January 19 to 23 was my first Reality-Based Personal Protection Level 1 seminar of 2009 in Surrey, Canada and Mitra Castano became the first female Jim Wagner Reality-Based Personal Protection Director in the world. The five courses (Defensive Tactics, Ground Survival, Knife Survival, Crime Survival and Terrorism Survival) were held at the Triunity Martial Arts Studios just 30 minutes from Vancouver International Airport.
For the last year Mitra Castano was the RBPP Coordinator of Canada. As Coordinator she was responsible for hosting Reality-Based courses and limited marketing in Canada. As coordinator she was allowed to teach both the Jim Wagner Reality-Based Personal Protection system and the systems she had been teaching prior to be appointed to the position.
After some soul searching, a surging interest in the RBPP system in Canada, and a productive meeting, Mitra Castano made a request to become the Director of Canada and I granted it to her. Now her sole system is the Jim Wagner Reality-Based Personal Protection system and she is responsible for hosting, marketing, and turning her school into a full Reality-Based facility: black walls, ceiling, and floor, no mirrors, the use of props, special effects lighting, fog machine, and everything else associated with creating realistic scenario-based training. She is celebrating her second year in business.
Mitra Castano was off to an awesome start with F.I.L.E.S. News magazine (January 15 to February 15, 2009 Issue Edition) doing an article on Mitra and a follow-up article for the February issue on my recent Level 1 seminar. Ali Fadaie, a reporter for the magazine, also participated in the Crime Survival course and had an interview with me after it was completed.
The national television show The Daily with Mark & Laura-Lynn also came to my Crime Survival to tape enough material for five shows. Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson herself participated in my course and it was not all fun and games… well, most of it was. She is a comedian and inserts herself in real-world events and makes the people around her deal with her. The results are quite unpredictable.
Mitra warned me that there would be comedy, but that the show was widely viewed and that they had promised that the training would be portrayed with the utmost of respect. I agreed to the taping as long as it did not eat up too much into the actual training time and on the condition that all of my students agreed as well. Everybody agreed, and Laura-Lynn was indeed funny and I had a good time interacting with her. For me it was easy. I just treated her as a too-many-questions and disruptive student. My favorite part was when I caught her by complete surprise with a simulated chemical attack using water as a stimulant that landed square in her face. In the future I will use the footage for my Level 3 course for some teaching value.
The group that participated in the Level 1 seminar was enthusiastic and motivated. From this group came a police constable investigator, an actor, a Brinks security guard, a loss prevention agent, a member of the Guarding Angels, a constable from a Sheriff’s department, a probation officer, a highway patrol officer, a former Canadian Army Airborne soldier, and a few martial arts instructors from various systems.
Those who completed all five Level 1 courses (Defensive Tactics, Ground Survival, Knife Survival, Crime Survival, and Terrorism Survival) were: Stephen Franklin (the first Reality-Based instructor of Bermuda), Trevor Stephens, Daniel Ivan Ugarte (a full-time instructor of Triunity Martial Arts Studios), Ryan Leef, Judd Skinner, Julie Krol (the second female in Canada to be certified as a Reality-Based instructor), Richard Badgley, and Randy Mangalindan. Those receiving recertification were Joe Goodings, Nicolas Serna (who runs Reality-Based courses through his company REDZONE in Coquitlam) and Mitra Castano.
On January 20, 2008 at 8:30 a.m. Pacific Time in my Ground Survival course after warm-up I passed out a peppermint to each student. I would not reveal the container I had in my hand to them. One person joked, “Is this like a Jim Jones thing?” referring to an incident years ago when a pastor poised his congregation in South America. I assured him and the others, “No, not at all. See, I am taking one myself.”
I then showed them the small tin container with the printing on it. I said to them, “After I had met with President George W. Bush in the Oval Office exactly one week I then bought these peppermints. They are the official peppermints of the Inauguration Day. See here. I would like you to celebrate with me this morning the new President of the United States, and my new Commander-In-Chief, Barak Obama, who is being sworn in at this very minute.”
Everybody popped a mint into their mouth and everyone clapped. I was touch by the support for the new President. I then said, “Thank you for celebrating this historic moment with me. Now, back to work.”
Dropping by to see me later in the week was Level 1 RBPP instructor Sebastian Lavoie of the Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceERT (Emergency Response Team) who gave me a copy of The Sunday Leader (December 7, 2008 issue). Constable Lavoie appears on the cover of the publication in full tactical gear along with a fellow Entry Team member behind him practicing a forced entry at their indoor Chilliwack training facility.
Julie Krol, my new Level 1 Reality-Based instructor, is the second woman in Canada to be certified by me; after Mitra Castano. Julie is a writer for Primall Journal Vancouver Natural Fitness & Health magazine. She gave me a copy of the November/December 2008 issue 2, and in it was an article she wrote titled Modern World, Modern Defense. Rory McMillan, also with Primall Journal, participated in last week's Crime Survival course. If you are in the Vancouver area and wish to get copies of this publication or advertise in it email them at email@example.com
Also coming by to see me, and take me to dinner after the Terrorism Survival course, was my good friend and Level 1 RBPP instructor Andy Suitela. When Chris St-Jacques was my Director of Canada a few years ago I taught out of the SUITELA facility, and then when Dallas Johnson became the Director of Canada he changed venues in order to be closer to his own area. Although it has been a while since training in Andy’s facility he was always a part of the RBPP family.
The one thing that always makes my Vancouver seminars better, and my trips more enjoyable, is the consistent assistance I receive from long time friend and Level 3 RBPP instructor Garth Hoffman. He is considered one of the top Defensive Tactics instructors in British Columbia and the most knowledgeable person I know when it comes to scenario safety procedures. He would pop by throughout the week and give my future Canadian instructors sound legal advice in conducting various types of training and answer any questions they had about Canadian law when it comes to the use-of-force.
The next RBPP Level 1 seminar in Surrey, Canada will be this summer with dates to be announced.
A few testimonials
Here are just a few comments from those who attended the Canadian Level 1 courses from January 19th to 23rd.
"The course was brilliant. Lots of info. Definitely changed the direction of my training will take in the future." Stephen Franklin First Reality-Based Instructor of Bermuda
"Thank you for your realistic, insightful, no-nonsense approach to the martial arts. I will forever cherish this experience. It is my hope to spread Jim Wagner's Reality-Based Personal Protection to many future students." Ivan Ugarte Full-time instructor for Triunity Martial Arts Studios
"Very much looking forward to moving right through Level 3." Police Constable (name withheld)
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