This summer is the last time I’ll be teaching my Reality-Based Personal Protection Level 1, 2, and 3 courses in France, or any European French speaking country for that matter. No, I’m not retiring, far from it. The RBPP systems is making some big changes, for the better, and my protégé of the system, Christophe Besse, headquartered in Paris, France, is working closely with me to update the system, which in turn will grow the system – the only “complete self-defense system” in the world. France, with Christophe’s help and leadership, will be the pilot program for the rest of the world.
“So, who is going to teach the different Levels that students and self-defense instructors have all studied over the world for the past 12 years?” you might be asking yourself right now. The simple answer is that Directors and Master Instructors will be teaching these popular programs I had created, while I’ll be teaching Instructor Development Programs and Specialty courses. However, before I give a few of the details about the new direction we’re going in let me first tell you about how my courses went, under the “old system,” in Paris, France this July 10, 11, and 12.
On July 8, 2015 I landed at Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris. The following day I went to the Louvre Museum to continue my research on Human Conflict; this is ongoing research for my future books, articles, and videos. Of course, museums can be a treasure trove of paintings, photographs, and artifacts that can reveal different techniques, training methods, and equipment dealing with how different groups fought.
The following day, Friday, began my three-day Reality-Based Personal Protection seminar in Paris in the Progress Form Fitness Club; the club that has graciously hosted my seminars for the past four years. The first 8-hour course was Defensive Tactics. This is the course that teaches a person everything they need to know using their arms, legs, and head in conflict. Of course, it’s not just punching and kicking, although my French and Belgian students and future instructors did plenty of that, but it also includes tactical movement, surviving some firearms scenarios, and how to “read” a bad guy. Helping me teach this course, and the following three days, were Christophe Besse, Miryana Poljakovic, and Julie Duranton.
The following day was the 8-hour Knife Survival course. If you have taken Level 1 before, right about now you might be asking yourself, “What about Ground Survival? That is the course that traditionally follows Defensive Tactics?” And, of course, you’d be right. However, this summer in Paris signals the break from the ways I used to teach courses, because my time is limited, and I can no longer teach one or two weeks at a time. It is Christophe Besse who is going to be teaching Ground Survival and Crime Survival to those students, and future instructors, who want these courses, and most do. I completely trust Christophe to teach these courses just as would teach him, and I have given him the authority to do so. Yet, my students still had the opportunity to train under me. But, again, more details later.
Although it is illegal for French citizens to carry knives they are legally allowed to carry a tactical pen. In a country where the criminals carry guns and knives they need something for personal protection, and everything taught in my Knife Survival course applies to the tactical pen or a similar “tool.” Of course, half the course deals with how to defend against a knife wielding attacker. It was for this very reason that one of my students signed up for the course. He works for the French government in a position where he must guard a facility where citizens come up to him all the time, and he wanted to be prepared if some crazy person tried to stab or cut him, or worse yet, a terrorist trying to gain access to the officials inside the building he is guarding.
The final course, held on Sunday, was Terrorism Survival, and joining the instructor cadre for the day was RBPP Director of Belgium Nicolas Marucci. Nicolas is highly trained in police and military tactics, and he has been studying with me for years. Having the founder, two directors, and three highly trained instructors was great for the students. The third instructor that I forgot to mention was Nicolas Dervillé of the Trainings’ Academy in Amiens. Nicolas is one of my many instructors who teach under the Reality-Based Personal Protection system, that is to say following our business model using the official outlines, logos, and keeping it “real.” In fact, he brought two of his own instructors with him to learn from me and Christophe directly: Eloi Vache and Malcom Vasselle. I get many instructors of schools that want their top black belts taught by me directly so there will not be any “instructional drift.”
Another martial arts instructor, a traditional-based instructor who wants to tap into the reality-based market, was Francis Plana (Manager Général KBJS). He, like Nicolas, brought some of his top black belts with him to learn from me – the founder. He also brought his son with him, Grégory Plana, who was highly motivated, and who will no doubt one day follow in his father’s footsteps. The school run by Francis is the Karate Bu Jutsu Surenois located in Suresnois. Because Francis speaks very good English he was the first of my students at the seminar to buy my new book Protecting Others, published by Black Belt Books, which I gladly autographed for him. In fact, he was quite a good customer buying my Reality-Based Marking Blade manufactured by Boker, and a couple of other training knives.
My final day, July 12, was Terrorism Survival. It was good to have so many women who were interested in surviving a terrorist attack, should it ever happen to them. I don’t normally have such a high ratio of women in this course. I also had a French police officer in this course who thanked me for the “spot on” information that I provided him.
One of my students, François Langy, came up to me at the start of the lunch break and said to me, “Jim, I took this course because of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack.”
