Combat Utility Tool – Coming Soon from Tops Knives


C.U.T. 4.0 – Combat Utility Tool
Overall Length: 9.0″
Blade Length: 4.25″
Cutting Edge: 4.0″
Blade Thickness: 0.19″
Blade Steel: 1095 High Carbon
Blade Finish: Black Traction Coating
Handle Material: Tan Canvas Micarta
Weight: 7.2oz
Sheath: Black Kydex
Designer: Joshua Swanagon

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Survival Tools : The ATAX ( All Terrain AX )

The  ATAX “the All Terrain Ax”  is an outstanding Wilderness survival, Urban survival and combatives tool. What is the ATAX? Well it’s a Knife, a skinner, a wire cutter, a range finder, a compass, an inclinometer,  a clock, a wrench, a hammer, a rescue tool, a survival kit holder, a fire bow bearing, an arrow launcher and a field level and of course by binding a split stick to it well, you’ve created an AX hence the AX in ATAX. Shew! that’s  a lot of stuff. You can visit  to  see images showing in detail all of the ATAX’s uses.  

There is a video available when you purchase  the ATAX showing how to use it. The ATAX carries  very easily and doesn’t get in the way like a large knife might. The specs are  LOA : 5.5 inches, width 4.5 inches it is 1/4 inches thick and is made of 1095 steel ( total steel ) and weighs 16 oz. The handle is Linen Micarta  and it comes with a reversible Kydex sheath for left or right use.

The ATAX created by Ron Hood is a great Wilderness and Urban survival tool, but can also be used for combatives. This is  a great tool for Military, Firefighting and other hardcore professionals, or the survival enthusiast. The Urban Defense Institute in cooperation with Karen Hood and  is currently working on a combat curriculum for the ATAX.

The ATAX is available through Tops

Keep it real and stay safe.



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Martial Art Profiles : Escrima / Arnis / Kali

EscrimaArnis and Kali are umbrella terms for the traditional martial arts of the Philippines  (“Filipino Martial Arts,” or FMA ) that emphasize weapons based fighting with sticks, knives and other bladed weapons , and various improvised weapons.  Escrima  also includes hand to hand combat, joint locks, grappling  and weapon disarming techniques. Although in general, emphasis is put on weapons for these arts, some systems put empty hands as the primary focus and some okd school systems do not teach weapons at all  I will be using the umbrella term Escrima for the rest of this blog.


Escrima students start their instruction by learning to fight with weapons, and only advance to empty-hand training once the stick and knife techniques have been sufficiently mastered. This is in contrast to most other well-known Asian martial arts but it is justified by the principle that bare-handed moves are acquired naturally through the same exercises as the weapon techniques, making muscle memory an important aspect of the teaching. It is also based on the obvious fact that an armed person who is trained has the advantage over a trained unarmed person, and serves to condition students to fight against armed assailants. Most systems of Esrima apply a single set of techniques for the stick, knife, and empty hands, a concept sometimes referred to as motion grouping. Since the weapon is seen as simply an extension of the body, the same angles and footwork are used either with or without a weapon. The reason for this is probably historical, because tribal warriors went into battle armed and only resorted to bare-handed fighting after losing their weapons.

Many systems begin training with two weapons, either a pair of sticks or a stick and a wooden knife. These styles emphasise keeping both hands full and never moving them in the same direction, and trains practitioners to become ambidextrous. For example, one stick may strike the head while the other hits the arm. Such training develops the ability to use both limbs independently, a skill which is valuable even when working with one weapon.

A core concept and distinct feature of Filipino martial arts is the live hand. Even when as a practitioner wields only one weapon, the extra hand is used to control, trap or disarm an opponent’s weapon and to aid in blocking, joint locking and manipulation of the opponent or other simultaneous motions such as bicep destruction with the live hand.

The most basic and common weapon of Escrima is the rattan stick ranging in length from 24″-36″ depending on the system. There are also staff techniques and palm stick techniques that are used as well. Edged weapons are big in  the Filipino martial arts with many sizes shapes and attributes for each. One of my favorites being the Karambit.

Some improvised  impact and edged weapons that can be used with Escrima concepts : flashlight, rolled up new paper, screw driver, pipes, umbrella, bats of all types, ice pics and box cutters.  etc. There are the use of flexible weapons as well.

