Reality-Based about to become "reality" in Bulgaria
I will be teaching in the country of Bulgaria for the first time. While I am there I will be teaching three different courses on November 2 to 4. The event is being sponsored by the Bulgarian company CAMOUFLAGE.BG along with German knife manufacturer Boker. Going with me on this trip will be my Reality-Based Director of the German Speaking Countries, Tobias Leckebusch. After I return from Bulgaria I'll have a full report for you on how it went.
This event will be the second time I will have taught in Eastern Europe. The first time was just a month ago in the Czech Republic on September 21st.
A week ago I was interviewed for a Bulgaria magazine, in anticipation of my coming, and here is that interview for you to read in English:
What do you know about Bulgaria?
This will be my first visit to Bulgaria, and like every new country I am about to visit I do a little research about the country before the trip.Our intelligence agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, publishes a publication every year, which is available to the public that profiles every country in the world. That publication was the first resource I went to in researching Bulgaria. Then I went to the internet, starting with Wikipedia. Of course I am very happy to know that Bulgaria is part of the European Union and NATO, because I only teach in countries friendly to the United States of America. I know that your country has a small population of approximately 7,364, 570. The State of California, where I live, has a population of 40 million. I am looking forward to my visit to Bulgaria.
How did you develop your Reality-Based Personal Protection system? What is it based on besides your personal and professional experience? Are there techniques from other systems or martial arts?
The Jim Wagner Reality-Based Personal Protection systemis structured exactly like the original intent of Israeli military KAPAP and Krav Maga and Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do, and that is to examine every fighting system and then keeping what is useful and rejecting that which is useless.My original system when I was fourteen years old, and I am now forty-nine, was Korean Tae Kwon Do. Then I studied Japan Karate-Do Rybu Kai. Then I started training with world famous Dan Inosanto and Richard Bustillo. Through them I learned Jeet Kune Do, Filipino Kali, Wing Chun, and Chinese kickboxing.However, they both encouraged me to make it a life-long project to learn as many other systems as possible, and I did: Judo, Aikido, Kenpo, Greco-Roman wrestling, Western boxing, Thai kickboxing, French kickboxing, Chinese Po Keck Yin Yang Kung-fu, and Tai Chi Chuan. Although I gain many good techniques and training methods from these traditional and sport-based systems the real change came when I learned military combatives and police defensive tactics. So, you might say that all of these systems influenced me in one way or another. However,it is because of my real-world experiences with criminals and terrorists that made the Jim Wagner Reality-Based system the first "complete system" for civilians. To be a complete reality-based system requires pre-conflict, conflict, and post conflict training.
In which countries have you trained civilians in self-defense?
I've been teaching people self-defense since I was 16 years old starting with a local police department in the United States. Then over the years I developed many different programs specifically for civilians. I've taught civilians in the United States, Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Italy, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, and South Africa. Additional countries where I have exclusively taught only police and military personnel include:Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Israel.
One of the seminars in Bulgaria is for operatives of government agencies. What skills do you plan to teach those who attend it?
I will be teaching a course called Special Operations. It is for those in high risk jobs such as a combat soldier, diplomatic bodyguard, street police officer, or SWAT team. I have been teaching special operations courses since 1991, and of course, I have attended many courses over the years.
One advantage I have traveling all over the world, and training with many elite teams, is that I can pass on a lot of good information to my students that can make them safer on the job. Plus, I have created my own original technique and training methods that are used by professionals all over the world. As such, the material I teach in this course is RESTRICTED , and therefore I cannot go into detail of what I will be teaching in this course.
In your opinion, how much times does a civilian with no prior experience in martial arts or self-defense need to learn to use self-defense techniques efficiently? Is one seminar enough?
Learning real self-defense is easy. If a person cannot master a self-defense technique in five minutes, then it is a technique they will not need in a real conflict. For example, how hard is it to put your finger in someone's eye? How many years does it take to master pushing your finger in an eyeball of an attacker intent on seriously harming or killing you? How hard is it to stomp on somebody's hand if they are on the ground and about to grab the knife next to them? How many lessons does it take to learn to squeeze the trigger of a gun? I learned that lesson in the United States Army in 10 minutes. All self-defense techniques are easy. Add them all together and you have a system. Now, if I tell you to do a spinning hook kick to someone's head that could take years to learn, but it is also something you will never use in a real fight. This is why no police or military units teach such a technique. Self-defense training must be simple and effective. As we say in the military, Train like you will fight.
