Preparing before it happens again in B.C. – Knife attacks
“A man came slashing at me with a knife intent on killing me. I only had a few more steps to take behind me before I’d end up falling in the lake water behind me. Then Jim’s voice popped into my mind, just as if he were standing right next to me shouting, ‘Use your flashlight! Use your flashlight! Shine the light into his face as a psychological distraction!’ I listened that command, shinning the light in his face to take away his night vision. It worked! As he was temporarily blinded I delivered the blow that stopped him. Jim’s training saved my life.”
He moved his gaze from the 18 students all standing around in the Knife Survival course, turned his head in my direction as I stood by listening, and said to me publicly. “Thank you again Jim. It was because of your course that I am alive today able to tell it.” He was talking about an incident that took place when he was a security guard several years ago after he completed several of my Reality-Based Personal Protection courses, including Knife Survival.
Those were the words spoken by Mike Kendall, the new Reality-Based Personal Protection Director of English Speaking Canada on March 17, 2018 in Abbotsford, Canada just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia. I was there to teach my three-day Knife Camp. After eight intense hours of the Knife Survival course he had finally told the story he had promised the students at the beginning of the course. Another certified RBPP student quickly chimed in after Mike had finished, “This system also saved my life,” and then went on to recall how he had attended one of Mike’s Knife Survival courses a few years ago and used those very same skills to survive a knife attack. Then he told that he had always wanted to meet me, and train with me, and this was his opportunity. He too singled me out, and said publically, “Thank you Jim.”
Of course, there is no greater reward for me than to hear a testimony from one of my students who survived an attack because they had used something I had taught them. To get two testimonies in one class is rare. It’s not everyday that I get feedback like this, but it happens from time to time, and mostly from emails: from police officers and military personnel around the world, bodyguards, security guards, and even from those who had no previous self-defense training. I even one received an official letter from a Canadian Member of Parliament giving me some credit for helping save “the entire Canadian government,” literally, but that is a story you can find in my autobiography Jealousy & Envy sold on Amazon.
What made this Knife Survival course unique were those who were attending it. It was quite a mix of students: a prosecutor for the Crown, two paramedics, a sailor of the Canadian Navy, a Canadian Border Service officer, a couple constables with the British Columbia Sheriff’s, a Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement (CVSE) officer, a Violence Prevention Specialist with a health services agency, a few martial artists from various systems, and even one female beginner. The biggest surprise was Jeffery Fleury who flew out from Singapore to attend the Knife Camp: Knife Survival, Knife Expert, Tactical Knife, and Knife Survival Expert Instructor. Jeffrey owns and operates the JF SelfDefense school in Southeast Asia, and he has been following me for years. He was even taught by one of my students who visited Singapore, Major Avi Nardia of the KAPAP system, a few years ago (see the following article about Jeffrey).
I had no less than three of my students come up to me and tell me that they carry one of my Boker manufactured Jim Wagner Reality Based Blades. Many professionals carry one of the many knives I've designed, be it for self-defense, rescue, utility knife, or a last ditch effort to save themselves with the Wagner Urban. Many detectives, business people, and school teachers perfer carrying the Wagner Urban, and so I showed one to my class. Of course, I stressed, "Obey all local, provenical, and national laws."
Another pleasant surprise for me, which I was not at all expecting, was two of my former Reality-Based Personal Protection Directors of Canada, Dallas Johnson and Nick Serna, coming to take refresher courses with me. Well, it is no surprise that they wanted to keep current with their skills, but taking the time to come see me again, and train under me again, well, that was the real treat. They told me it was an honor being with me again, but I told them that the honor was all mine. Dallas was the first to instructor introduce RBPP into the country of Canada, and my first RBPP Director of Canada, and now he has just started teaching again (after some time away in Brazil) his system called ZENBUDO. Of course, he also teaches Jim Wagner Reality-Based Personal Protection courses. The only former Director I didn’t see again on this trip was Mitra Castano who was the second RBPP Director of English Speaking Canada. She had stepped down from the position years ago when she went back to teaching traditional-based and sport-based martial arts, except when it comes to teaching women’s self-defense; she has kept that reality-based. Nick Serna, owner and operator of Redzone Urban Combatives was my third RBPP Director of Canada. While he was in that position he trained with me in Canada, the United States, and in Germany. He had to give up the directorship due to some health issues, even having to use a cane to walk, but I am happy to announce that he’s back to good health. In fact, I was delighted to see him strong and fit again. Last year, 2017, Mike Kendall stepped up to the plate, and became the 4th Reality-Based Personal Protection Director of English Speaking Canada, and this Knife Camp was the first time offering courses. Of course, I took full advantage of having my former directors together, and during the lunches we caught up on each other’s lives. Oh, and you may have noticed that I keep stating, “English Speaking Canada.” That’s because there are two official languages in the country of Canada: English and French. Since the cultures are so different, not just the languages, one day I’ll plug in a qualified French Canadian into the position of Reality-Based Personal Protection Director of French Speaking Canada.
