Most of the USA goes into a deep freeze at some point during the winter. Sadly, people have been known to die because they get stuck in their cars during blizzards. Some have frozen to death in their own homes when power was lost and the heat went off. Tragedies to be sure.
Why can’t humans survive in the severe cold? What happens to the body?
Damage to the eyes:
Your eyeballs can’t really freeze solid in ordinary outdoor activities, but you could do serious damage to them if you don’t wear goggles in extreme temperatures. Runners note: the eyes might tear a bit more, but the eyelids will blink, and deliver the salt (naturally found in tears) to coat the eyeball, effectively lowering the freezing point of the tears themselves. It is possible for the eyeball to freeze temporarily during extreme sports – like the challenging cross country Iditarod races in Alaska – but lesser symptoms (blurred vision, frostbite) can also impair a contestant’s ability to complete the course. Doctor intervention might be necessary if either of these problems occur, because otherwise, injury to the body can be permanent.
Damage to the skin/muscles:
Feet, fingers, and toes can freeze to the point of pieces falling off, or needing to be amputated. Frostnip can freeze the skin, but frostbite can freeze not just the skin, but muscles, tissues and fat beneath it. Plus, if the wind chill drops below -40F, your skin can freeze within minutes if you’re not wearing the proper gear.
I had the wrong gloves with me while on a ski trip in colder-than-we-expected temperatures years ago. True story: it only took ten minutes for my fingers to be in great pain. I knew there was a problem after five and headed to the lodge. I got first aid, and new gloves, but I stayed inside until the outside temperatures rose in the afternoon. My thumbs hurt now, just thinking about it.
Sound scary? How about this: the longer you’re exposed, the more likely it is that any damage will be permanent and/or involve amputation. I got lucky. I was minutes away from help.
Cold can kill:
Listen to the weather forecasters and government officials when they tell you to stay indoors during extremely cold weather. If you’re not dressed properly or are in a place without shelter, you might die in the wrong combination of circumstances. Every year, people in North America die from a variety of situations where exposure to the elements overtook the body’s ability to cope. In the first week of January, 2018, when temperatures dropped unexpectedly across wide swaths of North America, ten people died.
The human body maintains a core temperature of 98.6F (37 C) and when it drops, hypothermia can set in. Even a 4-5 degree drop, if accompanied by constant shivering, tiredness, and rapid breathing, can signal the onset.
We wear insulated jackets, gloves, and hats to avoid getting chilled. They trap the air around our bodies and keep in the heat. But, if the clothes get wet (say you fall through the ice while skating) the insulating effects are gone and there will be rapid body heat loss, as if you weren’t wearing that winter jacket at all. Interesting factoid: Your body type also determines how quickly you lose heat: Tall, slender people become cold much faster than shorter, heavier types.
There are levels of hypothermia. In moderate hypothermia, symptoms might include poor coordination, slurred speech, confusion, and slowed breathing. In severe hypothermia, symptoms might make it hard to tell if the person is alive or dead. They’ll lose consciousness, their breathing might become too shallow to detect, the pulse will be weak, or irregular, and pupils will be dilated. Severe hypothermia is often fatal.
How could this happen? Why would people put themselves into a situation where they might lose limbs, or even die? That forgotten bottle of milk at the store that is 20 miles away? The unexpected emergency trip to a sick relative, when you left home before the storm arrived? Braving the elements to prove something to your friends? Extreme Sports competitions? You name it. Be prepared and most of the risk for a bad ending goes away.
Dress in layers, wear a hat and gloves, wear goggles or glasses when in the snow, cover exposed skin, bring pets indoors, stock the car with water and blankets. Read “Snow Shoveling and Heart Attacks,” and “Get Ready for the Blizzard” for more prevention/survival tips.
Now that you’ve read all the bad things about getting too cold for your own good, remember that First Responders – police, firefighters, and EMS personnel – have to be out in the worst of the worst conditions. They go to work so that you can be rescued or saved from harm.
Be kind. Follow directions. Stay home if you can. Dress appropriately, no matter what activity takes you out into the cold.
For more information about the effects of severe cold on the body, see: http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/safety/hypocold.shtml
One of our Texas friends could write a manual on how to live life to the max. She is whip smart, stays in top shape, participates in some extreme adventures, is a fabulous cook, and enjoys the great outdoors in all its glory. She’s not a big fan of gyms with weights and machines and would rather keep herself in condition by participating in activities with a physical endurance component – like frigid overnights on a mountain after trekking a few miles over challenging terrain to get there.
We chatted over dinner and she mentioned that she was enrolled at a local Krav Maga place, then invited us along to see what it was all about. She wanted Sheila to join in the class, but Sheila only had golf clothes in her suitcase, no workout gear. “Bring your camera,” she said.
Krav Maga (translated from Hebrew) means contact combat. Yup. That’s what the classes involve. It’s a fusion of techniques from boxing, wrestling, and judo, developed for the Israeli Defense Forces, and combined with fight training – with the end goal of self-defense.
The focus is on real-world situations and learning efficient methods to fend off attacks from the bad guys and take control of the direction of the attacks. Originally developed by Hungarian-Israeli martial artist Imi Lichtenfeld in the 1930s, Krav Maga became a practical way to combine other fighting styles (including street fighting) and teach them quickly to the Israeli military. As time passed, other techniques using elbows and knee strikes, low kicks, Aikido and Jiu-jitsu were also included under the broad umbrella of Krav Maga.
Krav Maga has a philosophy emphasizing aggression, and simultaneous defensive and offensive maneuvers. Variations of Krav Maga are now being used by military, law enforcement, and intelligence organizations around the world. The Brits and the US Marine Corps teach their own versions to their recruits.
