Category Archives: Martial Arts

What’s So Different About The ICON Advanced Executive Protection Course?

 

In short, everything and nothing.  Security Driving Guru, Tony Scotti recently said to me upon reviewing first hand the ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Course , “Why don’t you just call it the “Executive Protection Course”, as all of the fundamentals are here”.  Mr. Scotti, had  a great point, and my response was that I wanted to make sure those that attended knew that in addition to those fundamentals they were also getting something at the class that had a clear distinction from what they could find anywhere else.   –An emphasis on working with Celebrities and the challenges and rewards that come with that segment of the marketplace from people that still do the work on a daily basis.  As we like to describe it; additional tools for the toolbox.

Along those lines, when we made the decision to introduce an Advanced 10 day course, I wanted to again have a distinction in the market.  This time it came in the form of not just teaching how to do everything the “right way” but also how to act (and react) when things go wrong.  the ICON Advanced Executive Protection Course puts an emphasis on operating in a hostile environment with a client and covers a multitude of disciplines including Risk Assessments, Threat Planning, Surveillance Detection, Counteraction Drills and medical life saving techniques, with several curve balls thrown in.   Having recently wrapped a course to positive reviews, I think we are again practicing our philosophy of giving great value and respect to the time and resources expended by the attending student.  Now looking forward to Tony stopping by the next one and letting me know what he thinks.

 

Learn more about ICON’s Advance Executive Protection Course by clicking HERE.

What Its Like For a Woman Training To Be A Bodyguard

by Lori Edwards

I distinctly remember coming to the sudden and uneasy conclusion that I really didn’t have any idea what I was getting myself into.  My seatmate on my flight had asked me why in the world a girl from Texas would come all the way to Minnesota by herself, especially in January, without any personal history there or family ties to the area.  I chuckled a little and explained that I’d be attending a class that would train me to become a bodyguard.  He wondered aloud if I was serious.  I simply smiled and nodded.

I’m not exactly what you’d picture a female bodyguard to be.  Although I’m very athletic and have two black belts in Taekwondo, most people don’t suspect it.  In fact, most folks would take one look at me and drop me into the category of “indoor girl” pretty quickly.  And of course, so did my seatmate.  In rapid fire succession, he began showering me with questions regarding all the things the class might require of me, and if I thought I was adequately prepared for it.  The only response I could manage was, “I really don’t know.”

I spent the rest of the week finding out.

The 5-day ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Course is arranged very intelligently.  Beginning with some brief welcoming statements and announcements, we jump right in.  ICON CEO, Elijah Shaw, starts with some lectures about team formations and foot drills.  About an hour in, we hop up from our seats and start literally walking out the things that his 17 years in the business has taught him.  Then we move into tactical weapons drills led by Assistant Instructor and resident firearms expert, Mike Briggs.  Holster drills on verbal command with a realistically heavy, but imitation firearm consume the next hour or so.  I must admit, having never handled a weapon either real or fake, this was challenging to me.  Trust me when I tell you, that during the initial movement drills I probably have never found my left and my right so ridiculously confusing.  Thankfully, our final instructor and champion mixed martial art fighter, Justin Newcomb rescued me by announcing to the class that it was time to take two hard laps and meet him in the gym.  Aaaahhhh, relief.  This part is something I know I can do, –Interval training.  The instructors tell us we will have a 5-minute workout.  It’s true.  What they don’t tell us, is that it’s a butt-kicking five minutes.  I’m game, and have the sneaky suspicion this won’t be the last time we’re at the gym. Then back to the classroom to discuss some of the broader issues of Executive Protection.

Did I mention, all this was before lunch?

We spend that afternoon and the next few days repeating the cycle of classroom discussion, walking/formation drills, weapons drills later on, live fire at the gun range), physical training and industry-specific do’s and don’ts.  Each session, we expand and practice our skills, and information received at a pace that only NASA can truly comprehend.  The instructors begin throwing in unexpected surprises to keep us guessing, and learning.  At the end of every day, I am spent.  I had no idea the amount of information that these professionals must process, and how quickly they must process it in order to keep their clients safe and sound.

