Martial Arts Bodyguarding


(April ‘98/#38)

One day my phone rang.

“Al! I need your help! I’m bodyguarding a major event! 50,000 people! A hundred celebrities!”

I stared into the phone and mused. Hmmm. Interesting problem. Could I do it?

Of course I could. I knew karate, right?

So, in less than 24 hours, I was the second in command of security for one of the major events of the times. This involved, among other things, hiring 100 people to be personal bodyguards to 100 celebrities.

This event, which I will not name, had come about because of certain political abuses, involved marches and monster gatherings for speechings, and so on. There had been no time for the people putting it on to contact the normal bodyguard companies, and there was no time for the major bodyguard companies to put together a staff that size in such a short time, and there were lots of other problems.

To put it plainly, the potential for terrorism was very real.

And, on the other end, a swarm of people taking over a major city provided mucho opportunity for plain old feather ruffling of the inhabitants of the city.

So I began interviewing people for bodyguard positions. Fortunately I had a large pool of very intelligent people to hire from. I discarded many people, trusting only on my ability to look at another human being and see what he was made of. Finally I found someone who had an eye for people, and I set him to hiring.

And I began training the people who had been hired.

I talked about what people should look for in a crowd. I showed how to hug and roll a fellow trying to get a weapon out of concealment. God, it was lacking, but it was the best I could come up with considering my situation. And I set up exercises so people could practice what I taught.

And when the celebrities arrived they were greeted by polite people with a gleam in their eye and the willingness to put their body between bullet and victim.

That first day I was so busy meeting celebrities and assigning bodyguards and adjusting schedules that I didn’t sleep.

Want to know which celebrities pack a gun?

Want to know which ones try to stiff the waiter for coffee at a restaurant?

Want to know how fickle supposedly intelligent people can be?

Want to know how to fire a person you’ve just trained because it turns out he’s not too stable?

And I didn’t sleep a second day.

And it got worse.

I could write a book of Case Histories concerning that two day period, but let me tell you the one incident I remember the best.

I was in the hotel being used for celebrities, trying to soothe Hotel security because our radios were louder than their their radios. I walked back to where a fairly major star, several albums and the start of a motion picture career, was leaning against a wall. Suddenly a fellow in a big, dark coat appeared out of the swirling crowd. He reached into his coat and began to pull something out…and found himself spread eagled against the wall by my boys.

“Hey!” he said. “I just wanted to ask Mr. XXX for an interview!”

He had been wearing a coat because it was cold and wet outside, and he had been reaching for a camera.

Well, the star yelled at me, the people in charge of me yelled at me, and I was in trouble.

Sure, things could have been handled better, but considering the lion pit I had been thrown into I was pretty happy. And why not? My purpose had been to ensure that nobody was injured, and I had succeeded.

And, fortunately, the photographer didn’t sue anybody, and I learned more than most people will learn in ten years of bodyguarding.

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