Having previous martial arts training does not always properly prepare a person for an actual fight. I have many martial artists tell me, "My system is reality-based. We train realistically." Then I respond, oh really, what do you do for a hand grenade attack in an airport terminal? What techniques do you have if a criminal first sprays you with pepper spray in the face? What tactics do you have when seven gang members swarm you? And, I could go on. But, the truth is that most systems do not prepare their students for the entire spectrum of violence that a person may face today.
Learning Reality-Based techniques are easy. The real goal is training that sustains learned skills and lots of scenario training (when to apply those skills). It is very easy to punch someone in the face, but the real challenge is when to do it, and under what circumstances. Only scenarios that parallel real life can prepare a student mentallyfor the violence that they may one day face.
How much does the use of theatrical blood and props in your seminars help civilians act efficiently and stay calm in a real life confrontation?
The more realistic the training, the more the student has memories to draw upon in a real situation, and thus reduce reaction time. In the United States the military and the police spend a lot of money to create realistic training. In my army unit we train on a million dollar video game that can duplicate the environment of anywhere in the world. If you want to have a battle in the middle of the jungle with pouring down rain then all you have to do is push a button. The screen is huge and the firearms interact with the computer program. We also have training where we shoot plastic marking bullets at each other (FX Simunition) and have the "enemy" dressed in authentic costume. Since America is engaged right now in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo we have an OPFOR (Opposition Force) dress like the real people from those areas.Our police academies do the same thing when running criminal scenarios for recruits. Likewise, the Jim Wagner Reality-Based Personal Protection is always striving to make the training as realistic as possible. This is why I introduced stage blood into my Knife Survival course and other courses a decade ago. Blood is a natural result of a knife fight, and if it gets all over your hands it is very slippery. By adding stage blood I help students deal with both the physical aspects of blood as well as the psychological response to it. It's good to see blood all over yourself so you won't be as shocked when the real event comes, and it is good to see blood on your attacker, because that testifies to the results of your self-defense measures.
In Bulgaria I will introduce my students to stage blood and some props, but if people really want to know what a true Reality-Based school looks like then a visit to my European Headquarters in Solingen, Germany is the best way to see how a professionalschool looks like and how it functions.
What are your expectations for the seminars in Bulgaria?
My expectations are that those that I teach in Bulgaria will be better prepared for today's crime and terrorism. These approximately 60 students who I will be training, along with my German Reality-Based Director Tobias Leckebusch, will be the first Bulgarians to train in the Reality-Based system. So, it is also a historic time in the Bulgarian martial arts.
Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions. See you soon.
Thank you for the opportunity to spread my Reality-Based self-defense concepts through your publication. You are the first to do so in Bulgaria. You are breaking new ground.
Interview with Combat Network Magazine
A couple of months ago Ben Lee of the British online martial arts magazine, Combat Network Magazine, interviewed me for their 8th issue October-December 2011. I am the feature story, and consequently on the front cover of this growing publication. Here is that interview for you to read:
Hi Jim could you start by telling us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in the martial arts.
Like the majority of people who get involved in the martial arts, it was to learn how to defend myself. As a child I was the target of big bullies from time to time and I didn't like it. In middle school a friend of mine, Alfosno Uceda, knew Tae Kwon Do and started teaching me. I was 14 years old when I started. I loved it, and I have not stopped since, and now I just turned 49.
You have had many instructors throughout your life. Who do you feel you have gained the most from and why?
When I started in the mid-1970s most martial artists stayed with one system. It was taboo in those days to change to another system. After a year of teaching me privately Alfonos Uceda told me that he had showed me everything that he could and that I should start studying other martial arts to expand my knowledge. He saw that I was hungry to learn and that I needed more. That advice, and later echoed by another great instructor of mine such as Bruce Leeís protťgť Dan Inosanto, solidified my philosophy of always learning different systems and from as many top instructors as possible.
If you count all of the instructors I have had over the years through the martial arts, military, corrections, law enforcement, special operations, and fitness, I've had a couple hundred. All of them have contributed to my knowledge base. Even the bad instructors, and there have been a few, helped me to recognize bad teaching today. However, my biggest teacher has been actual real-world missions, fights in the jail, life-and-death struggles in the street as a cop, and even realistic scenarios in training. Add this all together and you have Reality-Based Personal Protection.
