American Survival Guide - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By Brian M. Morris

Part three of our con­ver­sa­tion with sur­vival ex­pert Mykel Hawke

As a se­nior in­struc­tor for Amer­i­can Sur­vival Guide Univer­sity, Mykel re­cently spent some time with our crew and ASGU Lead In­struc­tor and Pro­ducer Brian Morris at the ALTAIR Train­ing Fa­cil­ity in the Florida Ever­glades. Dur­ing some time off-cam­era, the two dis­cussed Mykel’s back­ground and train­ing, what drove him to join the Army and why he be­lieves it is im­por­tant to pass his knowl­edge and ad­vice on to oth­ers.

In this fi­nal of three in­stall­ments of our ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with Mykel Hawke— renowned sur­vival ex­pert, TV sur­vival se­ries host, au­thor and re­tired U.S. Army Spe­cial Forces com­bat vet­eran—he shares some key sur­vival ad­vice gained through a va­ri­ety of ex­pe­ri­ences in the field. Mykel is a very busy guy, so Amer­i­can Sur­vival Guide and ASGU ap­pre­ci­ate the time he was able to spend with us. We’d also like to thank the great folks at ALTAIR Train­ing So­lu­tions, Immokalee, Florida, where Mykel’s train­ing pre­sen­ta­tions were pro­duced.

Be sure to read parts 1 and 2 of this in­ter­view in the March and April 2017 ASG is­sues, and watch for news about Mykel’s Amer­i­can Sur­vival Guide Univer­sity pre­sen­ta­tions at WWW.ASGU.ASGMAG.COM.

Amer­i­can Sur­vival Guide: If you could sum up your sur­vival phi­los­o­phy into one sen­tence, what would it be?

Mykel Hawke: Above all, know why you want to sur­vive; when all else fails, it can see you through. For me, it’s love for my fam­ily.

ASG: What was the hard­est wilder­ness sur­vival skill you have mas­tered?

MH: By far, mak­ing a prim­i­tive fire is the hard­est, and no one has mas­tered it. It’s one thing to live in the desert, learn the best wood there and re­fine your tech­nique, but try trav­el­ing all over the world and do the same with new and dif­fer­ent woods and cli­mates. It be­comes a new learn­ing process ev­ery time. I teach work­ing to get good at one tech­nique. Then, you cut the bat­tle in half so you only have to fig­ure wood den­si­ties, cli­mate fac­tors, etc. I use the bow drill as my go-to method.

ASG: In a wilder­ness sur­vival sit­u­a­tion, if you could only have one item with you, what would it be?

MH: This is al­ways the key ques­tion, and

we all want a sim­ple an­swer.

Usu­ally, we think of a knife, but I can fash­ion a knife out of some­thing al­most any­where. An­other most-cited an­swer is a lighter. It saves a lot of time and en­ergy to make fires, which makes a lot of other great things pos­si­ble. A tarp is a great one, be­cause it means an easyto-make por­ta­ble shel­ter, sail, raft, rain catch, lit­ter, etc.

But an of­ten un­der-ap­pre­ci­ated an­swer is … a pot. Chem­i­cals run out, sun may not shine, bat­ter­ies may die, fil­ters may fail, but fire al­ways boils—if you have a thing to boil it in. Now, I can rock boil, so, I can get around that, too!

So, it comes down to one thing, I’d lean more to­ward a knife.

ASG: How im­por­tant is cross-cul­tural com­mu­ni­ca­tion from a sur­vival per­spec­tive? MH: To me, what’s im­por­tant about cross-cul­tural com­mu­ni­ca­tion in sur­vival is that it gets you to think out of the box, come out of your com­fort zone and get into some­one else’s head and heart space.

This is a valu­able skill that is ap­pli­ca­ble to all sur­vival prob­lem sets; but also, we are not alone in this coun­try or on this planet. In­evitably, we are go­ing to en­counter oth­ers, and if we can fig­ure out how to work it out with them, we might get a great, new sur­vival team mem­ber—or, at the very least, we might ne­go­ti­ate our way out of get­ting killed that day.

ASG: Would you con­sider your­self a teacher or an en­ter­tainer?

MH: OK;, it’s a good thing you’re not here—we’d rassle! Man, I am a teacher, first and fore­most, dyed in the wool. The only rea­son I’m “en­ter­tain­ing” is sim­ply be­cause I’m cre­ative in my ap­proach and pas­sion­ate about my sub­ject.

ASG: Teach us some­thing about sur­vival in the next five min­utes that we do not know.