Add to all that craziness the unique challenges that come with being female, and you begin to get a reasonable idea of my personal experience.  I wanted to make sure that I made a good impression right away, so I showed up on the first day looking nice.  Not formal ball-gown nice, but reasonably professional.  I had spent ample time online researching ICON and was well aware that Elijah Shaw is nearly always in a suit.  First rule of business: Never show up sloppy when the boss expects a suit.  I also knew that this course was very hands-on, and as such, there would be some physical activity.  No details were given as to our daily schedule or the demands thereof, so I decided to land somewhere in the middle.  I wore nice pants, a jacket I could remove easily, and my favorite stiletto boots.  I did fine until break time when Mike Briggs wandered up asking me if I had brought gym shoes.  I had, but they were in the hotel, because surely our kindhearted instructors would warn us of what we’ll need when we’ll need it.  Heads up future classmates:  a deliberate lack of pertinent information is a constant, so come prepared for anything – just like in the real world of VIP Protection. Needless to say, I spent most of the day running laps and all the other physical training in barefoot. (And carefully.  I mean you don’t really want to ruin a $65 pedicure slamming into the gym equipment so I considered it practice in situational awareness).

I also tried my hand at figuring out when it was safe to put my boots back on.  Just as soon as I had convinced myself that the workouts were finished for the day, I slipped them back on.  About that time, Justin Newcomb tiptoed up behind me and whispered, “You’re gong to want to take those boots off again….”.  Bless him.  I actually thought about running the laps while wearing the stilettos, but decided against it.  So I just gave up.  I wore running shoes the remainder of the week, however there’s more to the story where those boots are concerned.

Everything went smoothly until Friday night.  I ended up pulling an all-nighter as part of a real-world exercise through which ICON puts its course attendees.  I took the first client shift, which lasted from roughly 10pm to 6am.  I was wearing a radio device with which I have no previous experience.  In the chaos of last-minute information and preparation, I threw the earpiece on and the radio in my front jacket pocket.  There were several loose wires flapping about, but I didn’t really care as, the clock was ticking and I had to get on post.  No worries right?  Well that is until the instructors came to visit me on site.  There’s something very unsettling about three grown, strong men standing together in a huddle while smirking and rubbing their foreheads.  Mike Briggs convinced me to slip off my suit jacket and got me reorganized into the very picture of a female Close Protection Agent:  black jacket, white shirt, black skirt, black tights and those 4 & ½ inch black stiletto boots.  I’m a mom, so I know what its like to stay up all night looking after someone.  I’ve just never done it in those boots before.  You learn in training, so you don’t make the mistakes in the real world.

Twenty-four hours later, I find myself about to enter Force-on-Force Drills.  In that moment, I have no idea what is about to happen, I only know I’m not really crazy about the sound of it.  I’ve never shot the realistic airsoft training weapons before.  More importantly, I’ve never been shot BY the airsoft training weapons before!  I had nightmarish visions of being in a room with all my classmates and instructors just shooting ferociously until someone has the compassion to yell “TIME’S UP!”.  I worried needlessly.  That’s not what force-on-force drills are about.  These exercises are designed to place the trainee in situations that as closely as possible mimics real world experiences.  Trust me when I tell you they are valuable and bring a whole new element to the course.  To this day I find myself mentally rehearsing some of the multiple scenarios I went through that evening.  In my mind I’m moving the client, negotiating check points, climbing walls, jumping over people or things, asking questions, taking charge, providing cover, evacuating, locating exits, thinking critically, and looking for the less than obvious.

I think that’s the point of good, solid training:  It stays with you.

Before the ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Course, I was just a yoga-mom from Texas.  During this course I challenged myself to become something that I’ve always envisioned:  brave, decisive, resourceful and capable.  In the middle of the week I questioned my decision to be there, and I questioned my ability to do this job to the extent that I thought about packing up and going home.

I’m so glad I didn’t.

By the end of the course, I had experiences I will never forget, and was handed opportunities I’d have never believed.  I was challenged far more than I expected, resulting in a depth of confidence I’ve never known.  I loved it so much that I’m actively seeking my next opportunity to train.  I’ll get some gun range time with Mike Briggs later in the spring, and hopefully, I’ll get to take the 10-day Advanced Executive Protection Course soon.  In the meantime, I’m hoping to establish a foundation in the industry through Advance work—The security preparations and logistics that occur before the actual client even enters the area.  We had one assignment specifically on advance work during the course, and I did particularly well at it.   I now find myself making mental sketches of practically any building I walk into, even here in my hometown.  I draw mental route cards, too, when I’m traveling.  So, I’ll be looking for opportunities to continue to implement skills, while my girls are attending summer camps and other things.  Eventually, and with continued training, I’d like to move toward protecting female celebrities at events, and finally as their personal protection.  We girls gotta look out for each other, you know.  I have to believe that for the newcomer or as a refresher, whatever your goals or interests are in the field of Executive & VIP Protection, this course will meet them.

