I now have my “place in history” because of the support of you, my Reality-Based Personal Protection students, instructors, and enthusiasts; this includes those who have never trained under me personally, but who have learned survival techniques and training methods through my books, DVDs, and YouTube channel jimwagnerrbpp; you are part of the Reality-Based system as well. Many of those who did train under me personally wrote to Michael Matsuda requesting that I be recognized for my contribution to the martial arts and inducted into the Martial Arts History Museum. Michael Matsuda, president, and the Board of Directors, did exactly that – I was inducted into the Martial Arts History Museum; the only one of its kind, located in Burbank, California; the martial arts capital of the world (Southern California is home to every martial arts system in the world). I received a trophy and a certificate that reads:
Presented to James Wagner. It is with great pride, respect and admiration that the Martial Arts History Museum bestows the first Honor Awards to this unique individual who has achieved excellence in the martial arts.
It is through your dedication to the arts, your respect for tradition and your example of leadership, that you have paved the way for others to follow.
This certificate of declaration presented on September 7, 2013, is a public acknowledgment of your continued support of the preservation of the martial arts, its history and its artifacts to benefit this and future generations.
Before attending the awards ceremony on September 7th, the very day I flew in from Seattle after doing video projects and research on human conflict in Alaska, I had the opportunity to correspond with Michael Matsuda. He told me that he was very aware of how my Reality-Based Movement has impacted the martial arts worldwide and told me that it should be indeed acknowledged by the museum. After all, I had reached tens of thousands of readers through Black Belt magazine and Budo magazine since 1999 introducing the civilian martial arts world to realistic police and military style police training combining the martial arts, I encouraged Major Avi Nardia to start teaching KAPAP outside of Israel after I had been invited to Israel twice to train their top police and military trainers, I wrote about Moni Aizik in Black Belt magazine that got the ball rolling for Combat Krav Maga, Eyal Yanilov came to my school in the Los Angeles area to see what I was doing (a video with us working together will soon be released on YouTube), I pushed for Robert Readfeather to teach Apache Indian Knife Fighting to the public (who was also recognized at the Honor Award ceremony the same night just after me), and I paved the way for like-minded instructors to submit their articles to martial arts magazines like Kelly McCann, Tony Blauer, Tim Larsen, and many others (facts that are well documented in publications). Of course, I was also recognized for being an official instructor for agencies and units around the world like German counterterrorist team GSG9, the Bulgarian national counterterrorist team (officially called Special Unit for Combating Terrorism), the Israel Police Academy, the Amsterdam Police Academy (for which I was made an honorary police officer tactics instructor presented with a police badge), Trinidad & Tobago’s top police unit SUATT, the National Police Academy of Finland (Poiisikoulu), Brazilian G.A.T.E., Argentinean G.O.E., German Special Forces at Pfullendorf, various police departments in Spain, Spanish Foreign Legion instructors, the U.S. Marshal Service, U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement boarding teams, U.S. Marines Provost Marshal Office, U.S. Navy Provost Marshal Office, U.S. Air Force Security Forces, and the list goes on. It goes on, because I have a passion for teaching life saving techniques and training methods. So, by reaching so many civilians and professionals, in so many countries, Reality-Based Personal Protection has finally been recognized by the only museum dedicated to the martial arts.
