Autumn Attitude Adjustment – Toby Cowern

As I write this article in the third week of august, Autumn has already arrived here in the Far North of Sweden. The first frost thankfully brings an end to mosquito’s season, the birch leaves yield from green to fiery reds and yellows, and the berries ripen to allow the pre-hibernation feasts to begin.

We often joke here in these latitudes, that you ‘need two of everything’ to deal with the annual extremes. Two wardrobes, two sets of wheels for the car, two completely different set of tools etc, such is the contrast between summer and winter. 24hr daylight gives way to 22hrs of darkness and temperatures drop by 60 degrees Celsius (108 degrees Farenheit)

Autumn is definitely seen as the time to adequately and thoroughly prepare and transition from summer to winter. Along with the physical changes, it is also a powerful shift in mindset. In winter you will dress differently, drive differently, even walk differently and items you routinely carry or ensure you will have with you also change and typically grow in size and number.

With such a significant annual transition and ‘mental switch’, people here will routinely review how the previous year’s plans worked and if any changes need to be made. Yes, somethings will be routinely the same, but more often than not things that get lost, broken, damaged over the summer in storage will get replaced or upgraded and technology will also continue to press new solutions into the market (albeit with mixed results)

One of the things I routinely reinforce to students in training is to ‘continuously interrogate your equipment’ meaning, understand the purpose, limits and versatility of any and all things you carry, combined with is it ACHIEVING what you want it to?

As I have previously written I am not a fan of generic Every day carry (EDC) lists, and equally do not believe in carrying an item just because ‘somebody else does’. You need to ensure your EDC items work for you and are carried in a way that are conducive with their anticipated use.

In the spring I encouraged you all to complete a routine maintenance check of your EDC, for the autumn I’ll ask you to sit down and review your EDC and honestly ask what changes and improvements can be made?

I had the privilege of hanging out with an exceptional group at the Violence Dynamics Seminar in California early this year and received an overwhelming input and discussion on carry items, which I am still processing 4 months later. What I can say, is I have been modifying things since then, that have worked well for over the last 10 years, but now work better or more effectively than ever before. Some changes were minor; I now carry certain clothing items draped over a shoulder instead of tied around my waist. Other have been major, one example being a total change in carry style and blade orientation of edged tools.

The summer has given us a number of stark examples of how quickly everyday situations can turn extremely bad, most notable of which have been incidents in various major airports around the world (Although many other significant incidents have occurred, all with essential lessons) It is worth noting in all of these situations persons involved have been reliant on themselves and their own equipment for prolonged periods of time to ‘manage as best as they can’ before any additional support was available.

Now is the time to ensure you are not carrying ‘Tacticool Talisman Tools’ but genuine items that will help boost your everyday resilience.

So, expose yourself to some new and different ideas, do some research, listen to the excellent advice coming from the authors here in CRGI and Conflict Manager Magazine. Get involved in the facebook discussions, most importantly see how you can adapt and improve your current habits


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