MH: That’s a nice trick, but I don’t know what you know! (But I think I showed you a neat way to open a co­conut, yes?)

ASG: What is your great­est pro­fes­sional achieve­ment, and why?

MH: Sav­ing a life. Bring­ing Spe­cial Forces Sergeant Ma­jor Lohse back to life af­ter he died in El Sal­vador and keep­ing Sar­gento Gon­zalo alive long enough to get back to the base camp af­ter a bad am­bush in Colom­bia. The rea­son is that these were peo­ple I knew and cared about and for


whom my pro­fes­sional skills were able to make a dif­fer­ence.

ASG: How im­por­tant do you think train­ing and prac­tic­ing are to be­ing pre­pared for an emer­gency?

MH: There’s no way around it. With­out some pre­par­ing, study, train­ing and prac­tice, the chances of sur­vival de­crease ex­po­nen­tially. It lit­er­ally is a life-and­death mat­ter.

ASG: What is the num­ber-one killer in an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion?

MH: Fear! Call it panic, worry, doubt, con­cern—give it a name. There are three cour­ses of ac­tion that usu­ally re­sult from fear: fight, flight or fright. The first two are use­ful sur­vival strate­gies. The third causes folks to freeze or do noth­ing. You could die if you fight; you might die if you flee. But for sure, you will die if you do noth­ing. Even if you do some­thing and it is wrong, it’s of­ten bet­ter than do­ing noth­ing.

ASG: What is the most dan­ger­ous sur­vival sit­u­a­tion you have ever been in, and how did you sur­vive?

MH: In Africa, sur­rounded by 30 rebels who were all drawn down and ready to shoot me. I man­aged to bluff them and get them to change their minds.

ASG: Mykel, what are you afraid of, and how do you keep your fear un­der con­trol in or­der to meet the chal­lenges you are faced with?

MH: My big­gest fear is los­ing my fam­ily in a dis­as­ter/sur­vival sit­u­a­tion. I man­age it by fo­cus­ing on pri­or­i­tiz­ing coun­ter­mea­sures and tak­ing ac­tions, one step at a time.

ASG: Your wife, Ruth, as we all know, has some sur­vival skills of her own. How about your chil­dren? How much of your ex­pe­ri­ence have you been able to pass on to them?

MH: My first two sons have now grown up and have their own kids. They were trained up. And my third son is do­ing his learn­ing, too. I think we’ve got a lot of out­door folks in Amer­ica who teach their kids out­door skills, but there are very few who have the skills or time to teach the kids all the prim­i­tive sur­vival skills they need. It’s been an area we have fo­cused on for years.



Would you con­sider your­self more a hunter or a gath­erer?

MH: Hunter, for sure, but the gath­erer is not far be­hind.

ASG: You are an ex­pert at iden­ti­fy­ing ed­i­ble and medic­i­nal plants. How did you ac­quire this knowl­edge?

MH: I’m no ex­pert; I don’t think any­one is or can be. I’m well stud­ied in a hand­ful of plants. For ev­ery re­gion of the world, I try to know 10 ed­i­ble and three medic­i­nal plants that are plen­ti­ful, eas­ily iden­ti­fi­able, have no poi­sonous look-alikes and that I can find in all four sea­sons.

ASG: What is your opin­ion of the Uni­ver­sal Edi­bil­ity Test?

MH: As for the Uni­ver­sal Edi­bil­ity Test, I mod­i­fied the one the Army taught me, be­cause I felt it wasn’t prac­ti­cal and took too long. So, I made a sim­pler one, and it serves me well. It’s in both of my books.

ASG: Ev­ery­one in the sur­vival and emer­gency pre­pared­ness industry seems to be known for some­thing; what is Mykel Hawke known for?

MH: Good ques­tion. I’d like to say I’m known for teach­ing some cool stuff or mak­ing some neat gear! But if I had to guess,

I’d say I’m known for mak­ing a good book touch­ing on sub­jects oth­ers haven’t, such as can­ni­bal­ism and bi­o­log­i­cal war­fare, and for tak­ing my wife out and break­ing new ground teach­ing fam­i­lies to sur­vive to­gether.

ASG: Sev­eral sur­vival ex­perts are ei­ther spon­sored by some­one or have their own line of sur­vival tools. You have the Hawke brand line of sur­vival items. Ex­plain what makes your brand of tools unique or bet­ter than other sim­i­lar tools sold on the mar­ket to­day?