Because the Honor Award dinner and ceremony was a black tie event I wore my dress blues military uniform (allowed by military regulations, that an my chain of command was quite proud of me for receiving the honor). When I accepted the award I gave my mandatory two-minute speech, and in this speech I first gave credit for the Reality-Based Movement to Robert Young of Black Belt magazine. When I was a police officer for the City of Costa Mesa I had tried a couple of times to write for the world’s oldest and most recognized martial arts magazine, telling the editor at the time that I had created a complete system that few were doing, and virtually nobody was writing about, that included pre-conflict, conflict (which everyone teaches, but few “self-defense systems” at the time dealt with modern crime and terrorism, and still don’t to a large degree), and post-conflict. I told him that corrections, law enforcement, and the military fighting systems were not represented in the magazine, and thus they were missing an entire segment of martial arts, “war arts,” practitioners. I repeated to the audience that I was addressing what I told Robert Young in 1998, and that was, “Give me a chance and I will change the martial arts world.” Chief Editor Robert Young did indeed take that chance, and not only did he want me to submit articles to Black Belt magazine, but he gave me my own monthly column that I named HIGH RISK, which ran monthly for 11 straight years starting in January of 1999. A year later Alfredo Tucci of Budo International (headquartered in Madrid, Spain and published in several languages: Cinturon Negro, Kampfkunst, Budo, et cetera.) had me writing for him and producing Reality-Based training VHS videos (eventually turning into the DVD market we know today) and a couple of books. It was counterterrorist David Rivas who introduced me to Alredo Tucci, and like Robert Young, Alfredo saw the possibilities that I could bring to the table. Prior to 1999 virtually no martial arts magazine in the world had any consistent material about police defensive tactics and military combatives, very little dealing with modern crime like drive-by shootings, office shootings, criminal chemical attacks, and nothing about surviving a terrorist attack, which I did (the was pre 9/11). Before 1999 martial arts magazines had nothing about using stage blood in knife training (an element that is very present in a knife attack and quite slippery), nothing about stage sets, stage make up, scripts or costumes, and using paint guns (eventually Airsoft guns, which I first introduced to the civilian martial arts community) for realistic scenario training. I’m sure there were a few good instructors out there experimenting with at least some of these same ideas that I was doing at the time, but they had not successfully penetrated the martial arts publications, and therefore no documentation exists to support their claims. To verify history it has to have been recorded, and the more authentic sources previously printed for that history, the better. At the time that I was writing for Black Belt magazine, Budo and others, there were no online martial arts publications; that didn’t come until several years later as the Internet grew and matured. Eventually websites, blogs, and other martial arts Internet sources came along making information and history no longer just in the hands of a few publishers. Of course, with the power of the Internet came many fighting systems writing their own version of “history,” and in some cases rewriting martial arts history; some of it accurate, and a lot of it not.
In concluding my speech I said to the invited guests and the other distinguished recipients, “Now all martial arts professionals and Reality-Based practitioners are represented in the Martial Arts History Museum, and I am accepting this award on behalf of all the men and women in uniform.” Of course, I was referring to my own students and instructors I have certified over the years, and well as any professional in uniform who may face physical conflict: corrections officers, probation officers, law enforcement officers, and military personnel. As I was walking off stage with the roar of applause all around me my own military Reserve unit came to mind, and as the senior instructor for the unit I thought about the monthly training I was giving them and how they literally put their lives on the line doing monthly security missions to protect personnel and military assets. A man and his wife stopped me as I was making my way to the photo session area and she said, “I served in the Marines for eight years, and that was the best speech of the night. It was great that you mentioned corrections, police, and the military. Thank you for doing that.” I was humbled, and said to her, “Eight years in the Marines? I too must thank you for your service.”
It was only several minutes later when Robert Redfeather was called up to also be honored for reviving the ancient Apache Indian fighting methods. It had been a system that was on the verge of extinction, and yet one of the first things that Robert said to the room full of people that night was, “If it had not been for Jim Wagner, I would not be up here tonight. He is the one who convinced me to teach the system,” and he was correct. Early in 2003 Robert Readfeather was teaching a Chinese Gung-fu system in Buena Park, California. Through his previous wife I was introduced to Robert and he invited me to teach my very first five Reality-Based Personal Protection Level 1 courses (Defensive Tactics, Ground Survival, Knife Survival, Crime Survival, and Terrorism Survival) in his school, which I accepted.
When Robert Redfeather was going through my Knife Survival course he came up to me at the first break and said, “Your system is very similar to the Apache Knife Fighting system.”
I asked him, “You know the old Apache Indian fighting system?” He confessed that he had been taught by his grandfather and uncle. I had never heard of anyone knowing any authentic Native American fighting systems. I just assumed they had all disappeared. So, my next question was obviously, “Why aren’t you teaching it then?”
