I couldn’t believe the beautiful weather when I landed in Copenhagen airport on June 9th. I took the train across the bridge to Malmo, Sweden and Peter Falk, my Reality-Based Director for Sweden and Scandinavia, was there waiting for me at the South Train Station.
After letting me drop off my bags at my beach front hotel overlooking the Baltic Sea Peter took me to an ancient stone arrangement much like England’s Stone Henge, but only much smaller. The monument sits upon a lush green grassy cliff over looking the brilliant blue sea.
The next day, my day off before teaching my Level 1 courses, we had a chance to visit an authentic Viking village called the Viking Reserve of Foteviken (a project co-financed by the European Union Baltic Sea Region) at Hollviken, which is modeled after a town-like settlement in the year 1134. I make it a point to visit a museum or a historical site whenever visiting a location. Of course, this Viking village more than impressed me. Peter and I were even lucky enough to be there when several men were practicing their ancient Viking sword, spear, and shield techniques. We stood and watched and questioned them for an hour while our wives sat in the shade with cold drinks. At one time the quite calm was broken as two Swedish jet fighters passed over the village at low altitude. Even the Viking warriors stopped to gaze up into the sky.
That evening, Sunday evening, I had a chance to see myself on Swedish prime time television. I have appeared all season long on the new show Yippee Ki-Yay (a term used by actor Bruce Willis on the movie Die Hard) on TV6, which I filmed in Stockholm in March. The hosts of the show, Musse Hasselvall and Jarmo Ek, had flown me out to the Swedish capitol, put me up in a ritzy hotel for the night, and the next day we taped shows all day long. I was also fortunate enough to get a tour of the city before going to work. In each episode of the show Yippee Ki-Yay I teach a different subject in Reality-Based Personal Protection tactics to the two hosts. What’s amusing is that whenever I appear in the show they also have a cartoon of me at the start of the segment. On the official TV6 website they also have a page on me and they show a few clips from a couple of the previous shows. The producer has approached Peter and me to do eight more shows, and they are thinking of taping the shows in my Reality-Based facility in Los Angeles at the end of summer.
The interesting thing about my Swedish stay is that the sun does not go down until 11:00 pm, and it is still twilight by midnight. Then by four in the morning the sun is coming up again. Of course, up in the Lapland the sun does not go down at all. The opposite is true in the winter when one hardly sees the sun. I’ve experienced that also when I trained the top instructors of the Finnish National Police a couple of years ago.
From Monday, June 11th to 15th I certified seven new instructors for the Nordic region: Per Skog, Christer Tjernqvist, Marcus Jonsson, Nicklas Jorgensen, Mark Foster who will be teaching in Gothenburg, Daniel Gustavsson, and Marko Nevala from Finland. David Birkett flew from England to become certified. Jan Larsson flew in from from northern Sweden to assist in teaching. He is already a Level 1 instructor, but came down for his third time so he can master the system. It was a great group, and they bonded quite early into the five days.
On my final day off I had planned on touring Copenhagen, but a huge storm rolled in and it was like a typhoon with pouring down rain. So, I stayed in the Copenhagen airport for the day catching up on work, finishing up my newest book for Black Belt magazine called Defensive Tactics for Special Operations, and jumping on the internet to confirm my hotel reservations for my much needed vacation in Austria and Switzerland.
For my vacation I went to Millstatt, Austria. I stayed in a castle that overlooked Lake Millstatt, which is surrounded by mountains from the Alps. The weather turned out to be absolutely beautiful 90% of the time: warm and clear skies. It was so nice in fact that I spent a good portion of my afternoons swimming in the crystal clear water, boating, and taking hikes through the forest. The ancient town of Millstatt was only a 15 minute walk away.
Although isolated myself from most of the world I still had to take some time out to answer emails, and also finish up another book I am doing for Budo International in Spain about aviation security. It is a book that is going to have a few authors; some of the top self-defense instructors in the world, and each of us are contributing a chapter. Since I am a former United States Federal Air Marshal, an honorary member of the Brazilian Air Force, and still involved in aviation security today, I was asked by publisher Alfredo Tucci to put in what I think was needed. This in turn led me to taping three more new DVDs in Madrid, Spain two months ago and being asked by Alfredo to think about doing a couple of new books in 2008 under my name exclusively.
Of course, I took advantage of my stay in Austria and visited the beautiful city of Salzburg – home of Amadeus Mozart. This city is incredible, with a huge Medieval fortification on the hill, called the Festung Hohensalzburg, which overlooks the city. To continue my research into ancient warfare and hand-to-hand combat I went through the fortress and the museum that is a part of the tour. The museum covers everything from the ancient wars to World War II when Austria was ruled by the Nazis. They had quite a collection of weapons and uniforms.
The final day of my vacation was spent in Zurich, Switzerland. Of course, I went into the national museum, Le Musée National de Zurich, just across the street from the main train station. This museum was fabulous, with a wealth of information for my research. I also enjoyed the architecture of this converted palace, and the way they used to heat the rooms with massive ceramic stoves.
After my vacation I headed off to London, England where my Director Pete Lee and top instructor Gary Dell were waiting for me to drive me to Devon for their Level 1 courses.
Copyright Jim Wagner 2003 - 2021 All rights reserved.