If you recall, on the morning of January 7, 2015 two radical Islamic terrorists entered the newspaper’s building in the center of Paris and murdered 11 employees and wounded 11 more for publishing cartoon characters of the Prophet Mohammed. After killing the unarmed journalists with assault rifles the gunmen went out into the street and wounded a police officer. One of the killers walked up to the police officer and then executed him by putting a bullet through his head as he pleaded for his life. The terrorists were then killed a couple of days later by the police.
My student went on, “I believe that this is just the start of more attacks to come, and I want to be ready.”
Of course, there was also another terrorist attack in France on June 26, 2015 in the city of Lyon. Terrorist Yassin Sali, 35, caused an explosion at an American owed chemical plant, and then decapitated the owner of a delivery firm and placed his head alongside flags containing Arabic Islamic inscriptions. This act horrified France, and was reminiscent of a similar incident that happened in the United States at a food processing plant in Oklahoma on September 25, 2014. Alton Alexander Nolen cut off the head of co-worker Colleen Hufford, 54, and yelled out Islamic slogans as he did it. He tried to do the same to a second woman, but the manager, an off duty police officer, shot him. Of course, the American and French terrorist got their marching orders from Islamic State encouraging all Muslims around the world to kill the “infidels” in their own countries.
Of course, I’ve been warning my French students about the rise of terrorism since 2005 when I had my very first Reality-Based Personal Protection seminar in Paris. Now, thanks to Christophe’s insight ten years ago, and the Reality-Based Personal Protection gaining traction in France, many European French speaking students are learning to protect themselves in the event of a criminal or terrorist attack. I have taught in France, Belgium, and Switzerland.
I love teaching, but I love to “play” also. I decided after my seminar to go take a drive through the wine country in the Alsace region – le route des vins. I book three different Bed & Breakfast rooms, borrowed Christophe’s car for four days, and took off. My first stop was at the charming La Maison Fleurie B&B located in the village of Dieffenbach Au Val, which I enjoyed immensely. I stayed there two nights, and in the daytime explored the medieval villages of Eguisheim, Kayserberg, Riquewihr, and then Colmar in that order. I then drove near the Swiss border to Beaucourt and visited the Japy Museum. This museum is a look back into the Industrial Age going back to the 18th century all the way up to 1970s. Of course, my interest there was to continue my human conflict research, and I found some interesting things there. The museum people were quite astonished that an American would visit their museum in a non-tourist city. I was the first one.
One of the museum curators showed me a 200-year-old portable wind up clock. It was the exact same model that French Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte purchased for all of his officers. Napoléon, being the military genius that he was, was the first military leader to use timepieces to launch synchronized attacks over a large battlefront, and the only way to do that was with accurate clocks all keeping the same time.
After a night in Beaucourt I drove to my next lodging, le Château de Longecourt 30 kilometers southeast of Dijon. Not only is this an authentic castle, but it is also a Bed and Breakfast, or in French it is called, une chambre d’hôte. This unique château was originally a fort in the 7th century, and then a castle was built on top of the ruins in 1475. What stands on the site today is the château that was built in the 18th century by architect Nicolas Lenoir. There are 36 rooms in this château, and I think that I was one of only two guests that night, and there are all kinds of ancient artwork and weapons on the walls. The place is actually surrounded by a moat, and the only way to get to the front or back door is to walk across a bridge. My room, La Catherine de Médicis, and my bathroom had a view of the moat, along with a view of a grassy field and an old church 200 meters away. On the property is a large garden, horses, chickens, sheep, and a feel of what it must have been like living a life of French opulence in the 1700s. It was like going back in time. The man who runs the place, Roland de Saint Seine, was very interesting to talk to, and we had a couple of good conversations together.
Of course I went into the large city of Dijon, and yes, I did buy some Dijon mustard to take back home; some for myself, and some bottles as gifts. I also spent an hour in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon (the Art Museum of Dijon), and they had some terrific medieval and renaissance art. The building was built in 1450.
After Dijon I headed back to Paris. The next day Christophe and I drove to Orléans, the city of Joan of Arc, to first meet with Véronica, she goes by Véro, and Valerie, to pick up protein powders, and then to go into the center of the city afterwards to videotape a Reality-Based YouTube video; a videotape about women in the Reality-Based Personal Protection system, and thus the connection to legendary Joan of Arc.
Véro, who invited us to lunch in her new house in a village not far from Orléans, is the maker of the protein powder called Slim & Go. This product, made in France, has become very popular among fitness instructors. She got the idea, being a fitness instructor herself for many years, to help people lose weight while maintaining the proper balance nutritionally for the body. If you are interested in more information you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for she also speaks good English.
Before heading back to California I still had one more museum to see for my research, and that was Musée de la Grande Guerre (Museum of the Great War) in Meaux about an hour drive east of Paris (30 minutes by train). I was expecting some small museum with maybe four rooms tops, but what I found was a world-class museum that was equal to the Caen museum in Normandie, only this museum was all about World War I (1914 to 1918). Christophe Besse and I went there, and we had only hour to go through it. After just a few minutes there I said to Christophe, “I’m going to have to come back here. There is just too much to see.” Of course, I snapped a bunch of photos for my research, and read as much as I could. This place had literally thousands of artifacts that tell the history of this “War to end all wars.”