Of course, back in those days there was a lot more friction between “the white man” and Native American tribes, and Robert never even considered teaching what he had been taught out of fear of being disrespected.
“Disrespect?” I said. “The ninjas in their time were hated assassins of Japan, and yet today they are very much respected because of their unique fighting system Ninjitsu. Yes, the Indians have been disrespected by many whites throughout history, but the Apaches are looked upon today as fierce warriors because of men like Geronimo. You teaching this ancient system will actually bring respect to the Apache, not the opposite. People want to learn something new; especially an ancient art that was all but dead.”
A few months later Robert heeded my words and I help him get started by having him put down the system on paper in an outline form, I designed his first logo and created his first advertisements, plus I gave him advice on how to reach out to the Reality-Based crowd, which I knew would be a receptive group. In return, I was Robert Redfeather’s first certified Apache Indian Knife Fighting instructor, and he gave me the Apache name of Soldier Dog. That name was given to me because we fought each other with knife length wooden dowels, full contact and full speed, with only fencing helmets, soft martial arts chest protectors, and hockey gloves on. Both of us bent each other’s metal screen masks in from the smashing strikes, and we each had some swollen fingers despite the protection, but neither one of us could defeat the other, and so it ended as a draw. He had been my student, and I had become his. Plus, he was right. There were uncanny similarities to my Reality-Based Knife Survival course and the ancient Apache system when it came to techniques and training methods for warfare. I have always said that people who have been in real combat with come to the same truths.
Robert Redfeather went on to train all kinds of American military units after I gave him “a little push.” So, as I sat in my seat at the table at the Honor Awards listing to him give me some credit for his success I was touched. I’ve had a few people I have helped get “known” in the martial arts world only to stab me in the back and deny any association with me later on, or worse, tell bold face lies about me giving more fuel to my many enemies, competitors mostly, who never did like me getting credit for starting the Reality-Based movement. One of those lies that circulated for years was “Jim Wagner was never a sergeant,” despite the fact that I had been a sergeant for two law enforcement agencies and a sergeant in the military. Some idiot, who was supposedly an “investigator” looked at my old DD214 form when I was first in the military at 18 years old, and he concluded that I had never been a sergeant because I did not rise to the rank of sergeant at that time. Years of attacks like those was intended simply to take away my part in the martial arts history. Then again, Robert Yong wrote a great editorial about me early on giving me credit for introducing reality-based self-defense to the world when I was inducted into the Black Belt magazine Hall of Fame as Self-Defense Instructor of the Year 2006; seven years after my first article appeared in the magazine.
At this event of Who’s Who in the martial arts I ran into Dan Hect, CEO of the Masters Hall of Fame. He was the one who presented me with the Masters Hall of Fame Silver Life Achievement Award 2011. We had a nice pleasant conversation. I then ran into one of my old police patrol partners Dave Dye. We both served on the Costa Mesa Police Department and taught the defensive tactics portion of the Citizens Police Academy together. Dave had heard about my Jim Wagner Reality-Based Blade and ordered one from me there on the spot. My good friend Dana Stamos, publisher of USAdojo.com and World Wide Dojo, was there. We didn’t get much time to talk, but Dana knows what everybody in the martial arts limelight is doing. She’s a great source for martial arts information.
