Interview Ralf Kassner: Wodan Security IBC4

After the 4th International Bodyguard Conference (2019), I talked with Wodan Security CEO Ralf Kassner about the training event. 

Here are some exclusive insights and personal feedback about this year‘s IBC4 by Wodan Security CEO Ralf Kassner himself. 

Ralf Kassner is a former SOF (GSG9) and founder/CEO of Wodan Security (Germany).

The Wodan Security International Bodyguard Conference is one of the most regarded tactical training events in Europe.

IBC4: Realistic training scenarios

Thomas Lojek: How did you choose the training scenarios and topics of the 4th International Bodyguard Conference, this year?

Ralf Kassner: Every single Wodan Security team member and every single instructor in our extended network has a strong background in special operations and real-life close protection services.

We are out there, facing the constantly evolving threats of our times.

I won’t reveal any secrets, if I just remind you about the rising numbers of attacks by knifes, all around the world.

And in hot zones like Afghanistan, Mali, Iraq and Libya, you won’t make it very long without a proper training in armed assaults counter tactics, and defense training for security checkpoints or vehicle convoys.

That’s essentially everyday’s reality in our line of work.

And that’s why I put these topics on the schedule of Wodan Security’s IBC4, this year.

IBC4 knife defense training

Thomas Lojek: It seems, that knife defense played an important role in the IBC4 agenda?

Ralf Kassner: Absolutely, and we had one of the best SME on this topic worldwide: Mark Human.

His experience in CQB and his reputation as one of the best instructors for LE, Military, and CPS is unmatched.

Mark Human knows the real-world challenges we have to face as CPS operators, because of his own background and real-life experience.

There is a lot of bad advice about knife defense out there, but Mark comes from the application of modern CQB tactics in the real world.

His teachings aren’t theoretical. That‘s why his advice is realistic and highly valuable.

Even seasoned operations were surprised by his experience and skills as CQB instructor.

Assault scenarios and live fire training

Thomas Lojek: And the assault training and live fire part?

Ralf Kassner: We had a strong focus on carbine to pistol transition traning, this year. Because that is what‘s awaits you, if you are working in risk hot spots like Africa or in the Middle East.

Combat conditions are constantly changing in these countries: An assault can move from a convoy into close quarters battle within seconds.

Operators have to prepare for it.

A solid foundation in how to move from carbine to pistol and back is crucial for today‘s operational environment.

Thomas Lojek: How important is live fire training for CSP?

Ralf Kassner: Essentially, like water for a fish.

You can’t train for a real combat situation without at least some rounds of live fire.

FX training is good. But there is a point, where you have to go beyond it and make your trainees feel what it takes to make tough decisions or remember complex drills under the impression of real bullets flying around.

It needs a highly controlled environment and responsibility to get into live fire training.

With our experience of many years in counter-terror units or military operations, we can handle scenarios that are realistic and safe at the same time.

Why tactical training instructors move to Eastern Europe

Thomas Lojek: Was live fire training the reason why you set up IBC4 in Poland?

Ralf Kassner: Yes. The sad truth is, that German politics make our life harder, every year.

Today, it‘s impossible for operators to train on an advanced SOF level in Germany.

The moment you pick up a gun on a shooting range and you just move with the gun in your hand, you face enormous legal consequences.

Only governmental forces are allowed to train realistic scenarios, in Germany.

Moving while shooting is forbidden. Using distraction in scenarios, like smoke, noise etc., is forbidden.

In Germany, as a non-governmental close protection service operator, what you are allowed to train is far from reality, not to say utter nonsense.

You cross the line of getting into more serious, more realistic training and you face very serious legal consequences.

With these crazy legal policies working against us, how can we train our people for facing what is going in in Iraq, Somalia, or Libya?

Its impossible.

That‘s why we move to Eastern Europe to carry out more advanced training and real SOF scenarios.

Thomas Lojek: Do you think these regulations will change, any time soon?

Ralf Kassner: I doubt it. Honestly, I expect regulations to get even worse.

On the other hand, diplomats and CEOs demand professionalism in CPS.

But the administration in Germany or Central Europe doesn‘t give our industry, what it needs to provide professionalism.

That‘s why people move to questionable ranges and train under questionable instructors.

That endangers all of us.

One sucker in the team who trained cheap crap under cheap conditions because of crazy politics can cost a whole team‘s life.

Thomas Lojek: This year, one of your guests was a journalist, Dr. Kurt Pelda. Why?

Ralf Kassner: Dr. Kurt Pelda, an authority in terrorism reports, has faced life-threats by middle east terrorists.

Everything that helps you to understand, what you may face during a operation, can help you to stay alive and bring your VIP and your team back home.

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