by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
More and more Sequim homeschool students, and more of their traditionally schooled peers, are now turning to Tribal Edge to round out their education.
Tribal Edge, a “primal arts training center,” provides a curriculum with a focus on nature and naturalist studies, but it’s designed to do much more than simply impart facts.
The program fosters self-confidence and builds the life skills and values needed to live well.
Much of the training takes place on the Edge’s Blyn property, a five-acre primitive encampment deep in the forest.
There the students learn basic survival skills — how to gather water and food, build a shelter and start a fire, all without the aid of modern technology.
Subtly interwoven are the rest of the learned skills: team building, communications skills, environmental stewardship and more.
The training also happens to provide a pretty good physical workout.
Ben Sanford, the owner and founder of Tribal Edge, said, “It’s all about creating a greater connection with the planet and maximizing hidden potential.”
Assistant instructor Danielle Burke provided one example of how the program works, saying each student will find a “sit spot,” a place where they return each visit to quietly enjoy nature. “To just sit and be present,” she said.
Not only does the ex-perience teach about nature through observation, including the changing of the seasons, but it provides another lesson, one that is equally important in this wired world: “It teaches them to deal with their fear of not having a distraction,” Burke said.
Students also learn to use a bow drill to build a fire. “The kids get excited,” Burke said.
Burke, who also is a private math tutor, added, “They don’t realize they’re doing math and science.”
She added that students also are asked to draw their “sit spot,” which helps them learn geography and map-making, she said.
Every week the students also engage in learning about a specific topic they’ve inquired about. “How does it work?” topics have included trees, atoms, light and sight.
The students also are introduced to martial arts.
Assistant instructor Abby Hare said through the various exercises the students learn about working together while honing their leadership skills. “They learn how much they’re affecting each other.”
In time, students are expected to take responsibility for their behavior and to make decisions that will improve their quality of life.
And there’s more
Tribal Edge programs include much more than the outdoor education program for students. At the Tribal Edge Gym at 385 W. Silberhorn Road, the instructors also provide a number of fitness programs.
“Young Warriors” is a unique blend of fitness and martial arts for those 10-15 years old.
Adults may want to sign up for CrossFit training, a “constantly varied, high-intensity workout system.”
Tribal Edge also provides training in the Sikal martial arts, a combined system of Filipino Kali and Indonesian Pentjak Silat taught by guru Ken Pallen.
Tribal Edge’s fitness programs are designed for everyone, young and old.
To learn more about Tribal Edge, see www.tribaledge.info.
Reach Mark Couhig at email@example.com.