If a major earthquake hits California it is highly likely that I will be called into active duty for the Great State of California and placed on a military police mission. In order to prepare for such likelihood I, along with many other soldiers from my unit, participated in the DART (Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team) Exercise on March 5, 2011, which was a training exercise to get a Emergency Operations Center (EOC) up and running after a major disaster. Participants included the U.S. Army Reserve, California State Military Reserve, the California Emergency Management Agency, and several local law enforcement agencies. My unit's assignment was to provide security for the entire exercise: both fixed posts and mounted patrols.
einfach gemacht mit Reality-Based
Spring 2011 starts
off with Knife Camp in Solingen, German on March 19th. The two-day
course was filled to capacity with men from four different countries: the Czech
Republic, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Germany of course; if you count me,
the instructor, then it was five countries; the United States of America.
As knife attacks increase in Europe this course is especially important to those who want to learn how to defend themselves against edged weapons. I also had a few police officers attend the course who are at greater risk of a knife attack due to their jobs.
Knife Camp is actually composed of three different courses. The first day, Saturday, is Knife Survival. This is the same Level 1 course, course number 3 to be exact, that Level 1 students and future instructors take. On this day students learn how to survive a criminal knife attack right from the start and eventually move onto how to use edged weapons themselves if they ever find themselves needing to defend themselves with this category of weapon. The simulated attacks are as real as one can come in training, and we even have one phase of training where we are using Hollywood-style stage blood in confined spaces like the "Elevator from Hell." At the Boker Jim Wagner Reality-Based Personal Protection Training Facility we have a large metal industrial elevator that the whole class rides down together to the basement - der keller. With anticipation of the fights that will take place in this elevator people often joke that it feels like you are descending into "hell" as it slowly goes down a few floors. Once there a lot of "bloody" knife attacks take place. This is the part of the training where students are covered in stage blood, and it looks like they all went through "hell." Of course, when it is all over the students all agree that this phase of training is necessary and probably the most intense.
The second day is Knife Expert up until 15:00 hours. On this day students learn how to fight with a blade in each hand (double weapons), how to handle a machete and sword, throwing knives, and get a taste of various knife attacks from around the world; from prison inmate shank attacks to Middle East-style assassinations. During the sword introduction the students had the pleasure of having Joachim Roux demonstrate his swordsmanship, which he learned from Japanese Kendo. Of course the chances of being in a "sword fight" are slim to nil, but there are attacks from crazy people wielding swords from time to time throughout the world and knowing how to defend against one is like having life insurance; you hope you won't need it, but it is good to have it just in case...
At 15:00 hours on Sunday the civilian students received their training certificates and the professionals remained behind in the RBPP training room: these were the police, military and authorized government officials. For two hours they participated in the Tactical Knife course. Material covered in this phase is RESTRICTED due to the sensitive nature of the information. It's the same stuff I have taught to prison guards around the world; to Special Forces groups from various countries, and countless police and SWAT officers.I went into depth on the topic of criminal edged weapons concealment and deployment, how to recognize a potential knife attack, and likely attacks in patrol and tactical situations. As part of the hands-on training students went through several real-world scenarios with the last scenario taking advantage of the large facility we have for our European headquarters. Teams had to search for an armed criminal suspect who had gone on a "stabbing spree" and who was still moving throughout the factory. Teams had to work in tight areas and inevitably were attacked were back-up cover fire was difficult or impossible. The scenario taught the teams that "bringing a knife to a gun fight" does not always mean you will come out of it alive if you're the one with the gun.
Assisting me during both Knife Expert and Tactical Knife was the Reality-Based Personal Protection Director of Belgium Nicolas Marucci. Of course, the RBPP Director of German speaking countries was by my side both days - Tobias Leckebusch. Carlos Garcia also was a big help in helping things run smooth for both days.
The participants of these three courses of Knife Camp were the first in Europe to use my new safety color code system for individual skill levels. I first introduced this system in the United States with my January 11thSpecial Operations Assault Rifle & Pistol course in Los Angeles. How it works is through colored arm bands: RED indicates a beginner, YELLOW indicates someone who is already at an intermediate level with the subject matter to be covered, GREEN is advanced skills, and WHITE is where a person does not want their photograph to be published. Sometimes the images that are taken at Reality-Based courses end up on various websites and publications, and those working in counterterrorism, undercover work, or are ditching work that day do not want their faces recognized for one reason or another. We respect that decision and the white arm band means that during the photo editing selection process that person's image will eliminated or masked to protect their identity.
