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The Shocking Truth About Survival TV Shows

Being someone who has dabbled in survival TV and had a lot of experience in dealing with Hollywood producers, I feel more than enlightened to the ways of the Reality TV world. And since I’m not under
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contract, like so many people on TV, I can actually tell you how it is behind the scenes. No confidentiality contracts here! So many people watch TV and see these so called survival shows and think they are learning realistic skills. When in reality almost everything on reality TV is faked and the people producers pick for the show are based on character content and not for their actual survival skills. There are a few exceptions to the rule, but not many! Producers couldn’t give two shits if you have real survival skills and experience. Their vetting process is ridiculous! For instance, a recent show that I was picked for had a recognized survival expert call me and ask me about 10 questions over the phone to determine if I could survive. None of those questions related to any technical skills, just really broad questions that wouldn’t really determine anything about what I could do at all. And then from those questions I would be touted as a top tier survival expert that you should listen too. Well, maybe they are right that I’m the best of the best, but they sure as hell don’t know that from proper vetting. They see me on camera and say “this guy will make good TV, lets pick him and pair him with his total opposite so that there is controversy.” That is how it works folks! Really, the only thing they care about is how you’re going to interact with other members and if are you going to do something crazy from time to time. Because if you do that, they are going to get the ratings no matter what your skills are. So that is why I tell people that there are only a few real deal guys on TV and they are few and far between. I am personal friends with a lot of the TV personalities that you have seen out there, and even many of them will admit openly that they don’t know a ton about survival. Just the broad strokes, their claim to fame is TV personality and not a survival expert.

Survivorman

Probably the most popular show among survival enthusiasts is Survivorman. While I consider Les Stroud to be one bad-ass mofo, I don’t think that even he would say he is a bushcraft expert. He has trouble with even the most basic of skills such as primitive bow drill fire. I have beginner students that are more proficient than he is at bow drill. But do you know what? Les Stroud has an amazing mental survival game and sometimes that is all you need. That guy can just about endure anything and many times that is all it takes, especially if you combine it with some very basic skills. But you won’t learn much in the way of bushcraft from his program, so I recommend that everyone take everything they learn on TV with a grain of salt. It might be good stuff, but it also might get you killed! So Caveat Emptor or buyer beware!

Man vs Wild

Man vs Wild is a great example of a show that is entertaining but will probably get you killed if you take it seriously. Just look at the name of the show and you will know that this isn’t about true survival. Hell, I’m not even sure that Bear would call it a survival training show if he wasn’t under confidentiality agreements. The show is about doing stunts related to survival skills to get awesome ratings and showcase Bear’s amazing physical skills that he demonstrates over and over. That is more the basis of the show; doing exciting stunts and not real world survival. That is why Discovery Channel is always looking for the next Bear Grylls, because his show lasted the longest and smashed the ratings. It is stunt based TV that gets viewers excited and keeps them entertained, while showing very little real world skills for survival. And its all done under the guise of being a documentary, when its really not. That’s a perfect blend in most Hollywood yuppy producer’s minds. Honestly, Bear is a bad-ass and one of the strongest guys on TV but even he will admit that he isn’t a bushcraft expert. He is a great TV personality with a skill for presenting things in a fashion that everyone wants to watch him. Remember the talent controls no aspects of how the show looks or really what is done. As a TV personality  you are a subcontractor of your production company and are required to perform the tasks asked of you.

Naked and Afraid

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I’d say the only real deal survival show out there right now is Naked and Afraid. It’s about the most hardcore show that has ever been on TV and there was no faking anything with the exception of some serious medical emergencies. You know you got a real survival show when the producer almost dies from a snake bite, another guy almost dies of dengue fever, one got extremely sick from food poisoning, and another almost most bites the bullet from infection. But even Naked and Afraid has its limitations on skill demonstration and many of the people on the show aren’t true experts. Or maybe they thought they were experts and found out differently under stressful survival conditions. Then again, some people on the show are amazing and you wouldn’t even know it because of editing. Many of the shows like this one actually down-play the success of the survivalists to make it look like they struggled a lot more than they did. Because suffering and problems is more interesting than winning and kicking ass in the bush. They pick and choose the winners based on how presentable they are on TV. You have to remember that every show has a story line and that the producers need to tell you a story filled with drama and then show a couple of skills on the side. That is the winning business model for survival TV. Drama, stunts, entertainment, and then education in that order of priority. Also, remember that even the best survivalist can get a bad edit. Many times when doing these shows I am asked what is my biggest fear. Every time I tell the producer my biggest fear for survival TV is getting a bad edit. I could literally go out there and live like a king and they can edit you to make you look like a total jackass! So when watching these shows you need to remember that some of the people that looked bad on the show actually did good, and some of the people that look fantastic actually sucked at the skills.

