Welcome to ‘Zombie of the Week,’ folks, where each week we’ll present you with a different brain-eating member of the undead that has captured our fancy. There is no methodology to our Zombie Awesomeness meter, just our own piqued interests. Got a zombie we should see? Comment below. No zombie is too small, too short-lived, or too gross.
Roger Ma’s latest undead how-to hit bookstores today and I spent the day flipping through. The Zombie Combat Manual: A Guide to Fighting the Living Dead (Berkley Trade, $14) just might be the supreme manifest of how to fend off attacking members of the undead. It’s a guide for unskilled, inexperienced and slightly out of shape humans threatened by the return of the dead and cites basic combat skills and ordinary household objects as the primary weapons of your defense. Basically, when it comes to the Zombie Apocalypse, this book may be biblical.
It does rehash many details those in-the-know would have already learned, but no zombie book would be an authority without a thorough take on its subject matter. It dispels many incorrect zombie tropes solicited in Hollywood (Zombies can’t run, remember their human lives, be trained to do anything) and I even picked up a few new tidbits in the midst of a solid refresher course. (Fun fact: Blows to the junk don’t work on the living dead, as zombies can’t feel pain.)
The book flows between “survivor” accounts and combat briefing that focuses on weapon choice, working with your strengths and taking advantages of their weaknesses. Follow the rules, and you might live. (Rule No. 1: Never look a zombie in the eyes.) I’ve decided to note the highlights for your benefit. Thank me later…
The Importance of Physical Self-Assessment
There are three main body types and you’ve got to be realistic about your physique in order to fight in ways that play to your strengths.
1. The Ectocombatant: Thin, light musculature, lack of strength and power, extremely low body fat
2. The Mesocombatant: Athletic, solid musculature, lower body fat levels
3. The Endocombatant: Heavier build, round physique
Separating yourself into one of these categories will help determine your training regimen (if there’s time for that) or lay down a few simple techniques to save you in a pinch in case you lack the agility of Xena. Among the recommended exercises is my personal favorite, the Skullpopper. It involves raising your knee to your chest, then stomping on the tire as hard as you can while visualizing that you’re stomping on a zombie’s head.
Physical requirements for surviving a zombie invasion:
Must be able to…
• cover 5 miles in 60 minutes
• 30 standard push ups or 50 easy push ups
• 5 unassisted pull-ups or 10 assisted pull ups
• 50 jumping jacks
Remember a zombie only has three weapons: it’s mouth, it’s right hand, and it’s left hand. You’ve got an entire arsenal of man-made products at your disposal. Ma goes on to describe the skill levels necessary for everything from a long sword to an ice pick.
A few of my favorites:
•How to kill a zombie with a screwdriver: Choose one with a long shaft. Drive it to the hilt under the zombie’s chin.
• How to kill a zombie with a frying pan: Swing at skull as hard as you can. Repeat. (Cast iron for best effect.)
Analyze your opponent
Zombies will not stop their pursuit of a victim unless they are thrown off the trail, spot another target or are destroyed. That said, analyze their agility by what body parts they have left and their speed. Refer below:
•Upright, no damage, 23 minutes/mile
• Upright, slight limp, 25 minutes/mile
• Upright, severe limp, 30 minutes/mile
• Crawling, one leg missing, 45 minutes/mile
• Crawling, both legs missing, 60 minutes/mile
And finally, how to kill a zombie
Hold your weapon near the middle and end of the shaft with both hands. Raise your weapon and pivot at the waist. Strike at the side of the skull in the region above the ear and follow through on your swing. Make sure the weapon penetrates the dura mater and enters the brain cavity for maximum brain trauma.