There are many different systems in the FMA community and depending on the system the focus may be on all or one of the different aspects of Escrima. What you will learn is single stick, double stick, stick and dagger and more.  Once a student advances they will learn punches, kicks, locks, throws and grappling ( Dumog) The empty had portion of Escrima is commonly referred to as Filipino Boxing, panantukan, cadena de mano and sometimes Pinoy boxing. . There are different ranges in combat, in Escrima there are usually 3 that are recognized, largo ( long ), medial ( medium ) and corto ( close ) and again depending on the style you may focus on all or just one range.

I could go on and on about Escrima as it is probably my favorite art. There are so many aspects that can be studied, it can be incorporated into other arts with cross training or it can be a well rounded stand alone art. I hope this peaks your interest and for more details check out Wikipedia.

Some arts that incorporate well with Escrima : Wing Chun, Silat, and Jeet kune Do, just to name a few.


Other Profiles :

Wing Chun




Keep it real and stay safe.



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Martial Art Profiles : Karate

The martial arts movies of the 1960s and 1970s served to greatly increase the popularity of martial arts around the world, and in English the word karate began to be used in a GENERIC way to refer to all striking-based Oriental  martial arts. Karate schools began appearing across the world, catering to those with casual interest as well as those seeking a deeper study of the art.

Karate being a generic term used for all striking arts I wanted to give you the low down, it is actually a Japanese term meaning ” Empty Hand ” , which could describe most striking arts, but originating in Japan with Chinese influence.

Karate is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Islands in what is now Okinawa , Japan .Karate is a striking art using punching, kicking,knee strikes, elbow strikes and open hand techniques such as knife hand, spear-hands, and palm-heel strikes. In some styles, grappling, throws, joint locks, restraints, and vital point strikes are also taught. Karate also incorporates some weapons as well even though the term means “empty hand” some of the weapons used would be Tonfa, Sai, Koma and the most well know the Nunchaku. 


The arts taught in the Ryukyu kingdom were brought to the Japanese mainland in the early 20th century and systematically taught. During this time the spelling of Karate and a lot of it’s terminology was changed to Japanese spelling and terms, leaving behind the Chinese influence.

The World Karate Federation recognizes these styles of karate in its kata list


Many additional styles are descended from, or heavily influenced by, one or more of these styles.

You can find more details @ Wikipedia

More Profiles

What Martial Art is best for me?


Wing Chun



Keep it real and stay safe.

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Martial Art Profiles : Hapkido

Hapkido, is a dynamic and highly eclectic Korean Martial Art. It is a form of self defense that employs joint locks, grappling  and throwing techniques of other martial arts, as well as kicks, punches and other striking attacks. There is also the use of traditional weapons, including knife, sword, rope, nunchacku, cane, short stick, and middle length staff,  which vary in emphasis depending on the particular tradition examined.

 Hapkido contains both long- and close-range fighting techniques, utilizing jumping kicks and percussive hand strikes at longer ranges and pressure point  strikes, joint locks, or throws at closer fighting distances. Hapkido emphasizes circular motion, redirection of force, and control of the opponent. Practitioners seek to gain advantage through footwork and body positioning to incorporate the use of leverage, avoiding the use of strength against strength.

The art adapted from Daito Ryu Aikijujusu ( Japanese Jujutsu ) as it was taught by Choi Yong-Sool, when he returned to Korea after World War II, having lived in Japan for 30 years. This system was later combined with kicking and striking techniques of indigenous and contemporary arts , as well as throwing techniques and ground fighting  from Japanese Judo. Its history is obscured by the historical animosity between the Korean and Japanese  people following the Second World War.

In conclusion, Hapkido is heavily influenced by Japanese Jujustsu, Judo and weapons, when combined with the kicks of the more traditional Korean arts, such as Tae Kwon Do or Tang Soo Do, it  becomes a very well rounded and eclectic art.


More Profiles,

What Martial Art is best for me?

Wing Chun



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Instructor Profiles : Dominick Izzo ( Wing Chun )

Hey Crew,

Last week I did a Martial Art Profile on Wing Chun Kung Fu, so I’ve decided to do a profile on a Wing Chun instructor for this blog post.  I chose to do this blog on Instructor Dominick Izzo, Chief Instructor of Izzo Tactical Combat Martial Arts.  Mr. Izzo caught my attention surfing YouTube and he has a very controversial and modern “In your face”  approach to Wing Chun, so if you are in the Chicago land area and Wing Chun Kung Fu strikes your fancy,make sure and check him out.





