Success, Survival and Self-Defense Tips From Bear Grylls in Zambia

Do you live in a jungle or a city? They can be much the same thing! The streets of big cities are often described as jungles. It would be surprising if endangered serial frog citizens could not pick up some success, survival and self protection tips from jungle survivors.

Crocodile Dundee, the film hero who survived crocodile and gang attacks in the Australian outback, also managed to survive in style in New York! Dundee’s character is based on the true story of Rod Ansell who survived for seven weeks in the Australian outback after his small boat overturned.

He lost his supplies and equipment but accepted the tough situation without whingeing. He had to show ingenuity and will power to survive. Eventually he was rescued by bushmen.

You may ask what survival has to do with success. The answer is clear. No one can succeed if they are dead, eaten alive or battered into a coma. To succeed you may have to face up to death and violent assaults. You may have to confront reality and be able to look for answers without giving up. It also helps if you can stay healthy and fit.

Bear Grylls, the survival expert, was dropped recently into the Lower Zambesi river below the Victoria falls from a helicopter in the rainy season. Ten foot waves came at him. He dived into them almost head butting them into submission to avoid being battered by them.

In a self-defense situation, it is often wiser to move in and attack the attacker. If you dodge around trying to avoid his attacks without counter attacking immediately, you will probably end by being beaten up or killed.

The famous saying that the best form of defense is attack makes good sense. Attack and you may well succeed in surviving and making a success of the life you have saved. Make your attacker worry about being hurt rather than allowing him to take his time hurting you.

Don’t shy away from problems. Spend time facing up to them one by one and finding solutions. Tackle them head on with confidence, patience and even aggression. Stay with one problem until it is solved.

Once on dry land, Bear came across leopard tracks. Leopards will kill anything from dung beetles to humans. Bear found the remains of an impala which had probably been killed by a leopard. Leopards eat in the morning and evening and leave what is left.

Bear ate some of the meat raw: “This would be safer cooked but this is not the time or place to light a fire.” The hyenas would soon arrive to eat up all the remains. Every scrap of the impala would be gone by next morning.

The self-defense lesson is obvious. Don’t hang around in an area where dangerous creatures are likely to be close. The best form of self-defense is not to be there. Eat your food raw or leave it and get out of Dodge.

One of my best martial arts students went into a café where an enemy was also having a meal. Instead of leaving at once, he stayed and started to eat. He did not notice that his enemy had sent his girl friend out to his car to fetch a knuckle duster.

As he walked past my student on the way out, this freshly armed man side swiped him with the knuckle duster. For the sake of staying put in a potentially dangerous place to finish his meal, my student ended up in hospital.

There are about 75,000 crocodiles in the Zambesi river. Some baby crocs get swept over the Victoria Falls, survive and grow huge in the area below. There are roughly five crocs every two miles.

Don’t drink from the same place twice. Crocodiles watch you the first time and may get you the second time. In the city, try not to travel along the same route twice. Criminals may be studying your habits and deciding the best time and place to attack or kidnap you. They are the crocs of the street.

Bear caught a cat fish in the river and commented: “I moved a little back from the water. There are not only fish in the river. Always face the river when fishing. The attack will come from that direction.”

Crocs usually attack at night so you should be fairly safe in the day time, but don’t take any chances. Always be aware of the possibility of attack and where it is most likely to come from.

Crocs are kings of camouflage and can move with lightning speed so don’t get close to the edge of the water. Give yourself enough space to escape. In the street, do not allow strangers to get too close. If necessary, step back or tell them to stay where they are. If they are only a few feet away from you, they can easily stick a knife into you. Action is faster than reaction.

Crocodiles are not the most dangerous animals around. Hippos are. There are many hippos along the lower Zambesi. They are thought to kill more people than lions, rhinos, buffaloes, elephants and leopards together.

Don’t be fooled by their jolly image. Some of the most horrendous serial killers, like Ted Bundy, were good looking and plausible. Some, like Albert Fish, were loved and admired by their families. Don’t trust any one you are not sure about however pleasant they seem to be.

Happy looking hippos can become four ton monsters. They are responsible for 200 deaths a year in Africa. They are fiercely territorial and protective of their young. They will attack anything they think is a threat. They kill many people by capsizing their boats.

Learn about what triggers anger in a potential enemy and avoid provoking them unless you want to test your skills at the risk of your life or a jail sentence.

At one point, Bear climbed up a rocky incline. You should keep on the dryer parts of any path you take to avoid slipping. Balance and staying on your feet are important for survival. If you end up on the concrete, even casual passer bys may take a kick at you.

Just falling on to a hard service can injure you badly. Many elderly people die soon after a fall. Wear shoes that won’t trip you up. I nearly fell over this morning when my slippers caught on a step!

Bear spent some time in the bush away from the river. Out there, you need to pick your camp site carefully. He found a hollow tree but animals, like wart hogs, might already be living there and there was no easy escape route.

One reason for making money is to give yourself choices about where you live. You do not want to live in a dodgy part of the city any more than you would want to live in the kind of hollow tree described above.

Bear chose another tree to camp beside – a bayabab tree. He created a ladder up the tree to help him escape if necessary. He carved wooden spikes and hammered them into the tree. These would help him climb the tree at speed if necessary. They had saved a friend when his camp was attacked by buffalo.

Make sure you have one or more escape routes in your own house and test them out before you have to use them in a panic situation. Don’t get stuck in a window like King Charles I at Carisbrooke Castle in 1648. He was executed not long after this incident.

Learning how to cook your food well and how to select healthy food is an important part of self-protection, survival and success. Being a good cook is a success skill worth learning!

Bear knew when his fire was the right heat – when he could hold his hand over the fire for about 5 seconds. This meant that the fire was at the right amount of heat for cooking his catfish thoroughly without spoiling it.

Knowing how to light a fire for food and warmth and to frighten off predators at night is very important. In the city, leave a light on and set up an alarm system. Have a weapon near your bed if you know how to use it.

Next day, Bear threw sticks to bring down bayabab fruit. This tastes like dried up cheese cake. It is a staple food across Africa and is full of vitamin C. Eating in a healthy way gives you the energy and freedom from sickness which can accelerate your success.

After eating, Bear headed for the mountains. He believed in getting on the move early before the heat and humidity could take their toll. Getting up early is not essential for success but it can help. My granddad was always up at 6 a.m. getting work done while others slept on.

Water is essential so Bear tied his shirt round one knee and walked through the long grass to attach the dew to the shirt. He stopped every now and then and wrung out the water into his mouth. You can pick up a quarter of a litre of dew in a couple of hours in this way. Resourcefulness is a key element of success. Use whatever tools you have available.

In the rainy season, animals don’t have to stick close to the water. This makes a dangerous surprise more likely. Both in the jungle and in the city, you need to stay aware and be on the look out for a possible attack.

About eighty elephants and then several impala appeared and disappeared. The presence of elephants suggested that there was a watering hole nearby. Elephants can be as tall as thirteen foot and weigh as much as eight tons.

Ten people a year are trampled or gored by elephants. They will attack if they think their young are threatened. The first sign of danger is that they flap their ears and grunt. They can run at nearly twenty miles an hour. They have bad eyesight but have a great sense of smell. Keep down wind to stay safe.

Be aware of the signs that someone is about to attack you. Get away quickly or, if you think they can run faster than you, strike them first. Understand their motives for attacking so you can avoid making them angry in the first place.

Bear next searched out a giant edible bull frog in a pool. He found one with big front teeth and used a branch from a wait-a-bit bush (an acacia or other bush with hooked thorns) to snare it without getting bitten.


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