When you think of the country of Switzerland you probably think of international banking, quality chocolates, world class watches, picturesque mountain scenes with cows casually meandering about on green hillsides wearing large cow bells, but you don’t think of crime or terrorism there. Most people don’t. Indeed, violence is plaguing their European neighbors located to the north and west of their borders, but Switzerland has remained untouched; at least when it comes to horrific radical Islamic terrorist attacks. Crime has increased, largely due to some “bad apple” immigrants from war torn countries like Somalia, and who have little respect for Western law and order, but terrorism is still unfelt in this picture postcard country. However, the Swiss are not ignorant people. The Swiss military, police, and security companies know that it is just “a matter of time” before their peace-loving country (a country that has not been in a war since 1847) is hit, and they are preparing for the inevitable. What is surprising though is that some martial arts schools are starting to “wake up” to this fact as well. One such school who sees the writing on the wall is the WULIN Martial Arts Academy, which has its headquarters located in Volketswil only a 20 minute drive from the most populous city in Switzerland – Zurich.
The WULIN Martial Arts Academy is a traditional martial arts school, and the moment you step foot into their main school of four schools this is quite apparent: long Chinese calligraphy scrolls on the walls, burning candles next to Buddhist statues, the light hint of incense wafting through the air, and Asian architectural accents adorn each room. The owners of this martial arts confederation are Fredy Jundo Kuhn and Sandy Taikyu Kuhn who offer their communities the arts of Kung-Fu and Qi Gong, along with yoga and Zen meditation. However, pull open up one of the black doors of the storage closets in the main training hall and you’ll find Airsoft pistols, the Impact Head, and the Jim Wagner Training Knife. That’s right, Fredy and Sandy are Jim Wagner Reality-Based Personal Protection Knife Survival instructors, and have been for a few years. However, this year they made a decision to expand their RBPP footprint on the communities they serve, and they decided to start getting certified in more subjects that I teach. For 2017 they decided to start with the Defensive Tactics Expert Instructor package, and this December is when I made it happen for them.
I was already scheduled to teach the owners and top instructors at the Swiss Security Academy in Zurich, Switzerland for six days overlapping the first two weeks in December. This had been planned months in advance. Then, lo and behold, I get an email from Fredy and Sandy. It was an email of disappointment stating, “Jim, the courses in Germany had been cancelled?” For you see, I had originally been scheduled to teach three different instructor packages (Defensive Tactics, Knife Survival, and Terrorism Surival) in Cologne, Germany through my host of 10 years Boker (the famous knife manufacturer headquartered in Solingen) the last week in November, and that extended into the first week of December. Boker had cancelled these yearly courses, because they were restructuring their company, and in this major shift of direction they decided to drop all extra-curricular activity, and one of the casualties was my Reality-Based Personal Protection courses. Unfortunately, a lot of students throughout Europe, and two instructors as far away as India, had been planning on coming to the Cologne courses to get additional instructor certificates from me to expand their businesses. Joe Joshi of Fitcomb has already introduced approximately 20,000 people to my system in India. Oh sure, Boker properly notified everybody enrolled in the course, but some people, like Fredy and Sandy, tend to sign up just a few days before a course for a wide variety of reasons. I didn’t even know that they were planning on attending the Defensive Tactics Expert Instructor package in Cologne, and the reason was they didn’t know in advance if they were coming or not was because they didn’t know if they’d have anyone to cover for them while they were away. Then when they finally decided to come, they found out the bad news. So, I replied to Fredy and Sandy’s email telling them that I’d give them private lessons in their school while I was in Zurich. Sandy called it “karma,” and I called it “God’s good timing.”
On December 4, 2017 Fredy and Sandy picked me up from my hotel in Zurich. They came to get me in their company car, which serves as a mobile billboard sign for their school; it is wrapped in state of the art graphics. They then drove me Volketswil, which is 20 minutes outside of Zurich. When I entered their school it reminded me of my own beginnings in the martial arts as a young man, because I had started my long journey with traditional systems: Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Kenpo, Kung-Fu, et cetera. The school had the same “feel” as some of those I attended from my past. After a brief tour of the place we got right to work. With their instructor outlines and pens to the side on a study table we started with the Reality-Based Personal Protection warm up in the main training room. Within minutes my two students realized that even the warm up has a lot of science and tactical considerations involved.
I not only taught the husband and wife team each technique within the Defensive Tactics Expert Instructor course, but I also taught them why each technique is in the system, and how to effectively teach them. Having certified Fredy and Sandy in the past as Knife Survival Instructors I already knew they were fast learners, and moving through the new material went at a nice pace. During breaks I’d get a glass of Sandy’s own blended tea, which was incredible.
The great thing about private lessons with only a couple of students is that they could “pick my brain” for information, ask a lot of questions, and I could really critique their abilities much better than I could with a large group. There’s just some things you can’t get from a book or video, and Fredy and Sandy got the best I could offer by having my full attention. Of course, that knowledge translates into future Swiss Francs (the Swiss currency) when their students pay them for instructions on how to survive against today’s criminals and terrorists. In fact, this seems to be the main direction I’ve been going in for the past six months. Most of my teaching in 2017 has been to church security teams, private security companies, and martial arts schools that want to offer Reality-Based tactics and training methods. I’m filling in the gaps of these organizations.
When I completed the instructions that I had been hired for I was absolutely confident that Fredy and Sandy would be a success with the new material that I had taught them. Not only were they extremely happy with what I had taught them, but they said to me, “The next certification that we would like you to teach us is Terrorism Survival Instructor,” to which I replied, “No problem.” I had taught my first Terrorism Survival course in Geneva in 2016.
Through the conversations that we had together while driving between the hotel and the academy each day, and while having lunches together, I knew that they were looking “at the big picture” wanting their martial arts schools to be in a position to offer more realistic training to their students, as well as adding new open enrolment workshops, before the predicted violence increases in Switzerland. Of course, many Swiss travel abroad for business and vacations, and they could easily find themselves the victim of crime and terrorism.
Because of Fredy and Sandy’s outstanding hospitality I not only see them as my students, but my friends. I enjoyed my time with them, and I look forward to the next time in 2018.
If you are a martial arts instructor, then you may want to attend some of my courses in Zurich in 2018. Just contact me, and we’ll, as we Americans say, “Get the ball rolling.” Switzerland is the perfect location to travel to, being in the middle of Europe, and Zurich is a great place to visit. Of course, if you already have an established self-defense school anywhere in Europe you may want me to teach you private instructor lessons at your location, like I did for Fredy and Sandy, and then you can start teaching Reality-Based Personal Protection courses immediately to expand your current business.
BE A HARD TARGET
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