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The Importance of Restraints
in Executive Protection/Bodyguard Service

There are some in the field of executive protection/bodyguard service who state there is a difference between the two fields.  While some of the distinctions have validity, for the purpose of this article the terms will be used synonymously. The reason for this is the ultimate purpose of the protector is the safety of the "protectee". It doesn't matter if the one being protected is a politician, a rock star, or a corporate executive. The person's safety and security is the goal. Nor does it matter if the protector is police, military, or private security. The job is identical — protect and safeguard the one in your charge.

There are numerous aspects to executive protection. They include weapons use, driving methods, avoiding and eluding an ambush, firearm and bomb attacks, and unarmed defensive tactics. When all this is considered, the bodyguard has an awesome responsibility. It is beyond the scope of this brief article to delve into the many aspect of executive protection. The focus, therefore, will be on the use and importance of restraining techniques in this field.

Generally, there is more than one person assigned to protect someone. Whether it's the president of the United States or a movie celebrity, the protection effort is usually a team effort, with communication taking place amongst all involved. There is also an array of weapons available to the bodyguards, adding an important tool to the task at hand.  Yet, no person is infallible, and there are many crafty and/or obsessed people who may aggressively succeed in getting close enough to the "protectee" do harm or even cause death. If this happens suddenly and unexpectedly, there may not be time for backup personnel to come to assist, or a weapon of any type to be drawn.  It is here where unarmed defensive tactics come into play by the individual bodyguard. 


An attacker can be taken down in many ways, since in the absence of backup, it is foolish to attempt to whisk the one being protected into another room (if there is one) or a vehicle (again, if there even is one waiting with engine running). This not only makes the one being protected vulnerable, but the protector as well.  The bodyguard may opt to use hand and/or foot strikes, combined with throws as an initial defense, dependent on the particular bias of the bodyguard.  However, this is not sport or competition, and following a defense to an attack, the assailant cannot be left to attempt another attack. Until backup does arrive, restraining the attacker is vital.

Regardless of which restraining technique is used, the ideal position for the attacker to wind up in is on his/her stomach, face down on the ground. The bodyguard should be careful not to bend from the waist in keeping the assailant restrained, since his/her center of balance is off, and this would make him/her vulnerable to being pulled over.  Further, the bodyguard should not have his/her body in a position where an attacker's free arm or leg(s) can strike a vulnerable area. The rule for the bodyguard in these situations is basic to restraints — if the assailant complies and does not fight the restraint, moderate pain is felt.  If s/he attempts to fight the restraint, s/he is bringing severe pain on him/herself.  

It may be unlikely that a professional in executive protection will find him/ herself in a situation where there is no immediate backup. However, unlikely does not mean impossible, and in the event the situation does occur, the importance of proper application of restraints cannot be overemphasized. It can literally save the lives of both protector and "protectee".

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