If you are a Reality-Based Personal Protection student, instructor, or director, then I have you to thank for being inducted into the Masters Hall of Fame 2011 on Saturday, August 27th at the Anaheim Convention Center; a stone's throw away from Disneyland in sunny Southern California.
Several months ago Dan Hect, the CEO of Masters Hall of Fame, contacted me and informed me that I had been nominated to the Masters and asked me if I could attend the event. He told me that I was being inducted in recognition of my work spreading reality-based techniques and training methods worldwide. Of course, I was honored that I would join the ranks of some of the top martial arts instructors in the world who have had this honor bestowed upon them since 2001.
One of the benefits about attending such a grandiose event is running into old friends and making new ones. My closest friend in the event was Dana Stamos, publisher of usadojo.com and worldwidedojo.com. She had invited my wife and me to sit at her private table where we had a pleasant dinner together as we watched the martial arts demonstrations at center stage: a Japanese archery demonstration and an ancient Samurai sword kata.
Also being honored that night was my friend, martial artist and actress, Cynthia Rothrock. We were both delighted in seeing each other. I met Cynthia back in 2005 in Madrid, Spain when Budo Magazine publisher Alfredo Tucci introduced us. They wanted me to appear in her latest training DVD title Women's Self-Defense with the Best Experts Worldwide, and I more than happy to. I was able to give my perspective to women based upon my Reality-Based Personal Protection system. Cynthia was quite impressed with my presentation and we have stayed in touch ever since.
I had the opportunity to see my old police partner Dave Dye. Dave is the Vice-President of Masters Hall of Fame; see, just knowing someone on the inside does not guarantee you are going to get inducted easily. I had to earn my way in.
Dave Dye and I both served in the Costa Mesa Police Department and we worked together on and off for eight years (from 1991 to 1999). He was the Defensive Tactics instructor the whole time I served in the force, and he appointed me as his assistant instructor for the Citizens Police Academy helping with the Defensive Tactics portion of the academy. We also served together on police patrol in Area III (the northeast side of the city) and watched each other’s back on countless police calls. Dave was, and still is, an Aikido guy while I was developing my Reality-Based system at the time. At the Masters Hall of Fame Dave was so busy that we just had enough time to shake hands and ask how each other was doing. Dave's job was to coordinate the event and make sure it ran smoothly, which it did.
I also got the chance to talk one-on-one for several minutes with guest speaker Don Warrener. I know Don very well since it was his company Rising Sun Productions that produced my first Reality-Based Personal Protection video series under the Black Belt magazine label. The series, which was later converted into DVD format, was a huge success, and it is still a good seller eight years later. The director of that series was director Isaac Floretine.
Don Warrener talked about his early life in the martial arts in Canada and how eventually he wanted to make movies in Hollywood. With only a few dollars in his pocket and two sports sacks with his personal belongings (one bag was for his martial arts equipment) Don eventually carved out a living for himself producing films and training DVDs. A big surprise for everyone at the event was the showing of two movie trailers for a new documentary he just completed. Don had been given original film footage of Bruce Lee giving a demonstration at Long Beach back before he was famous, and footage of rock and roll legend Elvis Presley training in Kenpo. Watching those two trailers before public release was a thrill for everyone there.
I then had the opportunity to meet Emil Farkas for the first time. Back when I was a teenager learning everything I could get my hands on about the martial arts I read Emil's top books The Original Martial Arts Encyclopedia, Training and Fighting Skills, and The Complete Martial Arts Catalog. Back in the 1970s and 1980s Emil was one of the few true martial arts historians, and he was one of the first to chart the modern martial arts and how they branch out in America.
When Dana Stamos introduced us I said, "Emil, when I was a teenager you were a huge influence in my life. I read all your books and articles."
Emil smiled at me and respectfully said, "And now I am reading your material. We need to get together."
