Every Reality-Based Personal Protection instructor is a special person, especially since they contribute to people being safer in an increasingly violent world, but those appointed to the Board of Advisors are instructors with a skill or knowledge that directly contributes to the professionalism of the system. I am proud to announce that in the Month of May I appointed Jörg Kuschel, of Neuss, Germany, to the RBPP Board of Advisor as the Social Media Advisor.
Jörg (pronounced your-g in English) is the chief instructor of Kenju-ryu school in Neuss, Germany. Kenju-ryu is an Okinawan martial art, and for over two decades Jörg had been teaching it, and as far as he was concerned that was going to be the only martial art he was ever going to be dedicated to. Then he heard about the Jim Wagner Reality-Based Personal Protection system that was becoming popular in Germany, and he decided to see what it was about.
Jörg signed up for the Knife Survival courses, and also wanted to be instructor certified. On November 18, 2011 he graduated, along with 28 others from four other countries (Austria, Germany, Holland, and Switzerland) in Solingen, Germany (my old school before I moved it to Cologne. Jörg was amazed at how realistic my knife courses, and he told me that it changed his entire outlook on self-defense. As a result he went on to study almost all of the courses I offered in Germany, and became a Level 1 & 2 instructor, a Women’s Survival instructor, and a Tactical Tutor (an instructor that can teach for me). Not only did Jörg get instructor certified, but he had his top black belts in Kenju-Ryu become RBPP instructor certified as well: Manfred Hollman, Ajeeth Sivanayagam, Torben Hirschberg, Tim Malchow, and Jens Hausmann. This team offers Reality-Based Personal Protection courses in their school. A few years ago I had the privilege of being a guest instructor for the school in Neuss, which is near the Düsseldorf area.
Over the past seven years Jörg and I have become very good friends, and we’ve had plenty of lunches and dinners together taking about the martial arts, politics, religion, and life in general, with our wives joining in on a couple of occasions.
Over the past couple of years Jörg noticed that I had less and less time to post on my Facebook. With courses I had to teach around the world (most not open to the public nor advertised), and plenty of projects always in the workds, Jörg decided to re-post important articles that I had written so that new students who had not read them would be educated in Reality-Based Personal Protection, and they were also a good review for those who had not seen them in a while. In the military we call this action “self-deployment.” His self-deployment was a big help to me. More amazing to me is that he has not grown tired of it, but keeps the information flowing. Of course, I have told him many times that I appreciated his work, and I realized that I depended on him for social media; many people did. Naturally, he was a good choice to be appointed to the RBPP Board of Advisors.
To let you know what a fine person Jörg Kuschel is I have to let you also know of something special he did. A few years ago, after a good day of training, Jörg came into my office and handed me an old pocketknife. He said to me, “Jim, I would like to give you a gift, which has great sentimental value to me.”
He told me that he respected me so much as his instructor, and for “opening his eyes” to realistic self-defense training, that he wanted me to have his grandfather’s knife. Then his own father carried the same knife for his entire life, and then Jörg carried the knife his whole life.
I was touched when I heard this, but this was only the half of it. It turns out that his grandfather, Heinrich “Henry” Kottwitz, was in the German Luftwaffe (Air Force) Afrikakorps (African Corps) during World War II fighting in Tunis, Tunisia in North Africa. In 1994 he was captured by the Americans and then, like many Prisoners of War, sent to the United States to prevent escape. He was shipped to the state of Illinois were he stayed for two years.
Heinrich was so well liked by the military prison guards that one of them gave him his own American made, military issued, Camillus TL-29 folding knife as a token of appreciation for his hard work around the camp. Just as Jörg handed me his grandfather’s, his father’s, and his knife, he said, “This knife needed to go back to where it came from.”
So, and you can see, this gift was a gift with history and great meaning. Needless to say, I was deeply touched, and that is why I consider it the best gift I had ever received from a student, I have received hundreds of gifts over the years. It is now part of my knife collection in my office in California – “back to where it came from.”
