Reality-Based is growing in the country of Italy By Jim Wagner
The airport terminal was filled with Italian passengers waiting in the queue for their luggage to be taken. Suddenly a hand grenade skipped across the floor immediately after somebody yelled, “Allah ou akbar!” (God is greater! in Arabic). There was a loud BOOM! and then two men came in with handguns shooting those left standing or escaping. After the carnage I yelled, “Stefano, you’re dead because you weren’t convincing in looking dead. Plus you were ‘flagging’ (making a slight movement with the heel of the foot)!” I turned to Massimo, “Good! You survived because you stayed to the edges of the room, your Position of Advantage, and were not caught in the Center Mass area.” I then turned to one of the terrorists, Gian Mario, and complemented him on his brutal tactics and flawless Arabic that he had learned as a Carabinari working with counter-terrorist groups. This event that I described was not in some exotic international location where Italian citizens take their vacation, but it was a simulated terrorist attack in the city of Ravenna, Italy on May 4th. The passengers were not really passengers but martial artists taking part in the one-week Reality-Based Personal Protection seminar from April 30 to May 5, and Friday was the final course – Terrorism Survival, where this all happened.
The Reality-Based seminar that I personally taught is actually made up of five individual courses, each a full day of hands-on training: Defensive Tactics (everything a person needs to know for hand-to-hand conflict), Ground Survival (how to survive on the ground in a wide variety of violent crimes), Knife Survival (a real eye opener that is like no other martial arts system in the world), Crime Survival (learning about what really happens to people, and not just training them for the proverbial “bar fight”), and Friday ended with Terrorism Survival (learning to survive everything from a hand grenade attack and small arms fire to where to sit on various forms of public transportation). The Reality-Based seminar was organized by Fabrizio Capucci, Reality-Based Director of Italy, and this was the first time that I taught all of my Level 1 courses in Italy. Fabrizio was the first Italian in the world to be certified by me in Los Angeles back in 2003. For years he taught private lessons, but went public with the system when he and I taught a two-day introduction course in Bergamo last August.
The majority of the students attending this event were martial arts instructors from all parts of Italy, but it also included Paolo Vezzali (an Italian living in Argentina who came out just to take the courses), Andrea Borsetti (owner of a private security company called C.I.S. located in Bergamo), Michele Surian (a World Karate Champion, full-contact kickboxer, and martial arts instructor), and others from many martial arts systems. The other attendees were students who signed up for individual courses, and not the whole week, which is allowed. The Reality-Based system is a modular system. Those men who signed up for the Reality-Based courses found out about the seminar from the Internet www.realitybaseditalia.it or have been following my writings and buying my instructional DVDs for years from Budo International. Those who signed up for all five courses, and took the extended instructor certification option, were officially instructor certified upon graduation to teach under my name the Reality-Based Personal Protection system. The following are Italy’s first instructors: Paolo Vezzali, Stefano Filippo, Manuel Frati, Gian Mario Cetini, Guglielmo Mannelli, Massimo Gambelli, and Michele Surian. Several others some of the courses and will be certified on my next trip to Italy.
What is making Reality-Based grow?
So why did my courses attract police officers, security agents, Krav Maga instructors, a Karate instructor, a Wing Tsun instructor, and those from other traditional-based systems? The reason is because the Reality-Based Personal Protection system has elements and techniques simply missing from other fighting systems, and I can make this claim because I have been all over the world for more than a decade training elite military and police units, as well as evaluating every martial arts system under the sun. Some of the things missing in other systems that is exclusively found in Reality-Based is: Pre-Conflict and Post-Conflict training, realistic modern scenarios (like the one I started this article with), courtroom survival advice, appropriate use-of-force education based on Italian and European Union law, insights into the criminal mind, the latest police and military Defensive Tactics applicable to civilians, the simple truth that there are only 10 primary directions in which to strike, block, and move… and the list goes on comparing the differences. Some of you reading this article may think I am exaggerating the effectiveness and completeness of the Reality-Based system in order to promote it, but I can assure you that my claims are not exaggerated in the system’s revolutionary approach. My good friend Alfredo Tucci, publisher of Budo, has been promoting my system for years. I believe that every citizen and martial artist should learn this system for their own self-protection. In fact, it is the same system that I have taught to the FBI, German counterterrorist team GSG9, U.S. Marines, Israeli Special Forces, Argentinean G.O.E., Brazilian G.A.T.E., the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, London Metropolitan Police, and many others.
Reality-Based is a survival system
Reality-Based Personal Protection is not for everybody, and I’ll be the first to admit that. It has no traditions, no katas, no outdated ancient techniques or impractical training methods, and no alligence to any one culture. Reality-Based is American, it’s French, it’s Dutch, it’s Chinese, and now it’s definitely Italian. The system adapts to the country it is in. Those who are in the martial arts purely for sport-based training, such as Brazilian Ju Jitsu, won’t like it. However, if learning how to survive modern crime and terrorism is your goal, then Reality-Based is for you because real self defence can be learned in just a few days, not months or years like many would have you believe. That’s all it takes – days. I’ll be Ravenna, Italy again teaching my Level 1 courses next April – May in 2008 and I encourage you to sign up for one or all five courses. If you are an instructor, and you sign up for the instructor certification program, you could literally be teaching Reality-Based to your own students after you take these courses. If you want to get certified sooner than that I am teaching these courses in other locations in Europe.
On May 4th I taught my Italian students survival tactics if a gunman comes aboard in my Terrorism Survival course. Although my students found this information very informative a couple of them told my Italian Reality-Based Director Fabrizio Capucci during the break, “This will never happen in Italy.” On May 15th three Albanian “immigrants” (Armand Ali Ibrahimi, 19 years old, Ali Myka, 21 years old, and an unknown suspect) boarded a public bus in the quiet Northern Italian town of Trecate and took 10 people hostage; two of the hostages were off-duty police officers. One of the police officers tried to disarm one of the criminals who was armed with a gun, but a second criminal slashed him with a knife across the arm. When the officer failed to disarm the criminal they threw him off of the bus. The police officer survived but was hospitalized. The second police officer was tied to a seat with shoe strings. Later, several kilometers down the road, the criminals had the bus pull over and they set it on fire and fled the scene. Nobody was hurt and everyone managed to get out of the bus. Two of the criminals were captured and one is outstanding. I would not have even known about this story because I left Italy on May 5th. Fortunately, Fabrizio and I had to meet up in Madrid, Spain on May 14th to work on some Reality-Based DVDs. The next day after taping Fabrizio happened to have found an Italian newspaper – the Corriere Della Sera (www.corriere.it). He found the story and translated it for me. It’s not that I am a profit, but in my Reality-Based courses I cover crime and terrorism scenarios that are the most common worldwide. Although bus attacks are rare, they do happen from time to time. Again, what were the criminals armed with? They were armed with a gun and a knife. This is why I spend 80% of my training dealing with weapons. The officer who tried to disarm the criminal did not have a weapon on him. In Italy police officers do not carry their handguns when off duty. Had the officers been able to carry guns off duty the incident may have ended immediately, and no hostages would have been taken. Fortunately for all, this incident ended without any deaths.
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