From April 20 to 24 I taught my Level 1 courses in Ravenna, Italy. I had 19 dedicated students show up to the training and nine of them received their instructor certification from me: Patrizia Vitri, Federico Moro, Marco De Feo, Vincenzo Cerminara, Alessandro Rosetti, Stefano Maurone, Paolo Gasparini, Carmen Di Mauro, and Gianmatteo Sileoni. Two of these instructors were women giving both of them the honor to be the first Reality-Based Personal Protection female instructors in Italy: Doctor Patrizia Vitri, a surgeon from Milan and Carmen Di Mauro, a Pilates fitness instructor a few kilometers from the Italian-Slovian border. Carmenís husband, Paolo Gasparini, was also in the course and he does security work for a living.
One of my students, a police officer from Sicily, flew all the way up to the course in northern Italy to attend the Defensive Tactics course, and then bolted out the door right at 17:00 hours to catch a flight out of Bologna to head back to his home in order to work the next day. He plans on taking the remaining Level 1 courses in 2010, but wants to knock out a few Level 2 courses this June.
Assisting me everyday was Fabrizio Capucci, the RBPP Director of Italy, and Level 1 instructor Michele Surian who did a fabulous job translating. Michele owns an operates his own martial arts school near Venice called Auxe.
Federico Nasini, a Level 1 instructor from last year, came in for all five days to refresh his own Reality-Based skills and to help new students with the material.
Teaching in Italy is always a pleasure since the Italians are so hospitable, and everybody treats each other like a big family. On Tuesday night one fourth of the class wanted to go out for dinner, and I joined them. It was a typical two-hour meal with wine, story telling, laughter, and my favorite i frutti di mari dish followed by a lemon sorbeto.
Before my first course I arrived in Italy a few days early. Fabrizio took me to the famous leaning Tower of Pisa on the west coast of Italy. I was 100% tourist on that Saturday, and loved it. The drive there was absolutely beautiful. Then the next day, for my warfare research that I do in every country I visit, Fabrizio took me to the mountain castle of San Leo.
The castle, a fine example of a Renaissance military fortress, contained many weapons both ancient and modern. Fabrizio showed me a few riles that he trained on while he was a paratrooper in the Italian Army back in the mid 1980s.
On my last day off Fabrizio and I drove to the famous city of Florence. Beside seeing some extraordinary architecture, I was able to click a few good photos of statues depicting various battle gear, and also got the chance to see the statue of Amerigo Vespucci for which the continent of America is named after.
I will be returning to Ravenna, Italy June 22 to 26 teach my Level 2 courses for the first time in the region. Many Level 1 instructors are already signed up for it, and I am looking forward to being back there.
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