Take it from the “indoor girl” – you’ll be glad you did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note:  We plan for this to be the first of several articles by Lori that while chronicle her experiences as a newcomer in the Executive Protection Industry. (of course without violating any client confidentiality.)  We hope that it will serve as an inspiration for others and the realities of the profession.


 

Women Can Be Their Own Bodyguard

Proving that you don’t have to be in the bodyguard business to benefit from some of the safety and fitness training that goes into high-end security work.  ICON CEO Elijah Shaw takes TCL Reporter Emily Engberg through our new Safety & Fitness Course designed for civilian women.

Pulled from elements of our highly acclaimed ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Training Program that has helped bodyguards from around the globe to operate successfully in the world of Executive Protection, this unique course is a great way for women to challenge themselves mentally & physically, while at the same time learning new skills that could one day literally save their life.

To learn more about the course or register, click HERE.

Celebrity Bodyguard Training (July 7-11)

Icon Services Corporation presents our highly regarded five-day course of practical theory and hands-on training in the world of Celebrity & VIP Protection. If you are new to the bodyguard industry or a current operator looking to refresh and polish your skills, this course will offer excellent instruction into the professional side of Close Protection work. Taught by industry veteran Elijah Shaw, who in addition to his corporate clients, has traveled the world as the personal bodyguard of international public figures such as musical giant Usher, supermodel Naomi Campbell, and rap megastar 50 Cent, the course will offer real world problems, scenarios, and solutions from instructors that are currently active in the industry.

“Your training is an invaluable tool to your industry. I was very impressed how close to realistic training you all provide. Having been taught by the best, I can honestly state that I learned quite a bit in your class. There is always room for improving ones skill set, and your training definitely added to mine.”

Special Agent Robert E. Jones / US Secret Service

 

to learn more visit www.Industry-Icon.com/CPC

Corporate Takeover Magazine Interviews ICON CEO, Elijah Shaw

6530_118694472216_47008162216_2700338_1349328_n

It’s always kind of cool when your a fan of someone’s work and realize you are on their radar as well.  That was the case of  me and The Corporate Takeover, which describes itself as a “business magazine and lifestyle dossier for the modern gentleman”.   I’d say I’m pretty modern so I could see the fit, but I was surprised when I found out the managing editors were already familiar with my some of my work.  Several weeks later, a interview was set up which covered a wide range of topics from politics, to economics to  staying sane in the pressure filled world of the Executive Protection Industry.

Corporate Takeover:  How do you prepare for high risk assignments that take you to countries where there’s an increased threat of violence? And at one point would you have to say to a client, ‘Ok, this is too dangerous’ and advise against visiting a certain location?

Elijah Shaw:  The high risk assignments are where you really need to be focused. 90% of the job is in the planning, so you take care to minimize your clients exposure to harm. Depending on the type of client, resources might go from unlimited to a shoe string budget, so you just have to make due with the hand you are dealt. There are times, for example, when an entertainer has to make a public appearance, even when faced with a higher threat level, and the recommendations I make leads me to butt heads with other decision makers. Sometimes you can’t get away from that, but that is ultimately why a service like mine is used.

For the full interview, click HERE.

Train to be a Bodyguard

Students work on hand-to-hand drills in the training square.
Students work on hand-to-hand drills in the training square.

Celebrity & VIP Protection Training Course

(August 26-30 2009)

Icon Services Corporation is proud to present a five-day course of practical theory and hands-on
training in the world of Celebrity & VIP Protection. If you are new to the bodyguard industry or a
current operator looking to refresh and polish your skills, this course will offer excellent
instruction into the professional side of Close Protection. Taught by industry veteran Elijah
Shaw
, who in addition to his corporate clients, has traveled the world as the personal bodyguard
of international public figures such as musical giant Usher, supermodel Naomi Campbell, and
rap megastar 50 Cent. The course will offer real world problems, scenarios, and solutions from
instructors that are currently active in the industry. For more information, including a course description, click HERE.

**2 weeks, 1 slot left.  Contact us today to attend.

~

The Icon Celebrity & VIP Protection Course is a must for anyone looking to break into the industry or for those already actively working in the field that just want to stay fresh and sharp. Industry insiders will tell you that consistent training is paramount to being hired and successful in the EP business. I have graduated from their courses and I use the skills learned everyday while providing protection. The instructors are top notch in the industry.”

— Sean Ernest, PPS
Icon Celebrity Protection Alumni 2.08

CelebrityProtectionCourse-small[1]