SUPERVIVITUR, SIC VIVITUR (‘Survive, therefore you live’)
The International Survival Federation (FISSS) with its Consociate, the FEDERAZIONE ITALIANA SURVIVAL SPORTIVO E SPERIMENTALE (F.I.S.S.S.), is set up by the legal representatives of all the affiliated Associations and Bodies, and by all Instructors being qualified to the training and profession in the field.
All practices of this ‘meta-discipline’ aim to the art and techniques of surviving; they teach to tackle any adversity, real, virtual or simulated; they reactivate ancestral ways and abilities by means of an overall adequate preparation, but not the specialised one that may lead to extinction.
Above all, the survivalist must Adapt, Improvise, Solve Complexities, and Achieve the Aim, but also put together and experiment all useful emergency disciplines in a holistic system able to make them interactive and dynamic (running, climbing, orienteering, throwing, swimming, defence skills etc.). On the other hand, the survivalist must be talented in adaptation, resistance, dexterity, emotion control, resilience and manual skills, psycho-physic first aid, environmental and technological knowledge, all to be used as ‘tactical’ resources.
The English term Survival defines all this. It doesn’t simply translate the generic word ‘to survive’ into a new sense, but classifies a new discipline that, at least in Italy, is nowadays distant from the original American-born form. The FISSS created in this field a unique format of excellence in the international arena, proposing new guidelines and, for distinction, a gerundive variation, so typical of the new Outdoor sports: Surviving.
This last variation is particularly useful to psycho-physical fitness, while developing positive behaviour dynamics and strengthening the immune system; it helps against depression and may be therapeutic in overtaking many phobias; it enhances metabolism, self-esteem, cognitive and decisional abilities, emotion control, procedural and perspective memory.
‘Being’ in the environment is therefore the most direct way to protect it and make it sustainable, outside any pseudo-science suggestions, fashions, popular misanthropies, unmotivated optimism or pessimism.
In the Western world, inactivity and virtual reality are compromising motor skills and mind attitudes: to do without them is unwise. Getting into the Survival game means to train for the worst scenario: by means of the Virtuality of Reality.
OUR ROUTE – The Federal Curricula in Brief
The idea came from Enzo Maolucci (founder and President of I.S.A. – International Survival Association, and subsequently of the F.I.S.S.S.); hereafter, the activity was developed in increasingly regulated competitions: Antichipassi at Sestriere (1984-85-86-87), the Via del Sale in Limone Piemonte (1986-87), Survival Island at Elba island and Sardinia (1987-88) and others. These events, together with the forerunning courses by Jacek Palkiewicz, marked a custom in the Italy of the ‘80s, receiving positive feedback even by the media.
After the first games, in September 1986 the ISA promotes the foundation of the F.I.S.S.S., a Federation that united the most important Italian schools in the sector and established the first disciplinary regulations for federal games, courses and examinations.
In 1987, the C.O.N.I. (Italian Olympic Committee) welcomes the F.I.S.S.S. recreational and formative initiative and, during the National Meeting at the Sports Medicine Centre of Bologna, Survival wss ranked among the Combined Effort Activities, together with Decathlon, Pentathlon and other multidisciplinary sports. Survival loses its heretical status and becomes a synonym of ‘extreme’, but totally risk-free.
Since 2001 the federation cooperates with the SUISM (interfaculty in Motor Sciences, University of Turin); here the F.I.S.S.S., via I.S.A., tutors the course Outdoor & Adventure Sports, about eco-dynamic disciplines and Surviving.
In 2000 an official manual was published: Dati per Vivi (‘Presumed alive’), written by Enzo Maolucci e Alberto Salza with contributions by various Federation’s members; it received patronage and sponsorship by national bodies such as Regione Piemonte, Regione Lazio and Provincia di Napoli.
By its Consociates, managers and Instructors, during more than 30 years FISSS organised in Italy the most important Survival games and contests; besides, it cooperated to important formation-science-divulgation initiatives throughout the education system in the fields of Archaeology, Anthropology and Human Ecology, aiming to experimenting new recreation-formation activities in various sectors of teaching and spare time. At the moment it maintains relations with relevant Public Bodies and with Culture, Education, Sports, Environment Assessorships of Italian Regions and Cities.