What makes your self defence system different from any other self defence method?
The Jim Wagner Reality-Based Personal Protection, that I officially made public in January 2003, builds upon 6,000 years of human conflict, but also has many original elements to it as well. Some techniques and training methods have not changed since Cain first killed his brother Abel outside of the Garden of Eden. A punch then is probably no different than a punch today. Sticking a blade into someone in Afghanistan has not changed since the days of Napoleonic warfare in the 1800s in Europe. However, some things have changed, and that is where my system comes in.
I was the first martial arts instructor to introduce Airsoft guns into self defence training, and that goes all the way back to 1981 when I first introduced paintball guns to self defence training; I have several magazine articles to prove it. I introduced stage blood into knife disarm techniques. In the early 1990s I was using stage blood in police and military scenarios to simulate combat injuries, so were most defensive tactics and combatives instructors at the time, and it occurred to me that stage blood would make knife disarms more realistic. After all, when a person is cutting your fingers and hands as he comes at you, blood is a natural result. Grabbing onto an attackerís weapon hand will get very slippery.
Back in 1987 I introduced conflict first aid to the self defence curriculum. First aid was nothing new, but in a self defence school it was revolutionary. Even today so few schools and dojos have it as part of their training, and yet fighting, real life-and-death fighting, usually results in some kind of injury; this includes criminal shootings and terrorist attacks. And, speaking of criminal and terrorist attacks, I was the first to write about how we should do these types of scenarios in civilian self defence training when I first started writing for Black Belt magazine (USA) and Budo magazine (Europe) starting in 1999. Again, few civilian martial arts schools do this today, as if they are blind to office massacres, school shootings, gang warfare, narco-terrorism, and radical ideological terrorism. Too many systems concentrate on the pub fight, which is needed, but the world is getting more and more violent with a wide variety of conflict scenarios that the average person can find themselves in the middle of. On August 6 through 9, 2011, just a few months ago, I don't think a lot of victims were planning on "all hell breaking lose" during the flash mob riots all across England, and the month before, onJuly 22, that Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik was going to set off a bomb in the capitol of Oslo killing 8 and slaughter 69 people with firearms . These are things I don't ignore.
Some people think that I am trying to toot my own horn. My enemies in the martial arts world, and Lord knows that I have many, don't like me using the word "I," but history is history, and I am proud that my instructors taught me early on how to "think outside of the box." For those who take my courses they know that I really don't care if I get credit for the many things I've introduced into the martial arts community. What matters most is that people learn what I have to offer in order to develop their situational awareness and how to survive should they find themselves in a physical conflict of any sort. I've been on the magazine covers, received some of the top awards, trained with some of the world's top police and military units, and been on every continent teaching my methods; except Antarctica. The thrill of fame has long vanished for me. My satisfaction comes from knowing that I am giving people what works, and learning from others as well. It's a two-way street. Like you, I love the martial arts.
You have many courses on self-protection available. Tell us a little bit about what the courses have to offer.
I just taught a seminar, along with my Director of the UK Gary Dell, in Devon, England during the last week of July 2011 in Paul Drury's school. It was called KNIFE CAMP. I'd like to talk about this first since I am going back there on April 21 to 23, 2012 to teach it again.
Knife Camp is actually four separate courses to teach a person everything they need to know about knife conflict. The first day, a full intense eight hours, was Knife Survival. Right from the first minute of class students get to see what a full-speed, full-contact criminal knife attack looks like. None of this, "Come at me this way," so common in martial arts schools. I know what real knife attacks look like because a few times in my military and police careers I've been attacked by people with knives who tried to kill me. The average knife fight is over in five seconds or less.Within five minutes of class my students know they are getting the real thing.
In Knife Survival students learn how to defend themselves against various attacks. They learn principles, not a bunch of techniques that they will forget the moment they walk out the door. This course is the same course requested by the Israeli police, German counterterrorist team GSG9, Brazilian GATE, Finnish Police School, and many others. Unfortunately, many police officers within the London MET have tried to get my life-saving program introduced within the police system, but administrators have shot down the idea a few times, and yet officers still keep getting attack with knives. The answer to knife attacks in the United Kingdom was the Taser that many officers carry, but you need a minimum of 21 feet to deploy it and shoot the weapon before a knife attacker is on you. Most knife attacks occur within 6 feet. The Taser is a good less-lethal weapon, but only under the right conditions. Learning knife defence moves until an officer can get to his or her Taser is the answer. Well, I've rabbit trailed a bit.
