Estela: Joel, you’ve already completed one full-season of Lone Target and you’re in the middle of filming Season two. How are you holding up so far? Without giving away any spoilers, how are the hunter-tracker teams this time around?
Lambert: I’m doing ok, thanks. We’ve shot two episodes and have four more to go. They really take a toll on the body, and doing them all back-to-back this season is probably the biggest challenge this go ‘round. The Hunter Forces are kick-ass, as usual, but we’re incorporating teams that aren’t necessarily military or law enforcement this season…which is a challenge in and of itself. I’ve found that the military/LEO trackers are more-or-less predictable and will make choices that are tactically sound and can be anticipated. The unconventional teams may not make the best or most conventionally sound choices per se, but that adds an unpredictability that really affects my strategy! It’s a mind game, and when you add wild cards to the deck, all of a sudden your card-counting strategy can be thrown off. Again, it’s just another challenge to overcome, and I’m learning more and more every day.
Estela: For anyone who follows you on Facebook and Twitter, it looks like you did your research on the tracker teams for this season. How did you prepare yourself physically and mentally for the challenges viewers will see in Season two?
Lambert: Physically I had to do a lot of prep. Last season wrecked me. You can actually see me get scrawnier and more run down over the course of the episodes in season 1. This time I needed to mitigate that effect, especially since I knew we were going to be shooting episodes back-to-back, with no down time between to recover.
I enlisted the help of my good friend Danny Henry, a fantastic strength and conditioning coach with advanced degrees in kinestheology and who also happens to be a national champion Olympic weightlifter to help me get stronger. With his help I’ve hit numbers in the major lifts that I’ve never come close to before, and have more importantly strengthened all the support systems to endure the beatdown I’m currently putting my body through! It’s all about recovery and staying injury-free this time around. My base conditioning and “suck it up” skills are there, this time I concentrated on strengthening everything to endure. It was a much more scientific approach than anything I had done before, and it’s paying off. To give you an example; just this last hunt I ended up sprinting and jumping off of something way too high with a heavy ruck on, and while I was in the air I had visions of my knees crumbling like a bunch of old rubber bands but when I hit, I couldn’t have stuck it better or felt stronger…as I sprinted away I was kind of amazed at myself. What would have hurt pretty bad last year didn’t even faze me.
Mentally; well, I did a lot of absorption of the lessons of last season. I’m learning something new every time. There’s really no substitute for experience as you well know. The base mental prep for this I have done earlier in my life. The conditioning I received in my military service will be the foundation of everything I do in life…and while Manhunt/LoneTarget is hard, it will never approach the level of “hard” I went through next to my brothers in the SEAL Teams. I’ve done a lot of “what-iffing” between last season and this, and I think you’ll see some pretty cool tech and new ways of doing things. I have to change it up, I’ve shown the world a lot of my tricks in season 1!!
Estela: There are a lot of gear guys out there who watch your show and want to know everything you carry. From head to toe, break down what you recommend to wear and pack in a given episode. What are the companies the gear junkies should check out?
Lambert: Hoo boy. That’s a lot of stuff. I use whatever works best for a given situation. I find Winkler Blades to be such amazing quality that I stick pretty exclusively to them. They’re handmade, and extremely expensive, so Daniel Winkler, myself, and Rafael Kayanan, master trainer and full Tuhon in Sayoc Kali have teamed up to bring Winkler designed blades to an affordable price point. That line will be coming out this month. Check www.kilimanjarogear.com for details soon.
I’ve been wearing a lot of 5.11 clothing and footwear, they’ve been great. They’ve come a long way in the last ten years and now have a broad and excellent product lineup. I also like Patagonia’s line of tactical clothing. I’ve also done a few cold-weather hunts this season, and the LEAF line from Arc’Teryx is FANTASTIC. I mean, best cold weather gear I’ve ever used. I’ve also found a killer rigger’s belt from Misty Mountain that, in about 15 seconds, converts into a rated sit harness, and I’ve used that a LOT this season.
Most all the other things I use and carry vary according to the mission and environment.
Estela: I’ve enjoyed writing for your website, Joellambert.com. You selected a diverse group of contributing authors and we definitely are filling the site with some badass content if I can say so without stroking my ego too much. Other than written articles and video, what can readers expect to see there in the coming months?
