C’est un miracle! I was able to certify six new French instructors in Paris from my studio in California, all by videoconference.
Christophe Besse, my protégé, and the only Reality-Based Personal Protection instructor in the world authorized to teach instructors under my name, taught the Knife Camp on April 21 and 22 that consisted of three courses: Knife Survival, Knife Expert, and Tactical Knife. Then on the third day of the camp I was there, via the Internet, teaching and grading our new students. At the end of the course each one of them was given a test, showing me that they knew how to teach the material, and then I certified each one of them. Sent electronically, Christophe presented them with their Knife Expert Instructor certificates: Ludovic Frebou, David Couplan, François Dimard, Fabrice Lucion, David Dessiaume, and Boumediene Galleze.
The great thing about my studio, that I teach from using the Internet, is that I have everything I need there: a Century B.O.B., training equipment, and my students can see me demonstrate and correct them with a full body view. Almost everything I teach in person can be taught via the Internet.
When Christophe and I work together, teaching through the Internet, there is no additional fee from the students, because it is part of the instructor training package. However, if anybody wants to take private lessons directly from me in this manner, then they can. For more information click on PRIVATE LESSONS.
If you are in Europe, and you would like hands-on private or group instructions (student or instructor certification) in any of the six RBPP core courses, then Christophe Besse will go to you, or you can go to him in Paris, France. If you are interested email me at email@example.com
Always a student
In my book Reality-Based Personal Protection, published by Black Belt books, I have a quote from my student Avi Nardia, the man who introduced the world to the original Israeli martial art KAPAP thanks to my prompting, “I’d rather be a student of Reality-Based, than the master of fantasy.”
In other words, Avi believed it was important to be learning how to deal with real threats, such as modern crime and terrorism, than to adhere to a system that is outdated and irrelevant against today’s violence. Also, the key word is “student.” I’ve been studying the martial arts for 41 years now, and I’m the founder of the Reality-Based Personal Protection system, and I still go to courses, seminars, and events as a student on a regular basis in order to increase my knowledge and improve my martial skills. On Saturday, April 28, 2018 I went to the City of Tustin Mayor’s Disaster Preparedness Exposition, which is a city not far from where I live. This event hosted the police department, fire department, medical teams, the U.S. Army, the American Red Cross, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, and all kinds of organizations that will assist in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. Having been trained by law enforcement and the military in disaster management I just had to go to this event.
Of course, I reconfirmed many things I had been taught before in the past, but I also learned a few new things I did not know before, and that made the trip and my time worth it. I once had an instructor tell me, “If you walk away with at least one new piece of information that you did not know before, then it was worth it.” Well, I walked away with several.
Of course, some of this new information I will be teaching to my Reality-Based Personal Protection instructors and students. Now, some martial artists may be saying, “What does this have to do with fighting.” I say, “It has everything to do with fighting. Being prepared for a major terrorist attack, or act of war, involves pre-conflict, conflict, and post-conflict.” For those of you who took my Urban Survival course you know what I’m talking about.
One of the highlights of the expo was having the chance to go inside the earthquake simulator. It is a trailer that looks like a home living room inside, that simulates a 6.7 earthquake. I went inside the trailer, with 19 other people, and followed the instructions by seatbelting myself to a seat. Then a briefing was given, and suddenly a 6.7 “earthquake” rocked the trailer. Plastic dishes and safe objects (props) began to fall off of the shelves. I had experienced a couple of big earthquakes before, but I had forgotten just how horrifying it feels. That simulator instantly brought back my memories, and I realized then and there how serious an earthquake can be, and that I have to be even more prepared for one than before. I am always prepared for “the Big One” as a Californian, but I know I can do even better. Look at what is happening on the Island of Hawaii right now. If you had to suddenly evacuate your home, and be gone for days or weeks, do you have everything you need? Could you take what you need in a moment’s notice? Being on a police S.W.A.T. team, and a soldier, taught me to have all my gear ALWAYS ready to go. Murphy’s Law dictates that the disaster will strike when you are least prepared for it, so be prepared now.
