It’s a nightmarish scenario to imagine – let alone live through. But having your wrists zip-tied to restrain your movements is something that could potentially happen to you. Thankfully, though, the team at Imminent Threat Solutions (ITS) have explained how you can easily escape from such a situation in seconds.
And Bryan Black is the founder of ITS. He had previously been in the U.S. Navy; his time in the military was, however, cut short by an injury. Nevertheless, he completed much of the training required to become a SEAL and so learned a lot about taking care of himself in tough circumstances.
Then, after leaving the military, Black developed his interest in the outdoors. And together, all of his experiences inspired him to establish ITS, a website that helps readers to safely explore the world while also learning skills that can get them out of unsafe situations.
One potential threat identified by Black and his team is kidnapping. More specifically, in a YouTube video that the team produced, they focused on restraint by zip ties – although they also acknowledged that some kidnappers may prefer to utilize rope or duct tape.
And as the ITS staff point out on the website, “All of these methods can be easily defeated.” In a kidnap situation, then, it’s all about waiting for the right moment to act. “Your captors are most likely not going to have the resources or the patience to keep an eye on you constantly,” the ITS site says.
So, to demonstrate what people should do in such an emergency, the ITS team invested in the strongest zip ties available to them. They wanted to make the demonstration as close to real life as possible, after all. “We chose these because realistically, if someone was determined to go out and buy zip ties to use to illegally restrain someone, they’d more than likely hit the local hardware store and find the toughest ones they could,” they wrote. They wouldn’t be taking any chances; that’s for sure. But how exactly are you meant to try and break free from such tough restraints? Remarkably, it’s actually incredibly simple – as long as you know how.
And in the resulting YouTube video, an instructor showcases a very simple way to escape from restraints. He uses a zip tie, although he advises viewers to practice first with duct tape. “This can hurt a little,” he says of the hard plastic tie before adding, “Duct tape works the same as what we’ll show.”
However, in the case of a zip-tie restraint, there are a few material-specific instructions. For starters, the ITS instructor points out the locking bar, which holds both ends of the plastic strip in a loop around your wrists.
The placement of the locking bar is very important, the ITS instructor says. “What you’re going to want to do is secure the zip ties so [that] this locking bar that you’ll defeat is right in the middle of your hands,” he advises.
The instructor then places both hands through the loop and begins to tighten the zip tie around his wrist by pulling the loose end with his teeth. “The tighter they are, the easier it’ll be,” he says.
With that, the instructor begins to explain the quick, simple motion that will snap the zip tie in two. “You’re going to be coming down and kind of chicken-winging your arms. And, at the same time, you’re going to push,” he says.
The tutor demonstrates this move by putting his arms over his head then bringing them back down toward his belly button. His arms are, in fact, in a triangular position – this is what he means by “chicken-winging” them down.
To reiterate the technique, the instructor provides another description of how it should look and feel. “In one fluid motion, you’re going to come from the top and push down. And [you] almost want to simulate touching your shoulder blades together as you come down,” he says.
Then it’s time for the tutor to demonstrate how the move would work in real life. He again puts his hands over his head and launches them back down toward his stomach. And at the bottom of that trajectory, the zip tie snaps off – with the entire process taking just two seconds.
The ITS video demonstrating the technique has since racked up more than 8.5 million views on YouTube too – although there have been mixed opinions about the ITS team’s advice. For instance, some people wondered how this would work in an enclosed space such as the trunk of a car.
Then, of course, there was the question of the hand and zip tie placement. “Anyone who [has] had any training with restraints would never tie hands in front of the person,” wrote one YouTube user.
To that end, another commenter noted how the zip tie placement would have to be just right in order for the plan to work. “I guess you could ask the bad guy nicely to put the catch end… in the right place,” they joked.
Nonetheless, the tip from the ITS instructor would at least work if the zip tie was placed in front of someone. And for that, many YouTube users were thankful. For example, one individual wrote, “Some people might call tips like this being paranoid. But this could save a life.”
And on the ITS website, the team provide more suggestions on how to break out of zip ties or how to slip your hands from a loop, depending on the way you’re tied. However, in any situation, they advise you to “remain passive” so that kidnappers have no indication of your expertise.
In addition, the ITS team passed on one final tip to render the escape simpler. “Make every effort to present your hands to your captor before they use force to restrain you. Essentially, you’re presenting the wrist position of your choosing to them,” they wrote. And if you remember that, you may just be able to break free from a terrifying situation.
But some survival skills were passed on to us way back when. Take the Native Americans, for instance, whose ability to live off the land can teach us some vital lessons. What’s more, some tribes’ survival skills – from finding food and water in the wild to simply working together as a community – are in many ways still invaluable to us today.
