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One person's response to to the question ...
Did Grandfather and Rick really exist?

Iíd like to pick up on this question which I came across recently.
Forgive me if the debate has been and gone, but it is new to me. It still has relevance I feel since after the Advanced Tracking and Awareness class I attended last year, a fellow student put the question to me.

It had never occurred to me, and it troubled me somewhat. I tried to put it out of my mind, because it would, I thought, undo the authenticity and validity of Tomís teachings.

But it stayed there and kept niggling away until I looked at it. During class we learnt about the Sacred Question, that is, asking question after question about even the simplest things and events, to uncover the truth.

It is in the spirit of the Sacred Question that I consider the question above.

I read in one discussion that it cannot be proven whether Grandfather or Rick ever existed. No-one has ever met them, it seems, there are no photos, documentary evidence and such like. It was put forward that their names are in fact pseudonyms, to protect their identities, or in the spirit of Indian teachings.

This lack of proof disturbed me. But then I wondered what if you, reader, tried to find out about the existence of my grandfather.

You might try looking under his name Ė Andrew Laine, though thatís not his real name, youíll understand Iíve wanted to protect his identityÖ.

Letís suppose now he belonged to an old secret Celtic druid clan (Iím writing from Europe so am imagining a European continent equivalent to a Native American Medicine Society), and had a false name, like Stealthy Bear.

Letís imagine that this Druid society, being secret, meant that my grandfather spent much time in the forest away from society. And that he was a master of camouflage and invisibility.

Itís not surprising that you would not find many people to authenticate his existence.

But then you would look in the births, deaths and marriages records, or look him up in one of the old peopleís homes where he might have spent his remaining years. Except that he was never in the system, never lived in a home and the last thing that he would have wanted was a formal, modern burial.

Could you track down any of the people he knew? Family? Friends? You might try but they are all dead. Convenient, you might say. No, they were just oldÖ

And letís say he didnít like having his photograph taken (like the Australian Aborigines) or giving press interviews, or have a bank account etc. It would be very hard to find a trace, especially if he didnít want one to be left.

You might try to find people who lived in my hometown of Leicester, England, around the same time as me when I grew up there in the seventies and eighties. You might be lucky and find someone who knew me who still lives there, who could tell you if I ever hung around with an old guy. They might, they might not.

You would ask to see a photo, but I donít have any of when he was old. Just when he was in his 30s and 40s. There was just my mother and I, and my grandfather living around the corner. We didnít have much money and didnít have a camera so didnít take any photos (even through the 1980ís and Ď90s!).

I just have a two minute video of him with my baby son on his lap, eleven years ago. Itís somewhere in the cupboard, unmarked and amongst hundreds of hours of footage of my three children.

So did Grandfather exist? Iíll never know. I canít prove that he did, but I canít prove that he didnít. And absence of proof that he ever existed does not amount to proof that he did not.

And if I challenged Tom Brownís claims that he ever existed at all, I should have to challenge other skepticsí claims that he did not, for they have no proof either.
I can understand why some claim he didnít exist, but I can believe that he did.

Several people in forums wrote Ďwho cares?í I wouldnít go that far. I think it is important that if we claim to have learnt something from someone, that that person did in fact exist. But at the end of the day, we have to make up our own minds.

Of course it might be made up. It adds weight when marketing survival lessons to say that one learnt from an Ancient. But if Grandfather didnít exist, then Tom Brown is even more gifted than I first thought.

To have spent ten years learning a distillation of North and South American primitive skills and culture from an individual would require depths of determination, patience and effort to achieve mastery.

But to create all that stuff yourself would imply pure genius. I find that difficult to believe. One man attaining reams of knowledge and prowess through self-study alone. I have worked countless hours on the skills taught on only three of the courses offered at the Tracker School and I have only begun to scratch the surface.

The greatest painters and composers didnít learn everything from scratch. They spent time learning the Ďbasicsí from the Masters, then went on, building on those foundations, sometimes surpassing their teachers and producing their own great and original works.

Did Tom Brown learn from other survivalists? Perhaps, but then have the skeptics in their research interviewed great survivalists of the 60s and 70s to prove that they did teach him those skills? So where did the skills come from?

Has Tom Brown really taught the Special Forces? That classified information would never be revealed.

Has Tom Brown really been involved in 600 tracking cases? I havenít found anything on Google, no news archives. But on my Standard course, one of the students said she came on the course to learn from the man who found and rescued a girl lost from her home town when she was young.

Can Tom Brown track as well as they say? I donít know, because I have never seen him track, on none of the three courses Iíve been on. But I suspect that the instructors, the police forces and other professionals would be able to vouch for his abilities.

Everything Iíve read about him, even from the skeptics, say no-one doubts his abilities.
My fellow student during Advanced Tracking told me his teacher (a former TB student) was asking the same question, did Grandfather really exist?

This is the same person who, after having taken several of Tomís philosophy classes, was able to Ďdisappear from sight at willí using spiritual techniques. I found it ironic that someone who had reached such a high level of spiritual mastery, would still call Grandfatherís existence into question. Or does he subscribe to the ĎTom learnt everything himselfí theory?

I donít see many survivalists with that degree of spiritual proficiency from whom Tom could have learnt.

I just canít believe that Tom Brown, having attained that level of skill and experience, could have made it all up himself.

Learning from several woodsmen teachers seems possible, but there are some skills, such as the Scout series, that Ďregularí woodsmen just donít know.

Take a look at all the hundreds of distinct courses on the Tracker School website. I just cannot understand how anyone can know that much informationÖ

In the end no-one can prove whether or not Grandfather existed, and it becomes a matter of faith and trust. And I believe that he did.

--Submitted by PL, July 2011

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