I wanted to stay until the end of the ceremony, but I cut out early. It was getting late and I wanted my 10-year-old nephew Gary and 9-year-old niece Manique see me in my dress blues uniform holding my Martial Arts History Museum trophy and certificate since they live only several minutes from where the event was held. I have been training Gary and Manique since they could first walk, and they are heavily into martial arts competitions winning a lot of medals and trophies, and losing some as well. I wanted them to see that their uncle is very much a part of the martial arts community, and that it is something they should do all their lives just as I have done; lead by example. Fortunately, I made it there just before they were told to go to bed, and we got a photo together. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
Reality-Based European Headquarters Moves to Cologne
For 8 years my Reality-Based Personal Protection European Headquarters has been located in Solingen, Germany; the “City of Blades” as it has been called since Medieval times. I had a great training room and equipment storage area at the Boker factory there. Boker is the famous knife manufacturer that sponsors the Reality-Based Personal Protection system in German speaking countries (Germany, Austria and the German speaking region of Switzerland). The facility was great, but after class the city of Solingen had little to offer me or my students. It has no night life, and it is not exactly the place one would want to bring a friend or spouse and have them go off on their own while busy training is going on from 8 am to 5 pm. It’s not that it is a bad city, for it is not. It’s just that there is nothing to see there for tourists, most shops are closed by 7 pm, and there are limited restaurants. Therefore, the president of Boker, Carsten Felix, my German Director Tobias, Joachim Roux (one of my certified instructors that I recommend students to for sustained RBPP training) and I got together a few months ago and decided to move the Reality-Based Personal Protection Headquarters to Cologne thirty minutes away. Joachim Roux, who has been running a successful school there for 20 years has a second level that is comparable to the space we had in Solingen. It is has plenty of space to accommodate 24 students (the maximum number of students I’ll teach at a time), it has wall to wall matts that shoes and boots can worn on, and it is blacked out: no windows, black ceiling and black walls so that we can manipulate the lighting. If we want to have a midnight alley scenario we can accomplish it.
Cologne, of course, is a fantastic city for many reasons. For tourists there is plenty to see: Germany’s largest Gothic cathedral called The Dom, several museums, parks along the Rhein River with a tramway (the Kolner Seilbahn) that crosses from one side to the other, the Cologne Zoo, the Rathaus (Renaissance City Hall), quaint public squares, and city bus tours. All around the Dom, all within walking distance, is world class shopping, a wide variety of restaurants and beer houses, with quaint shops selling everything from sweets to the original Cologne first sold in 1792. Also next to the Dom is the concert hall for the Cologne Philharmonic. The U-Bahn (rail system) makes it easy to get around the entire city, and the trains that crisscross the city are just as easy to use like those in New York City, Paris or London. The main train station of Cologne, called the Hauptbahnhof, is less than a minute walk from the Dom. And, speaking of rail systems, any student flying into the Cologne/Bonn Airport will have no problem going to the train station located at the airport and getting to the Boker Reality-Based Personal Protection School or center of the city. The cost of going to the airport to center of the city is 2.90 euro. At night there are tourist and locals everywhere. It is a city full of energy. Whether at night or in the day it is pretty hard to get lost in Cologne, for the twin pointy towers of the Dom dominate the skyline.
Not only did we relocate the headquarters to the city of Cologne, I also shifted Level 1 to begin on a Saturday. I decided to start 8-hour Defensive Tactics course on a Saturday so that if anyone had to take off work to attend my five-day seminar at least they did not have to take off two additional days if they normally have the weekend off. Sunday, September 22 was Ground Survival, followed by Knife Survival on Monday, Crime Survival on Tuesday, and ending with Terrorism Survival on Wednesday. I took Thursday and Friday off, and the next Saturday and Sunday was Knife Survival and Knife Expert/Tactical Knife followed by Knife Instructor on Monday; again the weekend means less days off work for most people.
Just as we had predicted our first seminars in Cologne was a success. First of all we had a lot of professionals: Active duty soldiers of the German Army, a German corrections officer, Swiss police officers, security personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Switzerland, one Department of Justice employee out of the U.S. Embassy in Brussels, a German maritime anti-pirate security agent, and Spanish security agents. As expected, there were martial arts students and instructors from several systems: Krav Maga, Musado Military Combat, Jeet Kune Do, Aikido, Thai boxing, Tae Kwon Do, Karate, and Gung Fang. There were also a fair amount of beginners who have had no previous training attending. It was people’s desire to learn how to defend themselves against today’s crime and terrorism, and yes, even against the ego fight (a shoving match or the proverbial bar fight) that brought them all together. Every system needs Reality-Based Personal Protection, unless of course you have gone through a police academy, boot camp, counterterrorism school, Combat Lifesaver Course, and dozens of other tactical courses.