Going back to Knife Survival, students learn how to get away from an attacker with a knife, and also how to deal with a brutal attack in a confined space. Students also learn how to use edged weapons should they ever have to protect themselves. Now, I know British society has a phobia against knives, even though crimes with knives by criminals is alarmingly high, but if someone comes into a restaurant blasting away with a gun and is reloading I at least know how to use that fork in my hand to defeat the enemy. As my United States Marine instructors taught me: ONE MIND, ANY WEAPON. You don't have to like knives, you just need to know how to use them effectively in case you have to save your own skin or protect your family with one.
The next day, Sunday, was my Knife Expert course. This course teaches how some criminals use double knives, which is quite scary. Students also learned how to protect themselves if some crazy person comes at them with a sword or machete, in what circumstance throwing knives are used, and how different cultures and sub-cultures attack their victims with edged weapons. This portion of the course is FOR INFORMATION ONLY. How can you defend against various knife attacks if you have never seen them before? I showed them the Columbia Slice, New York City Snuffing, the Turk Warning Stab, South African Bicycle Spoke Heart Stab, Filipino Walking The Arm technique, and a whole lot more.
After six hours of training I kick out the class and continue with only the professionals (police, military, and government security) in a course called Tactical Knife. This is information civilians don't need. Credentials are checked before a student can be admitted into this phase.
The third day of Knife Camp is Knife Instructor. This day is devoted to teaching instructors how to teach Knife Survival. In this course I had a police officer and Royal Marine who couldn't wait to go back and teach their comrades. I also had martial arts instructors from various systems who wanted to integrate my teaching into theirs, not of which of lease were Krav Maga instructors. Krav Maga people are always coming to me to fill in the gaps of their training. They trust me because the know I have been an instructor for the Israeli military and police, and I have also studied Krav Maga, KAPAP, Hisardut, and some LOTAR. I've been to Israel three times; once for research and twice as a guest instructor. Not only do I run them, my Knife Expert students, through drills to make everyone better instructors, but it gives them a chance to view the curriculum from a different perspective.
Because I cannot teach everything I offer in every country, usually my directors in various regions pick up the slack and offer private or group lessons for those wanting different Reality-Based Personal Protection courses. The entire system is modular, and it fits the needs for anyone. For example, my Director of the United Kingdom, Gary Dell, can teach my Level 1 courses: Defensive Tactics, Ground Survival, Knife Survival, Crime Survival, and Terrorism Survival. He can also teach specialty courses like Womenís Survival or Childrenís Survival. Or, some people head over to Solingen, Germany and take some of the courses I teach personally in my European school. And, why not? The school is only 30 minutes away from Dusseldorf Airport or Cologne-Bonn Airport and easy to get to. I teach all these courses in English there.
Of course, sometimes self defence schools will want me to teach their students, and I do that from time to time if my schedule permits.
What changes would a traditional martial artist have to make to ensure his training would stand up to a real confrontation?
I've had many black belts say to me after taking my Level 1 courses, "Everything I learned was a waste of time." Once they have experienced Reality-Based self defence the differences are like night and day. However, I always tell them, "No, your training is valuable. Youíve laid down some usable foundation, and now all you have to do is make a few changes here and there to make it reality-based." It's like taking an Olympic target shooter and teaching him military combat shooting. The goals of each are worlds apart, but much of what the Olympic Shooter learned will carry over, but a whole lot of tactics are going to have to be added, and a different mindset. Traditional-based and sport-based systems are not reality-based system, but there are many techniques and training methods that carry over.
Let me give you an example. Anyone can learn how to punch, and perfect it in just a few minutes. As yourself, "How hard is it really to put your fist through someoneís face?" My seven year old niece has that concept down pat. The hard part is teaching people to have the warrior spirit to do it at the right time. To do the technique at the right time against the best target they need lots of scenario training after they've learned the basics. They need to be jumped by two or three people playing the role of gang members and get to try their techniques out to get their timing down. That gives you a little idea of our philosophy.
You have your own brand of knife made by Boker, and is used all over the world. What do your knives offer that makes them different from others.