MH: One thing I have taken pride in is the fact that I will not put my name on any­thing un­less I de­signed it. Or, if some­one sends me some­thing to test, I won’t give my en­dorse­ment un­less it passes muster and meets my stan­dards.

All my de­signs are, very sim­ply, time-tested things that work and are fused with mod­ern science and tech that al­low me to make them a lit­tle bet­ter.

A good ex­am­ple is my Hawkchete. It’s the ugli­est thing out there—and it’s the best


ma­chete I ever used. Why? I com­bined a kukri and a parang. They are both out­stand­ing blades used for cen­turies in two dif­fer­ent re­gions of the world. I fused them and added some an­gles that tech­nol­ogy al­lows me to do with com­puter ma­chin­ing. The re­sult is an out­stand­ing tool.

ASG: What is next for you? Where do you see your­self five years from now?

MH: I have some plans to keep teach­ing and keep help­ing oth­ers. I want to do some neat things for kids and for vets. I’d love to share more, but right now, even to­day, we’re be­ing “stalked,” and any­thing I say or do gets copied. It’s freaky, weird and down­right sick! So, sadly, I have to wait un­til the things are done to share them. I hope you un­der­stand. But, bot­tom line: I have al­ways done good, and I al­ways will do good, not let­ting a bad seed make me give up my be­liefs and my faith in oth­ers.

ASG: As a vet­eran, your­self, you are in­volved in sev­eral char­i­ties that sup­port vet­eran groups. Do you have any char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions you would like to share with our read­ers?

MH: Of course. The Spe­cial Forces As­so­ci­a­tion helps a lot of Spe­cial

Forces men. The Green Beret Foun­da­tion does some great things for our Green Beanie broth­ers, too, as does the Spe­cial Forces Char­i­ta­ble Trust. The Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions War­rior Foun­da­tion and Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Wounded War­riors are good, too. I also work with Silent Heroes to fight poach­ers. But my fa­vorite of all time is GSTA. Gold Star Teen Ad­ven­tures is run by the won­der­ful Sol­heim fam­ily. They teach out­door skills to the kids of fallen Spe­cial Ops war­riors from all branches of ser­vice.

ASG: There seem to be mil­lions of sur­vival-re­lated books in print and on the In­ter­net these days. Other than your own book on sur­vival, what is your fa­vorite book on the sub­ject?

MH: My fa­vorite all-pur­pose sur­vival book is Lofty Wise­man’s SAS Sur­vival Hand­book. Such a small book with such a big amount of good in­for­ma­tion makes it the one I keep in my ruck.

ASG: You are the au­thor of sev­eral books. What are their ti­tles, and where can peo­ple find and buy them?

MH: Thanks for the op­por­tu­nity to plug some books, but I pre­fer to just be me! If folks want to read these, they’ll seek them out. I wrote the sur­vival books and lan­guage books we spoke about al­ready. I have also writ­ten a lot of other books that talk about medicine, war, knives, guns, phi­los­o­phy, ad­ven­ture—even ro­mance! So, just check me out on Ama­zon; there are a lot of my books there.

ASG: Do you have a news­let­ter, blog, web­site or other so­cial me­dia so peo­ple can con­tact or fol­low you?

MH: I have a few web­sites and some so­cial me­dia. Again, folks can find me if they want to. I al­ways wel­come good folks.

ASG: What is the best place for peo­ple to con­tact you? Do you have a Face­book fan page? If so, what is it called?

MH: Thanks, Brian. You rock! Folks can find me at www.mykel­ Every­thing else is linked from there.

ASG: Mykel, thank you so much for this in­ter­view. Amer­i­can Sur­vival Guide wishes you the best of luck in all of your fu­ture en­deav­ors.

Mykel and Ruth Hawke make their way through the bush on a shoot in Botswana Mykel and Ruth take a break from a walk in the snow with their son in 2008.

TV work is not all fun and games. The Hawkes look less than en­thused about chow­ing down on this morsel. Mykel at work with a ma­chete on lo­ca­tion in Botswana

Mykel and Ruth Hawke make the best of the lim­ited food avail­able in a semi-bar­ren lo­ca­tion. Be­low, left: Ruth ex­hibits some courage, along with her scor­pion-wran­gling skills, while on lo­ca­tion in Africa. Be­low, right: The film crew and Ruth take a...

Mykel Hawke— be­hind the wheel, go­ing off-road in Botswana Mykel takes a mo­ment to sur­vey the area be­fore de­cid­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate route through the brush.

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