn't feel as good. Not everyone may know it, but I believe many will pick up these vibes unconsciously.

So practice your skills - not to run away, but to have the awareness, knowledge, and experience to be a better human being for other human beings.





by Kevin Reeve

We are pleased to announce Tracker Consulting -- a company dedicated to bringing the wilderness teachings of Stalking Wolf into the corporate arena, has successfully worked with two large clients.

Our vision is to create companies that are both profitable and sustainable (sustainable means that there is no utilization of nonrenewable resources or generation of non-recyclable waste). We believe that if we can influence the leaders of corporations, those who make decisions about resource consumption, and reconnect them with the earth, then we can have significant impact.

Our first major client is Xerox. Working with the Xerox Management Institute in Leesburg, VA, we taught a four day class, held in Sedona, Arizona. Twenty five senior level (Director and above) managers participated. The students learned awareness skills that are easily applied in their organization.

They learned to fox walk, stalk, and use wide angle vision as a metaphor for how they pay attention in their own organizations. The also made fire using a bow drill. However the spindle was a 4' section of telephone pole and the bow was a 18' long fence pole. This giant size bow drill threw out a coal the size of a charcoal briquette. The students were truly amazed at their own accomplishments.

We will be working with other companies, including Barclays Bank in the UK and several high-tech firms.

Tracker Consulting is headed by Kevin Reeve, Bill Horrocks, and Michael Popowits.

P.O. Box 461, Issaquah, WA 98027
(206) 746-7267

1998 Classes will include:
. Four day Herbal Studies Course
. Advanced Skills Course
. Wild Edibles Weekend
. Big Frank's Brain Tanning, Primitive Skills, & Wild Gourmet Foods Course
. Brain Tanning II
. Skills Refresher Course
. Edible Vegetable Course
. Log Cabin Building
. Primitive Bow and Spear Fishing
. Semi-survival Treks
To Register, please call.

The purpose of Earth-Heart is to help people to clarify and progress in their personal and spiritual development. We recognize the unique challenges each individual faces on their life 's path, and seek to design programs tl1at respond to those individual needs. We offer the following programs: Personal Intensive, a six day program to address specific personal or spiritual issues in your life; Spiritual Retreat, a two week course to clarify and deepen understanding and experience of the spiritual path; Bridgeworks, a one week course focusing on living our vision in daily life and a Vision Quest program.





by Richard Cleveland

Children are perhaps the greatest gifts the Creator ever gave us. And as adults perhaps our greatest challenge. It's so easy to get caught up in ourselves and our daily routine. It's no wonder that spending time with our children often goes by the way side.

I remember when I was growing up, often hearing the clich้ "the future is in our children." At the time I don't think I truly understood or appreciated how important and powerful that statement really is. After all, I was too busy playing, partying, and trying to control my hormones then to be concerned about children. In fact, children kind of annoyed me most of the time.

I guess the change happened when I was about 30 years old. I started playing more with my brother's children, and suddenly began seeing the future through their eyes. After all, I wasn't going to live forever and I couldn't take all those fishing poles and sporting goods (that I hardly ever used) with me when I died anyway. I suddenly realized that up till then my life totally revolved around me. And I noticed that I really hadn't gotten a whole lot done anyway. I hadn't done much of anything to try to leave this world a better place for future generations.

I realized then that it was the children who were going to inherit this earth, and it was and is our responsibility as adults to make sure that we teach our children to love nature and learn to live with it. And immerse them at an early age into all the beauty and wonder that our great planet gives to us. To give them that gift at an early age is so important to the future of our planet. A gift that too few of us had when we were young. Hopefully then they will make better decisions in their lives than we made. And hopefully the destructive trend that human kind has followed thus far can be turned around forever. It's not too late.

Students often ask me what and how I teach children at my programs here at the school. I can tell they're a little surprised at how simple I make it sound. Well the truth is, it is simple. I teach kids the four most important elements of survival: shelter, water, fire and food. Then I mix in a bunch of awareness exercises and a little spiritual stuff. Over all I get them as dirty as I can and have as much fun as possible. And hopefully I'll plant a few seeds.

I don't have a degree in child psychology and I don't teach from a text book. I teach straight from the heart, and I am able to adjust and adapt at a moment's notice. And it's a lost more fun this way. My advise to people who want to teach kids, but are a little afraid, is to jump in feet first and go for it. Any teaching is better than no teaching at all. And besides, they'll teach you more than you'll teach them anyway. So have fun.