I have found a few exceptions to the rule about TV personalities, because I know some instructors on TV that are the best of the best. And guess what; I hired them! Laura Zerra and Eugene Runkis are the real deal and have the legitimate experience to tout their resume and what they have done. Not only on TV but their entire lives has been a journey of self reliance and testing yourself against the wild. That is the way real survivalists are forged! Laura completed 21 days naked in Panama under some of the worst conditions ever with the worst bug bites I have ever seen, and they didn’t even show the worst of it. Not only did she have amazing mental fortitude, she had the bushcraft skills to eat well while there on the island. They don’t show it, but the team actually ate really well and Laura only lost 12 lbs because she was eating crab/lobster, coconuts, and various other wild foods most of the time she was surviving! That is how you separate the winners from the losers on the show. I always tell my students what separates the men from the boys is the ability to eat well while in the bush and Laura lost the least weight of anyone of the show under some of the worst conditions. That is how you know she kicked ass!

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Now, I’ve been on more than one survival TV try-out and I was the only real survival expert there on the final cut. You get all types, but rarely do you get the true sage bushmen on a TV show. Most beginners don’t know how to tell the difference because you will only see it in the minor details of the skills demonstration because editing really is a magical art. I’m just telling you this from the perspective of a full time survival instructor; take what you see and hear on TV with a grain of salt because most of it is faked. The number one rule to remember when watching these shows is that they are for entertainment only! The only way to get real survival training is to get some instruction and then get out in the woods and get some dirt time. Dirt time is the only thing that will lead to a truly well rounded survivalist that can live off the land indefinitely. And that is our ultimate goal as instructors, to pass on the old school tribal knowledge that will enable you to live like a king in the bush. So if you want to learn survival, don’t do it on TV. Get training, get dirt time, and get in the woods!

PICK THE NEXT SPECIALTY CLASS! Our POLLS determine what classes are offered next according to popular demand! It would be great for us to offer every survival class possible,  but time is limited for everyone and we need to focus on our students most critical needs. What is your top choice for the following classes being offered that you are interested in?

ANSWER the poll below to help define survival training needs & focus.

If you want to look at the companies websites to determine what you like best. Click here for more info! Click the pics to see company websites!

SHARE the poll with your friends on Facebook or by e-mail.

CONTACT US if you have any questions or want to suggest other companies you want to train with.

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Greetings, Sigma 3 Family!

As many of you know, Sigma 3 Survival School has been experiencing exponential growth as of late. With this growth comes new and exciting opportunities, new classes, and new skill sets to be mastered. These changes are exciting and refreshing for us and we know that you will be pleased with the direction Sigma 3 is going as well.

We have been given many new opportunities for specialty classes that have previously been unavailable along with access to new instructors and sources of information, and SIGMA will be adding new, different, and exciting courses soon.

Like all growth, though, there are some growing pains as we move into new frontiers and find that some of the things that served us well in the past are not as vital to our continued growth and ability to serve our students and customers.

 

Curriculum Changes

We have some monster changes coming to our training programs and we will be dropping some programs and adding some new ones. We can only run programs that are popular and as the years have come and gone, we have learned what classes our students want the most. So in accordance with what our customers want, we are adapting to the changing business environment by adapting our programs to meet our customer’s needs.

We will be dropping the Tactical Scout Cert program and the SOLO wilderness medic cert program and replacing it with a list of specialty classes. Basically we will be recruiting other top training companies to come showcase their best courses for our SIGMA 3 students. We will be keeping the DSD tactical tracking program and both SERE courses, but all other programs within the tactical scout will be eliminated and replaced. We will replace the courses with specialty classes that are determined by our customers via polling. Some of the potential trainers we will try to recruit for courses include: Travis Haley, Kyle Lamb, Badlands Tactical, Mark Elbroch, Joel Hardin, and many more! Almost anyone you want to train under, SIGMA 3 can get! You will see changes in the website to reflect these changes soon. If you have any questions then please contact us for more details.