Joachim Roux, whom has become a good friend of mine over the years, made sure that on his end things ran smoothly. On our part Tobias and I had to deal with a few glitches, but that was to be expected having relocated a ton of training equipment and having a lot of last minute sign ups. 20-year-old Sevil, a Knife Survival instructor, assisted me and Tobias with Defensive Tactics, she took Ground Survival as a student this time, and then again assisted us during Knife Camp. I don’t normally have such young students help me, but Sevil has taken to the Reaity-Based system like a duck takes to water. I was so impressed with photos that she sent me of her emergency Go Bag a few weeks ago that I asked her to be in one of my training videos featuring her Go Bag. She agreed and we did some taping around Cologne. We also stood before the Dom for the introduction on Saturday evening on the 28th. Sevil, Tobias, and an assistant that cannot be named due to the nature of his work, his girlfriend, and I met up with one of my most faithful students and Level 3 instructor Dominik Klose with two of his hard charging students. We met up at the entrance of the Dom and walked over to Farmer’s Restaurant no more than 200 meters away. It’s an American style steak house, and their steaks were juicy and filling.
Dominik Klose first came to me when he was a military police soldier. For many years the German Army chief military police instructors were sending me all of their Combatives instructors to train. They liked very much how my system dove tailed into their own techniques and training methods. To catch up on all of the news, and to “talk shop,” I hung out with Dominik and his two students, after the others had gone home, at the Gaffel Kolsch beerhouse called Papa Joe’s Biersalon in the old part of the city. He ordered a kranz (a tray of Kolsch beer glasses) and once they were all gone we had caught up on everything we wanted to talk about. When we were just about to leave the beer house a street artist came up to our outdoor table and asked if we wanted a character drawing done of any of us. Dominik, in German, said to the man that he wanted a drawing done of him and me together. He wanted me, his RBPP instructor, in the picture and to be mounted in my headquarters. I thought it was a terrific idea, and so we posed for several minutes for the character drawing. When the artist flipped his board around to show us we were quite pleased. It was a good souvenir of the nice evening we had. Dominik Klose is a friend, quiet professional, and a top notch martial artist.
Every morning I had to take a U-Bahn train to work at rush hour. Following my own advice, should there be a terrorist attack, I always got into the last train car, scanned the passengers for suspicious behavior, and occasionally did a visual sweep of the floor when people got off the train. The last thing you want is for someone to leave a bomb behind in a purse or rucksack.
Thinking about a terrorist attack was not out of baseless paranoia. After all, while I was in Germany I watched the graphic images on the nightly news on CNN in my hotel room of the horrible terrorist attack that happened in Nairobi, Kenya at the Westgate shopping mall where 71 people were killed, five of them attackers, by hand grenades and small arms fire from al-Shabaab ; a terrorist group out of Somalia. Once again the world faced “extremist” Islamic terrorists. I had watched one report where Muslim witnesses who were spared stated that before the attack the terrorists told Muslims to vacate the mall, that way only the “infidels” would be left to target. Imagine killing people simply based on their religion. It is insane. Of course, once the terrorists experienced the phenomena known as “blood lust,” they lost all rational. I saw report where a Muslim family, who could not escape, were cornered and they yelled out to the terrorist coming at them, “We are Muslim! We are Muslim!” The terrorist did not care and tossed a fragmentation grenade their way. It exploded and the woman had a piece of shrapnel rip through her scalp, and the husband lost an eye. When they got off of the floor the little girl she was trying to protect was covered in blood. She thought the child had been killed, but it turned out that all the blood was from her head wound. The child was safe. The family of three survived the hand grenade. Of course, I teach in my Terrorism Survival course that once a gunman tastes blood lust it is impossible to negotiate with them. The Kenyan government stated, “They don’t want to negotiate. All they want to do is murder people.”
