I, along with my Reality-Based Director of German speaking Europe, Tobias Leckebusch, certified our 71st instructor from the Boker Jim Wagner Reality-Based Training Facility in Solingen, Germany on April 18th. The president of Boker, Carsten Felix, made sure that each Level 1 graduating instructor received a gift - the original Jim Wagner Reality-Based Blade with their instructor number engraved; a tradition started at Boker from the very first Reality-Based course.
My trip to Germany started with the two-day Women’s Survival course. As classes go, this was a very motivated group of women who mastered the techniques and tactics rather quickly. Only two of my students had any prior martial arts training. The rest were beginners.
Like all of my Women’s Survival courses we didn’t start with “fighting” like most martial arts schools do. No, we started off with learning the Threat Zones and how to be assertive in guarding one’s distance - be it a stranger, a sexually harassing boss, or overly aggressive boyfriend who doesn’t understand the word “no.”
After that we went outside and walked to the Solingen city center where we practiced Situational Awareness and how criminals select their victims. The students soon learned who is a “soft target” and a “hard target.”
When we returned to the classroom located at 30 Shutzenstrasse we covered weapons training – the gun and then the knife. After all, many criminals use weapons to intimidate their victims into compliance. I taught these women how to use a gun against their attacker if the opportunity presented itself. At first they were a bit squeamish about using a gun (we used air guns that fire a 6mm projectile), but after a little bit of training the women were fast and hitting their target 80% of the time in stress induced scenarios. We then transitioned into Knife Survival training and learned the 10 angles of attack, how to block, and how to get away. In Germany it is legal for a person to carry a knife on their person, so I suggested that my students take advantage of their rights.
Then it was onto ground conflict since that is most likely the place a women will end up rather quickly, especially in a sexual assault. The students learned how to do “hit-and-run” tactics. I had two of my male instructors simulated realistic attacks. For some of the women this was a nerve rattling experience, but all of them reached deep within themselves and bravely continued on.
After the two-day course the women were confident, aggressive, and more aware of the dangers around them.
On Monday, April 14 to 18, were the Level 1 courses: Defensive Tactics, Ground Survival, Knife Survival, Crime Survival, and Terrorism Survival. At the end of the seminar I certified six new German instructors: Paul Lavista, Jens Kern, Stefan Tischer, Markus Weihrauch, Bernard Lang, and Thomas Tettenborn bringing the total to 71 instructors I have certified at this location. Helping me throughout the week, and refreshing their own skills, were: Bernardas Seskevicius, Dominik Klose, Alex Diehl, and Uli Rose.
During each evening after class I did a little more work on the school. I painted a large vent that is mounted to the ceiling. Everything in our training room must be painted flat black for the “theater look.” Tobias and I also painted a bunch of large cardboard boxes gray for our cover and concealment exercises. The gray boxes represent concrete blocks or pillars. During my courses I will stack one box atop of another and if anyone knocks it over during training they are punished for doing so. Running into a light post or brink wall could be devastating in a real situation, so using my boxes to represent solid objects teaches them about environmental awareness. To my surprise, nobody knocked over my boxes in any of the courses.
On Saturday, April 19 I taught a one-day Knife Survival course. By this day I had taught for eight days straight. On this same day, in the Boker factory two rooms over, they were running a course on knife making. This unique two-day course was open to only 12 people who signed up months ago where they make a knife from start to finish. On Sunday evening they walk out the door with a custom knife. Had I not been teaching my own class at the time I would have been definitely in this one.
The next day I went to the Dusseldorf airport and headed to Ravenna, Italy to teach another Level 1 seminar.
Copyright Jim Wagner 2003 - 2021 All rights reserved.