When you see bodyguards in the movies or on TV, it often looks like quite a glamorous job escorting celebrities to and from the latest showbiz event. However it’s also a job that comes with a great amount of responsibility as ultimately you have to be prepared to sacrifice yourself to ensure the safety of your client. Bodyguards are used by politicians and royal families around the world and they are often recruited from military backgrounds with many years of armed combat training.
The weaponry used by a bodyguard will depend on the jurisdiction and the type of work being carried out. For low risk details, bodyguards may simple carry a baton or pepper spray whereas for a high profile, high risk situation they may need to carry a riffle or sub-machine gun to effectively protect themselves and the client. They may also wear body armour and bullet proof vest at times.
Your job as a bodyguard starts long before a client’s trip commences as each journey needs to be meticulously planned with contingency routes in case of an emergency. Buildings, hotel rooms, meeting rooms are checked to ensure every possible situation that could arise has been thought of and assessed. Vehicles and staff are also vetted to ensure no potential threat is left unchecked.
Some bodyguards will also work as drivers and will have advanced driving skills such as training on how to handle an ambush situation. Ex-police bodyguard and driver advanced drivers are often recruited to train bodyguards or they may carry out the work themselves.
There is also a growing need for bodyguards to protect celebrities from the paparazzi, stalkers and over excited fans. Every Hollywood actor or actress worth their salt now seems to have a heavily built minder walking a few steps ahead of them in order to clear a path through the crowds. Kevin Costner made famous the role of a bodyguard and also highlighted the sacrifice you must be prepared to make if the need arises.
So what skills do you need to become a bodyguard? Well, there is no hard and fast rule but generally people are recruited from police, military, security or martial arts backgrounds. You should be able to handle yourself in close combat either to disable or restrain potential combatants. You should be physically fit with good hearing and vision. Many private firms recruit bodyguards for assignments around the world and it can be extremely lucrative. For example, ex-military bodyguards working for Saudi royal family members earn over $100,000 a year. But for that money you also have to remember that you will be working long hours, you will show complete dedication to the role and you will be prepared to act as a human shield if the need arises. So could you put yourself in the line of fire?