During the four days that I was in teaching in Canada I paid attention to the local and national news, and despite the perception from the rest of the world that Canada is a “peaceful” country, there is a lot of crime happening. On my second day of teaching, a two-hour Tactical Knife course for professionals at the end of the day, I dedicated my teaching to slain police Constable John Davidson. He was murdered, while on duty, in Abbotsford on November 7, 2017 when he was trying to arrest a suspect. He had been a law enforcement officer in the United Kingdom and was hired by the Abbotsford force in 2006. He left behind a wife and three adult children. He represents “the thin blue line;” the line between law and order and anarchy. Mike Kendall showed me a T-shirt he had in remembrance of Constable Davidson, and I took a photo of the back of the T-shirt. Having been a law enforcement officer myself for most of my adult life, it always hits me hard when a fellow officer is slain. These are men and women, the majority of them anyway, who will run into danger to help and save others.
When ever I am in a foreign country teaching I always read the local newspapers and watch the local news so I am educated into what is happening socially, politically, and when it comes to crime and terrorism. When I was watching the Canadian news in my hotel room on Sunday evening, March 17, 2018 I heard the story of three suspects in Toronto who chased a man into a crowded bowling alley the night before gunning him down and also killing an innocent woman. The first victim was 32-years-old and the second was 29-years-old. These gunmen open fired in a packed establishment without any regard for others.
Of course I came across stories in the local newspapers covering the same thing that Americans are concerned about: school shootings, homeless people committing crimes, and even knife attacks. Canada faces the same types of problems as their neighbors to the south, but there “seems to be less” due to the vast difference in populations. Canada has a population of 36.29 million compared to the 325.7 million in the United States of America; that’s a difference of 289.41 million, and so naturally the U.S. is going to have more numbers when it comes to crime statistics. However, crime is crime, and terrorism is terrorism, and so the need for self-defense training is universal.
On the topic of crime I was even talking with Jeffrey Fleury about Singapore, which has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. It is a city, island, nation of 5.6 million people, and it has the harshest punishment in the world by Western standards. Tagging, robbery, rape, burglary, and other crimes will bring about caning. Smuggling drugs into this country, murder and other major crimes is death by hanging. Gangs and terrorism is not tolerated. However, despite the low crime level Jeffrey said to me, “Low crime does not mean no crime.”
The following day, Day Two of Knife Camp, was for those who wanted to go on to expert level. The course was Knife Expert: the use of double knives, unusual fighting environments, machete defense, swords, throwing edged weapons, and knife attacks from around the world: prison style attacks, military usage, and different criminal element attacks. Of course, the last section was FOR INFORMATION ONLY. To know how to defend against likely attacks one must do the Sun Tzu thing, “Know your enemy.”
Following the Knife Expert course was the two-hour Tactical Knife course for professionals only. This is material that civilians do not need. This course was, needless to say, RESTRICTED. However, for those of you who did not attend this course the photos below give you some idea as to what was covered in this course.
Day Three was the 8-hour Knife Survival Expert Instructor course. Since few students go onto being instructors it has a smaller attendance, but it works to the students’ advantage; more individualized attention. This courses not only goes into more detail about the material taught in the Knife Survival course, but is designed to make the instructor a better instructor: lesson planning, communications skills, more insight into the curriculum, and lots of testing. Those who graduated from this course were: Mike Kendall, Dallas Johnson, Jeffrey Fleury, and Julian Desouza. All four of them were awared with their instructor certificates, and they have legal rights to the teaching material and use of the RBPP logos associated with KNIFE CAMP.
