I was chatting to Rick J Peterson from Southern Exposure Survival. I had called up about doing a course with him and he was in the middle of training so I left it at that. A few days later he called me in person to thank me for advertising his website and courses and since then we have tried to keep in touch. While we were chatting I was saying about my blog and that I was trying to put together 30 knots to teach a knots only bushcraft style course as well as a blade style course and he asked which 5 knots would I teach someone.

This caught me off guard, not only because I have a shite memory but I had just drank my first beer in three weeks and wasn’t quite with it, but it got me thinking. Well 4 knots covers putting up tarps and a bowline to teach the pathfinder quick tarp set up but I couldn’t leave it at that and started to reverse engineer the 29 knots I had so far come up with because Ricks question hit a nerve with me.

When I had first met Gordon Deadman at the Morakniven I had arrived a day early in a 30 foot bus so I could park and had given Gordon a hand setting up when he had asked me to do a bowline. I couldn’t remember. Knots are a perishable skill set.

I had learnt a dozen knots with the SES Stae Emergency Service and done cliff rescue and had used a bowline for years in Aborist work and was blank. Since then I became a knot addict.

Before the level 1 bushcraft course I had boned up on knots and found Gordon had to dumb down many just to get people through setting up a tarp. The generation of velcro. I amazed me how many people had never cooked a meal for themselves.Several of use knew knots so we helped the others to catch up.

Which started me on my knot journey because no one just teaches a knot course. I had learnt reverse engineering from AMOK a martial art style. Tom Sotis developed and teaches a knife based system that is based reversed engineering in its methodology. It changed the way I looked at martial arts and I incorporate that learning method into everything I do now.

For example I made my way through the 30 Jo strikes in Aikido and the when I become confident with those I start reverse engineering those into where they fit into each other , where to place those strikes into a fight etc etc. I’m now doing that with knots.

There is a lot more to learning a martial art to hitting someone. Systema taught me breathing, Amok reverse engineering I try to include something I learnt from every martial art ive trained in to me every day life. Which includes when someone is left behind in a class you either have the choice to just get what you can yourself out of whats being taught or you can help others catch up and make it an experience to enjoy.

So back to fudge knots. I went from 5 knots to 1 and am trying to fudge everything with one knot, which could be a bowline but Ive decided to use a basic overhand loop and use it for everything single chore in bushcraft and see if I can do it.

A end knot to secure a tarp is easy using a toggle but a tension knot Im trying to learn by incorporating a windlass system to tension the other end with a couple of twists of line. So my latest experiment is how to fudge a knot system using toggles.

Im doing this in order to learn how to teach knots to people. How do you do this so it sticks. 30 knots in one day and the students will walk away and retain nothing. 5 a day, there’s 5 days or 5 courses. Knots aren’t that interesting to most people.

Talking with Al Ainsworth previously about the courses he wanted to start up gave me a good idea. Al wanted to have sections of areas where he would teach bush foods in one area, then move to a tracking section then onto a bushcaft area.

This gave me an idea of how to do a 1 day knot course or maybe 2. Have an area to set up a tarp using 5 knots. Take it down and set it up in another area for a shelter to have morning tea and build a camp chair out of pre-cut timber. Take down the tarp and set it up in another are for lunch and build a bed frame using lashes and on and on. Do a different project at each section while repeatedly learning the 5 basic shelter system knots and different ways of setting up a tarp.

Theres a saying that under stress you fall to your basic level of training. Thats my idea with fudge knots. When you dont remember 30 different bushcraft knots, if your also taught how to fudge something and use improvisation, Thats a skill set in itself.