Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hammer Yourself Into Shape

Survival fitness is something I've talked about here a few times before, and I think it's important to bring it up again now and then to reiterate the importance of staying in shape to increase your odds of making it through a dangerous or stressful situation.

There are many ways to accomplish the goal of staying physically ready for events that may test your endurance or strength, the most common of course, being gym workouts with weights or machines, as well as cardio-intensive training such as running, cycling or walking.  Excuses for not using these methods are as plentiful as huge array of workout equipment you can find for sale at any sporting goods store, and range from time restraints to cost considerations.

There used to be a time when most people did enough physical work that none of this was necessary anyway, but unless you're in the really small percentage of those today who earn their living doing something like brick-laying or chopping wood with an axe, chances are you need to work out to stay in shape.  What if you could take a simple tool like a sledgehammer and use it to work practically your entire body without the need to buy dumbbells, barbells or a Bowflex or some other kind of machine?

This isn't the kind of iron-pumping workout designed to build muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but if you want to increase your functional strength and stamina, as well as speed and power that could make the difference in a fight or flight survival scenario, pick up a 16lb. sledge or even an 8 or 10-pounder and try these 23 exercises:"

I've done this routine a few times since discovering this video on YouTube and I can tell you that it is a great workout that will leave you feeling like you've done something when you're finished.  You can determine the intensity by the speed with which you execute each movement as well as by choking up or down on the handle of the hammer.  You don't need much weight to get the effectiveness, and in that regard it's much like working out with kettlebells; more about the technique than the weight.  If you want to try it, I would recommend first following along with the video using an unweighted stick or axe handle to learn the proper form.  Then start with a real sledgehammer.  He's using a 16-pounder in the video, but unless you're in great shape already, you'll probably find that's too heavy to swing with good form, speed and power.  The difference in this and merely lifting weight is that you have to overcome the inertia of all that weight swinging at speed to stop each stroke in the air with control, as he is demonstrating in the video.

You don't need a lot of time to do this entire routine, maybe one minute for each exercise, but if that's not enough you can use it for circuit training and go through the whole thing again when you're done:  two, three or even four times if you're able.

Almost everyone has a sledgehammer somewhere in the toolshed, and if you don't you can go out and pick one up for $20 to $30 at any building supply or hardware store.  It's a cheap piece of equipment compared to stuff designed specifically for exercise, and you'll probably find plenty of other uses for it as well.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Threatened By The State for Building a Boat?

Here's something a little different that I thought I would pass on after reading about it on numerous boating blogs and forums I frequent.  It makes you wonder what's going to be taxed out of existence next when a state department of revenue goes after a man who simply wanted to build a boat to take his son fishing.

One thing that all preppers and people with an interest in survival have in common is the desire to be self-sufficient.  The ability to do-it-yourself and make things from scratch can go a long way towards freeing you from dependance upon expensive manufactured versions of the same things, which in many cases are  inferior to what you could make yourself.

As long-time readers here probably know, I'm a big fan of travel by boat, whether on remote wilderness rivers, through southern swamps, or along the coast or open ocean.  As a result of my interest in a variety of small craft, as well as a life-long interest in woodworking, I began building my own boats some 18 years ago, and have since built more than a dozen vessels, ranging from sea kayaks and canoes to fishing boats and offshore sailboats.  Most of my wilderness and sea journeys by boat would not have been possible if I had to buy the factory versions of these boats I built myself - mainly because I could have never afforded them.  But aside from the cost, there is an indescribable satisfaction to be had from turning a pile of wood and some epoxy and fiberglass into a beautiful and functional watercraft and then paddling or sailing it to some wild place.

While you can save a lot of money doing it yourself, building a boat is still far from free, especially if you care enough about how it looks and how long it will last to use quality materials.  And there's also no getting around the fact that it's a lot of hard work.  The same can be said about anything worth building or doing right.  You need some basic tools, as well as the ability to use them, and unless you have a talent for design, a set of plans drawn by someone who does.  Thousands of boats are built this way in garages and backyards every year all over America, and one would think that the right to do so would be unquestioned and unchallenged.  That's exactly what a Murpheesboro, Tennessee man named Jonathan King thought when he purchased plans and built a simple, low-cost 14-foot wooden boat so he could take his seven-year-old son fishing.

Tennessee, like most states, requires boats that are fitted with engines or sails for propulsion to be registered with the state in which it is operated.  This involves a small annual or semi-annual fee that is not unreasonable, but if you build your own boat from scratch, you first have to get it inspected so that a HIN (hull identification number) can be issued.  This number is required in order to apply for the registration number.  Like the registration, getting this number is not that big of a deal in my experience here in Mississippi, and having it does help prove ownership if the boat is stolen, so while it's a minor aggravation, most home boatbuilders don't complain.