I was also honored to have two Swiss instructors, Beat Negri and Michaels Rutsche, from the Krav Maga Self Protect Association. Many Krav Maga practitioners come to me to "fill in the gap" of their self-defense training. When it comes to knife training even the Israeli government had me teach their top police and military instructors back in 2001 and 2003 in Israel. And, since I have trained in Krav Maga, Hisardut, KAPAP, and LOTAR I am very familiar with each of these systems and know what additional training someone of the Israeli arts needs.
During this exciting weekend I had the privilege of meeting one of the owners of the AEGIS - Defense Shooting Academy, Martin Hradecky, of the Czech Republic and one of his top trainers Filip Marek. This organization teaches a fair number of police agencies and military units in this relatively new European Union country. A few years ago Martin Hradecky contacted me after an acquaintance of his, Martin Mikolasek, attended my Level 1 course and raved about it. He said he wanted to train with me, but was extremely busy at the time. Fortunately for all of us the time finally came this spring and now we have "positive comm" (an American military expression meaning positive communications). Martin Hradecky was so impressed with the Knife Camp that he gave me a video endorsement.
Thanks to Steve Termer all of the German speaking students were able to read the Knife Camp outlines because he was the one who translated them all. I can't just have anyone translate my documents because the translator must be a Reality-Based Personal Protection student and familiar with the tactical world; two criteria which Steve meets.
The following week while I was in Germany my evenings were filled with working on various video projects. Helping me on a few of the projects were Tobias Leckebusch, Joachim Roux, Marc Gutzmann, and Nicolas Marucci. Nicolas and I also had a chance to drive to the Schloss Burg; a well preserved medieval German castle. Nicolas is somewhat of a history buff himself and found it a treat to be in on my continuing research of human conflict. When time permits I always try to visit a museum or battlefield when traveling. I use this research and the photographs I take in my books, articles, and DVDs. Schloss Burg has not only a great fortification but a nice little collection of armor and ancient firearms at the Schloss Burg Am Der Wupper Bergisches Museum.
Dropping in for some technical advice was my old student Ulrich Rose of Reality Based. Apparently there is a growing problem with hunters being robbed of their expensive rifles by Russian criminals in the woods near the Dutch border, and Ulrich Rose will be offering self-defense courses to hunting organizations to deal with this problem. Of course he is already a fine self-defense instructor, but wantedme to contribute to the new program, and to his delight I had several techniques and training methods he did not consider and will add.
Basically most hunters in Germany go out in the woods alone. Many of them are older gentlemen and not aware, or even prepared by this new wave of crime. While they are within a couple hundred meters of their vehicles one criminal will be doing surveillance on the unsuspecting victim. When the opportunity presents itself a second criminal will run up behind the hunter, grab the rifle sling, and literally rip the rifle from his shoulder and run off with the weapon. Most times there is no round in the chamber when this happens, and the victim is caught by surprise. Reports of this also happening in Bavaria are starting to be heard.
Some people may find it hard to believe that criminals would attempt to rob armed victims, but it's all about the element of surprise, and it does happen. Last year at the gun range I teach at in Los Angeles a similar thing happened. Criminals came up behind some civilian gun enthusiasts doing some target practice and robbed them of their weapons at gunpoint. Fortunately the idiots who did this were later caught and jailed. However, in many of these isolated areas in Germany the criminals are getting away with these crimes. Of course, Germany is already having many immigrant issues, and this newest crime just makes things worse.
Of course, the first priority in teaching hunters how to defend themselves against such crimes is awareness. Hunters who are used to tracking animals must learn a bit about human predators. They must then be taught how to react when they see that they are the one being targeted, how to prevent their weapon from being used against them, and even how to defend themselves if the need arises.
Ulrich Rose and I had a good private session together and it was nice to work with him again. If you are interested in attending one of his courses, or you know a hunter who could use this type of training you can contact Ulrich Rose directly.
Copyright Jim Wagner 2003 - 2021 All rights reserved.