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HS 196 – “Naked and Afraid” Star Discusses Urban Survival Skills

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Discovery Channel viewers who tuned into the series “Naked and Afraid” in the summer of 2013 were introduced to contestant EJ Snyder, a retired US Army Airborne Ranger and full time survivalist expert. Snyder and fellow participant Kellie Nightlinger battled the wilds of Tanzania buck naked for 21 days. Listen in on Episode #196 of The Holistic Survival Show as host Jason Hartman interviews Mr. Snyder on his life of adventure and how best to implement an urban survival plan during an TEOTWAWKI event.

In addition to a quarter century spent defending the United States under the banner of the U.S. Army, including combat tours in the first Iraq gulf war, Snyder has appeared in movies as a stunt man and military advisor, including an appearance as a mercenary in the popular television series “Lost.” He went on to star in another episode of “Naked and Afraid” and, more recently in the TNT series “72 Hours – the Fiji Jungle.” Are you starting to notice a pattern here? The man is ALL about survival.

During this interview, Jason and EJ get down to basics about how to survive in an urban setting when the you-know-what hits the fan. Some of the highlights of the epic discussion include:

– How to create an urban survival stockpile – even if you live in a tiny apartment
– Find the best water purification system, knife, and fire starter
– Exactly how to reinforce your front door against invaders
– Why you DON’T want to live in New York City or Washington DC
– The techniques for evading pursuit by humans or dogs
– How to decide if you should hunker down or bug out
– Much more…

Narrator: Welcome to the Holistic Survival Show with Jason Hartman. The economic storm brewing around the world is set to spill into all aspects of our lives. Are you prepared? Where are you going to turn for the critical life skills necessary for you to survive and prosper? The Holistic Survival Show is your family’s insurance for a better life. Jason will teach you to think independently, to understand threats and how to create the ultimate action plan. Sudden change or worst case scenario, you’ll be ready. Welcome to Holistic Survival, your key resource for protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Ladies and gentlemen, your host Jason Hartman.

Jason Hartman: Welcome to the Holistic Survival Show. This is your host Jason Hartman, where we talk about protecting the people places and profits you care about in these uncertain times. We have a great interview for you today. And we will be back with that in less than 60 seconds on the Holistic Survival Show. And by the way, be sure to visit our website at HolisticSurvival.com. You can subscribe to our blog, which is totally free, has loads of great information, and there’s just a lot of good content for you on the site, so make sure you take advantage of that at HolisticSurvival.com. We’ll be right back.

Start of Interview with EJ Snyder

Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome EJ “Skullcrusher” Snyder to the show. And you’ve probably heard his name. He stormed his way into reality TV in the summer of 2013 on the Discovery Channel’s hit summer TV series Naked and Afraid, starring in the episodes “The Terror in Tanzania” and “Bares All”. EJ also appeared on TNT’s brand new TV series 72 Hours. And he’s just got a long, long resume. So I’m going to let him tell you about the rest of it, including his background in the US army as a 25 year veteran. EJ, welcome. How are you doing?

EJ Snyder: Hey! I’m doing great. I appreciate you having me on the show. I hope everybody’s doing well. I’m excited about being here, and I always like to talk about life survival and all other things in between. So how’s it going?

Jason Hartman: Yeah, it’s awesome. And you’ve got a wealth of experience EJ, so we’re really looking forward to learning some good stuff from you today. First of all, your resume is so long there’s no way I could possibly cover it. Maybe just give us a little bit more on your resume. 25 years in the army, anymore background points you want to cover?

EJ Snyder: Very well. I spent 25 years in the United States army, I have an airborne ranger infantry background. I spent most of my time in the fox hole. In the 25 years in the army, I spent 23 years as a leader, 2 of those in combat, 1991 Gulf War vet and Operation Iraqi Freedom vet. So I’ve got a wealth of military leadership and combat experience, as well as that’s where I learned my first introduction to survival. In 1996 I went to the army’s, what they call SERE school and that’s for Survival, Evasion, Resist and Escape. And I went to a man tracking course to learn to track people on the ground as well as animals. And from there I became a three year primary instructor down in Florida’s swamps where it’s alligator and snake infested teaching survival and tracking, and I fell in love with it.

