Thursday, June 26, 2008

Nature Skills Taikai

Saturday everyone learned how to use a compass and performed the day navigation course which consisted of 11 points on a course that covered more than 2 miles. Afterward, we have hamburgers and chips for lunch and go back out to learn how to defend against stalking in the woods. We learn where someone stalking you in the wilderness is likely to hide themselves and where best to stop and observe a road to check for stalkers. As night falls we are able to see how to blend into the woods in twilight even if we have a very bright shirt on. We take turns hiding and then casually trying to find each other. We head back after everyone has their turn and get some much needed water. Then we head back out to learn about smokeless fires and hidden fires. As a part of his Senpai test Monjin Duckworth is required to teach the other students at camp how to construct these two different fires while the instructors observe him. After the initial explanation, the students are divided into two groups and they make their own smokeless fire mounds. It was way too hot and dry to light the fires, so we just stacked the wood instead. After we finish, we head back so Monjin Duckworth can spar 6 on 1 for his Senpai test. He did very well and took a much deserved break after the match.

In order to help energize everyone for the night navigation course, Yoshi Medina cooked a wonderful meal consisting of roasted chicken, baked potatos and gravy, brocolli, and rolls. It was delicious. Thanks to Yoshi Medina for preparing the meals at camp. After we were all juiced up and our stomachs had settled we go back outside to learn how easy it is to hide in plain sight at night. With our black gi we are able to blend into dips in tall grass as only a sliver of the moon was available for light on that cloudy night. After everyone got a chance to hide, we get our gear and glow sticks and head out for the night navigation course. This course consisted of 8 points and covered a distance of probably just over 1.5 miles. It sure seemed like a lot further, though. With only a glow stick to light your way, distance and time seem to stretch out. Some hours later we emerge victorious and are able to head back to the house to get away from the horse flies (they really are horrible little creatures). Everyone slept well and we began the next morning.

Students learned how to build a teepee lean-to against a tree and also how to braid grass into grass rope. It was very exciting. Now that camp is all said and done, everyone looks back with fondness. In fact, many ask when the next such camp will be held. They're reminded that the Gathering is just around the corner and many nature skills are tested at the Gathering.

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