I was flattered. This is not the first time I have ran into a martial arts legend that I had always admired only to find out that they are following my Reality-Based Personal Protection system and see the value in how it has changed the martial arts community. A few years ago I met ninjutsu guru Stephen K. Hayes, another man I admired and read everything he wrote. We were both teaching courses at a big event in Los Angeles that Black Belt magazine was hosting, and Stephen and I were each teaching courses. It just so happened that my course was later in the afternoon and I was able to attend Stephen’s two-hour ninjutsu course. Before it started I had a chance to speak with him. I told him how I have read his material and kept up on his career.
To my surprise Stephen told me, "I am teaching things from the past. You are teaching ninjutsu of the present. You are teaching modern methods people need in today’s world."
Stephen then went on to tell me how he was starting to take ninjutsu techniques and modifying them for modern situations, which I encouraged him heavily. I then attended his two-hour course and it was excellent. There I was getting trained by a master of Bujinkan ninjutsu and an actor from the 1980 television series Shogun, which was quite the rage the year I graduated from High School. Then, to add blessing upon blessing, Stephen K. Hayes showed up to my two-hour Realtiy-Based course later that afternoon. We covered terrorist hand grenade attacks and a gunman massacre, along with a few hand-to-hand combat techniques. Stephen came up to me when it was over and said, "You gave me a lot to think about. Thank you."
And, speaking of ninjustu, at the Masters Hall of Fame I also had the privilege of talking to Frank Dux at length.
Frank W. Dux, a martial artist and fight choreographer for the film industry, opened up his own school of Ninjutus in 1975. He was also the inspiration for the 1988 film Bloodsport starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. However, that's the tame stuff. Frank is also the author of The Secret Man: An American Warrior’s Uncensored Story which is a fascinating story about his missions with the CIA and working with the Russians behind the Iron Curtain. I recommend you buy his book.
What really got my attention is when Frank said, "Jim, let me tell you about what some of your enemies are really up to."
Like any prominent personality in the limelight I have my share of enemies; a few competitors who are unhappy with me starting the reality-based self-defense movement and the world's top martial arts magazines giving me the credit for doing so. Apparently Frank is very familiar with a few of the blogs and websites smearing my name, for I am not their only target.Frank said to me, "It is much more organized than you realize, and there's a lot of people involved. There is an agenda. It's all about business." Of course, Frank is no stranger to controversy himself. There are many who question his background, but he does not even flinch at the accusations razed against him.
However, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31 This is what Victor Marx and I believe.Victor Marx is a well-known martial artist, and a former U.S. Marine, who just had his new book published titled The Victor Marx Story. In this month’s issue of Black Belt magazine the book is also being promoted.
This is just a small excerpt from the back of the book: Is it really possible for a person to break the cycle of anger, abuse, addiction, divorce and unforgiveness? No would have known when Victor Marx was rubbing elbows with celebrities or running his lucrative martial arts schools or living in Hawaii that he had a haunting past. At the tender age of five Victor was molested and left in a commercial cooler to die; he endured a childhood marked with physical and sexual abuse, multiple stepfathers, 14 schools and 17 different houses. Read the redemptive account of a man who was diagnosed with mental illness and PTSD "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," but learned first hand that God can "unscramble eggs!"
Victor and I had a good long talk, and he is a great man of God. Even Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin, former Commander of the U.S. Army Special Forces and founding member of Delta Force, wrote a forward for Victor’s book, as did Frank Shamrock, five-time UFC Undefeated Champion and actor.
It turns out that Victor is also a big fan of mine and wants to get into Reality-Based Personal Protection, which I will be more than happy to share with him in the near future.Besides having the martial arts in common it turns out that we know many of the same people, the most important being Jesus Christ.
It was nice to be personally recognized by the Masters Hall of Fame 2011, but I consider my induction as an even greater tribute to those who study the Reality-Based Personal Protection system all over the world. This award is also yours.
Be A Hard Target.
Copyright Jim Wagner 1980 - 2023 All rights reserved.