About Jeff Clancy and Jim Wagner's training of the DEA
Jeff Clancy was an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), San Diego Field Division, and Defensive Tactics instructor, who hosted me to teach combatives (law enforcement self-defense) and protective services (bodyguarding) courses on a few occasions at the DEA San Diego Field Division.
I met Jeff Clancy in early 2000 at the San Diego Sheriff’s Department Training Academy in a meeting I had with academy officials to explain to them the defensive tactics curriculum they wanted me to teach their instructors. Jeff said to me, while he was sitting next to the wall of the training room as an observer, “It is an honor to meet you. I have been admiring your articles in Black Belt for some time now. I’m looking forward to learning some stuff from you.” Of course, Black Belt magazine had not only made me well known to the martial arts community, but to the law enforcement defensive tactics community as well. This was to turn out to be both a good friendship and professional working relationship between me and Jeff.
Jeff, at the time I met him, had been a federal law enforcement officer for 16 years. During his career he had planned and participated in numerous narcotics interdiction operations with the DEA, both in South America and Central America. Before serving with the DEA had been a deputy sheriff with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, and prior to that he served five years in the United States Marine Corps.
Jeff had already been a martial arts practitioner for 27 years having studied Hapkido, Tae Kwon Do, Jiu-Jitsu, Filipino Kali and Jeet Kune Do. Jeff had worked closely with Paul Vunak, another JKD legend, who was the founder of Progressive Fighting Systems. Always looking for qualified law enforcement and military instructors I recruited Jeff to be a defensive tactics instructor for my company HSS International. He helped me teach some of my most popular courses at the time: Patrol Combatives, S.W.A.T. Combatives, and Correctional Institution Combatives for jails and prisons.
Jeff Clancy was instrumental in having me teach DEA agents and other invited federal agents. On June 15th and 16th, 2000 I assisted HSS International instructor, Ben Alexander, at the DEA Field Office in teaching a Tactical Medic course. I taught the tactical portion of the course, while Firefighter-Paramedic Alexander provided all of the medical training to the students. At this time in history tactical medics in law enforcement was a fairly new concept. It had always existed with the U.S. military, but not in law enforcement. Although I had first started teaching combat first to my students in 1986, it would not be until a few years later, when I was writing for Black Belt magazine and Budo magazine, that I would publicly urge martial arts instructor to include combat first aid as part of their students' training.
In early 2001 Jeff Clancy’s biggest contribution to my Ground Combatives course was two techniques that we worked on together in a small martial arts dojo (a Japanese word for training hall) not too far from his field office. At this time in history most law enforcement officers were saying that someone on your back, while you are face down on the ground as they are pummeling you, or if they had a choke hold on you while sitting or laying on your back, was “a no win situation.” Jeff and I had seen this in scenarios several times when we were teaching Ground Combatives, and we just could not accept that there were no solutions to these two problems. So, one day we locked themselves in the dojo and we reversed engineered the two problems. After a few hours of working on all of the possibilities we discovered the required techniques to counter the attacks. These techniques are taught today in the Jim Wagner Reality-Based Personal Protection Ground Survival course. The two techniques, which are very familiar to all Reality-Based students and instructors who have taken this course, are the techniques Rear Ground Suppression and Rear Ground Choke Hold. As every Ground Survival student can attest, and you too as you read this, I give half the credit of Jeff Clancy for developing these two life-saving techniques, and now thousands all over the world practice them.
From October 15 – 18, 2002, one month after I resigned from the United States Federal Air Marshal Service, Jeff Clancy and Chris St. Jacques (a Canadian HSS self-defense instructor at the time, and a constable for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Prime Minister Protection Detail), both assisted me in teaching the Protective Services course I created. Thanks to Jeff pulling some strings the course was sponsored by the United States Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) San Diego Field Division. It was attended by DEA agents, U.S. Marines, and a few federal agents from Diplomatic Security (DS); the security and law enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of State. I had been a Team Leader for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Dignitary Protection Unit (DPU) from 2000 – 2002, having had my most important assignment protecting the Treasurer of the United States Rosario Marin, and so the three of us made a good team.
The Protective Services course was made even more successful due to the fact that Jeff Clancy had arranged for the training to take place at Stu Segall Productions located at 4705 Ruffin Road, San Diego, CA 92123 just around the corner from the DEA office. This is a movie production company with several movie sets, which was ideal for scenario training. Needless to say, the realistic environment, actual stage sets, gave me even more reality-based ideas that I'd eventually incorporate into my civilian system.
At the end of 2002 Jeff Clancy assisted me with a photo shoot for Black Belt magazine with the publication’s first ever article about Air Marshal tactics. I had served as a Federal Air Marshal for just over six months, and resigned on September 11, 2002. Jeff appeared in the photos of the article as a “bad guy.” This opened the door for Jeff in submitting his own articles to Black Belt magazine, which I encouraged greatly. I never had a problem promoting good instructors.
Jeff Clancy also appeared in my 2001 video titled The Jim Wagner Knife Disarm Rulefor Police and Military. As of May 2019 it had over 334,000 views. Of course, I've changed a few things since the video was made, but even today all of the information is life-saving reality-based. Jeff was a firm believer in my formula for dealing with knife attacks in confined spaces, and especially the sections related to tactical situations. In the video I appear in tactical gear, and Jeff is the "bad guy" throughout the video. In the video Jeff introduces himself.