France is fertile soil for the Reality-Based Personal Protection system, and the system is spreading rapidly there which is revolutionizing the martial arts. I spent most of the month of August in France teaching, researching, and working with my director there – Christophe Besse.
From August 20 to the 24 taught my five core Level 1 courses in Paris: Defensive Tactics, Ground Survival, Knife Survival, Crime Survival, and finishing with Terrorism Survival. Then, from August 27 to the 31 it was the first time for Level 2 in this country: Conflict Conditioning, Scenario Training, Control & Defense, Improvised Weapons, and topping it all off with Handgun Survival. All ten courses were taught at the University of Paris X (Nanterre); the largest university in all of France. I was at this fantastic location thanks to Jean Luc Guinot who is the chief defensive tactics instructor for their security department, and who wanted to integrate the Reality-Based Personal Protection system into their training curriculum.
What made these two weeks rewarding for me was the fact that I taught every course in French, and thus my conversation French was bumped a couple of notches to teaching tactics – a technical vocation. Needless to say, my vocabulary increased quite dramatically being immersed in it for two solid weeks. I did however have two British students and a German student who did not speak French, so I gave English directions afterwards. Of course, Chris Besse was right there by my side teaching as well, and his English is quite well and he had to teach in both languages as well. I learned French in college and have increased my skills by teaching in French Canada and France.
In the Level 1 course was attorney Pierre Zeghmar from Marseille, the South of France. He has graciously volunteered to be a resource for us when it comes to use-of-force issues and French law; Pierre was most informative in the Crime Survival course where he offered fellow students advice on court proceedings. For an attorney he turned out to be quite a good fighter, and really took to the simple effectiveness of Reality-Based. Also attending the courses were Olivier Sottil and Luc Blackstone who are security agents in some of the worse neighborhoods in Lyon. They each wanted to be instructor certified so they can teach other agents within their company in order to deal with the increasing violence.
After the Level 1 course came the Level 2 course on August 27. Coming down from England was the Reality-Based Director for the United Kingdom Pete Lee and his assistant Gary Dell who was certified by me as a Level 1 instructor several months ago in Amsterdam.
This was the first time that the Level 2 course was taught in France. What was nice about doing the Level 2 course at "UPX" as they call it there at the university was the large spaces we had to work with. When it rained on the day of Conflict Conditioning we had plently of room to do our exercises and runs. For Control & Defense we had the Salle de Judo (the Judo Room) which had nice new matts to do takedowns.
Of course, in every country I teach in I take time to do research on warfare and hand-to-hand combat. This time Christophe and I went to the Musée de L’Armée (The Army Museum) at the Hotel National Des Invalides in the center of France. Out of all of my travels world wide I must say that this is the best military museum I have ever gone through. I only had a chance to see about a fourth of the place. In this museum is Napoleon’s tomb, a huge display on World War I and II, arms and armour from all eras, and even foreign weapons and equipment.
I did manage to visit some other sites for my research during my days off and the one week vacation time prior to the two weeks of teaching. I had a chance to do some research in Orléons and Chinon where Jeanne D’Arc (Joan of Arc) made history. I visited the castle at Chinon as well as the castles of Langeais, Angers, and Chenonceaux.
Those who were certified by me as Level 1 instructors in August were: Fabrice Abbou, Olivier Rawlings, Olivier Sottil, Luc Louis-Louisy Blackstone, Jean-Luc Guinot, Bruno Robin, Mohand Hakkar et David Da Conceicao.
Those who were certified by me as Level 2 instructors in August were: Fabrice Abbou, Olivier Rawlings, Olivier Sottil, David Da Conceicao. Cédric Domenger, Nicolas Marucci, Pete Lee et Gary Dell.
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