Wednesday, June 18, 2008
There’s a concept in Japanese martial arts called, “Maai”, and it has to do with the distance between yourself and your opponent, in other words, how far away can I be where I can attack him, but he can’t attack me? It’s much more complicated than simply distance; it takes into account the size of participants, length of weapons, the terrain, and even the mental state of the opponents. Complicated stuff, but then again it’s Japanese.
Standing in the Green Zone Post Exchange (PX) today I saw a young PSD that could use a little attention to maai. Keep in mind that the PX is considered to be very secure as it’s located behind several layers of security, safe to the point where I would have no problem letting my 4-year old son run around. The three-man PSD was looking after two junior diplomats from one of the western embassies as they attempted to do their shopping. All “kitted out” with radios, ballistic vests, ear pieces, knives, pistols, sun glasses, 5.11 pants and matching polo shirts the team remained within feet of it’s client as they walked up and down the isles.
This is the one huge mistake that young protectors always make. I know, because I used to do it myself, and it’s so obvious to those that have experience working close protection. Give your client some space!! You’re in the PX, there is no threat, give them some distance and privacy to do what they need to do, know your maai.
I’ve never had a client tell me to get closer to him or her, but I’ve heard hundreds of clients complain that their detail is “all over them”. It's the #1 client criticism. If you’re working close protection you have to be realistic about the threat and balance that with your client’s needs. Pay attention to maai, how close do you really need to be given the realistic threat to your client?