I just spent the last 2 weeks at The Human Path in San Antonio, Texas with former Army Special Forces medic Sam Coffman and his wife Suchil Coffman who is an expert in a variety of homesteading skills. I have taken a lot of courses in my local area and wanted to get training from people with a little different mindset and in a different region so I could expand my knowledge and compare notes.
While at The Human Path I learned how to build water purification systems, fire-building methods, knife-fighting techniques, urban foraging, making medicines from local plants, homesteading skills, how to operate in a post disaster environment, and a variety of other useful skills. The format is generally a short, informal lecture, followed by hands on experience, and at the end of the week majority of the skills would be incorporated in a real-world scenario that we would complete as a team, which was awesome. We had to drive through the city accomplishing tasks… it felt like being on Amazing Race.
As part of the self defense portion I even “got to” fight Sam himself in a self-defense scenario… during which I got attacked with a rubber knife, followed by a verbal humble pill, and concluding with me getting my ass kicked. While some would ask, “why would you participate in that?” I can’t express how valuable it was to see where my weaknesses are and how I can fix them. This time I got to survive, because it was just a scenario. Should it ever happen again, I have a better idea of how to react.
The dry fire-making materials of Texas were a treat compared to the water-logged wood I’m used to having back in the Pacific Northwest. I felt like a fire God there. Stuff actually lit on fire the first time! To start fires I made “birds’ nests” from Juniper bark and that worked like a dream.
During my stay one of the caretakers had maimed a 3ft rattlesnake living behind his house. I retrieved the snake, dressed, and cleaned it with the help of two of my fellow campers and we ate if for lunch with the rest of our classmates the next day.
Snake tastes really good, but it is so boney it is tedious to eat. The meals there are fantastic! I salted the skin and kept half of it to use for a future project.
I’d been looking forward to this course for month and it was worth every penny and lived up to every bit of hype. The class size was small and the instructors were great. Sam and Suchil Coffman are extremely passionate about what they do and I learned a great deal from them. I would highly recommend their courses and look forward to taking more of them myself in the future.
I think my favorite part of The Human Path were the type of people this place attracts. They were definitely my kind of people. Lots of ex-military, a few hippies, and an overall great bunch of like-minded thinkers. It was so refreshing to be surrounded by people who were studying and experimenting with similar projects to mine! I got to compare ideas, make new friends, and network with people for down the road. I was so excited when I called home one day Julie stopped me mid conversation and asked, “Baby, are we moving to Texas?”
No we aren’t moving to Texas… but we are moving. Stay tuned for my future article, “We Bought a Farm!”
Photo credit on the snake skin photos goes to Heather at The Human Path. She also cooked the snake for us the following day.