My Standard Class June/July 1995

Here are some pictures from my standard class in June/July 1995:

Here is a "review" I wrote for the Tom Brown e-mail list:

Subject: Re: Introduction!

On Sun, 28 Jan 1996, Gary wrote:
> Hey Andrew,
>           I was glad to see this list too. I will have to check out your 
> web site. I have signed up for the standard course in May and can't wait. 
> What did you think about it? I have been looking for tracker club lists 
> but with no success.

Hi Gary!

My class was both disappointing and amazing.  

It was amazing in that I came home with 32 hours of class time on tape, 61
pages of notes, and more knowledge stuffed into my brain than it could
hold.  I mean, as far as what you LEARN, it is amazing.  There really is
VERY little free time.  It was grueling.  90% of the class is held in a
very small class room which can make for a sore rear end and back. 
(Definitely bring one of those camping chairs that you can put on a bench
to support your back.  It was a life saver!)  Tom teaches about 40-50% of 
the class and he is an AMAZING speaker.  He is extremely intense and 
teaches with an angry enthusiasm which really grabs your attention.

It was disappointing in that you don't have time to practice what you have
learned and you have very little opportunity to perform and practice the
skills.  You come out with the knowledge to survive, but not the ability. 
You must practice the skills AFTER the class, and my problem has been (and
I don't think I am alone on this) trying to motivate myself to go out and
practice them which is why I am desperately trying to put together a
tracking club in my area.  Camping with fellow trackers would be a great
way to practice and learn skills.  I was also disappointed with the number
of students.  Our class had around 100 students and the quarters were
REALLY small.  There were probably 20 tents packed so close together you
couldn't walk through them (see my home page for pictures) and sleeping in
the barn wasn't much better from what I have heard.  Tom and the Tracker 
school is very aware of the size problems and they hope to do something 
in the future to correct it.  Actually, the first thing Tom did was 
apologize for the numbers of people.

You might want to bring some food along as well... the food for the first
couple of days was survival stew and was pretty nasty.  I think I could
have appreciated it in a survival situation, but not while spending 90% 
of a 16 hour day in a class room with 100 other people.


Your experience, however, is bound to be different, as he is always
experimenting with new teaching methods, class schedules, etc..

Take care...


Expectations about Tom Brown

Just a couple of words of advice... these come from Tom really...

He said at the beginning of the class, the first night of the standard, actually... "If you are looking for 'The Tracker' that you have read about, he's dead!"

I have been to two classes, the Standard and Philosophy and I definitely plan on going to more. I didn't enjoy my standard because I was expecting 'The Tracker'. I was expecting a role model. A role model, Tom is not, but an awesome teacher? You betcha!

Here is what you can expect...

From my experience, you can expect AWESOME lectures and stories from Tom. You can expect great instructors and volunteers and wonderful students. However, you can also expect him to have an ego to be hard to approach as well. You can expect a heinously busy schedule. Constant classwork (90%), very little practicing (10%). You will NOT see drugs/alcohol at the tracker school EVER. The only substance I ever see there is cigarettes smoked by Tom and some of his students. Although he may appear so at first, I don't believe he is a jerk. He loves his students, as was apparent in my philosophy class. Tom is also one of the most dedicated people I have ever seen. You'll see him come into class groggy after working on a book all night. He runs himself into the ground, he is that dedicated to his work. I should also note that the Standard is NOT fun. It is hard work and very little time for yourself. Tom himself said that he disliked teaching the Standard. I wouldn't let this get to you, because the classes beyond are AWESOME. Besides my Philosophy class, which was great, I have heard wonderful stories from the other advanced classes. They are much better than the standard because you have more dirt time. The standard is an absolute avalanche of information though. You will learn alot. In my eyes it is absolutely worth it, because the knowledge you will gain is absolutely tremendous! I personally think the cocaine is a nasty rumor, and I don't believe that he ever got involved with alcohol either... He doesn't lie either, just manages to stretch things. He'll make claims about what you'll be able to do, and you *will* be able to do them *after* dirt time which you can't get at class. He is a desperate man living in the 'real' world he hates. He'd much rather be living his dream, in the woods.

All this is just from my experience. I hope I have helped. It is a great experience, and although Tom may not be the 'Tracker' you expect, there is no better teacher in my eyes. However, there *ARE* other schools out there...

Good luck in your decision.

Feel free to add your thoughts about classes you have taken with Tom by sending andrew(at)