I have several knives on the market today manufactured by the famous German knife company Boker. The two bestselling knives worldwide are the original Jim Wagner Reality Based Blade and the Wagner Urban; American designs with German engineering.
The Jim Wagner RBB was manufactured in 2005 and every year sales are very high for this product. It is so popular there is even a Chinese pirated copy and an American knife company that came out with one that looks very close to mine. I believe that it is because it is considered one of the best tactical folders on the market. When I first was asked by the company to design "the ultimate tactical knife" I did not even know myself what it would look like. I just started to sketch everything I thought a good self-defence pocket knife should have. When the drawing was finished, for I had taken years of mechanical drafting in school, the result was a knife that police, military, security, and civilians love to carry; where legal of course.
My wife wanted to start carrying a knife, which is legal in the United States, but she did not want something large like the Jim Wagner RBPP, and so a few years later I sat down and designed something sleek and yet very practical. The result was another best seller Ė the Wagner Urban. Originally I thought it would be for women only, but it turned out that undercover police officers, business people, and even those who wanted a "last resort knife" wanted my knife as well.
I have several other knives currently on the market, and most are variations of the original design. Boker has asked me to design some more knives for the series, which I'm working on now.
As a result of working closely with Boker I have learned a great deal about not only knives, but how the knife business works globally. Boker is also the company that sponsors my Reality-Based Personal Protection school in Germany. It has been a very good partnership.
I have recently read an article by you called Can You Kill Someone Who Is On Top Of You? To me taking somebody's life is a very last resort and I would hope to have enough skill to handle the situation without killing anyone. Was this aimed at civilians or for people who work in a life and death environment?
Well, first of all I am glad you read that article that I posted on World Wide Dojo, because it is a very important piece, and something everyone needs to consider if someone is on top of you beating your face in with his fists.
The article was written for both professionals (police, military, corrections, security) and civilians alike. Yes, you are absolutely right. Taking someone's life MUST be the last resort. However, if your readers look at this article carefully they will see that I mention both REASONABLE FORCE and DEADLY FORCE.These are legal terms that every martial artist should know by heart.
Now, before I go on, a quick history lesson. Every police agency and military unit must have a Use-of-Force policy or Use-of-Force continuum. For the military they usually call it Rules of Engagement. It is basically a set of guidelines for what is, and is not, the appropriate amount of force for various situations. Courts purposefully keep it somewhat vague because every situation must be evaluated based on the "totality of circumstances." If a police officer or soldiers uses force against someone he or she will be held accountable based upon the legal rules set down.Since I have trained many British police officers and soldiers over the past decade I know the rules here quite well. In fact, they vary little from the laws of the United States for our legal system is derived from British law. What martial artists don't always realize is that if they use any kind of force they will basically be judged by the same standards as the police, although there are a few slight differences. With that stated, I was the very first civilian martial arts instructor to introduce a Use-of-force continuum for civilians called the Jim Wagner Use-of-Force Ladder. I used a ladder because everyone can relate to the hazards of going up and down one. And, having many British police officers running through my courses, as well as attorneys, everyone agrees that my graph conforms to British law. I also have an American version, Irish version, Canadian version, French, Italian, and so forth. What do traditional-based schools have? Thatís scary.
So, why is this important that I mention the Use-of-Force Ladder? Because whenever I teach self-defence techniques I always explain the law that goes with it as well, as do my certified Reality-Based Personal Protection instructors under me. The problem when I write articles is that I cannot always go into detail about the law each time. Someone reading my articles has to be somewhat familiar with my system to know the context, or if they do not know my system they should at least know their local laws, British laws, and European Union laws when it comes to the Use-of-Force. There is no excuse for today's martial artists to be ignorant of laws that may affect them in a self defence situation. Therefore, if your readers will take the time to go check out that specific article they will see my arguments on why you probably have the justification to use deadly force if someone of equal strength and skill is on top of you slugging your head against the floor. Unfortunately, many people officers are not well trained in defensive-tactics, and when first asked about this situation they donít even think it is a deadly force situation. However, once I demonstrate the situation, five minutes later even police officers agree that it is a deadly force situation. That's also part of my job; to educate police officers as well.
If aimed at civilians, do you not think this is a step in the wrong direction?
