Panem on the streets of London! With ‘Mockingjay – Part 1’out this week, Dan Frost grabs his bow and arrow and shows you how you can learn to kick ass like Katniss. Photography Rob Greig.
Work up a wild appetite
They’re not called the ‘Hunger Games’ for nothing: food is scarce, so you won’t last long if you don’t know which wild stuff to eat and which to leave alone. Go foraging with Londoner John Rensten, who won’t teach you how to spot deadly nightlock berries (they’re not real) but he will take you on an expedition around your local park, seeking out wild mushrooms and other edible stuff that should keep you going in the run-up to payday.
Find out more at foragelondon.co.uk
Go out on a limb
Katniss Everdeen wouldn’t have survived the first games without the ability to scurry like a startled squirrel up the nearest trunk. So take a leaf out of her book with a tree-climbing course in north London’s Alexandra Park. Big Tree Climbing runs courses for adults and children, providing ropes, helmets and other safety features that aren’t really in the spirit of the Hunger Games, but which you’ll be grateful for when you’re 40 feet up.
Find out more at bigtreeclimbing.co.uk
Add another string to your bow
Want to prowl through the undergrowth like J-Law, pinging off lethal arrows at anything that moves? Well, tough: that’s illegal, so don’t even think about it. Instead, you can satisfy your bowbending urges with a course at one of London’s archery clubs. There’s 2020 Archery in Bermondsey, or Experience Archery in Archway. Disappointingly, there isn’t a club in Bow.
Find out more at experiencearchery.com and 2020archery.co.uk
Give yourself a fighting chance
Handling a bow better than Robin Hood will only get you so far. Also required is a flair for hand-to-hand combat if you’re to last against the ruthless Career Tributes. Which is where krav maga comes in. This aggressive form of selfdefence is used by special forces, official protection teams and other people with marginally more need for it than your good self. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t learn. The British Academy of Krav Maga, near Regent’s Park, teaches students of all abilities how to defend themselves against attackers in a range of situations. Parks after dark? Pah! Dingy alleyways? No big deal. The West End on a Friday night? All right, steady on. Find out more at krav-maga.org.uk
Do go into the woods
Only the strong survive? Nonsense. Only the well-trained and carefully prepared survive. Which is why adventurer Ray Mears would do well in the Hunger Games: he’s got the survival skills to pay the survival bills. And you can acquire them too. Trueways Survival and Woodland Ways run bushcraft courses a short train ride from London (in Surrey and Oxfordshire respectively). Sign up for one of their weekends and you can learn to build shelters, make fires, trap animals and pick up other tips that will prove invaluable the next time you miss the last tube.
Find out more at truewayssurvival.com and woodland-ways.co.uk
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