Tag Archives: celebrity bodyguards

Executive Protection Training Video

A very small sampling of the drills that go into honing skills in the Executive & VIP Protection Industry.  These are the building blocks that create the total package that clients, Detail Leaders and decision makers are looking for.

The guys that attended the recent training course were from all backgrounds and walks of life, but I think what was so impressive is that regardless of their pedigree’sthey put their egos on the shelf (well mostly) and engaged in the physical and mental exertions that form muscle memory.  Continue on that path and at when the moment of truth comes, your actions (or reactions) are on autopilot.

For more information on ICON Executive Protection Training, click HERE.

VIP Protection Course Day 1

Looks to be a great group of guys this class.  Everyone showed up on time and ready to work.  By the end of the day you could see the exhaustion, but I feel if your going to invest your time and hard earned cash, the payout should be worth it.  Correct?


To learn more about future ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Courses, click HERE

Female Bodyguards Featured on Today Show

Amy Robach of the the Today show does a segment on the rise of females in the Executive Protection industry.  The show spotlights Executive Protection Agent Joanna Torrens and an all female class undergoing training in the profession.   While obviously greatly condensed and edited for their morning demographic, I thought the piece was a good representation of the training, challenges and mindset women would need to undergo to succeed in the male dominated bodyguard industry.

Click HERE to view the segment.

To learn more about some of the training Joanna went through follow THIS link.

The Circuit Magazine Preview Page

The Circuit is a Magazine co-produced by the British Bodyguard Association (BBA) and the North American Bodyguard Association (NABA) who’s goal is to spotlight the role of Executive Protection & related fields to our community and the outside world.  A full-color glossy with high production values, the publication is truly international, with contributors and readers from New Zealand to New Hampshire.   In addition to being the Managing US Editor, I currently write an ongoing column entitled, “Keeping Your Edge”, which gives my opinions on a variety of topics that affect our industry.  Take a look at some of the past columns from me as well as other valued contributors.

Currently in the library:

Keeping Your Edge

by Elijah Shaw (yours truly)

The Role of Firearms in Executive Protection

by Justin Johnson

To check out the Books & Magazine Page, click HERE.

Industry Spotlight: Protection Agent Mark “Six” James

Icon – Behind the Bodyguard Business holds a spotlight where we feature someone in the Executive Protection, Security or Investigation industry.  Our hope is to provide some insight into our profession and also show newcomers & the media that people from all walks of life and all parts of the globe do this type of work with honor and pride.   No it’s not like the movies, but it can be rewarding, thrilling, and yes, sometimes fun.

Agent Name: Mark “Six” James

Company Name: Panther Protection Services

Website: www.pantherprotectionservices.com

Home city: Atlanta

What made you decide you wanted to get into the Protection industry?

As a former corporate executive I use to fly around the world and when I travelled abroad, I had people assigned to protect me.  I got to see what good protection and bad protection looked like.  Most of it was just plain bad or a good operator assigned to the wrong detail.  I actually got started in the protection business teaching legislators, judicial members and business executives how to shoot for personal protection.  Many of the legislators during campaign season would ask me to travel with them as my firearms skills made them feel safe when they were out on the campaign trail.

I learned early in my professional career that most long-term careers are built on personal strengths used by people who enjoy what they do.  I have always enjoyed firearms, martial arts and helping people.  So Executive Protection seemed like a good fit.  When I was in corporate America, I always enjoyed building high performing teams, and owning a protection agency gave me the ability to do the things I enjoyed while still continuing to help others.

What are some of the differences between working as an Operator and a trainer?  Do you prefer one over the other?

That is a hard one to answer.  As a trainer you have greater impact as a whole as you help others continue to build their skills, and serve others.  As a trainer you are a force multiplier.  When I am working as an Operator, I can only help one client at a time. As a trainer your skills scale. However there is nothing more personally rewarding than when a client tells you, that you make them and their family feel safe when you are around.  No matter how much I train, I will always continue to work directly with clients, as it helps me keep my training contemporary by staying in the profession as opposed to being around the profession.  Both are hard work and whether they are a firearms student or Executive Protection client, they are both clients and you work to serve them, and if you don’t do a good job, you don’t have repeat customers.

Can you share a bit of one of your best experiences in the industry so far?

The first day, I started working with a client who was a professional athlete I was interviewing him and going over our safety briefing in his hotel room. Before we got ready to go to our big event, I gave him a distress word, a distress sign, and showed him if things go bad and we were involved in a deadly force situation, how myself or a member of my team would move him out of the harm’s way.  He said, no one had ever done a safety briefing with him in the past or had every talked about distress words or signs.  Before we got ready to go down stairs, I took off my coat and got miked up.  He said “I didn’t even know you had a gun on.”  I told him that is why they call it “concealed carry”.  He laughed and said, “I got the damn secret service working for me!”  We have worked together for three years now and counting.