Yes, I do. If a civilian does not know the law they can end up getting locked up for inappropriate force. On the other hand, if you use less force than your attacker you may get seriously injured or killed.There is an American expression that I like very much. It goes like this, "There are two fights. One is for your life, and the second is for your freedom."
If someone attacks you or your family you must fight. If it is against a real criminal or terrorist you have to fight for your life. Yet, you can't do whatever you feel like doing. If you use more force than allowed you risk losing your freedom by being locked up by the authorities. Mistakenly, many martial artists feel that the law ties your hands. Not at all. In some situations you are allowed to use deadly force, and "deadly force" does not only mean death, but it also means inflicting serious injury: causing permanent damage such as poking out an eye, biting off an ear, breaking a major bone, and similar acts.
The bottom line is that you have to learn both techniques and the law at the same time. Thatís exactly what the Jim Wagner Reality-Based systems does.
You have been accused of being a fake on internet forums. Many stating you may have lied about your background history. I am guessing this is not true. How do you handle these people?
Ha! I've been hearing this for years, and the majority of this comes from competitors. It started with one well-known American instructor in particular, then duplicated by his certified instructors, then to their blogs and websites, and then it took on a life of its own. I guess if a few people say it, it must be true. Right? This has been going on since 2004.
I've been accused of just about everything you can think of on blogs and forums: being a "fake instructor, never on a SWAT team, never a United States Air Marshal, never a sergeant, never a student of Dan Inosanto, never in a real fight as a cop, being an instructor for Al Qaeda, a cat killer, having served time in prison," and the list goes on. One person even claimed I was an alien. Not an illegal alien, but an alien from outer space. These types of accusations have always gone with the territory of being a well-known martial arts instructor. Just ask other prominent self-defense instructors like Avi Narida, Tony Blauer, Moni Aizik, and others, and they will tell you that they also get their share of gossip as well.
Tony Blauer and I met together a couple of months ago and he told me that some of the trouble makers who have attacked me for years are now smearing his name as well. If you don't know Tony Blauer then Google his name. You'll find that he is one of the top trainers in the world for the police and military. He's the creator of the Spear System. Everyone in the tactical world knows who he is and respects him. The people attacking him, me, and others, are actually quite a small group of people, but they use the Internet to make it look much bigger than it is. I told Tony, "Donít worry about them. They donít go after the nobodies."
However, in this day and age when anyone can say whatever they want on the Internet, whether it is the truth or a lie, it does get confusing on what one should believe. I get people writing me all the time saying that I should stop supporting this person or that person because of the accusations circulating about them. However, I always tell them the same thing, "Unless you can give me credible evidence that can stand up in a court of law I am not going to change my position." I donít want "He said or she said," but give me evidence. I guess it's my police background that makes me hear both sides of a story before I decide what is true or not true.
If people are wondering if the things said about me are true or false I suggest that they get both sides of the story before jumping to any conclusions. Since I am a company, a legal business, my website is the official information about me (www.jimwagnerrealitybased.com).Whatever I have posted on my official website, is the truth. I cannot vouch for what other people or organizations have written about me. Sometimes their information is accurate, and other times I see exaggerations, and try to correct it. My DVDs, books, and knives are sold worldwide, and sometimes foreign companies have stated things that are not true. Sometimes articles written about me have their facts wrong. For example, I have trained with and have taught the United States Marines for many years, but someone somewhere printed that I stated I was "a U.S. Marine." The next thing you know all the blogs are saying that I lied. Yet, my official website clearly states my several years of involvement with the U.S. Marines. Another example was a prominent instructor telling people for years that I never trained Germany's top counterterrorist team GSG9. The way I handled that was to put photos of me training GSG9 on my website. Years later, when the current commander of GSG9 gave me permission to represent GSG9 with the American media, I also place a small clip of me training them on YouTube. That seemed to put that one to rest, but you'll never see an apology or a retraction because these people are not true journalists or investigators. Of course, after I put up my history up about my association with GSG9 to stop the accusations I was accused of bragging by the same group who started it all. In the Internet war you just cannot win with everyone. Some people are going to believe what they want to believe, and will never investigate themselves. So, I put up just enough information to let people know about my background. In fact, I am one of the few civilian martial arts instructors with a military and police background that posts government certificates, credentials, photos, and dates and places. The truth is that I don't even have a fraction of my background up on my site yet. I have too much stuff to put up, and not enough time. So, as I said before, my official website is the place people should start if they are truly concerned about the controversy. Then, if someone thinks I am lying about something, then prove it. The fact that these negative blogs and websites do not have official government sources should make anyone suspicious. After all, I represent many government agencies, both foreign and domestic. The fact that many police and militaries around the world stand behind me should tell people something. If I were a fraud and fake I don't think that, even today, I would keep being hired for my skills and teaching abilities by the world's elite.
