I’ve gotten quite a few questions about the training I took part in June 12-14th. In short, it was an Urban Survival class which had several elements of Anti Terrorism, Escape and Evasion.

I was one of nine participates, which were taught by a team of four main instructors which included a Vietnam vet, tactical police officer, a member of special forces and one of the best professional trackers in world. During our last day, the staff included six additional members, making more instructors than students.

The first two days consisted of numerous topics ranging from environmental awareness to escaping from captivity, dealing with interrogation to working with disguises. In the face paced instructional method we also covered lock picking, surveillance, counter surveillance, how to properly cache supplies, improvised weapons and a wide range of social engineering…. Too many more to list.

On the final day we were kidnapped, padded down for weapons/escape tools, duct taped, cuffed, hooded, bound and interrogated. Emotionally, I had to deal with hearing (because I couldn’t see anything) my partners shocked, slapped around and suffocated… then those things were done to me. At anytime we could give up if we couldn’t take it anymore. After only the first 10 minutes I heard one of the participants, a Chicago cop, actually give up.

I was given a chance to escape, where I used a bobby pin I hid on myself to pick my handcuffs and leave into the open city (downtown Chicago) with practically nothing. We were given a number of tasks we had to complete to show that we could locate and create means of communications, food, water and shelter among other things. I ended up walking around 12 miles just in that day, while the team of 10 staff members ran surveillance on us. If we were not careful and did not blend into the population, anytime they found us, they could re-capture us and throw us back into captivity. I literally finished my last task in the last 30 minutes of the all day long drill.

In the previous three nights I got less than 15 hours of sleep, so Saturday night I finally crashed for 9 hours and then slept from exhaustion a good part of Sunday. I hope to work some of things I’ve learned in this training into some future instruction, however, I still have a lot of practice on many of the things I’ve learned.