September 2015

September 2015
Blog of Education

Estela Blog of Education Firearm Maintenance

The author’s cabin table on a recent trip out west. Routine maintenance to extend gear service life.

Maintenance is the practice of maintaining. In the survival community, we maintain our edges through sharpening, our firearms through cleaning and our knowledge of the outdoors by reading. Maintenance is a universal concept as perishable skills and diminishing returns are all around us. In the book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People  Dr. Steven Covey explains the importance of “sharpening the saw” by taking time to break from work and keep your tool sharp with rest. He describes this as a way of maintaining your sanity at times when you feel burnt out in work. Consider this idea, the greater concept of maintenance and what it means to you.

Estela Blog of Education September 2015

Sometimes maintenance is merely getting away to escape the stress of daily life. Here the author is canoe fishing in the Adirondacks.


When traveling, I carry a cleaning kit for my firearms and my blades. Cleaning rods, patches, solvent, oil…these are some of the items used to maintain my firearms during and after time in the field. For my blades, the same oil is used unless it is a knife meant for food prep which then is coated with vegetable oil. Sharpening and honing rods along with sandpaper provide me the means to keep my edges sharp and a bastard file is carried just in case extensive damage is done. Maintaining gear is important as this gear is part of our preparation. How a person lives their life is often told by the condition of their equipment and ultimately whether or not they care to maintain it. Sometimes though, well-maintained gear isn’t directly correlated to a well-maintained life. Just because your gear is shiny or dirt free doesn’t mean your life is spotless and clean too. We all have some dirt we’d just like to wipe away or sweep under the rug.

Kevin Estela firearms cleaning kit

The contents of the author’s handgun cleaning kit. Patches, solvent, oil, cleaning rods, etc.


Maintenance takes different forms in our lives. In Sayoc Kali, the martial art/lifestyle I have trained in for 8 years as of this month and have achieved the rank of Associate Instructor Level 2, we meet as a tribe a minimum of 2 times per year. At Sama Sama and Instructor Weekend, we maintain the bonds between practitioners, learn new skills and reinforce the skills taught to us over the years from Pamana Tuhon Sayoc, the Tuhons and Full-Instructors. Together as a group, we not only maintain our relationships with each other but we grow stronger as a group syncing up year after year as we maintain the art. This is just one way our system stays strong. One does not need to be in Sayoc (although I recommend it and if these ideas resonate you should be) to understand the importance of maintenance. Attending regular practice sessions in a high school sport, honoring and attending scheduled work meetings and revisiting past learning through reading old notes is all maintenance as well.

Sayoc Kali Sama Sama 2015

This is more than a tribe to me, this is my family!


Estela Blog of Education 2015 September

Kevin Estela with Sayoc Kali Founder Pamana Tuhon Christopher Sayoc at Sama Sama 2015.

Maintenance takes on physical manifestations too. It is easy to skip a physical training session or workout at the gym. It is easy to achieve an athletic accomplishment only to never attempt it again. Maintaining ability is not always easy but accomplishments should be challenging for us to even consider them noteworthy. Plenty of people are content saying, “I used to…” In a survival situation, what you CAN DO is more important than what you USED TO DO. Even if you travel and don’t have access to a gym, your surroundings and ingenuity provide all the gym necessary to maintain a level of athleticism and conditioning where you will not notice decreased ability. What are you willing to do to maintain your ability? What you do now, what you push yourself to do repeatedly, will be better than settling for what you once did. In a survival situation or emergency, your life may depend on your physical abilities. Maintain them!

Rockwell Park workout circuit

Kevin Estela utilizing the public circuit workout station at Rockwell Park in his hometown of Bristol, CT


Kevin Estela Blog of Education Sept. 2015

Railings can become a makeshift dip station. Here the author uses an “L” joint for a quick set.

Maintenance prevents perishable skills from doing just that, perishing. Firearms accuracy, agility, cardiovascular ability, plant knowledge, situational awareness, all of these will perish if not practiced and maintained. How would these benefit from regular exercise, range time, time on the mat, time behind a book, and training on a regular basis? It seems difficult to maintain multiple skill sets with the busy lives we live but it is possible. Think of creative ways to incorporate maintenance into your daily routine like walking more, reading a survival book in the bathroom and making sharpening or cleaning of your tools a way to unwind after a busy day. There is no excuse to neglect maintenance. Think about the aspects and elements of and in your life that could be improved with regular maintenance. Do you value it? Show you do in all that you do.

EZ Lap Diamond Hone and Martin Knives Phoenix

Dr. Steven Covey advises one should “sharpen the saw.” This EZ lap diamond hone sharpens my Martin Phoenix knife and time in the field sharpens me. How do you maintain your edge?