“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.”
—Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Many of you will recognize this timeless quote. Its lesson is simple and profound: Every prepared individual should be acutely aware of his or her own strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of opponents. Self-awareness can be earned through training and feedback from peers, but accurate intel on the enemy isn’t always so easy to come by, especiallyif that enemy is wise enough to play his cards close to the chest. This is why military strategists throughout history have placed such a heavy emphasis on reconnaissance — the search for information in unknown or hostile territory. Whether you’re fighting a war or simply trying to pass through a dangerous area safely, this information is absolutely critical to your survival and the success of your mission. Beyond combat zones, reconnaissance skills can help you observe, record, and share important details about your surroundings with your family or friends. This might include the most efficient routes of travel, alternate escape routes, potential danger areas, signs of recent human activity, and ideal observation points or camp sites.

Reconnaissance is frequently taught to members of the military and law enforcement, but the general public is rarely afforded glimpses into this valuable skill set, short of perusing books and field manuals on the topic. is a good place to start reading and can be found in PDF format via Google search. However, its tone is dry and academic, and

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