Progress by Regression Relationship Between Gear and Wilderness Skills
The training system that I have developed recognizes that there is an inversely proportionate relationship between gear and wilderness skills. That is just a fancy way of saying that the more you know, the less you carry. The less you know, the more you rely on gear to provide for your own needs in the wilderness.
In many ways, I think of gear as the crutch that helps someone limp along but still get where they are going. In the beginning, I feel that is absolutely necessary so that one can safely enjoy their time in the wilderness as they develop knowledge and wilderness skills. I liken the development of knowledge and skill to replace that reliance on gear to splinting a sprain or a fracture so that a person no longer needs the crutch.
So how do you develop that? The short answer is a training philosophy that I call “Progression by Regression”. Hear me out on this. Human beings historically have survived with less and less the farther back in time you look. The ability to survive and be more comfortable in the process was directly influenced by the knowledge, skills, and resources available at the time. At this point, the pendulum has swung so far past actual knowledge and skill that it relies on an unthinkable amount of resources instead. We are essentially the only member of the animal kingdom that cannot survive in its own natural environment without the aid oil the artificiality that we have created for ourselves to make life and survival possible. Creatures of comfort is an understatement.
To remedy this, we must reverse “progress”. We have to regress. To regress means to return to a former or less developed state. We have to go back in time to develop the skills that were necessary back then and bring them forward to the present so that we have those skills to call on if needed. Our progression depends on regression.
We cannot simply drop all gear and head out to the wilds. We no longer possess the knowledge or skills to do so. They must be developed gradually, and safely, over time. It is too much of a leap, in my opinion, to go from modern man directly back to the Stone Age, because Stone Age man didn’t jump directly to modern. There is a large skillset that bridged that gap. It is much more reasonable to expect a modern human, who has developed the necessary knowledge and skills using today’s resources, to be able to shed some of those resources and learn to use skills and resources that were available on the frontier, for example.
After that, taking the next step back in time towards providing for needs using nothing but sticks and stones becomes the next goal. The end result is a well-rounded individual with the skillset to provide for their needs in a wilderness setting regardless of the resources available to them. There should be no doubt that an individual with that capability is highly progressed as a Woodsman (or woman), and it took a systematic approach to regression to get there. That is the goal. That is where my system is trying to take you.
It starts with the Wilderness Skills Course. This course teaches the knowledge and wilderness skills necessary with today’s resources available and sets up the baseline to “regress” from. We are currently pushing out across the United States to make this training more accessible to as many people who want to start this journey as possible.
The second course is the Bushcraft Skills Course which will be available at select locations in 2022. This puts the student back in time a bit and teaches skills that would have been necessary on the frontier a couple of centuries ago when humans were less reliant on modern gear and had to craft much of what they needed off the landscape.
The third course is the Primitive Skills Course. We take students as far back as we possibly can and teach them to do everything with nothing, literally using sticks and stones to provide for all basic human needs. This course will also be available in 2022 for those who are ready to take on the final step in their progression.
The end results: A well-rounded individual with a variety of experiences and a more complete skillset to choose from, confident in the wilderness regardless of the situation they find themselves in or the resources they do or do not have.
It’s a worthwhile goal for sure. It’s certainly my goal to get you there. Learn more HERE about beginning your journey to self-reliance.
Hope to see you in the woods.
– Joshua Enyart a.k.a. The Gray Bearded Green Beret