Most of us find ourselves in Urban environments. Whether it be for work, play, or you call it home. What if you are targeted, kidnapped, or worse. Do you have the skills to save yourself? Can you get away from your captors and remain hidden? Operating and moving undetected in an urban environment is completely different than a rural one. To blend into the wilderness you wear camouflage. But how can one camouflage themselves in an urban environment.
Mr. Kevin Reeve, the founder and Director of onPoint Tactical is a subject matter expert on Urban Escape and Evasion, Tracking, and Wilderness Survival. He trained everyone from law enforcement, SAR teams, and the U.S. Military (including Tier 1 units like SEALs, Green Berets, PJ's, and MARSOC to name a few).
The Urban Escape and Evasion class was developed by Kevin after a friend in the IDF was stuck behind enemy lines and had to escape and evade in an urban environment. There was no military schools (Military SERE focuses on wilderness E&E) that covered this subject and ultimately led Kevin to develop the Urban Escape and Evasion course. This course was offered to strictly Military Personnel until Hurricane Katrina, where Kevin decided this would also be useful to the civilian community. This class draws an eclectic mix of people, so don't feel it's only for military personnel.
The first day starts off with an introduction to stress inoculation and how to control cortisol levels. The information Kevin provided on how the body reacts stress was eye-opening. I knew the effects of stress going into the class but was unaware of some of the other aspects associated with it. Many people think that they will "rise to the occasion" if faced with a survival situation, when in reality you will resort back to your level of training.
Following up with stress inoculation is Escape and Evasion priorities and basically gives you an understanding of what you "really need".
He then goes over what the response is after disaster happens. Basically how people react and what you need to expect and prepare for when coming into contact with other people. It makes sense when looking back to the unfortunate events of "opportunist" after Hurricane Katrina. This also covers WROL (without rule of law) and Immediate Action Plans you need to take.
Gear priorities was also covered and the levels such as EDC, EDC bags, and 72 hour kits. There is an extensive break down of all the tiers and example of items needed in each level. You may think you have a idea of what gear you would need, but Kevin points out many items that most people would overlook. He also discusses the need to improvise any gear you may need. In most cases when captured or taken into illegal custody- all your weapons or tools are removed and you may need to survive without them.
We then went over the very interesting topic of Cache's. How to pack them, where to place them, and what items one needs to cache. Some unique cache locations were discussed that would help in keeping them from becoming comprised.
|Chance Sanders demonstrating escape from rope|
The next topic of discussion was escaping from illegal custody. From items such as telephone cord, duct tape, rope, flexi-cuffs, zip-ties, and hand cuffs. We were also taught how to pick hand cuffs in the single and double locked position. This also included instruction on improvising shims and picks from common debris that can be found in an urban environment. We had ample "hands-on" time. Where we practiced escaping from various restraints.
During this time we were also shown video footage of just how quick abductions happen. You may think that you can overcome attackers in a situation like this. But when your targeted and taken by multiple attackers that have the element of surprise, you won't have the upper hand. This emphasized the importance of knowing how to escape from illegal restraints.
Some other topics covered on day one was Social Engineering, Knowledge of Terrain, Intel data, and how to build a Briefing Book. I had not known of Briefing Books prior to the class. I will say it is a critical asset to any survivor/survivalist.
Day two kicked off with an introduction to Urban Movement and the Baseline. This is critical when escaping and evading within an Urban environment. How, when, and, how to pattern yourself in an urban environment. I will say it's completely different than in a wilderness one. Again, this is one of those things not covered in a Military SERE course. Developing a baseline is critical in going undetected in an urban area. The human eye can quickly pick up on inconsistencies in their environment.
Along with that was urban camouflage A.K.A. disguises. The next period of instruction was on types of disguises, covers for status/action, and the common mistakes associated with each. We then learned how to construct fake ID's and how to use them.
Other topics included were Surveillance Detection, Static Surveillance, Surveillance Detection Routes, and Counter Surveillance.
The rest of the morning consisted of training in Lock picking. I had known how to pick locks going into the course, so it was fun to see how someone else taught. Kevin was an excellent instructor- leading many first timers to pick locks within about 20 minutes. Kevin also discussed improvising lock picks as well as the various equipment on the market.
After lunch there was more instruction on lock picking, acquiring vehicles, and dealing with attack dogs.
Day three is a field training exercise where you use all the skills you've learned to evade expert trackers. You start the morning off by being "gagged and bagged" and escaping capture. You will gather intel and move throughout the city. The night before students are encouraged to put out caches with gear they may need or use to help them evade. These caches would have disguises or lock picking equipment. If you were picked up by the trackers, students would then have to escape from restraints again and start the evasion all over again. This FTX gives the students a real world feel to their training. As Kevin likes to say "you always resort back to your training".
I really enjoyed this course. By far it is some of the best training I have received. Kevin is a charismatic instructor and told "real-world" stories that kept it entertaining as well as showing the importance of each skill. I hope to take further courses from onPoint Tactical in the future and recommend at the very least for you to attend the Urban Escape and Evasion Course.
If you like the skill sets we advocate here on Black Scout you will benefit from taking some of the training courses offered by onPoint Tactical. Check them out at www.onpointtactical.com