Chief Instructor Izzo is an internationally published author, contributor and the first Wing Chun Instructor in Chicago to be featured in the world renown, Wing Chun Illustrated Magazine.  He is a Police Officer and former member of NIPAS Mobile Field Force, having served in active call-outs for riot control.  

Chief Instructor Izzo began his Wing Chun under Sifu Danny Halligan, acting as an assistant instructor for Halligan’s Combat Training, later under Master Philip Nearing and currently under Master Sifu Syed Ahmad. 

Chief Instructor Izzo has had the honor of training with incredible Wing Chun Masters such as, Sifu Jin Young, aka The China Boxer, Sifu Eric Li and Grandmaster Samuel Kwok, helping Chief Instructor Izzo further his depth of knowledge and understanding of the Wing Chun System.  Chief Instructor Izzo is an active member of the Wing Chun community by embracing conversation and exchanging ideas of Wing Chun with some of its most valued practitioners and teachers worldwide.

He is the only Wing Chun Kung Fu instructor in the Chicago area with Law Enforcement experience and the global leading authority on Wing Chun application for Law Enforcement Defensive Tactics.  Chief Instructor Izzo is one of the most sought after instructors for hands-on Defensive Tactics for Law Enforcement and Street Self Defense. 

Active Police Officer
Wing Chun Kung Fu Instructor
State of Illinois Certified Police Officer
University of Illinois Police Training Institute Graduate
Police Officer 2001 through 2009
Member of NIPAS Mobile Field Force 2003 through 2005
Lake County Elk’s Club Officer of the Year 2003
Chief’s Achievement Award (Apprehension of Violent / Combative Subject) 2014
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
PTA Global CPT
NEMRT Instructor Certified
NEMRT Physical Skills Certified
PPCT Instructor Certified
NEMRT Emergency Vehicle Response Certified
NEMRT Juvenile Officer Certified
Edged Weapons Specialist
State of Illinois Law Enforcement Firearms Qualified
Former Collegiate Style Wrestler and Coach
Former Law Enforcement Amateur Boxer-SuperCop ’03 – ’04
Izzo’s links,
Keep it real and stay safe.

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Martial Art Profiles : Wing Chun Kung Fu.

The Martial Art Profile blogs were inspired while writing a previous blog ” What Martial Art is best for me? ” yesterday we blogged about the French Martial Art Savate. Today we will be talking about the Chinese Martial Art Wing Chun.

Wing Chun also know as Ving Tsun or Wing Tsun is a concept based Chinese Martial Art and form of Self Defense specializing in close range combat. Wing chun’s focus is on sensitivity, trapping, low line kicks and defending and attacking center line. There are many energy drills found in Wing Chun to help increase sensitivity and trapping skills, probably the most utilized drill is know as Chi Sao ( sticky hands ) and for the legs there is Chi Gerk ( sticky legs ). The energy drills are to teach the practitioner to relax and increase reflexes.

Wing Chun is known for it’s economy of motion, doing 2 or 3 attacks simultaneously, which in turn makes it very difficult to defend against, chain punches which can overwhelm an attacker. The art stresses relaxing, going with the flow and no resistance   ”Greet what arrives, escort what leaves and rush upon loss of contact” these  are just some of the philosophies found in this traditional art.

Wing Chun unlike many arts only has  a few forms, typically there are 6 forms, 3 empty hand forms 2 weapons forms and the Wooden Dummy ( Muk Yan Jong ). The empty hand   forms of Wing chun are designed to teach proper structure, through punching, stepping drills, turning and stances. The forms are very compact in nature and precise. Once the student has the empty hand forms down they will move on to the weapons, the Butterfly Swords and the Long Pole. The Muk Yan Jong form is performed against a “wooden dummy”, a thick wooden post with three arms and a leg mounted on a slightly springy frame representing a stationary human opponent. Although representative of a human opponent, the dummy is not a physical representation of a human, but an energetic one. Wooden dummy practice aims to refine a practitioner’s understanding of angles, positions, and footwork, and to develop full body power. It is here that the open hand forms are pieced together and understood as a whole.

