Germany is a growing market for Reality-Based Personal protection. On February 29th I graduated my 65th instructor from the Boker Jim Wagner Reality-Based Training Facility in Solingen, Germany.
The new facility is half finished. Just before the two-day Knife Camp started on February 23rd we had the large 15 meter x 7 meter floor painted dull black with special non-slip paint. We also had the classroom painted khaki. For the moment the classroom is being used as a storage area for all of the equipment and props we use. The training room is just the way a reality-based room should be: depressing, intimidating, and a controlled environment where the light can be manipulated. Knife Survival instructor Mike Remig donated a professional fog machine, but we were unable to use it at this time. That will be hooked up to a control board for the next set of courses.
Those who obtained their Level 1 instructor certificates were: Joachim Roux, Peter Schmidt, Jens Worner, Steffen Becker, Sasa Bozic, Alexander Diehl, Wolfgang Stabe, Stefan Blasi, Markus Scharli, Dirk Hoffmann, and Martin Schmalenberg.
The “Knife Camp” is actually three courses over a two day period. The first day is Knife Survival. It is the exact same course as the Level 1 Knife Survival course. Day two is divided into two separate courses. The first half of the day is called Knife Instructor. This course continues where Knife Survival left off giving participants more conflict drills, some sword training, knife throwing training, and double blade training. Time is also spent going over the Knife Survival curriculum and letting future instructors actually teach portions of the courses. Afterwards they are critiqued in order to make them proficient instructors. I designed this program this way because I realize that there are a lot of people who are into knives but do not wish to be Level 1 self-defense instructors – they just want to teach how to defend against knives and with knives. Therefore, if a person successfully completes the Knife Survival course and the Knife Instructor course they will be qualified to teach my very simple, but effective system. The final two hours of the day is called Tactical Knife and is restricted to security personnel only.
Those who were the first in Europe to go through my Knife Instructor course and become certified by me are: Volker Runge, Joachim Roux, Jens Grossheim, Raphael Wildemann, Rudolph Bermel, Mike Remig, Martin Schmalenberg, Sanne de Jong, Carlos Del Burgo, Eberhard Wehrle, Rene Michalek, and Markus Hugel.
During the seven days of teaching I had a wide range of students coming from all walks of life: police officers from Switzerland, German police officers, a few security companies, like Hoffmann Sicherheitsschulungen owned by Dirk Hoffmann in the city of Frankfurt am Main and martial arts instructors from the systems of Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Aikido.
Wolfgang Stabe, who walked away with his Level 1 instructor certificate, is the owner and operator Stabe; a business that sells knives and tactical gear. Wolfgang took on the roll of “paparazzi” and took hundreds of photos with his professional camera. Since we had nobody in the course who declined to have their photo taken Wolfgang burned a copy of the photos for fellow instructors. He also made a 10 minute slide presentation and showed the class during one of the breaks on the final day which everybody appreciated.
Joachim Roux, also a Level 1 instructor, donated several training swords to the Facility. He owns and operates Aikido-Kreis Koln in the city of Cologne (30 minutes from Solingen). Joachim is sending several of his female students to my upcoming Women’s Survival course in April.
Sasa Bozic flew in all the way from Croatia to become Level 1 instructor certified and plans to bring the Reality-Based system to his country having future seminars in Zagrev. Sasa has been reading my articles for years in Budo, which also has a Croatian edition.
New Reality-Based Blade Jim Wagner
For the past year many people have asked me, “When are you coming out with a fixed blade?” especially police and military personnel. The wait is almost over. While teaching in Solingen, Germany Carsten Felix, president of Boker, showed me the prototype for my new knife – the Jim Wagner Reality Based Blade Fixed.
This new knife is beefy, much larger than the tactical folder, and mission effective. However, it will not come off of the production line until June. I was shown the prototype so I could make changes, which I did. Most of the changes were minor, but important to have the perfect Special Operations knife. Although the prototype has a “straight” cutting edge, the final product will have serrations on the entire length of the kriss curve.
With this knife will include a sheath with a universal mount making this knife universally accepted on all tactical gear.
Normally Boker does not reveal a new product until it is out on the market, or just days of going public, however an exception was made on my knife. Boker had it in their new winter-spring catalog in order for government and security agencies to have a “heads up” on the product. It also was also featured in the Boker USA catalog for the North American market. The Basel Police Department in Switzerland has already requested to be the first to field test the knife for their tactical team.
German government passes new knife laws Jim Wagner
When I arrived in Germany on Thursday, February 22 little did I realize that I would witness history in the making. Unfortunately, for knife manufacturers it would not be a pleasant history. On Friday, the day before my Knife Camp course in Solingen, Germany the German government tired of youth gang violence passed a law prohibiting any knife that could be opened solely with one hand. This means no more automatics (switch blades) and no folding knives with thumb studs. Of course, this law which takes effect April 1st, will hurt knife several German knife companies and their distributors. However, the law does not completely prohibit one hand opening knives. Those with professions requiring such knives will be allowed to carry them, people will still be allowed to purchase these knifes and even carry them in containers and transport them. The law still allows for concealed fixed blades.
After lunch distributors from all over Germany were calling and emailing Boker in a panic. Carsten Felix, president of Boker, posted a message to the knife community explaining the law and the small impact it would have on sales. Of course, this law did not catch German knife manufacturers by surprised. For several months now many knife companies and their distributors have been telling the government that the proposed knife restrictions would not curtail youth crime. They tried to reason with the government stating that it was not the weapons responsible for the crimes, they are just inanimate tools, but it was the lawless individuals who use them illegally. Despite the pleas the law was passed.
By Monday, after my two-day Knife Camp, life at Boker was back to normal. Yes, sales are expected to go down slightly due to the initial panic, but the law does not “kill” the German knife industry. Good citizens will still continue to carry knives, and criminals will go on carrying whatever weapon they want to – legal or illegal.
Copyright Jim Wagner 2003 - 2021 All rights reserved.