Lambert: I’ve been honored to have you; and all the other eminently qualified subject matter experts contribute to my site. It’s truly humbling to have so many guys with so many years of experience in bushcraft, evasion, fighting, survival and special operations bring their wisdom to www.joellambert.com. We’ve really wanted to build a library of great articles and information for people to reference having to do with the skill sets and mindset that I use in my show, Lone Target/Manhunt. Speaking of the show, I’m actually on a plane right now, flying home from the last hunt of SEASON 2!! Everyone can expect to get teasers, show schedules, photos, interviews, clips and much more in the coming months as we prepare to air the series. I’ve been hearing rumors, and some parts of the globe will be airing it before summer! We can’t edit it fast enough!
Estela: Your Navy SEAL training has provided you an edge over the tracker teams in the past. It’s obvious not everyone can complete BUDS and become a SEAL. What then do you recommend to the viewers who wish to be better prepared or wish to take steps to improve their survivability?
Lambert: I hate to quote a refrigerator magnet, but “do one thing every day that scares you”. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Push yourself just a little past where you want to be and realize that you can do it. That you’re stronger, more resilient, and more capable than you ever could have dreamed. For example, I can’t tell you how many times in LoneTarget/Manhunt I was sure I was caught. 100%. There was no way I was getting through the situation…but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, making smart choices and playing the hand I held in the best, most advantageous way possible…and it worked out in my favor. It ain’t over ‘til it’s over…and it’s only over when you think it’s over.
Estela: No doubt you have a lot of fans out there. You’re a stud when it comes to evading detection and you’re a meat eater for sure. So I’m going to flip this question around, who do you look up to now or who, historically, are you a fan of in the survival and warrior world?
Lambert: Thanks man. Coming from you, that’s a huge compliment, for sure.
I look up to my Brothers in the SEAL Teams most of all. The guys I learned from, who took me under their wing, who contributed to who I am today…the guys I came through training with, who are out of the military and kicking ass; those who are still in doing the work that needs to be done; and those who are saving seats for all of us to follow in Valhalla…and those young lions, many of whom I put through training who are carrying the torch high and in many cases, surpassing those of us who brought them up. Long Live the Brotherhood.
Past that, there are too many to list. Great military minds, great philosophers, warriors who have moved on to protectorates, to fatherhood, to mentoring all through history. Those who have given their lives for a noble ideal…all who have found enlightenment in the Warrior. Those are who I respect.
Finally; I want to see everyone as having something to teach me…everyone has some experience I can learn from and be better by. I guarantee that there is not a single 18-year-old kid in the world, fresh from boot camp, who can’t find something he knows that I don’t. I’ve been beaten by my ego before…more times than I care to admit. I don’t want that to happen any more. Always assume your enemy is at least as good; if not better than you are. That way you won’t ever lose to your ego.
Estela: In recent years, the SEALS have been catapulted to fame with movies like Lone Survivor and American Sniper and shows like yours. You’re all heros in my book. What can you say about the ongoing brotherhood shared with members of the SEALs past and present?
Lambert: The fame is a double-edged sword, for sure. While I have no problem with guys publicly identifying as a former SEAL, or developing businesses bolstered by or around that fact, I wish the door would stay closed on how we operate as a unit and what Team life is really like. The secretive nature of the Teams was what drew me to them, and in my opinion, if you want to know what the SEAL Teams are like, join the Navy and find out.
I’m a SEAL. That’s my Brotherhood and it means the world to me, and I never want to bring anything but honor to our clan, but today is a new day, and like we say in the Teams; “earn your Trident every day”. I don’t ever want to stop doing that.
Estela: Let’s assume a new show is created where you are paired with a female counterpart. What qualities would you look for in a partner for “Couple Target”. Any females out there in Hollywood you could see filling this spot?
Lambert: Hmmmmmm…loaded question for sure!!!! Well, I think Scarlett Johansson plays the badass chick pretty well, seems like she’d wanna hang, but I think she’s taken. I’ll bet Rhonda Rousey would catch on pretty quick, and you know she’s got the right attitude.
I dunno…knowing my luck, I’d pick some amazingly beautiful girl and three hours into the evasion I’d want to strangle her and hide the body.
Estela: Joel, some of your fans from Twitter and Facebook chimed in with some questions. So it’s now time for some of their questions:
Tiffany @t_roxanneTLH: How did your training differ from s1 to s2 to allow for back to back hunts? What helped most?