After that I became a self-taught survival guide, studied everything I could on survival and became more of a self-reliance guy getting ready for bad times coming. How to protect the kids from the zombies, right? So survival on the outdoors, I love it – it became my passion. So whenever I wasn’t working or doing these things I was up I the hills, hiking the mountains, practicing survival. Out on the weekends, in the water, I spent 7 years in Hawaii, I learned more survival in the South Pacific which is one of my favorite areas to do survival because it’s such a great resource area, and it continued on. I retired about 4 ½ years ago, and I got hired as an independent contractor for the government to help continue to teach survival. And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since I got out to keep the lights on.

And in the meantime, entertainment world called me – I did a little bit of acting and stunts on the side as a hobby and started doing some military technical advising to a lot of film, a lot of TV shows and all sorts of survival experts – things like Patton 360 on the History Channel, Can You Survive a Horror Movie? For the Chiller Network, and believe it or not I was actually a mercenary on the TV show Lost. So once I got to North Carolina after I retired and left Hawaii, I found that I’m more of a character and that I could play one, and the reality world kind of grabbed me by storm. And I love that better because I get to go out and do real stuff, real adrenalin rushing adventure stuff. And that’s what I’m about and that’s what drives me.

Jason Hartman: Let’s dive in and let’s talk about some stuff. Before we started recording we talked about urban survival, which I think is not covered enough in the survival community. And one other area I just want to ask you about because you did man tracking and animal tracking, I’d like you to share with us maybe a couple of tips today on evasion tactics, if someone is trying to track you. And this is not covered too much either in the community as well, but first let’s talk about the urban side of survival. What are your thoughts?

EJ Snyder: Okay, on urban survival, it’s a good subject. Because as a kid that grew up in North Jersey outside of New York City, I understand how city people think and what happens. And when you’re in a high rise building, let’s say you’re on the 30th floor, what do you do? And it’s never too late to start preparing for a survival situation, and you start with the basics. You need to get yourself ready for those bad days that come, and what are the basic things you’re going to need, and how much can you supply?

In an apartment I would suggest somebody finds maybe a large closet that they can dedicate towards their survival stockpile, and you can easily go to any of these army navy stores, outdoor, camping stores and you can get these great 5 gallon water jugs. And water is one of the most critical things because humans cannot live more than 3 days without water. Some of them are recorded to go as many as 5. But you can go a lot longer without food than you can without water. So a good water supply, a fresh water supply is something that you want to look at to keep on hand.

Secondly, those meals ready to eat, they store very well, they’re very compact and they’ve got a lot of calories in them. You can almost live off of one of those meals even though you get three bags a day, or you could just use one of those meals. There’s enough calories in one of those meals to get you through a full day, so stacking those things up is also a very good idea.

Then you want to think about medical supplies, some kind of a very good, advanced first aid kit and fill it up with lots of things. There’s a lot of things that people don’t even think about that are usable that are very good for improvisation. Women like to use maxi pads for their troubles that they get when they naturally have those times of the month, but those things are awesome for soaking up blood and making pressure dressings because they have an immense amount of ability to absorb a lot of fluids. So that’s one of those little tricks that you hear about that a lot of people don’t think of. When I look at items, I like to see how many uses… if I have one item, does it have three uses to it?

So the other thing is a really good basic survival kit, and you can put that in a regular backpack, and you could call it a little bug-out bag if you really had to go run out and get into the woods outside the city for whatever reason. The big things you want to be able to do is build shelter, procure water, start a fire, and get some kind of food. I would say in that bag you want to think of all those things. In a nice zip lock bag you need to put in those things that can create fire, things that people know how to use very easily: water proof matches, a lighter, if you go to a camping store there are great magnesium fire starting bars which are awesome. Because the magnesium will light even when it gets wet. So those kinds of things you want to think about, how can I start a fire?

The next thing is water purification. You can buy water purification that come in very small bottles, that are very good to have. And for about $90 you can get this little pump that will purify up to 2,000 liters of water just off of one filter. And the filters, I think you can get a resupply filter for about $30. They’re very lightweight and they fit in that pack very easily. It’s a neat little pump, and you can even pump out polluted water into fresh water and drink it right away. So you solve your water problems for getting purified water in an urban area.