The terrorist attack began on Saturday, September 21st when I was teaching Defensive Tactics, which included how to get away from an Active Shooter. The attack lasted four days, practically the entire time of my Level 1 seminar. Needless to say, it was the first thing we talked about in class each morning. I’ve been telling my students for a decade now to be prepared for these types of attacks, because they are only increasing and not decreasing. In Black Belt magazine, from when I first began writing in 1999 to 2008 I would once in a while write an article for martial artists to start incorporating survival tactics into their training to deal with small arms fire, such as the AK-47, and hand grenades. Many martial artists heeded my warning, but many mocked me and even sent letters to the editor and posted on their blogs and website that I was “full of shit.” My 2005 video series, named Reality-Based Personal Protection, was filled with techniques and training methods to survive hand grenade attacks and small arms fire. However, I was also training elite police and military units across the world and I knew what was coming down the pipe; my critics didn’t. Then after November 26, 2008 nobody in the martial arts community was saying that my warnings were farfetched. That is the day Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists specifically targeted Westerners in Mumbai, India murdering 150 innocent people during the four-day siege (very similar to this most recent attack). The terrorists used hand grenades and assault rifles. Then on December 13, 2011 a lone gunman threw hand grenades into a public square packed with Christmas shoppers and then proceeded with small arms fire killing five people. Now it was no longer “over there in the Third World.” Unfortunately, over the years I had predicted that here would be mobile sniper vehicle platform assaults, and just days later the John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo sniper attacks went down in the metropolitan D.C. area and Virgina where 10 were killed and 3 injured as these guys were on their self-proclaimed “jihad.” I had several of my police and students call me up saying that I was “spot on,” because I had been training law enforcement and military units in Los Angeles for that very scenario: a terrorist sniper shooting from a vehicle and then driving away. I actually had my students play the role of terrorist and used my own pick-up truck at the range to understand the technique and tactics, which was originally developed by the Irish Republican Army and adopted by Palestinian terrorists. I also predicted, like many other professionals, the increase of office massacres and school shootings. While most traditional and sport-based martial arts schools were still teaching their students how to punch, kick, and swing a samurai sword around I was running my students through realistic scenarios while shooting them with air guns and simulating explosions. I was actually training S.W.A.T. teams and first responders how to deal with Active Shooters, and I am still doing it to this day. No, I was not paranoid in Cologne, Germany, I was merely aware of my surroundings.
A day after the terrorist attack in Africa came my 8-hour Terrorism Survival course, and of course we simulated a terrorist attack much like the one that occurred in Nairobi (I’ve been simulating these types of attacks since the system’s founding in 2003 and before that when I was teaching exclusively law enforcement and military). Students were taught pre-attack indicators, how to survive a hand grenade attack, and how to survive the massacre that follows only seconds later.
After the seminar ended on Wednesday I then had two days off. I did not waste the time, but I continued with my ongoing research on human conflict. This discipline includes writing, taking still photos, and videotaping. The first place I went to was the Praetorium Archaologische Zone; again, everything within walking distance of the center of the city. This fantastic museum is the official residence of the Roman Governor of Cologne, the capital of the Roman province of Lower Germany. The foundation of this government building is still intact along with many of the walls. There are also many Roman artifacts including the grave markers of two Roman soldiers: one who served in the 10th Legion of the Roman army, and the other who served in the 7th Legion. To be a Legionnaire was considered to be an honored duty, just like it is today in the American army. Only a few, compared to the population, have that distinction of being a warrior. It is funny how many boxers, football players, and paintball enthusiasts call themselves “warriors,” but they have never picked up a weapon and slipped on a uniform for their country. The term “warrior” should only be reserved for warriors.