Probably the most famous Wing Chun master known  would be Yip Man and his most famous student would be Bruce Lee. There are different lineages of Wing Chun, so the exact history will be debated and some of the spellings of terminology will also be different.

There is my quick run down of Wing Chun, I tried to keep it as generic as possible, but to the point. There are a lot of resources out there on Wing Chun, so please if this has peaked your interest check it out.

Resources I used for today’s blog. Wikipedia


Keep it real and stay safe.

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Martial Art Profiles : Savate

Savate (French pronunciation: ​[savat]), also known as boxe française, French boxing, French kickboxing or French footfighting, is a traditional French martial art which uses the hands and feet as weapons combining elements of western boxing with graceful kicking techniques.

Only foot kicks are allowed unlike some systems such as muay Thai, and silat which allow the use of the knees or shins. Savate is a French word for “old shoe”. Savate is perhaps the only style of kickboxing in which the fighters habitually wear shoes. A male practitioner of savate is called a savateur while a female is called a savateuse.

Savate takes its name from the French for “old boot” (heavy footwear that used to be worn during fights; cf. French-English loanwords sabot and sabotage and Spanish cognate zapato). The modern formalized form is mainly an amalgam of French street fighting techniques from the beginning of the 19th century. There are also many types ofsavate rules. Savate was then a type of street fighting common in Paris and northern France.

The two key historical figures in the history of the shift from street-fighting to the modern sport of savate are Michel Casseux (also known as le Pisseux) (1794–1869), a French pharmacist, and Charles Lecour (1808–1894). Casseux opened the first establishment in 1825 for practicing and promoting a regulated version ofchausson and savate (disallowing head butting, eye gouging, grappling, etc.). However the sport had not shaken its reputation as a street-fighting technique. Casseux’s pupil Charles Lecour was exposed to the English art of boxing when he witnessed an English boxing match in France between English pugilist Owen Swift and Jack Adams in 1838. He also took part in a friendly sparring match with Swift later in that same year. Lecour felt that he was at a disadvantage, only using his hands to bat his opponent’s fists away, rather than to punch. He then trained in boxing for a time before combining boxing with chausson and savate to create the sport of savate (or boxe française’, as we know it today). At some point la canne and le baton stick fighting  were added, and some form of stick-fencing, such as la canne, is commonly part of savate training. Those who train purely for competition may omit this. Savate was developed professionally by Lecour’s student Josheph Charlemont and then his son Charles Charlemont.

Many martial arts provide ranking systems, such as belt colors. Savate uses glove colors to indicate a fighter’s level of proficiency (unlike arts such as karate, which assign new belts at each promotion, moving to a higher color rank in savate does not necessarily entail a change in the color of one’s actual gloves, and a given fighter may continue using the same pair of gloves through multiple promotions). Novices begin at no color.

Savate did not begin as a sport, but as a form of self-defense and fought on the streets of Paris and Marseille . This type of savate was known as savate de rue. In addition to kicks and punches, training in savate de rue (savate defense) includes knee and elbow strikes along with locks, sweeps, throws, headbutts, and take downs

Conclusion : Savate is a great kickboxing style that works well for street defense due to it’s style of kicks while wearing shoes.

Okay crew there’s a little bit of info regarding Savate I hope you enjoy our Martial Art Profiles.

The content for this article was found on and for more in depth info regarding Savate go to Wikipedia………..

Keep it real and stay safe.


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What Martial Art is best for me?

Hey gang,

I have been asked recently what Martial Art I would recommend someone to take?  I started out by saying ” well I like…” and  ”if it were me” then it dawned on me,  That’s me not you. The reality is the general population has no  clue what the differences are between the arts to them it’s all Karate, IT’S NOT!.They get fed some crap from the local Karate-Mart, or they joined because their friend joined and probably the most common, it’s the closes school in their community. There are a few exceptions of course and the individual will know what art they want specifically, sometimes because they seen a demo or an Actor doing it,  as I did,  I wanted to do what Steve Seagal did. LOL  which is where I will insert ” fed crap by the local Karate-Mart” . Really it comes down to what do you want out of Martial Arts?

Do you want Self Defense?

are you in it  just for fitness?

