For over a decade I have been teaching in the United Kingdom. For the first few years of my career there it was only to the British military and police, and then when I started my civilian version of the Reality-Based Personal Protection system in 2003 I started teaching my Level 1 and Level 2 courses in London. July 23 to July 25, 2011 was the first time I offered my Knife Camp on the isles, for I had been teaching it on continental Europe for years, and it was a huge success; much to my delight and that of my Director of the United Kingdom Gary Dell.
My schedule to get to England was tight. After a flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta, and then onto Brussels, I had to catch no less than five trains, one of those going under the English Channel through the Euro Tunnel on a Eurostar train, only to finally end up in the evening in Dawlish, Devon, England; a quaint village overlooking the sea. Just in time for dinner, Gary treated me to an authentic fish & chips dinner while sitting on a bench looking at the calm sea and sunset. The next morning I was up early and in class ready to teach the first course: Knife Survival. The course was held at Paul Drury’s Black Belt Academy in Dawlish.
Paul Drury, 53 years-old, is a well-known martial arts instructor in the UK. His instructors include Tae Kwon Do expert Master Hee Il Cho and Ernie Reyes. He has also had the opportunity to get to know the late David Carridine, Jhoon Rhee, Frank Shamrock, and British movie star Zara Phythian.On Sunday evening, July 24th, I had the opportunity to have dinner at Smuggler’s with Paul and Gary, and we had a great chat together. Although Paul comes from a very traditional martial arts background he sees the need to offer reality-based self-defense and has open up his school to Gary Dell and me to teach there. He even had a new huge nylon banner made for the front of his school, which includes the term REALITY BASED SELF DEFENCE. Paul and I hit it off really good together, and I am now happy to call him my friend.
Knife Camp is comprised of three separate courses over a two-day period, and it is always held on a weekend. Saturday, Day One, is Knife Survival. Right from the start students experience a full-contact, full-speed criminal knife attack, and students learn very quickly that a real knife fight is over within three to five seconds. This is the same course that has been requested by the Israeli Police Academy, German Counterterrorist Team GSG9, Amsterdam Police Department, Finnish Police School, and many other military and police units. I have been to many countries to teach these life-saving techniques and training methods.
Day Two was the Knife Expert course. Not only do students learn some new skills and have an opportunity to run through various conflict scenarios, but they also learn how to use and defend against swords and machetes. These weapons are used throughout the world in violent attacks. The students also get change to throw knifes, which will only apply to two specific situations in a real incident. This course, Knife Expert, is a six-hour course, and then all the civilians are "kicked out of the classroom" for the day, for they are not allowed to see the two-hour course that follows, which is Tactical Knife.
Tactical Knife is restricted to authorized police, corrections, and military personnel only. In this course I show knife related material that a civilian does not need to know: criminal tricks, weapon searching methods, and additional techniques and tactical training methods need to be safe while in the performance of duties.In this course I had students from the Royal Marines and municipal police departments. I always like to teach this course because I’d like to think that I’m helping keep society a little safer, and in this case British society.
Although not part of Knife Camp, I did offer the Knife Instructor course on Monday, July 25th, the third day of training. For anyone who went through, and passed,both Knife Survival and Knife Expert they are eligible to learn how to teach these two popular courses. I had 10 students who had both the time and desire to go on and complete this one-day course and be instructor certified to teach Knife Survival under the Reality-Based Personal Protection umbrella.
All four courses ran very smoothly, and all the participants were very enthusiastic and worked well with each other. This was a group of what I called “quiet professionals” (no bragging, no egos, no superiority complexes, and just a strong desire to learn and absorb the material).
Gary Dell and I are planning on running another Knife Camp in Devon, England in 2012, and the dates will be announced by the end of the year. We are aiming for sometime in April. I still am working on coordinating it with my French and German directors.
Wants His Tae Kwon Do Students Ready For A Terrorist Attack
landed in Brussels International Airport on Friday morning on July 22 I had no
idea that hours later Europe would experience a horrendous terrorist attack.
