One person's response to to the question ...
Did Grandfather and Rick really exist?
Iíd like to pick up on this question which I came across recently.
Forgive me if the debate has been and gone, but it is new to me. It still
has relevance I feel since after the Advanced Tracking and Awareness class I
attended last year, a fellow student put the question to me.
It had never occurred to me, and it troubled me somewhat. I tried to put it
out of my mind, because it would, I thought, undo the authenticity and
validity of Tomís teachings.
But it stayed there and kept niggling away until I looked at it. During
class we learnt about the Sacred Question, that is, asking question after
question about even the simplest things and events, to uncover the truth.
It is in the spirit of the Sacred Question that I consider the question
I read in one discussion that it cannot be proven whether Grandfather or
Rick ever existed. No-one has ever met them, it seems, there are no photos,
documentary evidence and such like. It was put forward that their names are
in fact pseudonyms, to protect their identities, or in the spirit of Indian
This lack of proof disturbed me. But then I wondered what if you, reader,
tried to find out about the existence of my grandfather.
You might try looking under his name Ė Andrew Laine, though thatís not his
real name, youíll understand Iíve wanted to protect his identityÖ.
Letís suppose now he belonged to an old secret Celtic druid clan (Iím
writing from Europe so am imagining a European continent equivalent to a
Native American Medicine Society), and had a false name, like Stealthy Bear.
Letís imagine that this Druid society, being secret, meant that my
grandfather spent much time in the forest away from society. And that he was
a master of camouflage and invisibility.
Itís not surprising that you would not find many people to authenticate his
But then you would look in the births, deaths and marriages records, or look
him up in one of the old peopleís homes where he might have spent his
remaining years. Except that he was never in the system, never lived in a
home and the last thing that he would have wanted was a formal, modern
Could you track down any of the people he knew? Family? Friends? You might
try but they are all dead. Convenient, you might say. No, they were just
And letís say he didnít like having his photograph taken (like the
Australian Aborigines) or giving press interviews, or have a bank account
etc. It would be very hard to find a trace, especially if he didnít want one
to be left.
You might try to find people who lived in my hometown of Leicester, England,
around the same time as me when I grew up there in the seventies and
eighties. You might be lucky and find someone who knew me who still lives
there, who could tell you if I ever hung around with an old guy. They might,
they might not.
You would ask to see a photo, but I donít have any of when he was old. Just
when he was in his 30s and 40s. There was just my mother and I, and my
grandfather living around the corner. We didnít have much money and didnít
have a camera so didnít take any photos (even through the 1980ís and Ď90s!).
I just have a two minute video of him with my baby son on his lap, eleven
years ago. Itís somewhere in the cupboard, unmarked and amongst hundreds of
hours of footage of my three children.
So did Grandfather exist? Iíll never know. I canít prove that he did, but I
canít prove that he didnít. And absence of proof that he ever existed does
not amount to proof that he did not.
And if I challenged Tom Brownís claims that he ever existed at all, I should
have to challenge other skepticsí claims that he did not, for they have no
I can understand why some claim he didnít exist, but I can believe that he
Several people in forums wrote Ďwho cares?í I wouldnít go that far. I think
it is important that if we claim to have learnt something from someone, that
that person did in fact exist. But at the end of the day, we have to make up
our own minds.
Of course it might be made up. It adds weight when marketing survival
lessons to say that one learnt from an Ancient. But if Grandfather didnít
exist, then Tom Brown is even more gifted than I first thought.
To have spent ten years learning a distillation of North and South American
primitive skills and culture from an individual would require depths of
determination, patience and effort to achieve mastery.
But to create all that stuff yourself would imply pure genius. I find that
difficult to believe. One man attaining reams of knowledge and prowess
through self-study alone. I have worked countless hours on the skills taught
on only three of the courses offered at the Tracker School and I have only
begun to scratch the surface.
The greatest painters and composers didnít learn everything from scratch.
They spent time learning the Ďbasicsí from the Masters, then went on,
building on those foundations, sometimes surpassing their teachers and
producing their own great and original works.
Did Tom Brown learn from other survivalists? Perhaps, but then have the
skeptics in their research interviewed great survivalists of the 60s and 70s
to prove that they did teach him those skills? So where did the skills come
Has Tom Brown really taught the Special Forces? That classified information
would never be revealed.
Has Tom Brown really been involved in 600 tracking cases? I havenít found
anything on Google, no news archives. But on my Standard course, one of the
students said she came on the course to learn from the man who found and
rescued a girl lost from her home town when she was young.
Can Tom Brown track as well as they say? I donít know, because I have never
seen him track, on none of the three courses Iíve been on. But I suspect
that the instructors, the police forces and other professionals would be
able to vouch for his abilities.
Everything Iíve read about him, even from the skeptics, say no-one doubts
My fellow student during Advanced Tracking told me his teacher (a former TB
student) was asking the same question, did Grandfather really exist?
This is the same person who, after having taken several of Tomís philosophy
classes, was able to Ďdisappear from sight at willí using spiritual
techniques. I found it ironic that someone who had reached such a high level
of spiritual mastery, would still call Grandfatherís existence into
question. Or does he subscribe to the ĎTom learnt everything himselfí
I donít see many survivalists with that degree of spiritual proficiency from
whom Tom could have learnt.
I just canít believe that Tom Brown, having attained that level of skill and
experience, could have made it all up himself.
Learning from several woodsmen teachers seems possible, but there are some
skills, such as the Scout series, that Ďregularí woodsmen just donít know.
Take a look at all the hundreds of distinct courses on the Tracker School
website. I just cannot understand how anyone can know that much informationÖ
In the end no-one can prove whether or not Grandfather existed, and it
becomes a matter of faith and trust. And I believe that he did.
--Submitted by PL, July 2011