Do you want contact or no contact?

Do you want to learn it for the culture of the art?

Do you just want to have a piece of paper showing you are a Black Belt?

Do you care for the Hierarchy, titles and politics of Tradition?

Are you in it just to train without B.S.?

Do you want to learn more than one art? some schools or styles don’t allow this.

Or a combination of any of the above?

These are just a few questions to ask yourself, there are many and we could go on forever. I would recommend not signing up for a long term commitment, make sure you really enjoy the art, school or instructor/coach you have chosen.. The instructor may be great, but the art doesn’t fit or vice versa.  I could go on forever on this topic, so as I’m writing this it has given me some ideas for you all.  I will be doing future blogs on this topic to help shed some light for you, with that said The future blogs will contain Martial Arts Profiles and then I have decided to go a step further and do Instructor Profiles to help facilitate your decisions and help point you in the direction of your choice. I think this is going to be fun.

The bottom line most important thing is that you ENJOY AND HAVE FUN,FUN, FUN  doing whatever you choose.

Thanks for your time peeps

Keep it real and stay safe.

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SHOT Show 2014

The 2014 SHOT Show was outstanding, as it is every year. For those of you who don’t know what SHOT Show is, it is the “Shooting, Hunting, Outdoors Tradeshow” held in Las Vegas every year in January. It is the largest and most comprehensive trade show for all professionals involved with the shooting sports, hunting and law enforcement industries (taken from With 5 square miles of floor space and its more than 1,600 exhibitors it is almost impossible to see everything.

As the Associate Editor of Survival Quarterly Magazine I have gone the past couple years and plan to keep attending. This year was especially exciting for me because I was also there to reveal my new knife design the “Backwoods Skinner” being produced by TOPS Knives. I was very happy with the reception it got as well. All they brought with them were prototypes, but apparently they sold out and received some pre-orders as well. Very cool. I was able to get an extra prototype to give to Ted Nugent before they were gone, so I was happy about that. He loves it and plans to really get some use out of it. I am looking forward to hearing what he thinks of it.

Unfortunately, I am not a photog and didn’t get as many pictures as I could have. I am the type that always remembers that I should have gotten a photo while I am walking away, “Oh bummer! I should have gotten a photo of that!” Oh well though, I did get some photos and will let them tell the story of the SHOT Show experience for myself and Survival Quarterly Magazine. Keep your eyes peeled for some familiar faces.

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Self Defense 101 : I can teach you self defense in a 2 hour seminar!

I’m told that Self Defense techniques are easy to learn and can be taught in as little time as  a 2 hour seminar / workshop. Yes, I guess in theory this is true, but…. Really? Self Defense techniques are simple in nature, this is true and can be learned fairly quickly depending on ones ability, but being able to apply these techniques takes time and training. I always like to take the analogy of a music instrument, I know not easy to learn, but fallow along here. Let’s take the guitar, learn 3 chords and learn a simple tune get it down really well, now don’t practice for a while. 1 week, 1 month,  how well will you do? Probably not as well as  if you had practiced the whole time. Right? Practice, Practice, Practice is the key even simple self defense techniques. If you don’t practice and keep up on your training it’s not going to come to you in your time of need.  The techniques may be easy, but the practice and training may not be. Practice under duress against a resisting partner. Put your self in uncomfortable training scenarios to help make you confident in training and pulling off your simple techniques.  I have heard many M.A. instructors say ” I can teach a women self defense in 2 hours ” well if that’s true that instructor is one awesome individual.  Answer me this, how confident are you to let your Mom, Wife or daughter after 2 hours of training,  can protect herself when she needs to? Oh and did I mention that 2 hour workshop she did was 6 months ago? Will she / you remember all those really simple techniques? I think not, practice and training is key in self defense or many other  aspects of our daily lives.

Keep it real and stay safe.

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Predator Profile: Charles Ng

P  Charles-Ng

Ng was dishonorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 1980, for theft of heavy weaponry, and served only 2 years of a 14-year sentence, after which release, he met Leonard Lake, and the two began kidnapping, raping, barbarically torturing and murdering anywhere from 11 to 25 men, women and children. Every single body found on Lake’s property in 1985 showed signs of rape and torture, even infants. The two men filmed home videos of themselves committing these crimes, and the videos still exist as private property of the State of California, which will not release them to the public.