Next, you want to think about, parachute people call it P-chord or 550-chord. If you can get a couple hundred yards of that stuff and throw it in your pack, that’s very useful because you can make all kinds of things with that. You can use it for latchings for shelter to build nice lean-tos out there in the forest. It’s got a thousand uses. I can go on all day about P-chord.

And then, you want to have a very good fixed blade or two. A good machete is very useful but you want to have a nice blade of about at least 7-10 inches. And when I say fixed blade, that means you have a good handle that’s a non-slip handle so when it gets wet you’re not going to get hurt. And it’s a straight stiff blade, not a folding blade or a locking type blade, you want a good fix blade and very sharp. That is a survivalist main tool of choice, and when you’re going to do a lot of chopping and you’ve got to get a lot of firewood, a machete is the next best thing. Those are just a few items I’m talking about for your basic necessities of surviving – food, water, shelter and fire.

Now for food, you have to think about hunting and trapping…

Jason Hartman: Now remember though, we’re focusing on the urban side of survival.

EJ Snyder: I’m sorry.

Jason Hartman: So you have already made the leap to that we bugged out, which is a question, and I already know your philosophy, but just for the listeners: stay or go?

EJ Snyder: Now, what I would say for the first portion it’s going to be a lot of panic in the first few days of a catastrophe of some sort. And you could easily think about your home as your defense. If you’re in your apartment, what do I need to do to reinforce my front door? Because that’s the main entry point for any intruder trying to get in. So then you need to think about dead bolting your door, you need to think about putting maybe one or two 2 by 4s on the door where you can actually put those holding slats, if you know what I mean, face up so you just slide the board in there. Because that will reinforce the door very well so that somebody cannot just kick that thing in.

And you want to have your front door, like you said, that’s your main point of defense is that front point. Good home defense is firearms are very critical. And the defense of defending one’s self, their property, their goods and supplies that they have and more importantly, their loved ones. And I’m not saying that people should shoot each other down but when times get very ugly, desperate people do desperate things and you want to protect your family. So get a license, go to a class, a good safety firearms class so you understand what you’re using, and actually go to a range and have good lessons on how to use that thing properly so you’re safe.

Jason Hartman: One more tip I’d like to share: don’t live in a place that restricts your constitutional rights, like the socialist republic of New York City or Washington DC, because that’s the first problem you have. In those places only the criminals have guns, none of the good people do.

EJ Snyder: Exactly, and that’s when all of the good people become victims. And I am a second amendment right, NRA guy and I’ll tell you what: Don’t try to come to my house and think you’re going to get those things from me, because I am a veteran of this country, I believe in this country, I’m a patriot die hard all the way and I will defend it until last Q but do not try to take my rights away from me. So I will never live in a state that does not let me have my firearms.

Jason Hartman: Can’t say I blame you.

EJ Snyder: So in your house, like we were saying, you want to set up a good defense. Have a good plan, make sure you know where everybody is in the house and what you should do is there should be one room in your house that if the intruders happen to get through, that you have your last stand room and that should be the room where you have all those supplies in, and you’ve got your last stand to fight. And inside that room I would make sure that you have a very good plan of action, some very thick tables, some things that you can throw down on the ground, you can easily have a few sandbags stacked up inside that same closet and that could make a very good last defense position if you have to fight from there.

Jason Hartman: Good. Good points. Okay, so you mentioned the man tracking that you did, and this is something that just isn’t talked about. Share some evasion tactics if you would. What if someone is chasing you, what if the bad guy is looking for you?

EJ Snyder: I want everyone to remember: you have a good defense plan, but with every good defense eventually there’s going to be a time where you’re going to run out of your supplies and you’re going to have to go to where there’s resources. That’s where that bug-out bag comes in. Make sure you have extra clothes in there, always extra socks, a good sleeping bag goes a long way and you can get some very lightweight ones, pack them in one or two packs very easily and make yourself very light to move. Because if you’re not used to moving long distances on foot, we call it ounces equal pounds, pounds equal misery. So always have a good backup plan.

And know your route out of the city. You better have a good map with a good plan that you’ve already reconed to get yourself out of the city into a good location where you start moving.

