On the other side of the southern border of our country, chaos is a part of life in some parts of those parts. The culture is rich and vibrant, but like any other part of the world, it has a dark and terrifying side. Starting off in the federal law enforcement of Mexico for counter narcotics and as an undercover agent, Ed Calderone is one of the last surviving members of his graduating class from the academy that isn’t dead or currently in a cartel. Over his career he has seen the dark side of his country in a way that most can’t imagine. But in that darkness he was fascinated with the sub-cultures and ability to adapt to the ever changing threats (be them from the government or competing cartels). As a result, he gained many skills and a unique mindset that he is now sharing with the goal of making everyone he comes in contact with more aware, more prepared, and more in touch with the realities that can happen to any of us at any time.
The primary focus of the class is apparent in its name, but Ed also touches on smuggling tools, weapons, and communications. The implements the cartels have used to escape from custody of whomever grabs them allows them to be quick and efficient, and he goes into various ways of hiding various tools both on, and in your body. You can use your imagination from there, I’ll spare you the details shared in class, but the points made are driven home hard.
Preparation is key, and Ed goes into various methods of researching the areas of concern. One of the issues that I see a lot is that most instructors are a one size fits all. Ed is not, thankfully, as he implores his clients to research and understand the metrics of the area. Taking a plastic handcuff key is useless in some parts of Africa for instance, while having the wrong handcuff key could be detrimental to the longevity of your life span in parts of Asia. Knowing what you’re working with and what to expect is critical, even at home.
Another aspect that he likes to focus on is creativity. Most all of the tools Ed teaches his clients to use can be fashioned quickly and cheaply, from just about anywhere. While he has a strong appreciation for tools bought for survival, he is driven and focused on field expedient tools and weapons, as there may be times when everything could be taken away from you. As he says in his class, “Everyone can get got.” And that’s another important concept to consider: no one is invincible, and with enough planning anyone can be snatched up quickly.
Whereas preparation and research helps avoid being the victim, improvisation is what gets you out of the situations you might find yourself in. The tools aren’t as important as the concepts and thought behind them. Equally important is how they are used though. Sometimes people tend to think that just because they have a shiv or a blunt object they are ready to go to work and get it in. But often times they just wind up handing their captors or attackers a new weapon, or worse yet injure themselves. Understanding the environment, the culture, and how to work with what you have is paramount, and the examples that Ed gives can be eye opening at times……literally.
For more information on Eds Manifesto and his courses around the country, the best way is to follow his Instagram closely, linked below. To contact him directly, the best way to get a quick response is through his email, also linked below.
Website: Ed’s Manifesto
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