Among the reports from the courtroom, Ng and Lake filmed each other clubbing victims, male and female, adults and children, with homemade spiked bats, chaining them to tables and sawing their limbs off, raping them before and after, and forcing them to watch their family members receive such tortures. Lake took cyanide when captured. Ng fled to Calgary, Canada, where he was arrested and fought extradition back to the U. S. for 6 years, before losing, being tried and convicted of 12 counts of murder and multiple other charges, and being sentenced to death in 1998. The trial cost $4 million. Ng and his lawyers are still appealing all verdicts, regardless of the home videos he and Lake made, which were shown as evidence against him. The total cost for his legal proceedings has reached $20 million.


Keep it real and stay safe.

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Predator Profile : Serial Rapists

This is a excerpt from an article found in Cosmo. Magazine.

Habits That Help

Rape is a crime that occurs because of the offender’s predatory behavior, and you can never protect yourself one hundred percent from becoming a target. But every woman should make sure her day-to-day behavior isn’t putting her at a higher risk.

Since it’s often the consistency of a target’s habits that gives a determined predator his cues, try occasionally to vary the path you take to and from work (stick to a few routes you know well). This way, a predator can’t assume that you always get home at a specific time.

To protect against home-invasion rapists, something as simple as locking your doors and windows, including your garage door, even when you are in your home can make a big difference. It sounds obvious, but predators scout in advance for women who leave doors unlocked while running errands and watch to see if you enter your home without a key. Speaking of windows, make sure all of yours are securely covered by curtains or shades at night. Exposed windows broadcast whether you are alone and when you go to sleep.

These serial assailants search for that brief moment of vulnerability when you are by yourself and distracted or off in your own world. In the 1990s, a serial rapist stalked Manhattan’s usually safe Upper East Side, attacking more than 18 women in their 20s and 30s, usually between 1 and 4 a.m., as they entered their brownstone buildings.

My team in the prosecutor’s office at the time theorized that he counted on his victims being tired at that hour and he knew some were off guard because they had been drinking. He still has not been caught.

If you’re in a similar situation, instead of heading home alone, ask a friend if you can stay with her or take a taxi together. Presenting yourself as alert, aware, and able to call for help quickly will make you appear more empowered and less like a woman to target.

Here is the link for the whole article.

Keep it real and stay safe.

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Urban Survival: Free Early Alert System

In this video Joshua describes how to build an early alert system out of a stick and cans (and when necessary, string) if you find yourself needing to stay in an abandoned house or building in an emergency situation.

For a complete write up on this and other safety tips for staying in an abandoned building or house read his article in Survival Quarterly Magazine Volume 2 Issue 2. You can find out more about Survival Quarterly Magazine at

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Preppers : Are they Crazy?

Prepping has become quite popular these days with a lot of people. T.V. shows, radio, Podcasts and of course the sales of these items. I have recently began my quest on prepping, still pretty new to the game. Everyone “preps” for different reasons, Economic collapse, Government take over and of course Zombies just to name a few. Are these people crazy? Well lets tone it down a notch. Maybe your not the End of the World prepper, but lets take a look at some good reasons to prep ( I’m not saying these fore mentioned reasons aren’t good reasons ). I’m also using the mindset that everyone preps in some way shape or form. Example: Using your seat belt, you don’t get in an accident every time you’re in the car,but yet we still prep for it, Fire drills at school, same thing and so on. Okay with that said, how about a Fire drill at home. Do you do it? You should “Prep”. Does everyone in the house know what to do? Do you have a safe spot to go to outside of the home? You should “Prep”. Having a “Bug out Bag” prepped doesn’t have to be for the End of the World, if there is a Fire in the home, how about some extra shoe’s, change of clothes, warm clothes if you live in cold climate, extra set of keys for the vehicles for shelter if you need it? Have you stored your B.O.B. outside of the home? It doesn’t do much good if you can’t grab it. This is just one scenario to prep. How about,
Home invasion,
Car stranded in the middle of no where,
Are you prepped at work for different scenarios?
Nothing wrong with prepping Financials.
So one doesn’t have to be the extreme “Prepper” for the End, there are many reasons to Prep. Pick your reason and be prepared.

Keep it real and stay safe.

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