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Mountain Austere Training

I debated whether to title this section Mountain Austere Training or Wildereness Survival Training. Although each title connotates a different meaning. As I teach and practice these methods they are  inseperable of each other. My decision to go with the first title was due to the simple fact that this was what came first in my life. But what is Mountain Austere Training?

Renegade Wing Chun

My first introduction to mounatin austere training came when I was 12 years old. It all started when I read the book “This is Karate” by Mas Oyama. In his book Mas Oyama told of the Yamabushi  or the “Warrior Monks” of Japan. These monks had a special practice they called Shugendo. In this practice the monks would test themselves by making long difficult pilgrimages to remote mountians. During these pilgrimages the monk’s would carry few possessions and live off the land for their daily nutrients. Life on the mountain trail was very harsh, especially during the winter months. Many monks were know have starved to death or were attacked and killed by wild animals. It was imperative that the Yamabushi learned to live in harmony with the mountain. For if they could survive Shugendo the monks were described as “having harnessed the power of the mountain.”

This tradition of traveling to and practicing martial arts in remote locations is not limited to the Yamabashi. History tells of this method of training being used by virtually all warrior societies throughout the world. Some cultures have even made mountain austere training a religous rite of passage. For others, training in secluded wilderness areas was simply done out of the need for secrecy.

For me mountain austere training started out pretty innocent. Living in the north woods of Massachusetts there was no problem finding secluded wilderness areas where I could camp out and practice martial arts. From the age of 12 until my late teens I spent as much time as I could training in the wilderness. I learned many lessons during these early days of wilderness training.  Most importantly I learned to be self reliant and to never fear being alone in the wild.

Renegade Wing Chun Todd Taganashi
Wilderness skills training at Ghost Lake.

As I got older and started to venture further into the wilderness I found the need to develop some basic skills that would make being in the wilderness easier and saver. Most people would refer to these skills as “Wilderness Survival Skills” but I prefer to call them “Wilderness Skills.” Although I admitt that over the years I attended a couple wilderness survival courses, I still consider my wilderness skills to be self taught. In fact, a majority of the wilderness skills that I know and practice were learned through reading books and trial & error. Now, when you add in mountain austere training, then it becomes a very intense mental and physical conditioning.

To this day I still practice mountain austere training as often as I can. There in nothing like strapping on your knife and canteen, grabbing you’re walking staff and headed off into the wilderness.

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Todd Taganashi

“I am already given to the power that rules my fate. And I cling to nothing, so I will have nothing to defend. I have no thoughts, so I will see. I fear nothing, so I will remember myself. Detached and at ease, I will dart past the Eagle to be free.”

~ Carlos Castaneda

© Copyright Todd Taganashi 2019

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The Must Make a Choice

Renegade Wing Chun“In Kung Fu as in life, you must choose your way and dedicate yourself to that way. Believe in it and pour all your time and resources into it. In this way you can maximize the benefits of your actions. If you choose to spread yourself over too wide a range your efforts will not bring about the maximum results, like giving a dime to 10,000 charities. You must find a cause you believe in. You must choose but you my choose wisely.”

© Copyright Todd Taganashi 2017

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Self Awareness and Ego

Renegade Wing Chun

The difference between self-awareness and an over inflated ego is defined by the character of the individual and their own internal dialog. Self-truth is easily hidden from others but not from ourselves. As warriors it is vitally important that we understand ourselves, both strengths and weaknesses. In that way we can find true confidence in who we are. This self-awareness is also vital, and a key element to self-improvement.

True self-awareness becomes self-confidence, and when projected outwardly it will become evident to all who we encounter. It could be described as a sort of an easy going happy-go-lucky feeling. The false ego is also very evident and disturbing. We have all been around those people who just don’t seem right. We feel it – we feel uncomfortable around these people. Their false truth is projected outwardly to hide their fears and inner conflict. If this false truth is not tempered, these lost individuals will slowly but surely lose touch with not only the world around them, but the world within themselves.

The tragedy of todays man is not his social condition, it is the delusion of self, and the lack of will to change himself.

© Copyright Todd Taganashi 2017