Another thing readers should know about the accusations is that some of these attacks are merely to get more Internet traffic to their own websites. We live in a technological age, and today it's all about traffic volume for many businesses. They know that the name Jim Wagner brings in a lot of traffic, and so they use my name or insert it into as many blogs as possible. Like a car accident on the side of the road people are curious to see the negative comments. It does drive traffic. Yes, it is unethical, and in many cases illegal, but it is done. "If you canít be famous, then be infamous," and that seems to be the motivation behind most of these attacks. There is a book soon to come out by an investigator who is going to expose many of these self-proclaimed "debunkers," and the sinister money making networks behind it.
Then you have what I call the second tier of gossip spreaders. In my case these are the followers of some of my competitors who are just parrots repeating the things they read from others. Of course, the negative comments levied against me are always about my background and never about what I actually teach. How are they going to argue the success of the reality-based movement? Itís everywhere and spreading. How can they discredit some of the top police and military units in the world learning from me? They can't, and so it is easier to go the character assassination route. Thankfully, these attacks do not convince people from staying away from my seminars or from agencies in hiring me. As a God-fearing Christian I believe that we should "love our enemies," and not "return evil for evil," and that's why you don't see me naming my enemies publically. First, I don't have the time, and second I think the whole affair is a bit childish. Even if I don't like someone, that is between me and him. I don't need to air my dirty laundry publically. Nobody reputable likes that kind of behavior anyway, whether it's true or false. I honestly believe that one day God will pay back the evil doer, so I'll leave it up to Him. We will each be accountable for our actions one day.
What is your favourite quote or motto in the martial arts?
My favorite quote is the one I came up with for my system, and that is, "Be A Hard Target." This is the official motto for the Jim Wagner Reality-Based System.
What exactly does Be A Hard Target mean. Hard target is a military term. First, let's start with a 'soft target." A soft target is a fixed location or person that is accessible, predictable, and unaware. The opposite, a hard target, is inaccessible, unpredictable, and very much aware of the possible dangers. That is the goal of my system, to make practitioners hard targets against crime and terrorism, and not just against the unarmed pub fight, although that is important as well; it is in the category of conflict which we call an "ego fight."
Thank you for answering the questions Jim. All the best for the future.
You are very welcome. It's because of publications like yours that people get to see what Reality-Based Personal Protection is all about. And, for you readers, I hope you look at me as an additional source to improve your self defence skills and increase your knowledge base. If you want to know why so many professionals have come to this system then come experience for yourself. It's modular so you can even come for one day if you like. If you want more than my Knife Camp then take a short hop over to Solingen, Germany, which is my main school in Europe, and get some training you're not going to find anywhere else.
Be A Hard Target.
Do you need some publicity for yourself?
My good friend Dana Stamos, the publisher of the online publication World Wide Dojo, trust me and has asked me if I know anyone willing to submit articles to her publication. It does not have to be Reality-Based related, but it can be traditional-based, sport-based, fitness, police or military, or even about martial arts in the entertainment industry. In exchange for a good article, provided that it is accepted, she is willing to give a little free advertising in exchange for it. This is a good way to gain some publicity in these hard economic times, and many online magazines are doing the same thing.
Submit your article, any word length, along with some .jpg file photographs and photo captions, to World Wide Dojo.
Joe Bates pays a visit to his instructor in California
Joe Bates is one of my certified Reality-Based Personal
Protection instructors out of New Jersey. On October 21 Joe and I got together
in Southern California and I showed him around the costal area. Joe and his
wife were on a one week vacation and I just happened to be in between seminars
with a day to spare.
I enjoyed spending time with Joe because he is a firefighter
and a veteran of the Iraq War, which means we had a lot to talk about. He also
sees the importance of the Reality-Based Personal Protection system, and we
talked quite a bit about that as well. Joe will be running in the New York
Marathon on November 6th.
Copyright Jim Wagner 2003 - 2021 All rights reserved.