This is where the evasion part starts. People are starting to chase you. Well the first thing you’re going to want to do is get camouflaged. Roll around in the mud, get dirt on your face, make anything that’s shiny not shiny, if you have to paint it, put tape on it, whatever you have to do to make yourself more invisible to blend in with your natural surroundings. And in an urban environment you have what? A lot of greys, a lot of black, a lot of whites, and so just cover yourself with some of the things that are actually around. And in a good environment I the urban you can go up to any car tire and wipe off the black dust off a rim or behind the tires, and put it all over your face. You want to make yourself nice and dark so you can blend in the shadows. And move from A to point B always using the shadows. And when you’re moving with other people you always want to make sure you have security and you’re watching out for each other because you want to get out of there.

Once you get good camouflage, and let’s say you get out of the city, a good tracker is going to look for the signs that you leave, and it’s not just foot prints. If you’re running through the brush you need to be very careful about breaking branches. When you move through brush instead of walking straight through with your shoulders square, you want to turn to the side and make your silhouette thinner so it kind of cuts through the brush, and you want to kind of flow through brush versus rushing right through it because the more branches you break the better it is for me to find you. You also want to be careful not to cut yourself. Because once you cut yourself open, then what are you doing? You’re leaving a blood trail, you’re leaving more signs for me to find you.

So as you start to move through the thicket or wherever you’re moving to evade people that are chasing you, you want to have a very deliberate plan. You definitely want to be going somewhere, but you want to look at where you’re headed, and what’s going to make it more difficult for that individual chasing you. Obviously the thick stuff is going to make it a lot harder for you to move faster, and in the beginning speed is of the essence – you want to put a lot of distance between you and those people that are chasing you. So try to find some fast routes first and then eventually start looking at the more tricky routes.

Rivers are very good because if you can move down into the rivers, depending on the time of year because you want to make sure in the winter if you start getting in the water you’re going to have other issues you’ll have to start dealing with, trench foot, hypothermia. But getting down into a water area, a tracker can still see the signs but it makes it a lot harder for them because now they have to look through the water and it will slow them down to look for you.

So, a good way to go in is you go in to the river at one point, you may want to even go in very hard to make it very deliberate like you went in there, go across the bank to the other side of the small creek or whatever, and make it look, put a bunch of claw marks and make it look very obvious like you fought and you went up the other side there, and instead of going up it, just get back down in the water and head downstream, make a right and head downstream. That way any dirt or things you disturb, the water will take it with you so that the tracker… if you’re going upstream any disturbances you make in the dirt, he’s going to see the dirt trail. So you always want to go downstream – just like with smells – if you’re downwind of someone, they can’t find you as easy.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, very good point. I’m kind of curious, and this is almost more about the law or the government – well, I don’t want to say it’s the law, because a lot of times that’s not just. And we have repealed many unjust laws and there are still a few to go for sure. But what about dogs? Can you evade dogs or is that pretty much impossible?

EJ Snyder: Dogs can be evaded and there are several ways to do it. One of my favorite tricks with them is to always have a lot of goodies in my pockets because that will slow them down because they will normally want to eat it. And good old ground beef with some peanut butter in it makes for some very nasty dogs spending a lot of time chewing. But one of the rules with dogs is most times dogs are going to be on leashes. And to defeat the dogs, a lot of times I say to just ambush and defeat the handler. You may want to double back on the dog and make a button hook and get to a point where when the handler comes up, you take out the handler, you hit him. Because most tracker dogs are trained to stay with their handler even when they get hurt. If you knock one out cold, you will defeat that tracking dog. Now let’s say you don’t have that opportunity…

Jason Hartman: Now, what’s a buttonhole, by the way? Can you explain a buttonhole?

EJ Snyder: I’m sorry. Okay. A buttonhole could be, let’s say we’re moving in a straight line north and we were going to go 100 meters up, and when I find there’s someone’s on me, I’m going to take another 50 meters straight North and then I’m either going to take a left or a right depending on the terrain and during my movement I’m already going to know where I’m heading back to. Because as you’re moving straight you’re going to look for a very good ambush point to possibly ambush the dog handler.