Before the sun came up on Tuesday morning, March 20, 2018, Mike picked me up to drive me to the Vancouver Airport, so I could catch an early flight out. To celebrate a successful seminar Mike bought us each a Tim Hortons coffee and muffins. Every Reality-Based Personal Protection Director has a tradition after the successful completion of a RBPP seminar. For example, for Christophe Besse, RBPP Director of France, it is always a glass of French cognac and a cigar the evening of the last course. Mike decided that his tradition would be the following morning of the last course, because you can’t get more traditional than a Tim Horton’s coffee in the morning, which is equivalent to a Starbucks coffee shop, MacDonald’s restaurant, and donut shop all rolled up into one. I was all for the beginning of this tradition, and it was certainly most welcomed on this cold morning to have a hot cup of coffee to go, and a blueberry muffin since the hotel served breakfast at 6am, which was the exact time I had to leave.
Aboard my WestJet Boeing 737 aircraft it was smooth sailing all the way down the coast down the coast to Southern California. As I was flying home I knew that my article, HOW TO SURVIVE A RIOT published by Black Belt magazine, was in news stands across North America. Editor in Chief Robert Young had given me a heads up on the date. It had been several years since I wrote for them; not since I ended 11 long years writing my monthly column HIGH RISK. When I was asked by Mr. Young a few weeks ago to write an article on riots I did not hesitate to accept the commission. After all, I credit him for making my name, and my system known, throughout the world. It was through this publication that the martial arts community first learned about reality-based techniques, tactics, and training methods. When I first started 99% of the material in the publication was traditional-based and sport-based martial arts. When I received the Black Belt Hall of Fame Self-Defense Instructor of the Year 2006 award Mr. Young let readers know that I had made an impact on the way people learn modern self-defense. So, to support me and the magazine, go out and buy the April/May 2018 issue and read my article. And, if you do, take the time to email Mr. Young and let him know about your support. After all, they list me Jim Wagner as one of their masters, and your voice needs to be heard to make the Reality-Based Personal Protection community even stronger.
It was good to be back home, catch up on email and local news, but I’ll miss my old friends and new friends in British Columbia. I’m happy I made that corner of the world just a little bit safer with the Reality-Based Personal Protection system.
BE A HARD TARGET
Reality-Based now in Singapore
"It was an enriching and an eye-opening 3-day course. I enjoyed the course. I especially liked meeting you and networking with other like-minded individuals in the course. Thank you for presenting me with such an opportunity." Those were the words written by Jeffery Fleury the day after I certified him as a Reality-Based Personal Protection Knife Survival Expert Instructor.
I alway enjoy have students in my courses that come from a tactical background. Not only do they contribute to the professionalism of each course, but I get to "pick their brains" as well. Jeffrey Fleury was just such an individual having been in the risk mangement and security industry for more than 35 years. He has served both the government and private sectors.
Jeffrey Fleury's career began with Singapore Police Force where he served for more than a decade. When he retired from the force he received the prestigious Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.
In addition to his law enforcement career Jeffrey Fleury served served as the country's, and regional manager, for multi-national companies for over 20 years. His area covered the Asia Pacific region. He is also certified as an International Crime Prevention Specialist and a Supply Chain Security Specialist.
Jeffrey Fleury has trained in many traditional-based martial arts, and Combatives, for more than 25 years. As an instructor and professional trainer, he passionate about discovering and learning new techniques, tactics, and training method. This is exactly why he flew from Singapore all the way to Vancouver, Canada - to be personally taught by me and become certified Reality-Based Personal Protection Knife Survival Expert Instructor.
In the conclusion of Jeffrey Fleury's email, for which I received permission from him to publish it, he stated, As a security professional I have observed the way terrorists have changed their tactics since 9/11. The "lone wolf" approach is one of them that has emerged. The attackers makes use of household items, like kitchen knives and machetes, and then use them as imporvised weapons to attack people. Of course, this has forced law enforcement to change they way they approach such threats. These types of attacks are fast and furious with the intent to cause massive causalities, as quickly as possible, before they are stopped. As such, the approach to self-defense to survive such attacks needed to be modified.