10. The ability to preserve meat
Whether Native Americans were the first to create jerky is up for debate. However, what is certain is that they were huge proponents of the process, making what they called “pemmican.” If you’re unfamiliar with jerky, it’s simply dried meat, which the Native Americans mixed with animal fat or dried fruit.
The advantage of preparing meat in this way, of course, is that it will last – whether you need nutritious supplies for a long trip or just want to have a backup food supply in case your fridge dies. In fact, jerky is now a food staple worldwide, such is its usefulness.
9. The ability to predict the weather
If you ever find yourself in a survival situation – say, lost in the woods with no phone reception – then it’s a good idea to be prepared for the worst. That may mean keeping an eye on the weather – and being able to predict when a storm is coming was a great skill of the Native Americans.
For instance, a heavy storm is usually heralded by wind rotating the leaves on trees, rainfall on the horizon and birds nesting during that time of the day. Knowing what to look for in a survival situation, then, can give you time to prepare an appropriate shelter.
8. The ability to find water
Predicting the weather isn’t the only useful tool in a survival situation, of course. You’ll also need to make sure you can find a water source – something the Native Americans were adept at too. While some tribes were able to continually use the same sources, others that traveled needed to be able to find water in a pinch.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to discover water in the wilderness. Birds and animals usually signal a nearby source, and following their trails can lead you to it. Trees with green leaves are also a fairly reliable indicator, as are green plants. And even when a river bed looks dry, there may well be water hiding underneath the mud.
7. The ability to tell which wild plants were safe to eat
While settled Native American tribes could simply grow their own crops, those who roamed the country had to forage for edible plants. Fortunately, nomadic peoples learned ways to tell which foliage could be safely consumed. And knowing those plants could help you out in a pinch.
For example, animals such as deer and birds will eat wild berries, and, on the whole, those same fruits are safe for us to eat, too. Other critters such as squirrels will also hoard food for the winter that can be recovered and consumed by humans. However, plants with thorns should generally be avoided.
6. The ability to never get lost
Of course, you’ll never need to resort to stealing a squirrel’s nuts if you can know the way home. And this particular skill is one that was likewise key to Native American tribespeople, who were typically keenly aware of their surroundings. Natural landmarks in the environment also helped tribes find routes.
Furthermore, indigenous peoples could even determine a direction without the sun or a compass to guide them. And this mostly came down to knowing what to look for in their surroundings. For instance, the densest growth on a gorse bush is generally found on the side facing northwards.
5. The ability to move undetected
Whether you’re hunting prey or simply want to be closer to nature, the ability to move through an environment undetected is crucial. And it’s a skill that many of us have learnt as a direct result of Native American teachings. Yes, we’re talking about the Fox Walk.
The Fox Walk is essentially a method of ensuring that you don’t step on anything that’s going to make a noise. The practice mainly involves feeling the ground with your foot before putting any weight on it until you find somewhere safe to step – and with enough experience, your movements should ultimately become totally silent.
4. The ability to make traps
While we don’t have to catch our own food these days, the art of making a deadfall trap can still be valuable knowledge. After all, you never know when you’re going to find yourself in a situation where you have to rely on your own skills for survival.
And Native Americans were strong proponents of deadfall traps; the Paiute people even have a specific variant of the device named after them. To make a deadfall trap, then, simply prop up a heavy stone with a branch and place some bait underneath. When an animal then reaches for the bait, the branch will give way, and the stone will hit the unsuspecting critter.
3. The ability to make herbal remedies
When you’re alone in the wilderness, plants aren’t just for eating; they can also be useful for remedying certain ills. And many Native Americans were able to treat themselves using these herbal therapies, coming up with a variety of plant-based cures.
For example, certain tribes treated headaches by drinking tea made with the leaves of the pennyroyal plant. And foliage can even be used as the base of a sedative; the Meskwaki tribe, for instance, used the root of a specific type of cherry tree to make a tranquilizing brew. Knowing how to utilize these plants, then, can make a huge difference in a survival situation.
2. The ability to camouflage yourself
Moving silently through the wilderness doesn’t make you totally invisible. But camouflage can help with that – and the Native Americans were experts at it. In addition to painting their skin to match their environment, they even drew birds on themselves to really blend in.
This knack for camouflage gave Native Americans a unique advantage not only during hunts but also in battle. And while most of us aren’t likely to have to engage in similar conflicts today, camouflage remains a valuable practice for everything from hunting to wildlife photography.
1. The ability to be part of a community
Humanity survives – and thrives – in groups of people. Indeed, you only need look at Native American tribes for proof of that. Forming a tight-knit community, where everyone has a specific role, is an invaluable and timeless idea; it teaches us to work together and learn from one another.
Let’s just imagine, for a second, that some nuclear event struck the world. In the aftermath, it would be imperative that people band together for humanity to survive. But even in our normal lives, belonging to a community is an essential source of support, comfort and resources – all of which means that this survival skill will always be invaluable to us.