Friday, July 27, 2007

Training for Close Protection

The one thing that sets military special operations forces apart from conventional forces is training. Special Forces personnel are constantly training and learning new tasks while continuing to hone old skills. This is the one great lesson I learned while serving as a Special Forces officer in the Army; that the training and preparation never end.

With several weeks off before I travel again for my next security assignment I'm taking advantage of the time to continue my personal training program. Here is a list of things that security professionals can do to increase or augment their skills while they are between jobs.

- Learn a new language. You don't have to become fluent, but try to learn some useful phrases. There are plenty of Internet sites dedicated to teaching various languages. I'm currently using JapanesePod101.

- Augment your medical skills. If you have the three weeks, get your Basic EMT certification. At a minimum get certified in CPR and AED.

- Stay on top of you physical workouts. You should endeavor to do something every day. That doesn't mean you have to thrash yourself into oblivion day-in and day-out. Be sensible and have a plan. Incorporate the basics of strength, flexibility and endurance. For me it's triathlon training coupled with yoga.

- Combatives. Try to learn the basics of a martial art that appeals to you. A lot of security professionals are practicing mixed martial arts, taking techniques from various arts that make sense and have applicability. I've been a bit of a traditionalist here and have focused on Aikido; so much so that I married my Aikido instructor. Now that's dedication!

- Shoot. Way too many close protection guys get wrapped around this. It's fun, and people tend to practice those skills that are fun. Don't just go to the range and blast away. Have a program that works on specific skills. Make every shot count and have a purpose. Practice with a variety of different weapons, not just your favorites. Dry fire... a lot.

- Hang out in Barnes and Noble and browse books on business dress and etiquette, foreign cultures, the world's religions, geography, and photography.

- Stay on top of technical skills. Understand the basics or wireless communication, radio theory, multimedia presentations. Become familiar with emerging technologies and applications.

In short, take an inventory of yourself. Identify those areas that you are weak in and develop a training plan for those. Don't just head off to the range a few times a week and blast away, thinking that you're now a well-trained, close protection agent. Balance in all things.

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