Looking Good, Feeling Good and Fighting Good

By Bruce Alexander

A few random thoughts about Executive Protection issues were swirling around in my mind this weekend and I thought I’d share them with you. Perhaps random isn’t the right word because at least one of these thoughts is a pet peeve, and the other two are concerns. I’ve titled these three thoughts as: looking good, feeling good and fighting good.

First, looking good. I cringe when I see Executive Protection professionals dressed like they are auditioning for “American Idol.” I don’t have anything against “American Idol” but then again I don’t have anything for it. It’s not my kinda show. I’m not a “fashionista” either but I believe that Executive Protection professionals should exhibit a professional appearance while on a mission.

That doesn’t mean you should out dress your principal but you shouldn’t embarrass him or her either. Attire should be appropriate for the occasion but in every instance, conservative. I also think that personal grooming falls into this category as well. What you wear off duty is your own business but I don’t think earrings on men are appropriate for an Executive Protection specialist regardless whether your principal is an entertainment celebrity or not.

My Executive Protection focus is corporate and government and simply put, I consider earrings taboo. Anyway, give some thought to your working wardrobe and the image you project.

My second thought is about feeling good. The March 2007 issue of Law Officer has an article entitled “Fit For Duty; A 20 minute SWAT workout.” The article is aimed at SWAT professionals but is certainly applicable to everyone. This article got me thinking about fitness and Executive Protection.

I’m nowhere near as fit as I used to be and I recently (ok, yesterday) decided to do something about it. In the same way I have certain professional standards about appearance, I have certain standards about fitness. Those of you who know me know I would never be mistaken for a Marine Corps recruiting model but that doesn’t mean fitness isn’t important to me. Fitness and Executive Protection go hand in hand.

Executive Protection can be a demanding profession particularly if you are on a small detail where you are expected to perform several tasks. One of the most demanding days I ever had in Executive Protection was advancing 11 stops on Capitol Hill. My principal was visiting congressmen to gain support for a treaty and he wanted to see and speak to the key players. I know it sounds easy but that wasn’t the beginning or end of my day and being fit helped. When you give your all to an assignment you are bound to get tired regardless of the task or environment. Being fit keeps you sharp particularly when things go wrong, which is my lead into the third topic of the day, fighting good.

Fighting good. Richard Nance’s article “Winning in the ‘Kill Zone’ ” is a must read for the Executive Protection community. The article is linked below. What I found relevant about this article and the Executive Protection assignment is the range of the “kill zone” which is within five feet of the attacker. While this article isn’t specifically about Executive Protection the lessons learned certainly apply.

Rich Nance’s reminder about the threat presented by unarmed attackers applies to Executive Protection particuarly when considering the frequency we find ourselves in situations with crowds, to include crowds that have been pre-screened for weapons. Secondly all of the skill sets Nance advocates are spot on for Executive Protection. Close quarter tactics are a perishable skill like languages, driving and shooting. Don’t neglect these vital skills on your road to becoming a Master Executive Protection Specialist.

  • http://www.icepltd.com Doc Rogers

    Bruce: Great article! Looking good; I like the part about earrings (ha,ha). Got to try the “Fit For Duty; A 20 minute SWAT” workout. Fighting good; zero to five, feet Winning in the ‘Kill Zone’ great read! Keep safe and God speed.

  • Alonzo Gomez

    Good to see that I’m not crazy! I keep telling people to lose the jewelry, fragrances, and other hipness statements and keep that for their dates… if they must.
    We’re in a serious profession with a serious image to maintain, where the business, not fashion, world sets the standards for dress.

    To be honest, certain younger celebs do not like their protectors to look too “square”, however. But I think that’s often an excuse for some EP guys too (to be “themselves”).

  • http://www.firstlinesecurity.webs.com Robert P. Fickes

    Agree with you on the ear rings. I do not permit officers who work for me to wear them while working, that include the tongue also. What is your take on ponytails? In the past I didn’t use officers who had them, kind of back off alittle. Had to be clean, neatly comb and tug in the back of their shirt or tuck up underneath their hat if wearing one. Your thoughts!

  • RAY HASTY

    i have said it before keep the edge keeping your self in shape is very important i know staying in the gym is not always in the cards but you have a choice some one taking you to the ground are you taking him are her to the ground .staying well dress is also very important .I am old school people will size you up just on your apperance .i am past forty and i am still in the three hundred pound bench press club so stay sharp and fit .And always used common sense on your details .

  • Hucky

    Vanilla and conservative is my model when it comes to dress. I think too many EP’s believe that they should emulate the principal when it comes to dress. Bruce you make a solid point about being in relatively good shape,recently a good friend told me about and experienced that he had. At a recent hotel stay, the elevators were out of order, he had to walk 10 stories because the principal forgot his cell phone in the hotel room. He said it just about killed him, but he vowed to get back in shape after that experience.

  • Mike Billings

    I work in the film industry and for business people that are visiting sunny South Africa. I’m 45 old and cunning, I maintain a good fitness level and always groomed. As far as dress code I prefer to take a low profile and be seen as crew or the PA. I generally work alone and have to occupy a number of roles while still maintaining a high degree of awareness. Most clients actually do not want it overtly knowem that they have a bodyguard, contrary to popular belief, its not seen as cool. I consider myself to be a Butler with a very particular set of skills, I generally find that if clients are relaxed and at ease in my presence I can do my job. Earrings are a definate no, they will cause you pain when they are forcefully removed. I find that jewelry and bling attracts attention anyway and that creates another set of distracting variables. Security in my situations has to be more subtle, I utilise avoidance techniques and rely on situational awareness. Crowds, malls, concerts, parking lots all areas of high risk can make a single operative jumpy, having a relaxed client, being in shape, maintaining good composure all help in keeping the peace. Thanks for a great article, I find all invaluable. Mike