Written by: Greg Ellifritz
A couple months ago, I taught a class down in North Carolina for Nick Hughes’ Krav Maga Lake Norman school. While there, Nick gave me a pre-release copy of his recently updated book How To Be Your Own Bodyguard. I recently finished reading it and I have to say that it is one of the best books available on the topic of general personal protection.
Nick is incredibly well qualified to write such a book. He’s a veteran of the French Foreign Legion, has worked as a bouncer/doorman at some of the roughest clubs in Australia, and has made a career traveling the globe as a celebrity bodyguard. In addition to all this, he has earned black belts in more martial arts than I can count. Nick is a legit force in the world of combatives instruction.
Nick has distilled all of the things he’s learned from the personal protection trade into an incredibly practical and easy to read 300-page book. The publisher’s description of the book provides so much information that it is almost a treatise on the topic by itself:
“Self Defense tips for men and women from a lifetime of protecting clients in hostile environments. Includes avoidance and awareness skills of the professional protection agent as well as dynamic, pressure tested techniques.
The problem with the majority of self-defense books is they begin with the victim being attacked. “The bad guy is coming at you with a knife.” “You’re being strangled.” In reality, 75% of self defense starts way before the punches begin to fly.
Violent attacks always begin with SELECTION. Whether it’s which house to break into, which car to steal, or which victim to rape someone, or something has to be chosen. What if there was a way to learn how bad guys choose their victims, and what if you could learn tricks of the bodyguard to lessen your risk of ever being chosen in the first place? How much would a skill like that be worth to you?
Next comes ISOLATION. Crimes usually happen on the periphery of public events or in parking lots or homes, away from the prying eyes of witnesses and cameras. If you could learn situational awareness skills and how to conduct counter-surveillance and heighten your awareness then you’d know in advance you were being set up.
After you’ve been selected and isolated there will be a distraction phase usually consisting of some VERBAL patter, designed to distract you while the criminal gets close enough to launch his attack. This is why it really doesn’t matter if you have a weapon on you that you’re relying on. At that distance – less than seven feet – the empty hand will always beat the attempt to produce the weapon.
Finally, the fourth phase is the attack. If you could master the first 3 phases i.e. how to recognize them and deal with them, then you needn’t get into the hard skills portion in the first place. How smart is that.
As if that’s not enough the book is going to teach you all sorts of useful information with regards to self-protection. What about the four pre-fight indicators almost every criminal uses before he hauls off and hits you? What exactly is Adrenalin and how is it going to help or hinder you in a fight? What should you do in a hotel to stay safe? What about an aircraft or a riot? What are the rules pertaining to defending yourself so you don’t end up in prison for doing so?”
The book does a great job expanding on these (and many more) ideas. It is a masterclass on how criminals select their victims and what you (the potential victim) can do to avoid such a selection. This isn’t academic research, it is knowledge learned the hard way on the streets. I guarantee you have never considered many of Nick’s innovative tips and tricks. I also promise that you will find a handful of his suggestions to be truly life saving.
Lots of books cover the physical aspect of fighting. What I like about this book is that the author also covers the “soft skills” and verbal techniques necessary to stop a potential attack in its tracks. My favorite parts of the book are:
– My male readers have seen numerous fights in bars and clubs start with a drunken patron yelling “Hey! What are you staring at?” or “Are you looking at my girl?” Nick talks about a phenomenal strategy to verbally diffuse this situation without violence.
– Nick describes a couple great verbal ruses that a single person can use to make it seem like he or she is with other people who may dissuade an attack.
– Nick’s description of pre-attack indicators is the best I’ve seen anywhere. It is simple, but amazingly useful. Reading his advice on what to look out for before an attack caused me to completely revise the chapter I’m writing on pre-attack indicators and threat cues in my upcoming third world travel book.
How to Be Your Own Bodyguard is without a doubt one of the most useful and complete books available on the topic of personal protection. Nick covers everything from avoiding an attack, to verbally diffusing potential attackers, to physically fighting them off, to the legal aftermath. It’s truly a graduate-level education in the art of self protection. I think most of you will really enjoy it.
Thanks to Nick Hughes for providing me with a copy of his excellent book and sharing it with my readers. I hope some of you take Nick up on his offer and get some free How to Be Your Own Bodyguard swag!
The book is available at your local book seller and at Amazon.com.