From January 21 to 25 I taught in Vancouver (Surrey), Canada my Level 1 courses certifying a whole new batch of Canadian and American instructors. Although the courses were taught in beautiful British Columbia almost half of the participants were Americans.
Hosting these courses, and directed by Dallas Johnson, were Oneal Mendoza and Mitra Castano who own and operate the Triunity Martial Arts Studios in the city of Surrey. This new school, only open to the public in this location for five months, was a good venue for the students. Food places were within a short walking distance, and hotels were fairly close. Although the school was not a “reality-based” school (blacked out walls, ceiling, and floors) the owners plan on converting the training hall into one but still be able to teach traditional-based martial arts as well. As good business people they see the future of the martial arts and want to reach out to this growing market base: people who want the most realistic self-defense training available, and get it in a very short time stripped away of all the “sub-culture stuff” found in other systems.
Mitra Castano was the very first female in Canada to be certified by me as a Level 1 Reality-Based Personal Protection instructor, and it was well deserved. With a few bruises on her arm, and a few welts dotting her body from air gun hits sustained during realistic Crime and Terrorism Survival exercises she received quite an applause from her male counter parts that included two U.S. combat soldiers, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police ERT operator/defensive tactics instructor, two private security agents, a counterterrorist response trained fire fighter, two local constables, and a few martial arts instructors. Mitra plans on continuing her Reality-Based training and become a Level 3 instructor so she can teach Women’s Survival and Children’s Survival courses in her school. She told me in her office, “I’m excited about this system. It is more than what I was hoping for. I can’t wait to be teaching this to all women out there.”
It was because of Mitra Castano’s marketing abilities that F.I.L.E.S. magazine did a story on me before I came out there, and while I was there the newspaper print magazine came out for all of my students to see. I was quite surprised to see myself on the cover with a full page spread inside. The publishers had such a good response that they decided to send a reporter and photographer to do a follow-up story which is to be published in a couple of weeks. Reporter Rory McMillian and photographer Julie Krol not only came to the Terrorism Survival course to do their story, but they participated in the entire course and loved it. “It is like no other self-defense course I have ever been in before” said Rory.
Level 3 instructor Garth Hoffman and a close friend of mine for over a decade now, assisted me with all five of the courses and was recertified at the end. Garth, who is considered one of the top law enforcement defensive tactics instructors in British Columbia, gave lectures on Canadian use-of-force law, which is almost identical to the American system and economy of motion during conflict. “Each time I see you teach this program I learn something new” Garth told me, “and you always bring something new into if from your world travels.”
During each evening, after teaching the entire day, Garth and I worked together on outlining his upcoming law enforcement courses that he will be teaching through his newly formed company (by permission of his department) called 360 Tactical. This is a private training organization that focuses primarily on defensive tactics and the integration of force options. I am a technical advisor for his company like he is a technical advisor for the Reality-Based Personal Protection system.
When Garth finally made his company a legal entity I immediately designed his corporate logo and offered my marketing expertise. Now, right out of the gate, his two courses are already packed from personnel from different agencies. I also had the privilege of meeting with his partner, and one of my Level 1 instructors, Jim Gravel.
Our mixed Canadian-American group bonded from the beginning on day one. From then on out it was a good time for everyone training together. They truly helped each other grow as instructors, and yet kept it challenging. Those receiving their instructor certifications were: Chris Borrego, Nickolas Serna, Brian Stramel, John Carreon, Peter Stapley, James Donnelly, Mahdi Kaosravi, Sebastien Lavoie, Mitra Castano and Oneal Mendoza. Coming back as a refresher was Sam Graves.
After graduation on Friday the 25th seven of us went out to eat at the local restaurant called the White Spot, a great hamburger and steak house chain, to enjoy a “boy’s night out” in order to unwind after a full week of intense training. Then, right across the parking lot was a movie theater where we went to see the movie Rambo staring Sylvester Stallone.
Movie Review: Rambo Jim Wagner
I highly recommend Reality-Based practitioners to go see the movie Rambo or rent it when it comes out on DVD. This movie was written, directed and staring Sylvester Stallone.
The story line itself is shallower that the jungle river the movie characters travel up and down on, and the skills and luck that they bestow upon the lead actor is far fetched, but the value of the movie is in its highly graphic depictions of gunshot wounds. This is one of the bloodiest films I have ever seen, but the blood letting is the result of what bullets can really do to the human body, especially with heavy guns such as the .50 caliber machine gun. In this movie, when someone gets hit in a limb with this powerful weapon the arm or leg rips apart in front of you. Muscle and flesh flies everywhere. When a head catches a round there is blood and brain matter everywhere, and they show it up close and at real time. When you are behind an exit wound it comes splashing your way. Of course in my Reality-Based Personal Protection courses we are always simulating small arms attacks and explosions, and how to increase our chances of survival. By seeing this movie the exercises are realistically fused together, although the body count may be much less in a real incident.
There are also a few good knife conflict scenes, like a sentry removal and an intestines spilling, that are realistically void of any glamour as it ought to be.
This movie is not for the weak hearted. It also shows some very disturbing scenes, or “more disturbing scenes beyond the raw warfare” I should say, such as a child being bayoneted, women being humiliated and raped, a young boy about to be raped by a homosexual military commander, and some caring Christian missionaries being slaughtered.
Taking the “teaching tool” usefulness aside, there are no other redeeming qualities about the film, other than the character John Rambo finally accepts himself and forgives himself of his violent past after almost thirty years, and then puts his life back on track after being purged of his demons.
Copyright Jim Wagner 2003 - 2021 All rights reserved.