The traditional martial arts methods to defend against knife attacks needed to change with the changing times, but I did not realize it until recently. The training of the past, which many people still do today, like I used to do, is based upon what you call "pattern training" and cooperative partner training." Yet, knife attacks in the streets, be it gang related, criminal-based or terror-based, are rapid and unpredictable; not like you see in most martial arts schools. As such, the training you provided me with during Knife Camp was "reality-based," and it mimiced real life scenarios. Your course is as close as real as it can be short of real knives and real injuries.
I had always thought that my many years of martial arts training would prepare me to handle knife attacks, but now I know that I was wrong. When I saw that the simulated attacks in class came fast and furious, and that most attacks are over in five seconds or less, I was completely destroyed. I knew then and there that I needed to re-trained my mindset, and my whole approach to knife defense.
Having been in law enforcement for 11 years, and having also been a trainer for the police academy, I now know that some of the stances our that our law enforcement officers take, such as approaching a suspect or interviewing an "unknown," as you call them, is due to our faulty training, and it needs be improved - immediately! One area that needs improvement right from the start is distance awareness (the Threat Zones).
Now that I have gone through your Knife Camp I definitely feel that I will improve officer safety at home. My aim is to increase the situational awareness of my peers and subordinates, and introduce reality-based training to the security industry in my region for the sole purpose of increasing the safety of our security professionals. I also intend to do the same thing in my martial arts school JF SelfDefense in Singapore. Thank you again Jim.
I was thrilled that Jeffrey Fleury not only took all three of my Knife Camp courses, but that he is going to spread it in Southeast Asia.
Meet Mike Kendall
As mentioned in the leading article, Mike Kendall is the new Reality-Based Personal Protection Director of English Speaking Canada who I appointed several months ago in 2017. You’ve already read, and have seen the action packed photos, of what a fantastic job he did in organizing, and assisting, the Knife Camp in Abbotsford, Canada March 17, 18, 19, 2018. Now it’s time to get to know him.
Mike started his martial arts journey when he was 13-years-old; 32 years ago. His first instructor was Lyle Cheney, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police reserve constable in Alberta, who taught him Shotokan karate.
In 1995 Mike began his training in Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do (JKD) under the tutorship of Gary Herman, and he also received training from his instructor Trevor Clarkson of the Creative Fighters Guild.
In 2000 Mike attended three different seminars with former JKD instructor Paul Vunak who went into a different direction with Progressive Fighting Systems.
Next came seminars in 2004 and 2005 with Mark Mikita who was located in Venice Beach, California. Mikita had been a friend of Steven Seagal, martial artists and actor, until there was a falling out.
Mike also studied with Dan Inosanto at the Inosanto Academy located in Marina del Rey, California not far from Mark Mikita's school. Of course, Dan Inosanto was also my instructor for many years, and therefore Mike Kendall have that in common: JKD and Filipino Kali.
On January 26, 2007 I certified Mike as a Reality-Based Personal Protection Level 1 Instructor, which at the time was Defensive Tactics, Ground Survival, Knife Survival, Crime Survival and Terrorism Survival. Dallas Johnson was the RBPP Director at the time. That August Mike went on to obtained his Level 2 Instructor certification having successfully completed Conflict Conditioning, Situational Awareness, Conflict & Control, Improvised Weapons and Handgun Survival.
Mikes professional career includes being a doorman and private security. Now add to that list REALITY-BASED PERSONAL PROTECTION Director of English Speaking Canada.
Although I had talked with Mike many times before in the past, this trip was the first time that I got to visit his home. Before having a delicious dinner with his family he took me into his "Man Cave," and it was just like one would expect of a martial artists. I couldn't help but notice the Inosanto Academy logo on one wall, along with the RBPP logo. This started a conversation between us, and I had the opportunity to learn more about his martial arts history, which I have shared a little bit of it with you.
I look forward to another seminar with Mike in the fall. He's thinking about a three-day seminar that will include Terrorism Survival, Ground Survival, and again Knife Survival. There will be no instructor certification courses scheduled unless there is enough demand and people sign up early, like as in now...
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