To honor Jörg’s grandfather’s memory I have included his photographs (one in his German military uniform, and another in his POW uniform). These photographs represent the fact that our two countries (America and Germany) were once bitter enemies, and have been good friends for the past 73 years. The knife also represents how Jörg and I met – through my Knife Survival courses. There’s a lot of symbolism in this precious gift. My second most prized knife is a knife that Peter Falk’s (former RBPP Director of the Nordic countries) father made for me from scratch, including the sheath. Third would be a stone knife one of my Italian students made for me last year.
Being Able to Hit the Target for the Lord
On Sunday morning, May 21, 2018, a few of my church security students had a problem with a homeless man who was as high as a kite on drugs causing problems at their church in Southern California just before the service started. Since the man was not cooperative, and refused to leave, they had to call the police. When the police arrived they too had problems with the man and arrested him – problem solved for the church.
Fortunately, there was no violence involved this time, but those very students are ready for something far worse: an active shooter, a terrorist attack, a bombing, and dozens of other scenarios they may face. It just so happens that very evening I had the privilege of training this church security team at a live-fire gun range. It’s a team that I have been teaching for many months two to four hours at a time to perfect their shooting skills and tactics.
This time I set up a barricade, and a sheet, to represent a wall, and I had the students Pie the Corner and engage targets on the other side. I also had them do the same thing with a cell phone doing the original Jim Wagner Phone Peek (using the cell phone like a tactical mirror to see around the corner). Doing it with a live weapon makes one be very aware of muzzle discipline.
The last part of the training was moving and shooting in low light conditions. Since it was an indoor range I could get the lights really low, almost like a black out condition, and flashlights were required to identify the targets.
Yes, it is sad that today men and women have to train in lethal force techniques and tactics to protect their places of worship, but that is the increasingly violent world we live in. Didn’t Jesus himself say, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:37
So what was it like during the times of Noah, about 5,000 years ago? The first book in the Bible, Genesis, points it out, “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence,” which brought about the Great Flood that covered the earth. I don’t know about you, but when I went through school in my time, from pre-school to graduating high school, we never had school shootings, and everyone I knew in high school had guns in their homes. When I was working in advertising after I served in the U.S. Army we didn’t have office massacres. Nobody worried about an employee snapping and then going on a shooting rampage. Now, senseless acts of violence seem to be happening on an almost daily basis around the world, and churches have been targeted. Maybe the Bible is right. Regardless, Reality-Based Personal Protection is needed by churches.
Two More French Knife Survival Instructors
The day after teaching the church security team I had to be in Nancy, France to teach two students, David KACI and Julien JOUBE, and certify them as my newest Knife Survival instructors. I didn’t fly over to France. Rather, I taught them and gave them their final exam, after three days of training, via the Internet; by videoconference.
Of course, it was because of Christophe Besse, RBPP Director of the Francophone countries, that I was able to teach and certify these two students, for he indeed laid the foundation.
On both sides of the ocean we had an excellent wi-fi connection, and it was so good it was as if I were there in person teaching them both. One day I hope to meet both of my students in person.
A Sign of the Times
I recently received an email, and a photo, from Mike Kendall, the Reality-Based Personal Protection Director of Canada. The photo was of the new RBPP sign he posted in the window of the facility where he teaches our system in Abbotsford, Canada. It looks pretty good!
The Newest RBPP Student, Yet to be Born
Last week I received an image on my iPhone. It was a sonogram of Ajeeth and Abi Sivanayagam’s first baby, with the words, “It’s a boy!”
If you read the article about Jörg kuschel, just appointed to the RBPP Board of Advisors, then you know that Ajeeth is also a RBPP instructor, and is under the direction of Jörg in Neuss, Germany. Like Jörg, Ajeeth and I have developed a good friendship. In fact, he, and his wife, visited me in California in November, and my wife and I had them over for a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. Earlier that day I also showed them the beach areas, and we lucked out big time, because the weather could have not been more perfect – blue skies and warm; a typical Southern California winter.
Anyway, Ajeeth let me know, along with the sonogram, that “a future RBPP student” was on the way. I have no doubt that their little boy is going to be trained in our realistic self-defense system. I joked with Ajeeth over the phone by telling him, “His first technique will be the Sniper Crawl.”
Congratulations Ajeeth and Abi! I look forward to posting the next photo – baby in the arms of his parents.
BE A HARD TARGET
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