The new direction of Reality-Based Personal Protection
I simply can’t be all over the world teaching anymore. I love teaching, but I must now manage my time more efficiently now that the Jim Wagner Reality-Based Personal system is in several countries and expanding every year. I still will teach, but I need to spend more time training my directors and top instructors to teach the system even better. I need to get our new detailed training manuals. I need to expand current programs with even more detail so my instructors can offer their students even more knowledge, techniques and training methods.
One of the reasons for my recent trip to Paris this July, besides teaching Defensive Tactics, Knife Survival, and Terrorism Survival to French and Belgian students and instructors, was to meet face to face with Christophe, my protégé of the system, to start a pilot program in France first, that is to be followed by all other countries the beginning of 2016, which is just around the corner. I’ll have all the details for you by November, but here is a quick peek for now.
Chosen directors, such as Christophe Besse of France, will be in charge of an entire geographical region, such as the European French speaking countries in Christophe’s case, and have my authorization to teach students to be instructor certified in the system. When an instructor is ready to be instructor certified I will personally grade the test, which will be a test by actually performing chosen techniques, and upon successful completion I will sign the certificate and place that instructors name and information on the official RBPP website. The test will be videotaped, and I will review it. This means that as we expand into India, South America, and other areas I won’t have to be there personally to see if an instructor is qualified or not, but I will know by the videotape the instructor’s strength and weaknesses. Many people from many countries have been asking for this for years. Of course, a student will not be testing until they absolutely know the material. If they make a mistake, the director will correct the mistake quickly, and a second test will be given.
I, and only my directors, will be authorized to teach private lessons over the Internet. For example, if a student or future instructor wants a video chat lesson from me, or Christophe Besse, we will be able to do it. Video chats will count towards instructor certification because we are interacting with the student. They will cost the same as a private lesson, but for many around the world this will be worth it.
I, and my Directors, will be selecting our top instructors to become Master Instructors. These will be instructors that are authorized to teach for us directly, but also remain independent. In other words, if a person desires private lessons and the director is unable to personally teach at a certain time or in a certain location he or she will send a Master Instructor, and that Master Instructor will be paid for teaching the group or private lesson. In other words, the Master Instructor is a vendor when needed. If the chosen Master Instructor cannot teach a lesson, then the next instructor down the list is chosen.
Levels 1, 2, and 3 are not going to disappear, but the names will be changed. Levels 1 and 2 will simply be the 10 foundation courses, and in order for future instructors to be certified they will need to complete these 10 courses, and a weekend instructor leadership course. Anyone who completes the 10 courses will basically have everything they need to know for self-defense. However, those wishing to be a Knife Instructor the system will remain the same (Knife Survival, Knife Expert, Tactical Knife, and Knife Instructor training, which is a three-day program). Level 3 will turn into our Expert Instructor program and our Leadership program (for those teaching professionally). We are also developing a Business & Marketing program for any student or instructor to attend, even if they do not teach the Reality-Based Personal Protection system. There will also be Specialty Courses offered, like we have always done for different groups in the past (Defensive Tactics for Bodyguards, Urban Survival, Tactical Stick & Pen, et cetra).
So, what does this all mean for you? Well, if you are only interested in learning self-defense, and you have no desire to be an instructor, you will now have more seminars and private lessons available to you from highly trained and handpicked RBPP instructors that work directly under the headquarters. If you want to be a certified instructor you no longer have to wait for me to show up in your country once or twice a year and get the training you desire. You can get it any time at any place.
If you are currently someone who wants RBPP group or private lessons you can send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll see what I can do to make it happen. Let me know if you just want to learn the most complete self-defense system in the world, or you desire to one day become a certified instructor and teach this system. As every RBPP instructor knows, you can be under our umbrella or not. You can teach under my name, or just list me as one of the many top instructors you got your training from. I’m here to help you.
If you are currently a Level 1 and Level 2 instructor, and you wish to be placed on our list of possible Master Instructors who wish to teach for us in the near future, and be paid for it, then cut me an email also. Keep in mind that a Master Instructor follows the RBPP outlines precisely. This may also require some additional training and testing to make sure you are up-to-date and able to pass on the system in our standardized format. You can still teach your own thing on the side to your own customers, but when you are getting paid to teach for us it will be 100% Reality-Based Personal Protection because that is what our customers want.
Now, I’ve only given you just a quick glimpse of the direction we are heading. The details will all come out before the New Year. Christophe Besse will be implementing the pilot program throughout France, French speaking Belgium, and French speaking Switzerland.
Also, as I finalize the new direction you can certainly provide me with any good ideas you may have. Perhaps you want to see a new certificate design, for me to offer some training I have not done in the past, or whatever it may be. This is your system also, and some of our best changes have been from a student or instructor’s suggestion.
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