Looka Here! You did not hear from me in the month of July, and here we are almost finished with August, and you’re just now getting this from me. If it were not for Reality-Based Personal Protection Board of Advisors Jörg Kuschel posting my articles on Facebook on a weekly basis you would have thought that I retired and left the martial arts. So, let me explain my absence.
For the month of July I was working closely with my first RBPP student, and good friend for over 30 years, Mike DiGiovanni. On September 8, 2018, which is right around the corner, is his 80th birthday. He wrote his autobiography titled LOOKA HERE! It’s a New Orleans expression, that’s where he was born and raised, meaning “Listen up!” I am the one who published his book, and it is now on sale around the world on Amazon. So, needless to say, this was quite a lot of work I had to do, and I had to devote the month of July in getting it done before his birthday party where he is expecting 50 guests. Of course, I did have to teach a few security courses, a firearms course, and do a few real world security missions.
I was eager to help Mike him on his book for some other reasons as well. 1) It is a very interesting story about what it was like living in the American city of New Orleans in the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s, and I felt people would like to know about it. 2) The 181-page book has facts about American history I never heard before, like Italian-Americans seeking work to feed their families, only to be turned away at the California border by the police during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. 3) Mike goes into length what it was like serving in the U.S. Army in occupied Germany in the 1950’s, and how American troops were even in Bussac, France, which the French government was very uncomfortable with. 4) And, he mentions me, his self-defense instructor, in the book as well.
What made Mike decide to write his biography was having been inspired by me. A few years ago I asked him if he would proofread my autobiography Jealousy & Envy, which is all about how I created Reality-Based Personal Protection. He loved my book, and asked me, “When did you have time to write all of this?”
I answered him, “I forced myself to write it. Every time I was on a train, on a plane, in my hotel room at night during my seminars, or when I just felt inspired, I worked on my book. Before I knew it, it was done.”
Mike mused, “Maybe I can write my autobiography.”
I encouraged him to do it, but of course, many times people tell me they are going to do something, and they never do. Or, they get part way into it, realize it’s a lot of work, and quit. It’s like that in the martial arts as well. Many marital artists want to teach people self-defense, because they are excited how it changed their own lives, but when they find out that people are not coming to their door and beating it down for lessons all of the time they eventually give up. Well, Mike was not just talk. He actually did it. Well, actually, he did both – he has continued to teach the martial arts to this day, and he wrote his book. It took him about a year to write LOOKA HERE!, and several weeks ago he handed me the manuscript. He then asked me if I would publish it, and I agreed. It was the first time I ever published a book that was not written by me.
Oh, and before I forget, Mike is the man who helped me get my “foot in the door” for my law enforcement career. Mike is the one who told me about a job opening at the Costa Mesa Police Department Men’s Jail Facility back in 1988. At that time Mike was one of my students, and he was also the Maintenance Manager for the City of Costa Mesa. He knew the sergeant in charge of the jail, Sergeant George Yezbick, a rough and tough character of Lebanese descent. I was in advertising at the time, but he thought with my military and martial arts background that I’d be a good jailer. To make a long, and interesting, story short I got the job, and it was this next road that had to be taken by me to eventually develop the Reality-Based Personal Protection system. And so, if you have studied any Reality-Based Personal Protection from me, be it from my writings, videos, or courses, Mike indirectly impacted your life as well.
The most important reason Mike wrote his autobiography was for his children, and his grandchildren to read about his life, in his own words, long after he has left this earth. He wanted his descendants to know who he really was as a person, and not just an old photograph in somebody’s photo album or on the wall with the generic title “my grandfather” or my “great grandfather,” and nothing much else known about him. He wanted to pass down his stories, adventures, and his personality to those he loves, and to his friends who knew him. But, let’s not talk about death so soon, even though Mike has no fear of dying. In fact, he just said to me recently, “When I die I’m going to be home with Jesus.” Not only has his faith been one of his secrets to a long life, but at this moment Mike is one of the most physically fit persons I know. Just this last weekend he ran a mile and a half (2.5 kilometers), and did an obstacle course. Every day, except Sundays, he exercises, and even teaches fitness courses. He does yoga, and he till trains and teaches the martial arts. Of course, when it comes to self-defense he’s fast and furious with a blade, which goes back to 1986 when I first taught him, and he proudly carries the Jim Wagner Reality-Based Blade everyday. Although he is a longtime student, Mike is actually an inspiration to me as well. I hope I am as athletic as he is now when I reach the age of 80-years-old. I have seen him workout harder, and better, than even most 20-year-olds. Most of his old friends are either dead, in an old folks home, or with one foot in the grave. Remember! He’s doing obstacle courses like a police recruit for fun! OK, he gave up full contact sparring five years ago, but come on!
Anyway, I highly recommend that you buy his book LOOKA HERE!
Write your own story and get it published
Are you one of my Reality-Based Personal Protection students or certified instructors? Do you have a good story to tell? Do you want others to know about it? Then perhaps you’ll want me to publish your book. All you have to do is write it, send me some photos, and then it is on Amazon for the whole world to read. Even if your writing is not perfect, or there are a lot of grammatical errors in it, I’ll clean it up for you.
It does not have be about your entire life, although you may want to, but it can even be about one specific time in your life, or an action packed event in your life that could take up a whole book. Obviously, I want part of the book to be about your martial arts history, and definitely a little about your experiences in the Jim Wagner Reality-Based Personal Protection system, and what made you decide to study it. Send a few scanned 600 dpi photos, and voilà! In no time you may just have a hard copy in your hands to let people know about your life like Mike DiGiovanni did.
Perhaps you don’t have the skills, time, or desire to write an entire book. However, you certainly can write four pages, and send the best photo you have of yourself.
Your opening paragraph will be where you introduce yourself: your full name, what year you were born in, where you were born, and where you grew up.
The body of the short story will be how you got into the martial arts, and other things that may be related. You must be accurate when giving facts: dates, places, names of people, et cetera. Most of all, do not criticize any instructors or other systems.
The conclusion of the short story will be how you found out about the Jim Wagner Reality-Based Personal Protection system, and how it influenced you. Then the last few sentences will be what you are doing now in your life.
Then, in a year, I want to compile all the short stories that are sent to me and publish a book. I don’t have a title in mind at the moment, but maybe something like The Mighty Men & Women of Reality-Based. I have no doubt there will be a lot of interesting stories.
Now, if you are from a non-English speaking country, I will want your story in both your native language and in English (again, the English does not have to be perfect, but your own language has to come to me perfect, because that is what is going to be printed).