To create a fire using a fire piston, a small amount of tinder is placed in a cavity carved into the end of the piston. The piston is inserted a short distance into the cylinder. The cylinder is gasped firmly and the piston given a quick push or sharp blow with the palm. The piston is immediately withdrawn to reveal a smoldering ember in its tip. The ember is placed into a bundle of shredded bark or punk wood and blown into fame. With a small amount of practice, the entire sequence can be performed in well under 30 seconds.
A buddy of mine found this site and it has many useful tips and skills to learn.
It covers from fire making to tools/weapons, shelter and everything in between.
Car loads of info.