I took a
train through the Euro Tunnel and headed to London. Two more trains later I was
in South West England in the seaside city of Dawlish. After a traditional tasty
fish & chips dinner with Gary Dell, the Reality-Based Personal Protection
Director of the United Kingdom, I was exhausted from the trip and needed to get
some sleep to be ready for my morning class. As I was unpacking I turned on the
television to catch up on the day’s news with BBC (British Broadcasting
Company). I can’t say that I was surprised, but I was grief struck as I saw the
images coming out of Oslo, Norway. The world was shocked.
Norwegian national Anders Behring Breivik, 32, carried out the most destructive terrorist attack in Norway’s history since World War II. Dressed as a police officer, and planning this attack for 9 years, Breivik went to the tiny island of Utoya armed to the teeth with a rifle and pistols and calmly gun downed youths, ages 14 to 19, who were attending a Left-wing Labor Party political summer camp (the same political party ruling Norway). He murdered 92 people on the island – ninety-two innocent human beings; a staggering number.
earlier in the government district of Oslo a vehicle bomb, an ammonium-nitrate
fuel bomb, which had been placed by Breivik, exploded and killed seven people.
When I was listening to the BBC report in my room the authorities had no idea
that the downtown bombing and the island massacre were related, but by the next
day the media was describing the 6 foot blond Norwegian as a “Right-wing
extremist who had posted anti-Muslim views on Christian fundamentalist
websites.” It’s ironic that some media outlets in Europe kept referring to
Breivik as a “fundamentalist Christian,” as if that label explains away why he
murdered people in cold blood. Anyone picking up the New Testament and reading
it through would soon realize that the fundamental teachings of Jesus Christ is
to love everybody, even your enemies. In World War II Nazi soldiers wore the
words GOD WITH US on their belt buckles. Did that make them all Christians?
Hardly. Some were Christians I am sure, but I doubt the soldiers running the
concentration camps could claim to be true Christians. Nothing can justify what
Anders Breivikdid; no religious
beliefs or political beliefs could back up his actions.
When I watched the news for the next several days and read the newspaper reports before heading off to my class to teach the typical statements were made, that are always made after a massacre, and here are some excerpts:
"This is Norway. We never expected such a thing to happen here."
"Why didn’t the police respond faster?”
"How could person have weapons like that?"
"People started running everywhere!"
Let me address these specific quotes, because we are going to see these types of attacks again and again. Norway has now had their “9/11” as they are calling it. A domestic terrorist struck at the heart of the Norwegian capitol. It may have seemed unlikely before July 22nd, but it has happened. It’s now the past. The point is that such massacres are becoming commonplace all over the world and no community is immune from such attacks. Yes, it would be nice to think that one-day all the evil and senseless violence will go away, but it won’t. There will always be people who wish to hurt and kill others. We must accept that such attacks could indeed be a part of our “reality” one day and we must all be prepared for it. Every year I buy insurance for my car. I don’t want to be in an automobile accident, but I see and hear about them happening all around me. I know there is a possibility that someone could run into me one day, or I run into them accidently. Likewise, I hear about violent things happening in my own neighborhood, such as crime, and acts of terrorist beyond my community from time to time. Rather than hoping it does not happen to my loved ones, or me I prepare them and myself for violent encounters. That’s the prudent thing to do. Like a car accident I may be killed instantly, but not every collision is a fatality. I may be the victim of a criminal or terrorist, but that is not to say that I will be killed or can do nothing. Unfortunately, many students on the island could have saved themselves with proper “insurance;” proper tactical training, that is.