One of the pieces of emergency equipment that I always have with me, even when I travel, is the Jim Wagner Go Bag. By clicking on the link you can read all about what a Go Bag can do for you in an emergency, and you can even order mine online. I won’t go on the Paris metro, inside a passenger aircraft, on a train, or many other situations without it.
Oh, and speaking of equipment, now let me address the question under the right hand upper photo. The tool that is being held is a “Hooligan tool.” Every fire truck carries one, as well as every law enforcement S.W.A.T. vehicle, and it is used to breach most standard doors. In an emergency you may end up needing one, and so you need to put it on your Christmas list. You should keep it in the trunk of your car, and if you ever need to breach a door, or bust out a window, to rescue someone you’ll be glad you bought it. They come in various sizes, but if you buy one like you see in the photo you can’t go wrong.
My advice to you, as your RBPP instructor, is that if you ever have a chance to go to a disaster preparedness expo, seminar, or course, then do it. It’s like car insurance. You hope you’ll never need it, but you’ll be really glad that you have it when you need it.
Sheepdogs keeping the flock safe
Jesus called his followers “lambs,” and therefore the congregation of a church is often referred to as the “flock.” The shepherd of the flock is the pastor or priest of the congregation that teaches the Word of God, the Bible, to them, and cares for the physical, emotional, and spiritual welfare of his flock. Yet, there are evil people in this world that attack churches. In the past few years there have been many attacks against Christians worldwide: protests, vandalism, active shooters, and even acts of terrorism. Well, on Sunday evening, on April 29, 2018, a few hours after the church services, I was on a live-fire gun range in Southern California teaching yet another church that hired me as their firearms instructor; something I’ve been doing for 15 years. I teach everything a church security needs to know: individual and team equipment selection, organizing and running a team, legal issues, perimeter security, tactical observation, dealing with disruptive people, dealing with violent people, bomb searches, security screening, active shooter engagement, working with first responders, and yes, firearm courses. What a lot of people don’t realize is that fielding a church security team, especially if there are armed security members, is like forming and maintaining a small police department, for the training and operations has to be on the same par to avoid any liabilities.
The good thing about this training I gave on the 29th was that the Director of Security of another local church, and a fairly large church at that, was invited to observe the training. He liked what I was doing, and asked me to set up a training program for his church. It’s sad that any church needs to have security personnel, but that’s the violent world we live in today, and I’m there to help them with this “reality.”
A little air and exercise
Not everything I do is about fighting. Even when it comes to exercise I like to do many different things besides the martial arts. To start my month out right I went hiking in the General Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park in Orange County, California on April 13, 2018; a location not far from my home. Not only is hiking a great form of exercise, but being out in the fresh air, in the wilderness, in the beginning of spring, helps clear the mind and keep everything into perspective.
Of course, even when enjoying God’s country one must always BE A HARD TARGET, not only cautious of people, but nature itself. Before setting out on my morning hike there were signs warning hikers about rattlesnakes. I took this warning seriously, and I watched out for them, but I did not run across any. I did, however, see a lot of poison oak, and I was careful not to touch it. Poison oak is one reason I never hike in shorts, but always wear long pants, high tube socks, and hiking boots. I took a photo of a poison oak plant in order to show you what it looks like, should you ever be in my neck of the woods.
Imitation is the best form of flattery
Recently I was in the Army Navy Surplus Store in the city of Orange, also in Orange County. When I looked into their knife case I thought I saw one of my Jim Wagner Reality Based Blades that I designed and manufactured by Böker. However, when I got closer I saw that it was a knife made by Schrade. I got fooled, because the handle was a copy of my handle design, with a few minor changes. With a few minor changes a competitor knife company is not violating patent laws, and this is exactly what they did.
I have seen copies of my knife handle, and even blades, but I realize that is flattery. Of course, there are some knives out on the market that are pirated copies of some of my designs, and that is something that gets me angry, because it is a form of theft.