Ein kurzes Gespräch mit meinem Lehrer Uwe Belz über Wildnistraining
A short talk with my teacher Uwe Belz on Wilderness-Training.
English subtitles are available.
Joseph: Good. Yeah great Uwe, that we happened to sit down here to talk for a few minutes.
Uwe: Yes, fantastic autumn. Where is the sun? A moment ago it was shining with no end.
Joseph: It was here a moment ago. Actually, where are we at the moment?
Uwe: We are here in the Wilderness-Camp. In the middle of the camp. In front of the red hill with sand containing a lot of iron. Around here is a great place for tracking.
Joseph: Wilderness, wilderness-training, what does that mean to you? What happens here?
Uwe: Wilderness-training is often used synonymously with survival and bushcraft
but actually that’s not the same. Wilderness-training is much more than that.
Actually Wilderness-training is carrying over into our daily life. What we are doing out here, what we learn and experience, can very well be brought into our daily life. It is actually not an escape from our everyday life. no, it’s not about putting ourselves into a survival situation and shouting “help, I want to get out!” (laughs) Like they show in famous TV-shows But it’s about… finding home again. The home that is actually surrounding us and not migrating too far away wild areas, but looking at what is still wild and untouched near our home. It doesn’t matter if it’s a park, a forest or whatever if we want experience our home and be outside.
Of course survival-skills are parts of this, as well as many other skills, like we look into the language of the birds and tracking, to connect oneself with nature. We also do that to find our inner home as well. Our outer and inner home. Here we talk about awareness, maybe you could say the more feminine side, intuition, listening in, reconnecting with your senses, to be open and not just running around wildly building tarps. Thats a wonderful part, to sleep outside, but that’s not everything, it’s much more than that.
Joseph: How do you see the relationship Between living in the city, the technological life, the highly intellectualized life, and the wilderness-training? Are they compatible to another or are they contrary to another?
Uwe: There is a huge range of answers to this, depending on who you ask.
If you ask me
my slogan is: NOT everyone back into the wilderness.
It just doesn’t work.
But look at the situation we have put ourselves in today,
living on too little space together in the city,
with a lot of stress and pressure at work.
Our whole pedagogic and educational system
is very poor.
All our diets are very poor.
With all these unnatural foods
and the sugar etc.
We have put ourselves against the wall with all those things
and I think many people realise that we cannot continue like this.
Therefore, if you life in the city, it’s not a problem
as it is more about bringing nature and living in the city into balance.
you could say to bring them into unison.
And even if you live in the city, you can “bring” the wilderness into it.
For example if you look into your diet: maybe I have some edible plants on the balcony, or some sprouts or you germinate some wheat. Whatever. So I look at my diet, searching for the naturalness in it. However this might take form. Also… does my job have a meaning to me? Does it make sense? Or do I just work without meaning? To me, these questions are an integral part of what it means to be a holistic human being. And it’s exactly about that. Wilderness is the umbrella term. Or wilderness-training. But actually it’s a holistic point of view on who I am as a human being? Where do I stand? And where do I want to evolve from here? And if you ask me: “City or countryside?” I would say it’s the balance. We have made great inventions and you could say, that we have to go beyond them and use their good parts and like this living in the city can also receive a portion of the wild.
Joseph: From what I hear it is a lot about reflection and your attitude toward the things. You are mentioning contemplating about the things in your daily life. Does that mean, I actually do not need to go to Alaska to do wilderness training?
Uwe: Of course you need to! (laughs) No, it’s wonderful to go to wild places, without question, But we are also looking a lot into finding the wilderness in front of your door. And yes, this has a lot to do with awareness, conscious awareness, Ths includes of course to reflect, to question things And like this you will question many aspects of your life, I also asked myself: My god, we are basically born with a health record, ID Card and one thousand certificates already. (Laughs) Where is the naturalness? What do I actually need to live? Do I need a chocolate bar? Yes or No? There are so many artificial things, that we actually don’t need. That are only hurting us. And to question yourself, what do I eat, what is my daily job etc.? How much time do I spend in nature? What is the amount of wild edible plants in my diet? That’s so many different topics and that’s just wonderful. In the summer, I can watch birds from my office through the open window. It is about being open, to perceive, to question the things… But actually it is about life itself. To live life fully. And not just sitting there like a zombie.
Joseph: You mean, it’s about meaning, about sense?
Uwe: Yes, about vitality… Vitality, life, meaning. In my job as well as in my social life. By the way, these are also the pillars of “resilience”. A popular term these days. This is exactly what wilderness training is about. A good community, being outside, Doing things that are meaningful, To reflect, and so on and so forth, To gain self-confidence… For example this can come from making your own fire with a bow drill. Your own fire just from wood. Or sleeping outside, maybe under a tarp or in a debris hut. All of these are building blocks, that are building self-confidence, that are creating a connection with nature. And that are reconnecting us to our natural habitat. This gives you strength, self-confidence… Therefore, wilderness training is full of all these resilience topics.