 

Maine Location Closing and Moving Farther South

We have found after the initial launch of our location in Maine, that it is too remote and to distant a drive for most people in the Northeast to attend our courses. We have tons of customers in the New York area and it is our goal to move closer to the New York/Pennsylvania line, so that more people from metropolitan areas can join our weekend classes as well as other programs. If you have any land in this area that we can use to host these events please let us know. There is substantial incentive for allowing us to use your land for training. But for now we will not be scheduling anymore classes at the Maine location.

North Carolina Update

We recently launched the North Carolina location that will be run by Eugene Runkis and Sean Walker. The location we originally picked may be in jeopardy due to lease issues with the land owner, so we may be moving the location to farther north on the North Carolina/Virginia border. Still up in the air as to what is going to happen with this training location. And Eugene is in the process of shooting his 3rd season for Hillbilly Blood, so his schedule is still up in the air also. As soon as we get some solid dates I’ll be sure to update everyone. But you can count on us having classes on the schedule for that area very soon. Just waiting on a few things to come through before posting the training schedule for NC!

Children’s Programs

Probably the single biggest question asked, is do we have any kids programs or classes that kids can attend. Our policy has always been to allow children in most courses offered, except for the advanced ones! But to add to that, we are going to start offering family packages that bring father/son and mother/daughter together in these training classes. And we will have special pricing for package deals, so that both parents and children can enjoy the benefit of world class training at a great price. We will also be starting a kid’s summer survival camp in 2014. Send the kids for a week of adventure and they will learn all the need to know about how to survive! More info on this coming soon!

 All in all, we have a ton of changes happening with SIGMA 3 and we appreciate your commentary and continued support. If you have an interest in some type of training, then please let us know what you would like to see on the schedule and we will try and accommodate your interests.

Thanks,

Robert Allen

President

SIGMA 3 Survival School

We at SIGMA 3 are super excited to announce, after long anticipation, the OFFICIAL DSD TRACKING COURSE DATES! We want to thank everyone who has signed up for being so patient with us, and to encourage anyone who has been thinking about signing up to do so quickly, as this class is filling up fast!

In case this is the first time you’ve heard of this class, or if you don’t know who David Scott Donelan (DSD) is, then you should take the time to do some research, because you will be truly amazed at the opportunity SIGMA 3 has managed to arrange. DSD is the premier expert in the world on dangerous man tracking operations and is responsible for many of the current US military tracking programs in use today. He literally wrote the current manuals that almost every tactical tracking organization in the world currently uses. This man has spent more time hunting down people than almost anyone on the planet! David was an elite member of the Rhodesian SAS Selous Scouts as well as many other elite special forces units over his long career as an operator.

Read this Article about David Scott Donelan. Click Here!

The Selous Scouts are the premier tracking and guerilla warfare experts known all over the world for their ability to track a dangerous enemy over long distances in thick bush in order to destroy them. The selection process is probably one of the toughest selections the SOF community has ever seen, and usually only about 5-10% of their best crack troops finished Selous Scout selection. They were a very small elite unit and they were so effective that they are reported to have been responsible for approximately 70% of the enemy KIA. There primary expertise was tracking, tactical bushcraft, and counter insurgency operations. SIGMA 3 only recruits the top tactical instructors in the country and DSD is one of the most decorated SOF vets to ever grace our training grounds.

Read DSD’s Tactical Tracking Manual used all over the world. Click Here!

The class will be 5 days, 100% in the field but there will be some limited lecture time in our GP Medium Army Tent Classroom. The 5th day will be an all day FTX, with airsoft force-on-force. Be prepared to be in the field with hostile weather conditions, bugs, and tough conditions. This will be an intensive class but is definitely something the person of an average fitness level can participate in. Bring any tactical equipment relevant to your training needs. Contact Us if you have questions.

Being certified under The Scott Donelan Tracking School is truly a privilege and something that very few people can say they have attained outside the special forces community. I hope that you join us in this once in a lifetime opportunity to train with the most recognized expert on the planet in tactical tracking. It won’t be one you forget.

