Throughout my career as head of school, I’ve encountered many students with different expectations regarding their future in the industry of executive protection. Some had more realistic perspectives than others; overall, however, many lack a clear understanding of the role of a bodyguard. Misconceptions are, of course, natural; we all have them to a certain degree. In this article, I will try to solve some of the common misconceptions related to the field of executive protection to help you better prepare for your chosen career.


Firstly, the importance of bodyguard training:

People want to be safe! A client’s perception of risk is probably the more important trigger for him to hire a bodyguard. I highly recommend that bodyguards complete training focused on emergency response with live fire, hand-to-hand combat and, most importantly, to have the skillset necessary to counter surveillance attempts before a shot is ever fired. Students who went through extensive, hands-on emergency training would be more effective than students with only a theoretical education.


Let us tackle the subject from the angle of the client – the VIP. The last thing a VIP wants to hear is that you, in theory, knows how to save him and keep him safe. VIPs are serious people with serious purchasing power, and they want to make sure that their money is buying the best of what’s out there. VIPs have achieved success in their respective fields because they are professionals. Therefore, they expect the same level of professionalism from those whom they choose to hire.


You, the reader, might say: I agree, but I was not born a bodyguard, I need to start somewhere! My suggestion to you is this: if you really want to become a professional bodyguard, follow the steps below.


1st step: Have a Strategy

Start to think strategically about your career and make sure every step you take along the way will serve your objective.

2nd step: Have a Plan

Start from what type of skills you want to develop – not diplomas. For example: become a martial arts black belt in 8 years; become certified in emergency driving skills; complete firearms tactical training for executive protection; acquire undercover skills for covert security and counter surveillance missions. If your ambition is to go overseas and/or high-risk mission profiles, I would suggest trying to do the PSD courses that emphasize tactical team level training with live fire and vehicle convoy, motorcades, and the like.


3rd step: Be Committed

Stay on top of your plan with schedule and budget commitments, such as BJJ, MMA or Krav Maga classes twice a week. Make sure to pay a weekend visit to the fire range, enroll in a driving skills course, and consider acting classes to enhance your undercover skillset to assist you in developing cover stories on the job. The highlight of your yearly plan should be to take part in one or two bootcamp-style courses. It is this straightforward training, as realistic as possible, that will push you to the next level and set you apart as a professional.

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The writer, Tomer Israeli, is the head of Israeli Tactical School in Washington D.C. He is a former special agent team leader and chief security officer in the Israeli Secret Service.