But apparently that's no longer enough in Tennessee.  Given the current economy, many states are looking for additional revenue anywhere they can find it, and Tennessee has hired outside consultants to make sure they don't miss any opportunity to tax citizens for things they may have overlooked.  This is where Jonathan King ran into trouble.  After applying for the HIN for his homebuilt boat, which he never intended to sell and built solely for his own use, he was threatened with court action if he did not pay a $539.00 "use tax" on the boat, as he was now considered by the state to be a "boat dealer."  Never mind that he had already paid sales taxes on the plans that he purchased, as well as on all the plywood and materials used in the construction.  This "use tax" he was now being hit with probably amounted to nearly as much as all the materials required to build a boat of this size.  Thinking this was a mistake, he called the auditor and was told that no, they knew he built if for his own use, but the tax was still due and the state could get liens on the craft or pursue misdemeanor charges against him if he didn't pay.  Here's the original story:


This has prompted lots of discussion among do-it-yourself boatbuilders, such as these threads on the Wooden Boat Forum:


Here's one that starts with a letter from the designer of the boat to the governor of Tennessee:


As he points out, this story is going viral on the Internet, as well it should.  Those of you who are not into boats may not think it matters, but it's just one example of increasing loss of freedoms and restriction on what you can and can't do on your own property.  As some have pointed out, if a "use tax" can be levied against a home boatbuilder, what's to stop them from taxing those who build their own picnic table or doghouse, make their own clothing or bake their own cookies?  Isn't the economy already hurting ordinary people bad enough without punishing them for trying to save some money by making things themselves?

Another thing many Americans may not realize, especially if they are not boaters, is that most European countries have incredibly strict laws regulating building and using boats.  For example, in the U.K., a person building a boat at home for their own use is not permitted to sell that vessel until five years after it is completed.  That means if you spend hundreds or thousands of dollars building your dream boat, and then either discover it was not your cup or tea or perhaps need the money because you lost your job - tough luck, you're stuck with it.  Other European laws strictly regulate the type and size of vessel that is permitted to go offshore, and require you to buy and equip your boat with all sorts of expensive safety equipment that does not necessarily apply to the type of craft you own.  For example, in some countries sea kayaks are not permitted to travel more than 1-mile from the shore, despite the fact that they are among the most seaworthy of vessels.  There are many people who would like to see such laws passed here as well, and if this "use tax" issue is not resolved in Tennessee, it looks like we're already headed that way.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Urban Survival Tools: A Valuable Video Resource

I stumbled across a new video review of Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters just the other night while browsing YouTube.  I had to watch it all, of course, as it's good to see or read an unbiased, but well-considered review in which the reviewer discusses both what he or she likes, as well as dislikes about a product or book.

This led me to click through to the reviewer's YouTube channel after watching the video about my book, and browsing through it, I saw that Urbivalist Dan has a wealth of insightful videos that may be of interest to readers of this blog.  His channel is called Urban Survival Tools, and with more than 100 episodes posted, he has explored a wide range of topics such as Know Your Area's Disaster History, How to Find Survivalists in Your Area, How Krav Maga Can Save Your Bacon, as well many reviews of books and products.  Urbivalist Dan has an easygoing on-camera presence and a clear, conversational voice that makes watch his videos easy.  I recommend you browse his channel if you haven't seen it before, and I'm sure your find several episodes (or "prepisodes" as he calls them) that will be of interest to you.

In addition to the YouTube Channel, these videos and more are also available on his website: The Daily Prep

Here's his review of Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters:

And here is a follow-up he posted since that explores the meaning of bugging-out in general and presents some concepts you might not have thought about when making a bug out plan:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Survival Transportation on Destiny Survival Show

Yesterday I was a guest on John Wesley Smith's Destiny Survival Show on Blog Talk Radio.  We had an interesting discussion on survival transportation and I'll be back on the show on March 1st to talk more about bug-out shelter options.

John has posted an article about yesterday's interview on his Destiny Survival blog here: http://destinysurvival.com/2012/02/03/survival-transportation-will-you-be-driving-or-rowing-when-you-bug-out/.

If you missed the show yesterday, you can listen to it anytime on the embedded player below.  There was some connection problem at the beginning and you can hear someone (not John or me) questioning this, but the full show does begin about one minute later.

Listen to internet radio with Preparedness Radio on Blog Talk Radio


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts