Tag Archives: Icon services corporation

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.

Secret Service Agent Tells of Almost Shooting President in New Book?

A Secret Service agent came close to shooting President Lyndon Johnson just hours after Kennedy’s assassination, according to “The Kennedy Detail”, a new book that claims to be the first account of the tragedy by members of Kennedy’s security detail:


The night after the assassination, Blaine says he was assigned to protect Johnson’s two-story house in Washington when he heard the sound of someone approaching.  Instinctively Blaine picked up the Thompson submachine gun and activated the bolt on top. The unmistakable sound was similar to racking a shotgun. He firmly pushed the stock into his shoulder, ready to fire. He’d expected the footsteps to retreat with the loud sound of the gun activating, but they kept coming closer. Blaine’s heart pounded, his finger firmly on the trigger. Let me see your face, you bastard.

The next instant, there was a face to go with the footsteps.

The new President of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson, had just rounded the corner, and Blaine had the gun pointed directly at the man’s chest. In the blackness of the night, Johnson’s face went completely white.

A split second later, Blaine would have pulled the trigger…

Blaine struggled to regain his composure as the reality of what had just happened washed over him. Fourteen hours after losing a president, the nation had come chillingly close to losing another one.


The book also includes the first-ever account of the fateful day by Clint Hill, the agent who jumped on the back of the car in the midst of the shooting and pushed Jackie down into the back seat.

For the full story, click HERE.

Now this sounds like quite an interesting book.   I hope it goes further into the reaction of the former President.  (Likely, he wasn’t too happy.)

Executive Protection Training Calendar

Celebrity & VIP Protection Course :  (5 Days) January 5 – 9, 2011

a five-day course of practical theory and hands-on training in the world of Celebrity & VIP 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.

Advanced Pistol Course:  (2-3 Days) February 11 – 13, 2011

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 with specific training geared for the Close Protection industry.

Advanced Executive Protection Course:  (10 Days) March 4 – 13, 2011

This intensive 10-day class is an excellent tool for Operators sharpening their skills with a focus on conducting close protection assignments with a potential high threat level. Work with experienced professionals who are not teaching “theory” put practical applications developed from many years of doing the job.  Lead by Instructor Dave Marris who has spent over 15 years in private security working in a number of high-risk environments including Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, Southeast Asia, South and Central America.

Surveillance Detection Course:  (5 Days) April 6 – 10, 2011

Icon Services Corporation together with Israeli-Based Multi Tier Solutions Ltd. are proud to present a unique course focusing on detecting stalkers, potential kidnappers & pre-attack surveillance. This course greatly benefits those in the corporate and low enforcement sectors with special emphasis placed on detecting terrorist activities.

If you are interested in learning more about any of the above courses, click on the links or send and email to Training@Industry-Icon.com.  We can also put you in contact with previous Alumni to talk about their past experiences.

Aegis PI Reviews ICON Celebrity Protection Training

The good folks over at Aegis PI recently posted an on-line review of the ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Course.  The September course just wrapped, and one of their principal owners was in attendance for the 5 day course held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Click HERE to read the review.


Just completed the September 5-day ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Course!  Thank you to the 24 students that crossed the finish-line and gave their time, attention and hard earned dollars to attend.  It was great to have the attendees from various backgrounds, ages, colors & genders, meet in an environment that leveled the playing field.   One of the major phrases I returned to time and again during the course is that “it’s a thinking person’s game“.   You did not have to be the biggest or strongest or best shooter to gain the skills to make your mark on the Executive Protection Industry.

Next course, January 5 – 9th, 2011

Training Day Countdown

Tomorrow begins the next ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Course and we’re all very proud to say we once   again have a sold out class.   Looking forward to the dynamic mix of seasoned professionals polishing their skills and newcomers just getting started in the industry.

Also very excited to have Dave Marris on board as a Guest Instructor this course.   In the close protection arena his background is one who’s “been there, done that”,  so we’re especially glad to have an active Operator take the time to help out.

Pretty certain the only sleep I get for the next 5 days will occur around the same time the paperboy is making deliveries, and end before he’s done.

Bodyguard Training Calendar

Minneapolis, MN September 8-12th 2010 – Icon Services Corporation 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 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 realistic the training was that you 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 click HERE

Anatomy of an Engagment

Here are some of the photos during the recent ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Training Course.  In this actual Force on Force exercise, attendees escort their VIP from a building to a nearby vehicle, however armed assailants conduct an ambush.  The students are evaluated on their reactions and decisions made.  The level of realism is intensified by the use of Airsoft weapons that deliver a realistic  (and at times painful) simulation of taking fire and having to return fire against a live person. (click on the photo to enlarge)

Force on Force 1

Fig 1.  After identifying an imminent threat, the front security escort moves forward and prepares to engage.

Force on Force 2

Fig 2.  the primary bodyguard, assisted by the 2nd security escort covers and evacuates the VIP to the nearby vehicle –finding it disabled.

Force on Force 3

Fig 3.  The primary bodyguard elects to move the VIP to the far side of the vehicle, using it for cover.  At this point, the 2nd security escort has drawn his firearm and engaged the attackers from the rear of the vehicle.

The next course is September 8-12, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  To learn about additional Close Protection training from ICON Services Corporation, click HERE.

See Related:  Executive Protection Training Video

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.

Industry Spotlight: EP Agent Benjamin Alozie

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: Benjamin Alozie

Home Country: France

What made you decide you wanted to get into the Protection industry? I got into this industry primarily for two reasons, first because of the nature of the profession, everything it embodies and stands for. Protective services profession is about honor, integrity, and loyalty. The profession is challenging, intriguing, fun, and sometimes very boring. Protective services, above anything else is a profession that put to the test your skill set as a master planner, facilitator, escape artist, and fighter constantly.

Secondly, because I wanted to be in a profession that age would never hinder me from practicing for as long as I want to either as an operator, instructor/lecturer or a consultant, hoping at say age seventy I still have a measure of good health and still physically fit. The protective service was just the right fit because as I tell people, protective services profession can be compared to a well-brewed wine that gets better with age.

Can you give us a bit of your training background and experience?

I have a very mixed training background and experience; which comes partly from, the Streets, Services Industry, Merchant Navy, Private Security, and Paramedics. I get very emotional talking about my training background and experience because my training and experience for this profession started from the most difficult parts of my life. The harsh realities of the environment I was born in to and grew up in and my parents thought me a lot.

I learnt to live by moral values such as honor, integrity loyalty and more from my parents. Before the age of ten, I learnt firsthand from my environment how to plan, escape, and fight. For example while some other privileged kids are picked from school each day by either their parents or a chauffeur, I trekked home from school because I had to plan the routes I would return to later that same day as a young street hawker as soon as I drop my school bag. I also learnt firsthand street survival techniques like how to escape from street gangs, kidnappers for rituals, and thieves because my survival, continued education, and family’s survival depended partly on me safely returning home daily with my proceeds from hawking. When escaping was not an option, I already had the will and mindset to fight to the death in self-defense if necessary.

I am a trained and experienced operations manager with over ten years in the services industry that left a regular job to join the Merchant Navy where I received formal training in paramilitary operations, seafaring, and Vessel security.

From Africa to professionally relocating to Europe and speaking four different languages, I have held positions such as head of security, protocol officer, non-uniformed and uniformed security officer, security guard, security supervisor, protection specialist, executive assistance and much more. I have worked for, events management company, diplomatic families, private security companies, VIP nightclubs, international organizations, international private schools, for some of the richest families and private high net-worth individuals in the world, and much more. I am currently an operator, consultant, and an instructor at Excel Security Solutions AG Switzerland. To achieve all these I received several specialized trainings and certifications from many recognized security and non-security training institutions, and I belong to many professional associations. As an example, I am a graduate from Dr. Richard W. Kobetz Executive Protection Institute (EPI) in Virginia and a member of the Nine Lives Associate (NLA), the British Bodyguard Association (BBA), National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) and more.

What are some of the Challenges with being in this field?

I can talk about several but I think the most challenging experience I can readily share with you is the lack of proper training. Lack of professionalism and professional ethics displayed by individuals claiming to be protection professionals during assignments are some of the visible side effects of this growing problem. This problem is such a challenge because it gives trained and dedicated professionals very bad reputations. I once had the misfortune of working on a detail with some untrained and unprofessional agent. From day one at work until I finally left that detail, with a well-worded reference letter I might add, I did not know peace. There were times I lost the motivation to go to work because I could not imagine another whole workweek experiencing personal attacks, terrible power struggles, gossiping, back stabbings, eye service, and many other bad behaviors from individual claiming to be protection agents. I must stress that money was not the issue because everyone earned well over 1500 dollars higher than what others offering the same services earned. The problem was more complex because it was a combination of lack of proper training, professionalism, proper mindset, professional ethics, basic social etiquettes and ultimately the lack of understanding of what real protection work is all about. The lack of proper training remains one of the biggest challenges with being in this field and it has become synonymous to unethical and unprofessional practices hunting this industry. This problem evidenced by the fact that the uninformed public and some VIP clients still see protection professionals as people with brawns and no brains, which in reality is not a correct characterization of a true professionally trained personal protection specialist. I am sure all our trained female professional colleagues completely disagree too, with this notion that this profession is all brawns and no brains.

Can you share a bit of one of your best experiences in the industry so far? Wow, I have many pleasant experiences to share but since you want only one, I will pick from my favorite list. While reading R.L Outman’s excellent book “The Art of Executive Protection” I stumbled on Dr. Kobetzs’ name and then decided to read all his work and then attend one of his classes in Virginia to learn his protective services doctrine from him and his team of experienced instructors.

Day one Dr. K’s opening speech, Let me quote him in parts “Welcome… this class will be demanding, challenging and rewarding but it is not for everyone… not everyone will graduate from this program by the end of the week…we are ready and I anticipate that you have arrived in good health, spirits and well rested in order to receive the maximum benefits from this training program… there is a wardrobe at the entrance, I urge you all to hang your egos in it and pick it up on your way out because we all have hung ours there before your arrival”.

Just after that, speech and two days into our training program something interesting, rarely seen happened. With the exceptions of two brothers that attended and a couple of students who knew each other prior to attending the class, the entire class of over forty students bonded and became one strong inseparable team of professionals.

Nearly 95% of the students in our class were well-trained professionals from different backgrounds. We had active law-enforcement officers, former military officers, and border patrol agents, protection agents, and security officers, paramedics, shooting instructors, personal assistants, I.T specialist, court clerks and more. So here, we were a class full of highly skilled professionals from different backgrounds. Amazingly, because everyone truly dropped their egos in that wardrobe we became one cohesive team of protection professionals. It was one the best experience because I learnt firsthand and reinforced my knowledge from some of this industry’s best brains that;

  1. Misplaced personal egos at all levels within the protective services industry is a destructive element to team building, to a protective detail and to professional advancement.
  2. There are many protection specialists out there doing this industry proud, regardless of the number of untrained individuals doing just the opposite.
  3. All trained protection professionals have one sole objective, which is to satisfy the client by getting the job done professionally as a team or as a solo operator without reckless loss of life.
  4. That having people from different background in this industry is unique because it adds extra perspectives to problems solving especially during mission planning and execution stages.
  5. That our different backgrounds such as law-enforcement, military, corporate world, paramedics, information Technology, and more are all just parts of the building blocks that make the professional protective services industry so unique.
  6. The combining of relevant skill set from other professions and applying it in the protective services is why trained protection specialists are a unique blend of brains and brawns.
  7. Finally, Dr. K was correct in saying this industry is not for everyone and that not everyone will graduate. Some students came to the training and then discovered who they are and what the profession is. The school had to stop some students from continuing the training because of some very serious behavioral problems they found out during training.

To someone coming up after you in the industry, what advice would you give? I will say to them, this profession is not for everyone, know yourself first and what this industry really embodies before you decide to come in. After assessing yourself and the profession, if you are convinced this is the right profession for you, then strive for excellence. Remember that to be a successful professional in this industry you must be a personification of everything the protective services embodies and you must start by getting quality training from recognized training institutions regardless of your initial background. Do not forget to network with professionals in the industry and then continue to hone your skills by training and retraining yourself intellectually and physically until you quite the profession.

If you are ready for the serious commitment, challenges, intrigues, and ready to step out of your comfort zone sometimes, while mastering or acting as a planner, a facilitator, an escape artist, and a fighter, then I say to you welcome to the protective services profession.