Friday, August 1, 2008

Bodyguards; A Public Perception

Serious looking statue in one of the Charlottetown squares on Prince Edward Island.

I often get asked what I do for work, and my reply is simple; I’m a bodyguard. From that point onward the conversation always goes in one of two directions. The first is that “You must be good at martial arts”, and the other is “Can you tell me who you guard?” I always answer the martial arts question with, “No but I can run fast. I always tell my clients that if you see me running something has gone terribly wrong and you should try to keep up”. Both of those questions highlight the public’s perception of the executive protection industry. One, that you hang out with Angelina and Brad, and two, that you’re something just short of Bruce Lee. Both couldn’t be further from the truth, at least for me.

While certainly some protectors have high-profile, very visible clients, the vast majority of bodyguards provide services for people that no one would ever recognize on the street. From a protection point of view, by the way, that’s a good thing.

The whole martial arts thing always makes me laugh, and while I practice Aikido I have a hard time envisioning when I would use it in a protection role. If I’m whipping out my best version of yokomenuchi kotegaeshi, who’s watching the client? It’s always better to cover and evacuate; Bodyguarding 101.

This leads me to another idiosyncrasy of mine; I’m a “bodyguard” because that gets most people closer to the ballpark than say an “executive/close protection specialist/agent”. To each his own I guess, but every time I’ve ever used some cool sounding moniker I’ve always had to refer back to “bodyguard” in my inevitable explanation which then raises the question, why didn’t I go there to begin with? I guess I’m simple like that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The thing about aikido as opposed to other martial arts is that the purpose is not to respond to a yoko menuchi with a perfect kote gaishi. It is also one of the only martial arts that truly trains in defending against multiple attackers.

This training develops an expansion of one's wa, or circle of peace. As a security specialist this translates to being even more in tune with one's surroundings and not developing tunnel vision in a crisis. Learning technique is the least of what Aikido is about.

Aikido is like Pilates in a way. It will enhance whatever discipline one is involved in and increase skills in subtle ways.

See you at the dojo.