Last weekend we ran a search and rescue tracking course. The location was tough, perhaps one of the hardest locations to learn to track. We had a brilliant group of people, all eager to learn how they can apply tracking to their searches for missing people.There were several dog handlers ,which is a good sign, because a dog handler who can track is an extremely useful resource.
We had a heavy frost over night and the trackers had first hand experience of a follow-up using the golden hour of frosted grass, and they soon realised that every SARTRACk is an emergency, and for every two minutes of delay, they were losing an hour worth of" tracking gas", until the sun was up and the advantage defrosted.
I have said previouse emails how impressed I am with these people They are ready to go at a moments notice, and indeed they had to go to a shout
This weekend we run a SAR Mantracking Course for UKLSI. Its a course I look forward to running every year.
The volunteer searchers that come from SAR organisations around the country are always a pleasure to work with.
They give up their free time to search for missing people 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They are well turned out with equipment and clothing, yet they have to buy most of their equipment from their own funds.
For us as trackers at Shadowhawk, it makes the instructors very proud to be associated with them. For our small bit, it may be that if they just use a small amount of tracking and it saves one life, then our job is done.
When I left the Shadowwolves in Arizona, the Chief Tracker wrote a simple letter," Make good use of your knowledge, pass it on".
The SAR course, is where we get a good chance to make good use of the knowledge, which really could save a life, and make a difference.
Tracking animals takes on a very different style of mental preperation. In fact depending on the location, the state of mind depends on what you are tracking. For example tracking animals in the green hills and forests of the UK is a pleasant experience , with a state of mind that is relaxed and chilled out, and close to euphoria. Especially at this time of the year. The first apple blossoms are out, and within the next few months there are very few places on earth that I would rather be. I can picture myself tracking and zoning in a blue bell carpeted wood.
However, mantracking requires an all together different mental approach. Whether its SAR Tracking, or tactical tracking the mental preperation is the same. In SAR we excercise the hunter, aggressive style of tracking just as we would in tracking down a "wanted" person. The result is the same. Some would ask, why track aggressivly for a missing person?
So how do I deal with the irony of tracking in a euphoric mood through bue-bells in the UK, and tracking dangerous humans.
I kind of like the right sort of pain. I hate broken finger nails! I have trained to control pain for year year upon year.
If the pain has a constructive purpose, which is useful in the future, then its good( in moderation). The pain must not be associated with any negative emmotions.
A few times a week, I go kick-boxing( Muay Thai), and my sparring partner and I send each other home with a good assortment of injuries. No Pain no gain, is very true. Contact kick-boxing is very close to my heart and forms an essential part of my mental approach to tracking. Beating each other up, is not what its about for me.
Day to day, we have a certain amount of control, and we can plan ahead. In a fight, you are living in trueist " NOW" moment . Usually, Im in OK shape, ive zoned-in(ZIZO), but cant plan for what will happen when you step into the ring.
For me the ring is the Metaphore for tracking.
I have decided to enter another fight in the next few months, and I ask myself why( on hundreds of occasions)but especially the night before and the morning of the fight. By the time I get in the ring, my mind is empty of everthing, fears, courage or any other emmotion, the only option is to attack or be attacked. Hmmmm
Strange as it sounds, but its a very pure experience. Victory goes to both of us because in truth my fight was won the moment I stepped into the ring.
Strong words, but over the next few months, things will become interesting.
The process has started and I want to set the manhunt mental scene for you.
If we start tracking a dangerous human being, and we both get fifty points to start with, then If the target loses a point to me the score is 51 to me and 49 to the target. In fact I am 2 points up on them.
As of yesterday Shadowhawk is 2 points up on the target, but today they gained another point back, but didnt get it over me, so they are still 1 point behind.
Shadowhawk: 51, Target 50.
The manhunt score will run live on my blog, until the actual follow-up starts, so keep checking back
Sorry, it might take a couple of months for it to become clear to you, but its worth watching the Manhunt Score.