This September and October was exciting for the Reality-Based Personal Protection system in Germany. One hundred students were trained by me in a one week period, the airline company Air Berlin sent a training representative to evaluate my system, then our first East German police officers came to get their Knife Survival qualifications, I trained 64 students at one time for a special seminar in Ennepetal, and I hired a few more German translators for the new material that we need translated for our growing system here in the German speaking region of Europe.
I arrived in Solingen, Germany on Thursday, September 23rd and started KNIFE CAMP that weekend on the 25th and 26th. We had 23 students and British Level 2 instructor Olivier Rawlings who assisted me with the courses and brushed up on his own knife skills that I had taught him in Paris, France a couple of years ago.
KNIFE CAMP was filled with highly motivated students that included men from the Bundespolizei (German federal police), German Customs (Zoll), local police departments, and the Swiss Army. The rest of those attending the courses consisted of martial artists from many different traditional-based and sport-based systems, and we had several beginners that had no fighting training of any kind.
The Jim Wagner Reality-Based Personal Protection KNIFE CAMP is composed of three different courses over the weekend. Day One, Saturday, was Knife Survival, which is the same course as Level 1 Knife Survival. Day Two, from 8 am to 3 pm is Knife Expert, and from 3 pm to 5 pm is the Tactical Knife course for professionals with government credentials.
In Level 1, five one-day courses, we had 24 people wanting to learn “real” self-defense, and Berd Israng and Jochen Burlafinger assisting for a couple of the courses. This week included Defensive Tactics, Ground Survival, Knife Survival, Crime Survival, and Terrorism Survival.
Although crime and terrorist activities is on a steady rise in Germany, my courses were held at a very significant time. Four days before my Reality-Based courses, where I teach people how to survive an office massacre, a German woman went on a shooting spree on September 19th at the St. Elisabethen hospital in Loerrach; a city close to the French and Swiss border. She killed four people, including one male nurse at the hospital, and wounded four others, including an off-duty police officer who was shot in the knee.
Shots were heard in an apartment next to the hospital, the apartment caught fire, and the suspect ran into the hospital and started shooting there as well. A middle-aged man and a little girl were found dead in the apartment. The gun-woman, believed to have once belonged to a shooting club, was shot dead by the police.
Then, the very week of my courses the German government announced that they believe that a terrorist attack, Mumbai, Indian style (hand grenades and small arms attack) is being planned by Al Qaeda to be carried out in Germany, France, and Great Britain. Even the United States State Department in Washington, D.C. issued a travel advisory to Americans thinking of going, or in, Europe. Some intelligence agencies also believe that Sweden is also on the list of targets.
The terror cell threatening to carry out these attacks in the near future are believed to be German and British citizens who are radical Muslims now training in the tribal area of western Pakistan.
Throughout the weekend, and the rest of the week, I had my Reality-Based Personal Protection Director of German speaking countries, Tobias Leckebusch, assisted me with each course. One of the evenings after class he invited me over to his home where he, his family and friends, celebrated his birthday. We had a fantastic traditional German dinner of tasty meats and creamy slices of potatoes, and I washed it all down with good cold beer. I gave Tobias a few practical gifts that he could use often, and I was able to find a really good book on business English. Even though he already speaks English very well, it is Tobias’ goal to perfect the language; especially when he is overseas promoting the system and Boker manufacturer. He’s trying to learn the subtle things in English while I struggle with my German lessons just learning the basics. Mein Deutsch is nicht zo gut.
On Thursday evening, right after Crime Survival, Tobias and I headed over to the small city of Ennepetal with Gerald Meischein. He is a Reality-Based Personal Protection Level 1 Apprentice Instructor, but also runs his own traditional-based self-defense school called Taekwondo Ennepetal. Gerald is a top notch martial artist, and very strong in my Reality-Based system, but he also has quite an impressive background in Taekwondo, Grappling, Budo-Jitsu, Shootfighting, Modern Arnis, Hapkido, and Krav-Maga.
In April Gerald asked me if I was willing to teach a two-hour seminar, in a gym located one hour from Solingen, to his students and other students from associated schools. I committed to it, and it finally materialized on this trip.
I had 64 students I taught that evening, and I received a very warm welcome and it was a very enthusiastic crowd. I’m not used to training so many people at once, but Tobias and I managed to put on a really good course covering the Knife Avoidance Rule, first aid treatment for knife injuries, the Jim Wagner Disarm Rule (knife conflict in a confined space), the Jim Wagner Four Square Ground Survival Rule, and how to survive a hand grenade attack. After all, Germany is expecting such attacks. As a self-defense instructor it is my responsibility to prepare them for such an attack, and to urge them to continue their training in that direction. Our motto is Be A Hard Target, and that includes being a hard target in a possible terrorist attack.
Years ago when I wrote an article for Black Belt magazine suggesting that martial artist also include training in how to defend against hand grenade attacks followed up by small arms attacks. I even gave step-by-step instructions how this could be done, and I suggested they dig deeper into the subject found in my training books and DVDs. Some of my critics on the Internet, unscrupulous bloggers and competitors, openly mocked me on forums saying that “terrorists don’t do such attacks anymore;” that is to say hand grenade and small arms attacks. This of course was before the Mumbai, India attacks in 2008 where 166 people were brutally murdered and 308 injured; this included Europeans and other nationalities. My critics before 2008 laughed at me and all the Reality-Based Personal Protection students for being “out of touch with reality.” Although it was true that hand grenades were way down at the time, office and school shootings (small arms attacks) were becoming common place, and Europe was soon to follow.
