How to survive a zombie apocalypse

April 13, 2015                 3M read time
Kirsten Akens

If any number of TV shows and movies are to believed, we’re all doomed to eventually duke it out among hordes of the undead. Get a leg up on the rest of the living with a little preparation. From learning how to make your own bow (and how to aim and shoot it) to figuring out how to feed yourself now that the grocery stores have been looted and emptied, the following Bay Area classes will put you ahead of the pack. After all, what trait did “The Walking Dead’s” Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon share from the get go? Mad survival skills.

Animal tracks in the dirt ZOZI

Animal tracks in the dirt



1.  Follow the tracks

According to Cliff Hodges, owner and founder of Adventure Out, the art of tracking is more than just identifying what kind of animal left a footprint. In Adventure Out's basics of animal tracking class, you’ll learn to date and age tracks, understand direction and rate of travel, and develop the ability to read the landscape like a news story. “When the zombies come, you’ll want to know exactly how many zombies are trolling your area, what time they were there, and when they will be back,” Hodges says. “We’ll teach you exactly that.”

Map and compass ZOZI

Map and compass



2.  Get orientated 

No power. No smartphones. No GPS. No way out? Don’t think that way. Instead take Treks andTracks’ navigation and orienteering class to develop your common sense knowledge about the outdoors and find the best possible route to get as far away from the zombies as possible. (We’re pretty sure they much prefer city comforts.) Maps and compasses provided. You bring hiking boots and chutzpah.

Two people fencing in a storm drain darkday

Two people fencing in a storm drain



3.  Fence them off

With zombies sneaking up on you, it’s good to always be on guard—or in this case, en garde. Xcel Fencing's class is hands-on, but you won’t just learn how to parry a sword or counter-attack an undead opponent. You’ll also get a heck of a good workout (fencing is a competitive sport, you know), and you’ll learn strategy and tactics to better your brain. (On second thought, plumping up your grey matter might not be such a good thing with noggin-chompin’ zombies on the loose.)

At the beach, man leaping into the air in a martial arts' kick  ZOZI

At the beach, man leaping into the air in a martial arts' kick 



4.  Fight hand to hand (or feet to feet)

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class by Bay Jiu-Jitsu teaches fundamental self-defense techniques, takedowns, and positional strategy. We think you’ll agree that’s better than just freezing up and yelling, “Help!” And it gets even better because Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu—a martial art, combat sport and self-defense system—is built on the idea that a smaller, weaker individual can defend against a larger stronger assailant. Learn to gain the upper hand while it’s still attached to your undead opponent.

meat on a butcher's block ZOZI

meat on a butcher's block



5.  Stay on the cutting edge 

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but if you want to eat some meat with your foraged berries and leftover Clif Bars, you’re gonna have to take care of the finer details of cutting carcasses (after you’ve managed to capture them). The butchery class at Avedano’s Holly Park Market will teach you proper knife skills, cut classifications, and how to slice like pro. Note: You get to take home some of the meat you’ve butchered. Freeze it and you’ll be ahead of the game (at least for a little while).

girl kneeling with a wooden bow in the forest ZOZI

girl kneeling with a wooden bow in the forest



6.  Make your weapons

When the zombie apocalypse hits, no one will be staffing the outdoors superstores. So you’ll need to make your own self-defense tools. In Adventure Out's art of bow making course, you’ll work with hand tools and natural materials to make a fully hunt-worthy longbow. Adventure Out's Cliff Hodges notes, “Being able to launch arrows at 130 feet per second may be your only defense.”

archery target sheet ZOZI

archery target sheet



7.  Take aim

In Ohlone Archery's intro to archery class, you’ll not only learn how to shoot quickly under pressure (many zombies may be slow, but they’re still freaky enough to make your hands shake), but you’ll also learn how to hit a relatively small spot at a safe distance. This is key because “a headshot is critical for stopping a zombie,” says Nico Gallegos, owner and head coach at Ohlone Archery. And considering there probably won’t be many weapons available post-apocalypse, knowing how to shoot a primitive bow with reusable ammunition will increase your chances of surviving.

Woman flying through the air in a trapeze class Laura Bittner

Woman flying through the air in a trapeze class

Laura Bittner


8.  Fly away

Now that we think about it, perhaps soaring above the zombies will be the best way to stay clear of their grip. If you like how we think, then the Circus Center’s flying trapeze class is perfect for you. Safe riggings and experienced instructors will allow you to first learn to swing into a knee hang, then go for a catch. Besides, if you’ve seen “Zombieland,” you’ll know just how circus-like the apocalypse might be.

Kirsten Akens

Kirsten is an award-winning journalist, editor, photographer and practicing yogi based in Colorado. A lover of books, balasana, baked goods, blogging, and Boston terriers, she also has an unnatural affection for alliteration.

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