Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Contact Drills & Junior D&D
Gracie and I have been taking our hikes along the train tracks with backpacks on and doing some impromptu "Zombie Training." We've been taking long walks for as long as she could walk; with a pack on she can walk five or six miles without stopping. How many adults do you know that can do the same? All bragging aside though, I wanted to discuss how our adventures tie in to our preps and overall training methods. It is more relevant than you think.
When we go out walking, we sometimes "play zombies" which to hear means she listens to me narrate a spooky zombie story and then we participate in it. It has a lot in common with LARPing; we physically take the actions we would take in the story. What that comes down to is that we sneak, hide, break and shoot when necessary. Basically, we'll be walking along and I'll make a zombie groan; if she hears one, she knows to look at me right away. Then we go into our decision tree.
Zombies present but unseen: we sneak. I encourage her to make as little noise as possible; I've taught her how to avoid noisy surfaces, step slowly and quietly, and stop and listen after every fourth or fifth pace. We never sneak without setting a break point; more on that later.
Zombies incoming that haven't seen us: we hide. With the theoretical direction of the zombies in mind, we rush to get behind something or around a corner. More sophisticated camoflage techniques will have to wait.
Zombies incoming that have seen us: we break. "Break" is a command I have internalized in her when sneaking or just walking. Whenever we sneak or hide, we set a break point so we know where to rush to, and on daddy's "break" command, we rush to the chosen break point and hide there. We also break if there are too many zombies to shoot. From the break point, we hide, resume sneaking, shoot, or break again as needed.
Zombies incoming that have seen us: Shoot. We "shoot them away" (She has a little toy AK that matches daddy's closely enough that I use it for house clearing drills) and then break. This is to simulate the group's standard response to hostiles-suppress to break contact. I teach her to get low, preferably prone, and take shots at zombies while I simulate shooting over her; this is mostly to get her out of the way during a real firefight. However, in a few years, she can add her .22 to the verdict if strictly necessary.
How does this apply to training? Well, on a foot bugout, my kid knows to listen for Daddy's command first and foremost; it is extremely important that I don't have to hold her hand as much if shit breaks down because I can give her orders and expect a predictable response. Each of those orders has a purpose. "Sneak" as our default mode means that she is gaining a workable understanding of noise discipline and she can sneak for about 500 yards without making a sound before she gets bored; this is an acceptable limit for now. Again, how many adults could do the same? "Break" and "Hide" means that she knows to run and hide if told to. Although in a real scenario I'd grab her hand anyway, it is nice to know that she doesn't necessarily need it, as daddy may be grappling with a tango at the time that we break contact. Finally, if there is no choice but to slug it out, with the "shoot" command, I can get her prone and out of the way while the adults engage over her head.
Anyway, I just wanted to describe my methods to the internets at large to get them thinking: How am I training my kids to survive? Groups that don't do that are limited to strictly one generation. I've been doing it and having fun with it, especially when she admonishes me that I'm stepping too loud.
Congratultions (and simultaneous condolences) Gracie: You have me as the Dungeon Master of your life. It may drive you crazy-but you'll outlive your peers getting there.