I was monitoring terrorist attacks worldwide for years and I knew that hand grenade attacks and small arms attacks would be one of the attack methods of the future, just like vehicle and suicide bombings came into vogue. Now after a few years of such attacks worldwide Europe now braces for such attacks after receiving credible intelligence reports. This is exactly why I gave my 64 German students (young, old, male and female) their first exposure to Terrorism Survival on Wednesday night, September 29th, so they can realize that Reality-Based Personal Protection is teaching the true martial arts. The word “martial” means war, and that is exactly what we teach – “war arts.” This group that I taught may not be going to the battlefields of Afghanistan, but the terrorists may bring the war to them – global jihad. Thanks to Gerard many of these students are planning to come to my courses in November and in 2011. I salute Gerard Meinschein for expanding his martial arts business to include my Reality-Based system in order to provide people with life-saving techniques and training methods. This is a growing trend worldwide that traditional-based and sport-based instructors are doing, and that is turning to my system to offer a new type of clientele a program specifically for modern self-defense that is easy-to-learn and easy-to-teach.
A few days after the big evening course it was time to teach a full day of Terrorism Survival, and to make the course even more dynamic my Reality-Based Personal Protection Director of Belgium, Nicolas Marucci, drove down from Brussels to assist me by playing the role of “terrorist.” He did a convincing job playing the role of a sniper and did a great job assisting me with the bomb searching class.
During the Sniper Defense portion of the course students learned exactly how long it takes for a professional sniper to obtain target acquisition on a stationary target and then a moving target at various distances. They then learned how much time they have to move before a sniper has them in his iron sights or crosshairs, and how many meters they can move from one place of cover to another for various tactical situations. At the Boker Jim Wagner Reality-Based Training Facility we have a lot of good space inside the buildings to run scenarios, with even more space outside in our own walled area compound not open to the public. Nicolas Marucci, a security professional by trade, literally gave the students a “run for their money.” However, survivability rate was extremely high once the students knew what to do. Even some of my students from the regions Riot Squad federal police stopped by to say hello to me and watch some of the Terrorism Survival drills.
In the bomb search portion of the course the students had to search a medium sized room in 15 minutes. Out of six bombs that were planted in easy-to-find places, the students found only two IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). For each one they missed they had to do some punishment; just several push-ups for each one that they missed. I warned them, “If the police fail to find the bomb, and sometimes they do, and you fail to find the bomb days or weeks later, then there are more serious consequences than a little physical discipline.” My Air Berlin representative told me, “This class is amazing. It is everything I thought it would be. I have learned so much. I can’t wait to take more.” He also will be going back to his office and writing a detailed report on his experiences.
Steve Termer, one of the students who participated in Terrorism Survival, received his Level 1 Apprentice Instructor certification after completing his studies on Friday, October 1st. Steve, like many students who cannot not take all five courses in a row, he split his training between two seminars. This is one of the beauties of Reality-Based Personal Protection since it is a modular system. Steve also represents the type of professionals that flood my courses, and who are most welcome. Steve was a 1st lieutenant infantry officer with the German Army and is now a Team Leader security officer for the Deutsche Bahn (German Railway) in the city of Hamburg. He is also the defensive tactics instructor (Einsatztraining) for his section. He will be taking what I had taught him and passing it onto other security officers to not only protect themselves in conflict situations, but also to help make the public transportation in Hamburg safer for everyone.
I had the opportunity to have lunch on Friday, October 1st, with one of my top Reality-Based instructors, Joachim Roux, to go over our current work with World Wide Dojo and Nicolas was a part of that lunch meeting as well. Fortunately, Joachim speaks French, so we were all able to communicate since Nicolas is just now starting to learn English. French is my second language. If you visit World Wide Dojo you will see that Nicolas is writing MMA and RBPP articles on the French site, and Joachim is writing for the German site. After my last class of the week I took a full day off, Saturday October 2nd, and I took a train into the city of Koln (Cologne). That’s one of the great things about the location of my school in Solingen, the cities of Cologne, Bonn, and Dusseldorf are each only a 30 minute train ride away by train. It’s a great central location, and the transportation system is easy to use and quick. As part of my ongoing research on human conflict I went to the Roman-German Museum (Romisch-Germanisches Museum http://www.museenkoeln.de/roemisch-germanisches-museum/ to study their ancient weapons and art work depicting soldiers and gladiators.
This is my second time to the museum, the first time was with my Italian Director Fabrizio Capucci last year, but they have a fairly large collection of Roman artifacts that I had to finish up on. The city of Cologne was actually a Roman colony by the name of Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, and one of the original Roman gates still stands today just outside of the entrance of the Dom Cathedral. Inside the museum they still have the arch of the gate with the initials CCAA that names the colony. I was amazed that the Romans used acronyms, and apparently it is nothing new in western writing. It’s amazing to me that many of the tools, weapons, and household items used 2,000 years go have changed little as far as shape and function. Knives, jewelry, plumbing pipes, beds, et cetera, are like ours today. Of course, the invention of gun powder radically changed the way people fight and defend themselves, and the last 100 years of history has seen incredible technological advances in just about everything: dirty bombs, chemical weapons, less-lethal weapons, flexible body armor, optics, recording equipment, infrared, and the list goes on. Knowing how it all evolved over the millennium is of great interest to me. After a good day of rest I headed off to Amsterdam early the next morning to prepare for my Krav Maga Reality Based courses, and a course for the Amsterdam Police.
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