To someone coming up after you in the industry, what advice would you give?

Remember we are in the service business, it is not about you, it is about your client.  The moment you forget it, your client will remind you.  Take time out to invest in building you.  Stay hungry, keep training and work on building all of your skills, (advanced work, tactical medicine, firearms, martial arts, study up on the laws in the states you work in, evasive driving etc.).  Remember Executive Protection is a profession, not a hobby; you should be doing something in your profession every day.  Professional athletes train 5 – 6 times per week, Doctors practice medicine every day, attorney’s either research the law or litigate every day, take that same commitment to your development.  Build your skills and the money will come.

Personal Protection Specialist Mark “Six” James can be reached at (404) 349-9117 or Email:  mark.james@pantherprotectionservices.com

Range Time aka A Bodyguard’s Holiday

Got a chance to carve out some time at the outdoor range working with my senior firearms instructors Mike Briggs & Justin Johnson.    The rain held out, not that it mattered, we would have all still been out there doing the same thing ~ES

For more information about the ICON Advanced Pistol Course, click HERE.

Is There Still a Shortage of Female Bodyguards?

A few years ago my good friend Harlan Austin from Bodyguard Careers wrote an interesting and thought-provoking article on the need for more female bodyguards and how they can find a place for themselves in a competitive market.  Fast forward to 2010 and the questions still needs to be asked, “Is there still a shortage of women in the industry?”  Taking a look around I’d say yes, but things are changing and the need is still there.  Women are also increasing their exposure which means that clients are starting to request them.  More and more women are finding work in the field, and that’s a trend that as an employer and trainer I’d like to see continue to increase.

The future looks bright.

Mr. Austin’s original article on the shortage of female bodyguards:

“More and more, female BODYGUARDS are being sought after by women celebrities. Because executive protection has been a male-dominated field, there is a lack of female talent from which women celebrities have to choose. Harlan Austin, President of BodyguardCareers.com attributes this shortage to the ongoing perception that “size matters.”The simple fact is that a successful bodyguard should never have to use violence or draw a weapon. The belief in “brawn over brains” is a misconception. With that in mind, there’s no reason to doubt a woman can successfully manage the job.There is also a “boys club” attitude towards the field of Executive Protection, simply because the pools from which an bodyguard is selected has traditionally been from a male-dominated workforce; law enforcement, military personnel, martial arts and the like. Because women have now been more integrated into these traditionally male careers, they too, are candidates worthy of consideration for careers in executive protection. ”

For the entire article click HERE.

Kwame Kilpatrick’s Bodyguard in Court

The ex-Detroit Police officer who is suing the city of Detroit in whistleblower case was back in court today. Tony Davis, who was also a member of former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s executive protection unit continued his trial today in a Wayne County courtroom.

Davis is accusing the former mayor of wrongfully firing him after he spoke out about an alleged “Manoogian Mansion” party were murdered exotic dancer Tamara Greene allegedly danced for Kilpatrick and was allegedly assaulted by the former mayor’s wife.  For the full story, click HERE.

Sneek Peek: ICON Advanced Pistol Course

ICON Advanced Pistol Course

Dates:  July 12-14, 2010

Location:  Minneapolis, MN

2 Day Course w/ 1 Day add-on module (optional)

Cost:  $500 (2 day) $150 (optional 3rd day Executive Protection Module)

 Description:

 ICON presents a fast paced comprehensive course for intermediate to experienced shooters.  Taught by our highly qualified instructors, this two day course is open to the public and will prove a dynamic experience into the world of offensive/defensive shooting using a combination of classroom, drills and extended live fire exercises.  In addition, an optional 3rd day is offered to members of the Executive Protection Community so that they may enhance their skill set.  Limited seating available. 

 Topics Covered: 

  • Holster Drills
  • Shooting From Cover
  • Engaging Multiple Targets
  • Shooting on the Move
  • Shoot/No Shoot Scenarios
  • Walking Drills (EP Module)
  • Shooting in a team dynamic (EP Module)
  • Client Cover & Evacuation (EP Module)
  • Embus & Debus Engagements (EP Module)

Students will be evaluated on fundamentals, speed, and accuracy.  As an added bonus, the “Top Gun” award will also be presented in the form of a free Glock 9mm firearm sponsored by Glock. 

 For more information contact: Training@Industry-Icon.com

Bodyguard Training Course (July 7-11)

Icon Services Corporation is proud to again present our 5 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 Executive Protection 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

For more information on attending the course click HERE.