Date: September 26-30, 2013

Location: Huntington, AR Survival Camp

Instructor: David Scott Donelan & Assistant Instructors

Cost: $995 Early or $1200 Late Registration (payment plans can be arranged, get registered early though)

Items Needed: Outdoor clothing preferably camo, boots, bug spray, food and water, overnight camping gear if you intend to stay at our camp otherwise check our locations tab for hotel info, bring any tactical equipment relevant to your training needs

Events

Difficulty Rating: Level 3

Welcome to SERE. The most hardcore civilian SERE training you can get in the world! SERE is not for the faint of heart! Tactical survival is an entirely different challenge than just surviving under normal conditions. When people seek to hurt you and it’s a must to escape and evade; you sure as hell don’t want it to be the first time you have ever done it. Kidnapping is one of the biggest criminal enterprises in the world, and Americans are targets worldwide! Not to mention natural disasters or other calamities that a person might find themselves in, so this course and Urban SERE are going to prepare you for the worst of the worst. You’ve been kidnapped, you have to escape and evade into a hostile environment, the shit hit the fan for real!

THE MOST HARDCORE TACTICAL COURSE WE OFFER!

SIGMA 3 is going to teach you to perfect your movement skills. Stealth, camouflage, stalking, surveillance and counter surveillance, escape and evasion, and hardcore survival skills will be just some of the skills we cover in these courses. Tactical survival is different than any other kind of survival and this is something unknown to most civilians without previous military training. But the scary thing is that statistically a civilian traveling the world will have a much higher likelihood of being captured by hostiles and killed. Kidnapping is a multi-billion dollar business worldwide and this course will teach you the skills you need to know in safety in whatever hostile area you might find yourself.

You will be hunted and you will be forced to escape and evade expert trackers with a number of advanced resources. This course will take a normal civilian and transform them into someone who capable of escaping illegal custody and disappearing back into a safe zone. When traveling you have to be aware of the tactics that criminals use so that instead of becoming prey you can use counter tactics to protect you and your family. These skills could be used in a SHTF scenario, being kidnapped, economic breakdown, being stuck in a hostile country, evading capture, and much more!

DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO EVADE CAPTURE, ESCAPE & EVADE?

This is not a course designed for military personnel, though all the information is pertinent to military operations as well. In this course, you will learn the tactics of special forces in a package every civilian can use! Do you think you have what it takes to make it through SERE?

For more info visit the class page. Or better yet, give us a call. The number is listed below. We can’t wait to train with you!

Difficulty Rating: Level 3

Welcome to SERE. The most hardcore civilian SERE training you can get in the world! SERE is not for the faint of heart! Tactical survival is an entirely different challenge than just surviving under normal conditions. When people seek to hurt you and it’s a must to escape and evade; you sure as hell don’t want it to be the first time you have ever done it. Kidnapping is one of the biggest criminal enterprises in the world, and Americans are targets worldwide! Not to mention natural disasters or other calamities that a person might find themselves in, so this course and Urban SERE are going to prepare you for the worst of the worst. You’ve been kidnapped, you have to escape and evade into a hostile environment, the shit hit the fan for real!

THE MOST HARDCORE TACTICAL COURSE WE OFFER!

SIGMA 3 is going to teach you to perfect your movement skills. Stealth, camouflage, stalking, surveillance and counter surveillance, escape and evasion, and hardcore survival skills will be just some of the skills we cover in these courses. Tactical survival is different than any other kind of survival and this is something unknown to most civilians without previous military training. But the scary thing is that statistically a civilian traveling the world will have a much higher likelihood of being captured by hostiles and killed. Kidnapping is a multi-billion dollar business worldwide and this course will teach you the skills you need to know in safety in whatever hostile area you might find yourself.

You will be hunted and you will be forced to escape and evade expert trackers with a number of advanced resources. This course will take a normal civilian and transform them into someone who capable of escaping illegal custody and disappearing back into a safe zone. When traveling you have to be aware of the tactics that criminals use so that instead of becoming prey you can use counter tactics to protect you and your family. These skills could be used in a SHTF scenario, being kidnapped, economic breakdown, being stuck in a hostile country, evading capture, and much more!

DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO EVADE CAPTURE, ESCAPE & EVADE?

This is not a course designed for military personnel, though all the information is pertinent to military operations as well. In this course, you will learn the tactics of special forces in a package every civilian can use! Do you think you have what it takes to make it through SERE?

For more info visit the class page. Or better yet, give us a call. The number is listed below. We can’t wait to train with you!

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