So as you’re moving on that first 100 meters you’re going to identify that spot. After about 50 more meters past your 100 meters mark, you’re going to either take a right or a left and hook back to that spot. And get there and wait for that guy to move through those… as they’re tracking you, remind you they’re staying straight on your tracks and you’re going to be either off to the right or the left of the trail when they come by. And as soon as they’re within striking distance, you hit them. Now this works good for a single dog tracker because obviously if there’s more than one you’re probably going to have a problem.

Now if it’s more than one, again distance… I like to run through… If you go through a clear cut where there’s a lot of branches that are knocked down where loggers have just cut a big open area, that is very good, or a nice swamp area and you zig zag through it. A real thick brush area like a mangrove. And the reason you do that is because why? The dog’s on a leash. And the more you zig zag, the more that dog is zig zagging, and now that handler is getting all tangled up in there and that will definitely slow him down.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, good. Good advice.

EJ Snyder: Now, one other thing that is a fallacy, is people say what about your scent? Now, they’ll be trying to put manure on themselves, trying to put garbage on themselves to mask their scent – those things kind of help, but a dog’s nose is ten times stronger than a human’s nose. They can smell you even through that garbage. You just smell like a human with garbage on you.

Jason Hartman: Right, right. Very interesting. Well hey, give out your website if you would EJ, and any final words of wisdom.

EJ Snyder: Very well. You can find me at www.ejsnyder72.wix.com/skullcrusher. You can follow me on Twitter: @EJSnyder72. You can go to Facebook and friend me there, or follow me on my Fans of EJ “Skullcrusher” Snyder on my Facebook page. I’ve got some great things happening coming up. We had a great day yesterday – we had a marathon of Naked and Afraid closing up with a two hour all new special. If you didn’t see it, we were number one through number three on Twitter-most of that block. And we were trending for a long time. And we have a new season of Naked and Afraid next year starting the end of February. And I’m not saying you might see the old Skullcrusher out there again, but you might. I don’t know. You need to stay tuned and see what happens with that.

I’m also working on an anti-bullying campaign documentary. I’ve signed on as executive producer. Bullying is dear to my heart, as I was bullied as a kid. That’s why I signed on to be a co-executive producer on this project as well as a talent. And we’re going to be launching that by next summer, and we’re starting to raise money in February. You can find us on Facebook at Broken Bones Shattered Dreams. That’s the name of the feature length documentary we were doing.

Friend us on Facebook. Please like us and follow us on Twitter under the same name. And like I said, next year I’m looking to open up my own survival school by next summer if not sooner. I want to make survival a thing of life, a lifesaving thing as much as swimming, as a lifesaving skill that everyone should have. I want to make survival available, at least basic survival, to every person that wants to be able to do it at an affordable price.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, I think it really is becoming more mainstream and it needs to become even more mainstream, because when your neighbor’s prepared they’re not going to be a burden on you. So the more people prepared, the better. EJ, thanks so much for joining us today. Those were some awesome insights. And we look forward to having you back on to keep up with your career, and just keep getting the word out there and making your shows more popular.

EJ Snyder: Any time. Please do. Please go to all those sites, and also one other last thing: I’m involved with a thing called Reality Rally. And RealityRally.com, go to the website. I’m raising money for cancer. I’m going to be there in April with a whole bunch of other reality stars. I’m trying to raise the most money for cancer research. I lost a lot of family members to cancer. If you could please go to that site, every dollar helps. And please help me be the one to show all the other reality stars why [0:24:06.9] and why we’re going to be number one on their charts. Because I’m the only one from Naked and Afraid series going to be out there showing up and defending our honor. So please, that’s the other cause I’m involved with. Thanks a lot.

Jason Hartman: Awesome. Take care, EJ.

EJ Snyder: Take care buddy, thank you.

Narrator: Thank you for joining us today for the Holistic Survival Show. Protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Be sure to listen to our Creating Wealth Show, which focuses on exploiting the financial and wealth creation opportunities in today’s economy. Learn more at www.JasonHartman.com or search “Jason Hartman” on iTunes. This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company, offering very general guidelines and information. Opinions of guests are their own, and none of the content should be considered individual advice. If you require personalized advice, please consult an appropriate professional. Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.

Transcribed by Ralph

The Holistic Survival Show

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Episode: 196

Guest: E.J. Snyder

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