Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Core Skills

Primitive Survival Skills

The Three Core Skills

Our ancestors used what we now consider primitive skills on a daily basis in order to survive and as a matter of routine everyday life. For thousands of years these skills remained basically the same and were passed on to generation after generation. The foundation skills, i.e., the skills most experts consider the core and truly “primitive” skills are the ability to make fire, twist fiber and to shape stone.

To better define and emphasize the need to learn each of the core skills just consider the steps and the materials needed to make tools as basic and as simple as the bow and arrow. In order to fashion the bow some sort of sharp tool would be needed to first cut, then shape the limbs and to cut notches for the bow string. To make the bow string would require the knowledge and expertise to select and process materials and then the ability to twine those materials so that the cordage would be strong enough for repeated use. The arrows would also need to be cut, maybe shaped or smoothed with a sharp stone and then straightened by applying heat – meaning you’d need fire. If the arrows were fitted with a stone arrow head, again flint knapping skills would be required.

Primitive tools, weapons and implements advanced proportionally in design, usefulness and effectiveness as the three core skills advanced. The better early man became at making arrow heads, spear points and stone blades the more advanced and effective their weapons became. As man learned and improved his skills in making cordage from grasses, roots, and leaves, the better simple articles of clothing, nets, baskets and shelters became. It also goes without saying that as man became more adapt at creating and controlling fire the faster his quality of living was advanced.

Flint knapping, making cordage, starting friction fires all go hand in hand. Many, if not all, of the other primitive skills often regarded as essential for subsistence – cooking, smoking meat and fish, tanning hides, making garments and containers, tools and weapons etc., all depend on, or are accomplished by the use of one, or a combination of these three core skills.

For those primitive skill students and practitioners that stick to the truly primitive methods, shunning the use of any modern tools, quite obviously, we have a real need to become proficient at each of these core skills.

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