The next stop in my research was the Cologne City Museum (Kolnisches Stadtmuseum). This is a fantastic museum, one I have visited before, containing many artifacts dating back to the founding of the city by the Romans to present day. My attention this time was on medieval armor and weapons. Although technology has changed over the years basic principles remain the same: helmets still protect heads, body armor still is designed to prevent cuts and penetration, and weapons intimidate or kill. I also spent a little time photographing some World War I and World War II NAZI artifacts. Cologne was a part of the Third Reich from 1933 to 1945. As a result of the war on the night of May 31, 1942 the Royal Air Force (The United Kingdom) launched Operation Millennium where 1,046 bombers dropped 1,455 tons of explosives on the city of Cologne. By the end of the war only 5% of the population remained in the city and 90% of the buildings were destroyed. Surprisingly, the Dom stayed standing. Photos in the museum show the ruins of the city. The Cologne City Museum saved some of the rubble from the bombings, which serve to remind today’s visitors of the horrors of war.
My third museum was the Domschatzkammer Koln (the Dom Treasury). It is filled with fascinating church relics, which includes The Shrine of the Magi. These were the wise men who visited Jesus Christ at his birth and presented him with the famous gifts of gold (a symbol of a king), frankincense (a symbol of a priest), and myrrh (the spice used for burials, thus the death and resurrection). However, for my research I studied the artifacts that they had there from a grave of a Frankish youth buried around 537 AD: a well preserved war helmet, pars of a shield, the metal portion of a Roman style spear, a sword, a war ax head, metal arrow tips, and a few other items. After Roman rule the Frankish Empire (regnum Francorum), a confederation of Germanic tribes, emerged from the 3rd century and lasted to 843 AD under Charlemagne and then Louis the Pious. The Empire eventually included today’s France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, Switzerland, Austria and Northern Italy.
The next day for my research I went to the Cologne Zoo (Kolner Zoo). Since Reality-Based Personal Protection includes Wilderness Survival I went to photograph and videotape some of the animals there. The great thing about the zoo is that it is right across the street from the tramway (Kolner Seilbahn) that takes you from one side of the Rhein river to the other side, and a spectacular view along the way.
After my “two days off” it was back to work training a new batch of Reality-Based students. This time it was Knife Camp from Saturday, September 28 to Monday, September 30. If a student completes Knife Survival and Knife Expert they literally have everything they need to know about edged weapons conflict. If they are a professional (a government police officer, corrections officer, military, or security agent) their training is completed in the two-hour Tactical Knife course. Then, anyone who completed Monday’s course, Knife Instructor, was certified and qualified to teach Knife Survival: an 8-hour intensive course on how to survive actual criminal and terrorist knife attacks. This is the same course that the German government, Israeli government, Finnish government, Trinidad & Tobago government, and others had me teach to their personnel. Yes, I stated “government,” meaning at the highest tactical level sanctioned by the government. Since I’ve been teaching this going back to 1993, twenty years, I have not had one student ever say one negative comment about my knife training. This is why I have police, military, Krav Maga, karate, kung-fu, and so many others coming to me for training. It’s realistic, and it is effective. Anyone can see for themselves with a few clips of my training on YouTube.
On October 1st I flew back home to California. I flew back home to a United States government that had partially shut down due to internal strife between the White House and Congress. Fortunately for me the Air Traffic Controllers and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) were still functioning due to being exempt for public safety and security reasons.
Combat Lifesaver Course Recertification
A few days before taking off to Cologne, Germany to teach my two seminars I had to go through the Combat Lifesaver Course, which is a yearly requirement for military personnel in combat and security related jobs. This is one yearly course I do not mind running through, because first aid techniques are perishable skills. When seconds count to save a life I want my techniques to be flawless and my reaction time reduced.
The CLS course included stopping the bleeding, putting on tourniquets, needle decompression pneumothorax, inserting a Nasopharyngeal Airway (NPA), and how to use various military stretchers and Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) and Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC). There was a final written test and then a full-scenario. My scenario was a four-soldier team going into a Warm Zone in low-light conditions and saving a downed female soldier. I had to put a tourniquet on her right arm, and then while I was treating her in the Warm Zone turned into a Hot Zone, and one of my soldiers providing security was shot in the arm. After we returned fire and had the “enemy” retreat I put a pressure dressing on the soldier’s arm and had him continue force protection. The Master Sergeant called in the 9 Line and prepared us for MEDEVAC. The whole time the instructor staff were yelling at us and trying to stress us out. It did not work on me because I had been in many medical situations in the danger zone as a police patrol officer. I’ve actually had to deal with stab wounds, gunshot wounds, and even held a man’s arm together until the paramedics took over. In the test I just blocked out the instructors yelling at me and just stayed focused on the task at hand. When it was all over the instructors, which included a Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel, congratulated us on a job well done.