Some people are criticizing the police. As a police officer for over 20 years I know that the police do their best to protect the public; at least in America and Norway. I have trained Norwegian police officers in the past and they are just as professional and capable as any in the States or Europe. Breivik was diabolical. He exploded a bomb in the heart of Oslo knowing police resources would be needed there. The authorities didn’t know if secondary devices would be going off. They needed a lot of personnel to evacuate, search for secondary devices, and investigate. Then while the police were responding to the major attack Breivik caused, he launches his attack on a small island that requires watercraft to get to it. In my opinion the police did their best. That is not to say there are not lessons that the police could learn from the incident. In fact, police all over the world will study this incident for years to come to better prepared and equipped for a similar attack on their own soil. With that said, people are under the false assumption that the police will be there to help them in a criminal or terrorist attack. Rarely are the police at the right place at the right time. Even if the police had responded to the island in 5 minutes there still would have been many casualties. The hard cold truth is that YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR PROTECTING YOURSELF in a criminal or terrorist attack. Even if the police arrive quickly, what happens if they are killed? You are back to square one. It seems people have no problem spending money to pamper themselves: entertainment, restaurant dinners, and expensive vacations, but they will not invest even a little time or money in learning how to defend themselves or loved ones.
Naïve people seem to think if you outlaw all weapons there will be no attacks with weapons; as if the weapons are the problem. Weapons are inanimate tools. It is the user that determines how a weapon is used. As a police officer and soldier most of my life I have carried firearms most of my life; on duty and off. Not once have I used my weapon illegally, nor do I intend to in the future. I cannot guarantee the same restraint of a gang member or Al Qaeda jihadist. As I write this article I am in England; a land where knives and guns are illegal, and where you can get into serious trouble if someone breaks into your home and you hurt the burglar as he attacks you or your family. Yet, with all of the many laws forbidding firearms and knives, guess what? Shootings and stabbings in the United Kingdom are rampant. The laws do not stop criminals or terrorists from carrying weapons or using them against their victims. Anyone with a little money can buy a firearm on the black market within 24 hours. In Europe these weapons pour in from Africa and Asia. Rather than wishing weapons and evil people would disappear, accept the fact that they pop up at any time and you should know what to do if you don’t happen to be the first one in their gun sights.
On Utoya people started running everywhere in a panic. Running is definitely an option in some self-defense situations. Yet, there are always four options one can choose when confronted with violence: 1. Fight 2. Flight (run) 3. Submit to the attacker 4. The attacker submits to the victim. In the Utoya massacre nobody fought the rogue terrorist. It’s very difficult for an unarmed person beyond reaching distance to defend against a trained gunman. Many people ran, which saved many lives, but in some cases sudden movement is the wrong thing to do in a massacre because it draws attention. Many stories coming out of this incident are where people simply played dead, and it worked. Of course, many people think it is easy to play dead, and it is, but there are actually a few tricks that need to be learned to make it convincing. I have been teaching playing dead techniques in massacres to civilians in my one-day Terrorism Survival course since 2003. Some youths made the mistake of “running with the herd,” which is the wrong thing to do when faced with a human predator. Hunting animals, such a lion and tigers, will take down their prey on edge of the herd or one of the slower ones in the back. They only want a meal and so they take down one animal and they are content. Humans who massacre people go for the “center mass of a herd” and rarely bother with those individuals on the edges. They are not after a meal, they are after mass casualties. On July 25th at Paul Drury’s martial arts school in Dawlish, England I simulated the Utoya massacre, and like every country I do this in there are predictable human patterns in a shooting, both for the terrorists and the victims. I had my Reality-Based Personal Protection Director of the United Kingdom, Gary Dell, surprise the class I was teaching (Introduction to Crime and Terrorism Survival) with a realistic attack using air guns that shoot a 6mm projectile. Gary came in with a semi-automatic airsoft rifle shouting out, “You all must die!” These were the same words of Anders Breivik as he slaughtered people. Of course, there is a lot of ground that I cover in my Terrorism Survival course, which cannot be contained in this article.
Breivik used false identification to get onto the island by ferry, and he posed as an anti-terrorist police officer. He told people he was there for security reasons because of the terrorist bombing in Oslo. He brought an assault rifle, shotgun, and an explosive device with him. Witness said that Breivik would shoot people with his rifle and then finish them off with a shotgun blast to the head. What a monster! He was definitely after a large “body count.”
Copyright Jim Wagner 2003 - 2021 All rights reserved.