Joseph: And the people that come here? Who are these people? Do you have to guide them in a certain direction first? Are they mainly coming to you with this idea of “survival”? And with time you sprinkle in these topics we just talked about? Or can you talk about these things in the beginning already? Are the people that come open for that? Or is that difficult? Do you have to be careful introducing these topics or can you just talk openly? How do you do that?
Uwe: The anwer is simple… yes. (laughs)
Joseph: Some people like this, some like that, everyone is different?
Uwe: It’s a huge range of people. I do not really “want” anything. I sprinkle some things out and then I watch how the people react. If you become a car-mechanic, You will not come into the garage on the first day, and be told: “Over there is the mercedes, repair it!” You develop yourself. And what I want is to accompany the people on the path of their development. To look, what does the other person want? And to show a few things, open a few doors and windows… and then let’s see, what is coming through. What sticks. And there I support. And as we said, everyone is different, everyone comes with different things… there are the people that come here with the idea of survival and yeah and so on but they will also learn the more subtle layers, you could say the more “female” aspects. to open yourself, to listen, the more sensitive things in nature because this is at least just as important. And the people who are more sensitive, they also need this “MHM!”, energy. Doing, walking forward. Therefore it doesn’t matter where you come from, you will have to balance it out within you either way. It’s about finding a good balance.
Joseph: That means it’s also a topic, to step out of how you perceive yourself or away from the things that you always do, the things that you are used to and to work on being able to also be different? Like someone who is very hard, that he can also be soft. Or someone who is more into the soft-skills, that they are also able to do the other things. Is this a topic for you? That you can step out of yourself? How would you formulate that?
Uwe: I would say “To step into what is yourself”. We all have the potential and all these possibilities. And you crystalize or harden in one area. And to open yourself again for yourself, for your whole self. Because we all have these things in us. You don’t have to change, but to discover your other sides and give them room. We all have it… Sometimes we are caught in a small area, and don’t see how big we actually are. And that’s the point, to open yourself for yourself. To break the routines, To open yourself from your habits, to step out of the tightness. To discover more and to discover more about yourself. And all of this is already in the people. You don’t have to change, you don’t have to bend yourself. You don’t have to say “I am like this, but I have to become like that.” But actually it’s an expedition into your wholeness. To see “ah, I am also this” or “I can also do this”. “Ah this is also part of me.”
Joseph: Because often you already hold an image of yourself. But that’s not the whole picture…?
Uwe: Yes. Let’s say, there is someone, Mister X, and because it’s comfortable, he likes to chill around on his couch. He spends his time watching TV, actually he would like to go outside, he sees all the Bear Grylls’ of the world, but instead of that, he sits on the couch, eats and drinks, becomes fatter. And at some point he goes to the doctor, who tells him “listen, you have to do some sports!” And now he starts some sport and maybe wildernesstraining or something. And he realises: “Wow, that’s actually fun.” “Now I am not in front of the TV, but inside of it.” (laughs) And maybe he realises that running is great, or something else, And he changes and realises: “ah this is all part of me”. “I can live all of this”. And like this it becomes bigger and more holistic. You discover yourself on the way and you notice “ah this is fun, this is great, I can also do this…” And of course you also realise what you struggle with. We are all different. And that’s completely fine. But actually, if you go the way, most of the time you will expand yourself.
Joseph: With which seminar do people start, when they come to you? What is the starting point for wilderness training?
Uwe: That varies but most people come to “Wildnis 1”
That’s the base. Edible Plants, Shelter
how can I make fire with the bow drill, train awareness
Setting a foundation in many different fields.
That’s good. This way you get a peak into the things
and you are able to experience yourself in different fields,
You will feel where it pulls you in more,
and where you say “Oh dear, leave me alone with this…”
Some people who sleep in a debris hut or under a tarp at their first seminar,
They come the second time and directly go into the woods and set up their tarp,
and love it.
And there are others who tried it and realised it’s not really their thing.
Maybe they are more interested in herbs or other similar things
and that’s fine.
Like we said, Wilderness Training is more than survival, and it is not even always about survival. Also for me that would be too restricting. The beautiful thing is that you can take many many things into your daily life. Instead of seeing it as a nice experience, separated from your normal life, It can actually enrich it.
Joseph: I hear that this is an essential thing for you, that you pull things out into your day to day life from here.
Uwe: Yes, absolutely.
Joseph: And to practise the things.
Uwe: Yes, to do, to practise.
Joseph: How do people reach you and find information?
Uwe: That’s a good question. Right now I am not sure actually. I think I need to put a bit more work into that, that people can actually find me. I never really advertised myself, but I think the times have changed a bit, with all those Facebook and social media things. I think I need to do something now, so that people can find me more easy. Let’s say I am not sure how to approach that, but until now it went well. But that’s a topic also where I can learn something new. (laughs)
Joseph: The wilderness of the internet.
Uwe: Yes, exactly! The jungle of the web… so… wildnistraining.de
Joseph: there people can definitely find you, until you researched the other channels.
Joseph: Thank you Uwe.
Uwe: Thank you. Put it online. (laughs)