On Sunday, September 15th, I was again certified in Combat Lifesaving. When I was teaching my students several days later in Knife Survival how to deal with knife wounds and severed arteries I was fresh with my medical skills, and knew that I was teaching the most up-to-date material in the world. Thankfully I had a Germany Army Ranger medic in the course who confirmed what I was teaching to my students, and he even added a few good pointers himself, which I always welcome from people who have more experience than me in a particular area of expertise.
Reality-Based Instructor Patrick Wengler visits California
My Reality-Based Personal Protection Director of Luxembourg, Patrick Wengler, who I visited in his country in August, and who assisted me and Christophe Besse with my Level 1 courses in Paris, France visited me in sunny Southern California before my Combat Lifesaver Course. Just has he had showed me all around the city of Luxembourg I showed him all around my neck of the woods: Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Newport Beach, and I even took him one day to Universal Studios Hollywood so he can see how the movies are made. Each time I go there I get more ideas for how to make more realistic Reality-Based scenarios. Anyone who has ever been in my Level 1 courses knows that we try to make our scenarios realistic so that they have actual memories to draw upon in a real attack.
The great thing about Patrick’s visit was that we had plenty of time to compare techniques, training methods, and tactics; not to mention having some great food along the way.
Alaska: The Last Frontier
At the start of the month I was up in Alaska to work on my human conflict research and to do some video projects. Oh yes, there were Native American tribes fighting up there, the Russians once controlled Alaska and fought with the tribes up there, and then the Americans bought the territory from the Russians on March 30, 1867 for $7.2 million because they wanted a buffer zone between the Russian mainland and the British in Canada.
My trip included traveling on a cruise ship up the coast of Canada and Alaska that started in Seattle. I visited the cities of Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan in that order. In each city I went to their main museums to continue my research. Besides picking up good historical information I had the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful untamed wilderness in the world: glaciers, incredible waterfalls, icebergs, hundreds of miles of forests and mountains, Humpback whales feeding, and a few killer whales (Orca) literally come up from under the ship and surface right next to the port side of the ship right where I was videotaping. Of course, the ship had great food, superb entertainment, and I even did some rock climbing on the ship’s rock wall located at the stern (the back) of the ship. I have had lots of tactical climbing and rappelling training over the years, and it felt good to scurry up the wall like a spider.
The Alaska trip was a great way to start the month of September, which turned out to be quite a full month of a lot of good events.
Movie Review: The East
While I was flying from Amsterdam to Minneapolis I watched the 2013 American thriller film The East starring Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgard, and Ellen Page. I recommend this movie to all Reality-Based Personal Protection students and instructors because it has some good scenes about a woman (former FBI agent working for a private intelligence firm) going deep undercover to infiltrate an underground activist group who target various corporations for polluting the environment and selling harmful pharmaceuticals. It also does a good job of show how an undercover agent can sympathize with the very group they are assigned to spy on, and as such the mission is compromised.
There are a few animal rights groups and Green groups who resort to terrorism to bring attention to their cause. Mostly the damage, which runs into the millions of dollars, is property damage, however, sometimes the actual executives are targeted and this movie shows what can happen to any corporate head if they are targeted by and “extremist” group.
As far as fight scenes, there are none; none to glean any value from anyway. There are two conflict first aid scenes which are worth watching, and quite realistic. It also depicts very well how there can be squabbling among members, for such groups lack the cohesion and traditions found in professional military and paramilitary groups.
The East was released in theaters on May 31, 2013 but it must have got past me. I don’t recall seeing any advertisement or trailers about it, but I am glad I stumbled upon it.
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