Most people who have studied the traditional-based martial arts (such as Karate, Kung-fu, Tae Kwon Do, etc.) think that an “instructor” is a “master” who has had years of formal training, and they would be correct. It does take years to learn a foreign vocabulary, choreographed imaginary fights (kata), Pattern Training (the “Come at me this way,” teaching method), and Cooperative Partner Training (an opponent who does what is expected, and an attacker that acts and behaves like you). This is why most traditional systems have a colored belt ranking system, because it takes a long time to learn a subculture and a regimented system. However, because of Jim Wagner’s unique background we follow the police and military definition of “instructor.” To us an instructor is simply someone who has been shown how to survive (for specific courses), someone who has demonstrated that they understand the material, someone who has passed a test, and someone who is able to pass on that life-saving information and techniques to others; be it commercially, to coworkers, family members or friends. For example, an American police officer that has graduated from the police academy has been taught how to use a baton (a less-lethal impact weapon). For that same police officer to become a police baton instructor he or she must successfully complete a two or three-day instructor course and pass the test in order to become certified. This doesn’t mean that the newly certified police baton instructor is an “expert,” nor does it even imply that he or she has been in a real conflict with a baton, but the instructor certification means that the new instructor has enough skill and information on the baton to pass on the knowledge to fellow police officers to help them to be safer out on the streets should they ever have to use a baton.
An instructor, regardless of the self-defense system, is as only as good as the instructor teaching it. Any Reality-Based Personal Protection Level 1 instructor has enough knowledge to teach someone how to survive an office or school shooting, how to survive a hand grenade attack, a drive-by shooting, a knife attack, or any number of tactical skills.
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