In 1989, it organised and built for schools the Human Ecology Experimental & Didactic Centre, with the denomination of Salgari Campus (being the permanent Federation’s field office); today the Campus may count on 30,000 attendants per year.
From 1990 to 2006 it has been planning and designing a precursory Anthropology Park, participating to the Anthropos Project by Regione Piemonte and Città di Torino.
In Turin, it gave contribution to the creation and management of the regional scientific exhibition Experimenta 2004, on the subject of SopraVVivere (surviving); it cooperated also in the successive 2005-06 editions about sports.
It held teaching and training sessions for the Master Catastrophe Medicine, c/o COREP, University of Turin.
For the Museum of the Alps – Bard Fort (Aosta), it built the reconstruction of a prehistoric habitat.
It was inside the Operative Teams for the Camel Trophy, Raid Gauloises, Defender Cup and Land Rover G4 Challengers selection tests.
It designed and built 2 Tibetan bridges (one 362 m long in Procida in 2001 and one in Torino, over the Po river, 374 m long) that were entered in the Guinness Book of Records.
It held Corporate training and psycho-pedagogy- or environment-oriented courses for important Italian and foreign societies. It cooperated in the shooting of important Italian TV shows: Survivors, L’isola dei famosi (Celebrity Island), La talpa, Ciao Darwin, Uomo e gentiluomo, Wild.
It organised events in many National Parks and cooperated with the local Civil Protection.
During the ‘80s it undertook in Africa and Italy some important researches to document and analyse innovative survival strategies for populations and environments at risk, in cooperation with main research Bodies and Institutes and a number of Italian and foreign Universities, shooting documentaries released by the main national networks.
During the event Torino capitale europea dei giovani 2010 it was involved in the Vertical City Race, building a 250-m-long manual zipline over the Po river.
From July to September 2010 it was partner and sponsor for the design of an ethno-museum school on the shores of Lake Turkana, Kenya, supported by the National Museums of Kenya and patronised by the Anthropology Workshop of the University of Turin.
Since 2011 it has yearly been organising Testages in Kenya for the training of Instructors; there it has logistic bases for courses and explorations in equatorial environments (by ISA-AIEA).
In 2012 it coordinated the Survival sector CSEN (E.P.S. CONI) and in 2014 the Survival & Outdoor sector for the EPS CONI A.S.I.
In 2014 it achieved the third Guinness Record at Baveno (lago Maggiore): a bridge made out of recycled plastic bottles (15×2 m).
In 2015 it hosted in its operative base the first national meeting for Prepping practitioners, whence the sector Consociated DPI was founded.
In 2016 it cooperated in various TV shows, to columns in national magazines and to courses for military reservists (UNUCI).
PROMOTED OBJECTIVES & ACTIVITIES
Courses, Training camps & Outdoor campuses preparatory for beginners and advanced for Survival Instructors.
Simulations, Initiations & Preparedness with experimental tests and contests of Outdoor and/or Urban Survival.
Contests, Competitions & Events being multi-sports, plus raids, marathons, trekking and generic Outdoor practices.
Outdoor training for corporate teams (Wildlife Training) aimed to anti-stress therapies and team building activities.
Testages in upgrading seminaries and workshops for Federal Instructors with examination sessions for the different qualifications.
Full immersion in extreme environments (itinerant or stationary) in Italy and abroad (Survival Experience and Adventure Travels).
Experimentations & Trials in different settings, among which Civil Protection, First aid, psycho-somatic and social psychology.
Design of eco-dynamic camps and courses, Outdoor facilities, exhibitions and theme-parks dealing with Human Ecology.
Organisation & Logistics for educational expeditions and travels with environmental and anthropological aims.
Marine Survival dealing with rescue and resistance at sea and water egress.
Palaeo-working, Bushcraft & Tracking with notions of experimental Archaeology and primitive or natural Survival
Prepping dealing with preventive logistics of catastrophes and urban Survival.
Mental Survival Training dealing with survival psychology and psychosomatic therapeutic support.
Specialised Publishing with numerous publications by its members, among which Maolucci E and Salza A, Dati per vivi, F.I.S.S.S. 1999 (2010); Maolucci E, Dalla Palma M and Salza A, Outdoor, Hoepli 2010; Maolucci E and Salza A, Surviving, Hoepli 2010 (2017), Lorenzani R, Guida completa al Survival, Hoepli 2014; Maolucci E and Salza A, Prepping, Hoepli 2016; Nannini F, Mental Survival, Hoepli 2016.