A friend of mine sent me a card that pretty well sums it all up. On the card there is a picture of a little boy standing on the shore of a lake, gazing out across the water. The card is entitled "PRIORITIES" and it says" A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove, but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child." There are a lot of children out there waiting for someone to make a difference in their lives...maybe it's you! .



by Seth Recarde

The number of people attending the classes at the Tracker School continues to grow. This has created a need for volunteers who have taken the Standard course to act as visiting instructors for upcoming Standard courses.
Your primary responsibilities will be to help us in preparing for the classes and in working with the students. This includes giving general help, especially during workshops and meal breaks, and being available to answer student questions and assist them with skill practice. It is a great opportunity to review the Standard class materials, and is great fun as well.

We are looking for Standard course graduates who have practiced their skills, who relate to the students in a caring and positive manner, and are willing to give us a hand. You can sleep in a tent or the barn, and best of all you can eat stew with the class. So pack as you did for the standard, but bring all those extras you wish you had last time, (like a thick cushion to sit on) and join us. It will be fun to have you here.

We are also accepting applications for volunteer instructors for the advanced classes. You must have already attended the class as a student and be proficient in skills and techniques taught. If you are interested, fill in the form below and send it off. We will get back to you as soon as we can confirm your dates.




by Paul Bonner

Dates have been set for the 1997 Scout Martial Arts class. This year's class will be held October 6 - 11, 1997 in the Pine Barrens Primitive camp. This year Tom will be participating, teaching Grandfather's martial philosophy and martial games as it relates to the Apache scout. Prerequisite for Scout Martial Arts is Scout.

Class will be taught by Paul Bonner and George and Vanessa Larson. Paul has been teaching at the Scout class since 1989 and George and Vanessa since 1992. All three are Tracker graduates and have been through Scout. Paul Bonner specializes in Philipino Martial art of Kali, and is certified under Dan Inosanto and Rick Faye. In addition, he is certified in JKD concepts (Bruce Lee's concepts), Muay-Thai boxing and Wing Chun, Maphilindo Silat, Kenpo and jujitsu. He is also certified by World Heavyweight Shoot Fighting champion Bart Vale. Paul teaches law enforcement of all types from recruits, to tactical teams and drug enforcement agents.

George and Venessa Larson are also certified by Dan Inosanto to teach Philipino and JKD. They train under Rick Faye in Minneapolis.




by Kevin Reeve

By the time you are reading this, we will have completed our first pilot of the Tracker Wilderness Experience. For those of you who have not heard of it, the Wilderness Experience is an opportunity for Back-to-Back graduates to practice full wilderness living in a less intimidating situation.

The program is designed for a small number of participants to go into the wilderness with a knife and a blanket for a week. Class size is limited to 32, and participants are formed into groups of 8. Each group has a pair of instructors assigned, so the ratio is one instructor to four students.

The emphasis is on living the sacred order. The first days are spent making shelter, finding sources of pure water, making fire, and finding sources of food. Besides gathering edible plants, we will do non-lethal trapping and hunting, and will supply canned meat for those who successfully take an animal in a non-lethal trap or who" count coup" on an animal they stalk. The rest of the week will be spent perfecting skills and learning new approaches to existing skills.

Since Tom is not participating directly we are able to offer this experience at many locations around the country. The pilot in July will be held in upstate New York, and a second pilot will be offered in September in California on property adjoining Yosemite.

Since the number of advanced classes is limited in 1998, we will offer several regional opportunities for the Wilderness Experience.






by Kevin Reeve

I have a computer. I am also connected to the Internet. There are many advantages to being online. One of the greatest for me has been the new friends I have made on the Tracker listserver. The Tracker listserver is not affiliated with the Tracker school in any way, but it has provided a forum for Tracker students to meet and discuss Tracker related issues on-line. It provides great freedom for discussion and opportunity for folks from around the country to learn.

One of the things that has come up consistently on this forum is the perception that exists out there in the primitive skills world that some Tracker students have a lot of book knowledge, but little dirt time. They have a tendency to rely on Tom's knowledge about a given skill rather than making it their own.

This criticism does not apply to everyone. In fact, I believe it actually applies to very few. Most of the students I know are serious about perfecting their skills and work hard getting dirt time. However there are some for whom a Tracker class is strictly an academic experience. They take notes furiously, and then stick their notebooks up on the shelf and leave them there. They can talk a good talk, but when push comes to shove, they haven't walked the walk. Perhaps Tom makes these skills too easy for us to obtain. Perhaps some miss out on the Coyote. (If you haven't tried the traps you learned in your Back to Back, by the time you get to Scout, it will be obvious -- the information is not always complete, something you won't discover till you try it.) My point is that book knowledge is great. Knowing ABOUT how to survive and actually surviving are two different things. The challenge is mastering our skills, not our knowledge.


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