Lambert: I trained with a good friend of mine, Danny Henry of West Coast Weightlifting, who is a national champion olympic lifter and has advanced degrees in kinesiology and is a guru when it comes to scientific strength and conditioning training. He repaired me from season one, which took about six months, and then really worked on developing real strength in me. We used a periodized, professional athlete off-season training program and it worked wonders. Not only did my numbers go up on all the major lifts, but my body got strong in all the places it needed to to resist injury, which was my biggest concern. I’ve just finished shooting season two and I feel really solid. Haven’t trained in about 6 weeks though, since I’ve been around the world twice evading the world’s best, but I made it and am ready for season 3!!
Brian Jones: Is it true they (SEALs) can all balance a ball on their noses?
Lambert: No, but your mom can. Two of them, in fact.
Cheryl @cheryl4400: How would someone in these Escape & Evade situations condition their body to withstand extreme temperature fluctuations?
Lambert: Your body will adapt to temperatures, so getting in to the environment and spending some time there is important. Besides that; mindset, and proper preparation. Tools, gear, and knowledge…not only to do the shelter/fire/shade sort of thing, but to do it in a timely fashion…to stay ahead of the curve, so to speak.
Dan Melefsky: What kind of knife do the SEAL teams carry? Are they issued knives? Trained in knife fighting?
Lambert: Knives are a very personal thing. We’re issued Cold Steel SRK’s in BUD/S, which is a decent blade. I’ve been issued SOG SEAL pups, Spyderco folders, and many others. Lots of guys buy their own though, get what they prefer. As far as knife fighting goes, depending, and to a degree, yes.
Konrad Koenig : What’s it like being able to breathe underwater and kill bears with a glare?
Lambert: It’s the greatest feeling on earth. Chuck Norris tried to learn, but he has sneezing fits underwater and only knocks the bears out.
Craig Caudill, Owner/Nature Reliance Skill and Joellambert.com contributor: Hey Kevin, I have a question for Mr. Lambert.
With the onslaught of technological advances that are at the disposal of boots-on-the-ground military personnel, do you feel that combat/tactical tracking can still play a role for the modern day warrior? If so, how do you see that being useful for them in the modern military?
Lambert: Absolutely, 100%. Not just for tracking, but for ALL military/fieldcraft skill sets. GPS’s fail, batteries go flat, electronics are sensitive, networks can be compromised, but your skills…those can never be taken away. When the tech works, your pre-tech/primitive skill sets and the comprehensive understanding of the scenario you get from that training and experience will only enhance what the technology is giving you, and when it fails, which it will, you won’t miss a beat. Your understanding of the battle and of the terrain and knowledge of the enemy, your wisdom in those circumstances, comes from breadth and depth of knowledge and experience. I always say that it’s the man, not the tech…or even the training. It’s Man/Mindset, Training/Experience, and Tech/Gear in that order.
Toni @Tonis218: Which aspect of SEAL training do U draw on the most 2 evade capture? Which aspect is hardest to maintain?
Lambert: Mindset is most important for sure. The hardest to maintain is focus. When I get hungry or thirsty, tired and fatigued I find myself slipping into natural responses, not trained responses sometimes. For instance, I was at the end of a hunt and was surprised by the hunter force in a way and in an area I did NOT expect them to be. I was startled, and instead of staying still and not moving, I turned and ran a few steps, and of course movement draws attention. I was kicking myself for hours.
Ian Reight: Favorite shoes?
Lambert: The ratty ol’ jump boots I was issued for Army Airborne training right after BUD/S in about 1998. They are so broken in you don’t even know. Like buttah.
Estela: Joel, thank you for taking the time out to answer these questions. I know you’ve been going back-to-back this season and you just wrapped the final episode for Season 2. Time to unpack and unwind my friend. You’ve earned some serious R&R after all the hunts you were a part of. For more about Joel and Season 2 of Lone Target on Discovery, check back frequently here on www.joellambert.com or follow Joel on Twitter @Joel5326. Thanks for reading.
About the Author
Kevin Estela is the Founder and Head Instructor of Estela Wilderness Education. He conducts private and semi-private wilderness and urban/suburban survival courses, tests and evaluates knives and equipment for various companies, is a Mountain Khakis Professional Ambassador, and is a life-long outdoors enthusiast with additional pastimes in canoeing/kayaking, fishing and cooking. Kevin's work has taken him from Los Angeles, CA to the United Kingdom and many points in between. Kevin is ranked in both Sayoc Kali and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is a shooting enthusiast. Kevin is formerly the Lead Instructor for the Wilderness Learning Center. When not teaching outdoor skills, he is a full-time High School History Teacher and Track and Field Coach who lives in Connecticut.