BEING MODERN TO SURVIVE
This trend is important in promoting the individual’s, group’s and species’ preservation in case of natural disasters, eco-bio-technologic catastrophes, terrorist attacks, nuclear incidents, extreme climatic or meteorological events: these are our epochal fears.
In the end, surviving means to ecologically succeed by action, that is to fill the operative void opened by negligence. We must understand and manage the environment, in order to engage in a dialogue with it, whatever its kind: natural, artificial or social. We have to act eco-dynamically, that is not in a naïve, dogmatic or predatory, but intelligent mode (interactive and cooperative). It is necessary to assertively give priority to the life of humans and adopt the precautionary principle so dear to traditional environmentalists towards other species. Lastly, we must study the economy & psychology of behaviour and optimise the cost-benefit ratio in our daily life, in order to change psycho-physical stress into a resource and not a limit.
BY VOCATION, PASSION, LEISURE, KNOWLEDGE, PROFESSION & OTHER
After 30 years of experimentations, disciplinary protocols and system-building in the FISSS and academic sphere, we are entitled to make a point: surviving is like sex and food, it is meant for our preservation – like mating is fundamental in reproduction and eating in nutrition – but it is not only for that reason we engage ourselves in those activities. Human beings have always interpreted these primary biological drives in an extended and complex way, making culture and even leisure out of them. Leaving aside the existential meaning of the term ‘surviving’, we consider at least four operative modes of its current holistic complexity:
2. The Protected Mode: we call it Surviving to distinguish it from the first mode; it deals with simulated sports or experimental activities for training and initiation (Prepping included).
3) The Cultural Mode: also defined eco-environmental, it deals with typical full-immersion explorations, in the Bushcraft or Depriving practices that require emotional, mystical or ideological attitude, choices or prerequisites.
4. The Technical Mode: also considered professional, it introduces to the craft and specific knowledge for Instructors; once left to the military, nowadays it may have civilian standards.
The activity may be individual or group’s; it may be practised in more or less extreme natural environments (Outdoor) or in urban and social contexts (Prepping); it may be set on Hi-Tech (advanced technological devices), or otherwise on Depriving, with zero equipment (everything in the head, nothing in the pocket); and/or on Mental Survival, engaging the dynamics of behaviour.
SURVIVING IS SERIOUS BUSINESS
(but also amusing and healthy)
Even though real necessities appear out-fashioned, Survival has become a meta-discipline that, beyond the mere safeguard drive, acts in proximity with environments, people and situations that are rarer and rarer. It may engage primary emotions and reactions, even therapeutic (anti Stress & Depression), psychophysical ability (Fitness), and even Pleasure by positive feedback. Above all, it may be practiced everywhere, even in city neighbourhoods, in those patches of a non-anthropic environment we call ‘Interstitial Geography’ or shatter zones, places close by or included in civilisation, but mostly unknown and uninhabited.
SURVIVAL BY RECONVERSION
02. Sensitivity: overtaking and reconversion of phobias (field of neuro-sciences)
03. Primary Drives: cultural reconversion of instincts (Survival like sex and nutrition)
04. Genetics: reconversion of genetic functions (epi-genetics, evolution during development)
05. Physiology: reconversion of potential (metabolic, immune and motor systems, other)
06. Technology: reconversion of abandoned inventions (stone flaking, fire making, bow use)
07. Sociology: reconversion of communities in cooperative and pragmatic ‘bands’ (not tribal or selective)
08. Ethics: reconversion of solidarity and proximity, to make a temporary bond of coexistence, reciprocity and protection with our neighbours and environments (a survivalist leaves no one behind)
09. Human Ecology: reconversion of hostile environments in innovative eco-dynamic theatres of operation
10. Psychosomatic Therapy: reconversion of the negative stress (distress) in positive (eustress) to retrieve fitness and resilience; reaction to alien pressures by new solutions (heuristic reactance)
11. Psychology: reconversion of productive behaviours to solve individual problems and social complexities
12. Sports: reconversion of primary skills to develop survival fitness and other abilities