For the average person off the street, Krav Maga teaches street self-defense using:
Krav Maga also promotes awareness, strength, and self-defense skills specifically for women. Some locations have classes that focus on rape prevention techniques and tactics, to build both inner and outer strength. Women can learn to spot danger signs, but also learn how to defend against common chokes, grabs, bearhugs, and other attacks, including fighting on the ground and when confronted by a weapon. This allows women to leave class feeling safe, strong, and empowered.
The instructor for the class we attended, Nick Delgadillo, emphasized to the Level 1 group that the aim is to “defend and then attack.” As the class continued and various moves were practiced, the mantra, “As I’m striking, I need to improve my position,” became internalized.
Krav Maga is designed to be practical and intuitive for people of any age, shape, or size.
Tips and reinforcements are delivered in a positive way throughout the class:
The progressive curriculum covers the most common types of attacks and threats first, to make students comfortable with using basic blocks, punches, chokeholds, and strikebacks. In later classes, students focus on more violent situations involving weapons, multiple attackers, and ground fighting. Krav Maga students work with each another in reality-based exercises, and the ambience is usually very supportive, yet goal-oriented.
What To Expect
Fully certified instructors guide training sessions and make sure that the environment is open and positive. Krav Maga is designed to teach students self-defense techniques in a short amount of time, with the goal that you should start feeling safer and more confident almost immediately. Students are taught how to react to the initial shock and paralyzing fear that comes with a sudden attack.
A quote from Nick’s website:
“Defending yourself requires that you are able to make an aggressive and violent counterattack. This is one of the ugly realities of self-defense and this is the truly hard part for nice, normal people living in the real world. Come train with us and we’ll teach you how to make an ugly face, hit hard, and go home safe.”
Defense Krav Maga is located at:
4036 Kemp Blvd. Wichita Falls, TX 76308
As of this writing, classes are held:
Krav Maga – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 5:30 PM.
Precision Striking – Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 PM
They’d love to hear from you. Visit the website, www.defensewf.com to check them out. 🙂
Nick Delgadillo is a Starting Strength Seminar Staff Coach, Krav Maga instructor, and Muay Thai and Brazilian JiuJitsu practitioner. He’s been teaching people of all walks of life how to fight and lift for over 10 years. Nick is highly effective in preparing people both mentally and physically for sport, combat, or the game of life.
Notes from Patti:
Nick’s class was astounding in its content. I came away with a sense that this should be the type of self-defense class for me. If I still lived there, I would sign up in a New York minute! Bravo to Nick Delgadillo for empowering the class members, and to V. for taking me to the class. 🙂
The Kerrians are a fictional couple, but the class (V. included) and photos are real.
Banner and Nick’s photo at the end: courtesy of Defense Krav Maga, Wichita Falls, Texas.
Photos of the class members in action: Patti Phillips
“Fore!!!” is a word called out as a warning to people in the path of a golf ball. Golfers are generally pleasant people and if we slice a ball into a neighboring fairway, we yell the warning at the top of our lungs. And everybody within earshot ducks. Nobody wants to be at the receiving end of a little white projectile traveling at over 125 mph.
The occasional errant ball passing in front of us isn’t usually a real cause for alarm, however. Last month, one flew past my ear from nearby fairway – a little close for my liking – but the rest of the round was safe from wayward missiles. Nonetheless, other objects have fallen out of the sky onto golf courses; some kinda funny, but some with serious consequences.
If somebody said “It’s raining golf balls,” I’d think they were talking about bad golfers slicing and hooking their way through the course. I would never imagine this:
Back in 1969, there was a fairly average rainstorm in Punta Gorda, Florida. That is, until golf balls fell out of the sky by the dozens. Not on the golf course, mind you. Citizens found them on their lawns and in the streets. The prevailing theory was that a storm sucked the water out of a nearby golf course lake (resting place for the golf balls that don’t clear the water hazard) and then dumped the golf balls in the town. Or else the golf course maintenance crew was returning the balls to their owners. 😉
Unfortunately, bigger and more unexpected objects can crash onto a golf course. Tragically, in April, 2017, a Black Hawk helicopter crashed onto a Maryland golf course, killing one crew member. Two others were hurt during this routine training exercise. The pilot probably saw the wide open spaces of the golf course and picked the safest place to land, hoping it could be set down in one piece.
Read more about the accident and see the photos here:
Then in May, 2017, a tour helicopter crashed onto a Santa Barbara, California area golf course. The pilot was headed back to the airport when the engine trouble started. There were three people on board, but they only had minor injuries. The helicopter didn’t land on a fairway, though. He landed on top of some cars in the maintenance area, and then the helo burst into flames. Yup, the threesome was lucky that some golf course employees were there to help get the passengers out in time, had fire extinguishers handy and also helped put out the fire.
Sometimes, people intentionally land on golf courses, without anything life-saving attached to the event. Lexi Thompson, an LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) player jumped out of a plane in order to get to her tee time at the Kingsmill Championship. Truth: she landed on the golf course after skydiving, then teed off. She has a newish partnership with the Seal Legacy Foundation and did the jump to call attention to that. I don’t know about you, but I have enough fun getting to the tee-time with feet planted firmly on the ground. No skydiving needed to ramp up the action.
Then there was the shark…
California has its share of interesting events, but in October, 2012, a 2-foot-long shark dropped out of the sky onto the 12th tee at a San Juan Hills golf course. Probably dropped by a bird, it missed hitting any golfers, but generated lots of press for a while. The rescue efforts carried out by the golf course staff saved the shark’s life, despite the puncture wounds delivered by the bird during flight.
I have never carried a golf umbrella, not even when it’s raining, but I might if I ever play in California or Florida, just to be on the safe side. 😉
Golf ball pile: Patti Phillips
Golf balls on green: Roine Magnusson
Leopard Shark: San Diego Zoo