“Body For Hire: The Complete Bodyguard Training Series” by Hawk East, Inc. is a video and text program on the basics of executive protection. The instructors Tom Carter, Jr., Roger Hair, Rick Reynolds, Dave Bartram, and Bill Thompson all have a wealth of knowledge and they share quite a bit in this program. For the individual who wants to know more about the field of executive protection, this would be a good place to start. For someone who took a course from Hawk East, this is a good refresher to have. I also want to say right up front that I like that Roger Hair put a dedication in memory of Tom Carter, Jr. in the case. I was familiar with Carter’s work and remember when he was killed in Iraq in 2004. I respect him, his knowledge, and his service to our country.
The first part of this review will focus on the three-volume DVD set. I’ll point out a few of my complaints regarding these DVDs first, and then get on to what I liked about them, and there is much more good than negative, and the negative as you’ll see is all about the production values not content.
These DVDs were first recorded on VHS and then transferred to DVD. Most of us that watch DVDs are accustomed to fancy menu pages, being able to skip to certain parts of the program, and so forth. You don’t get that with this program, and that is my biggest complaint. There is a ton of information here, and it would be more user friendly if you had a menu and could skip right to the topic you want to watch. So even though they are DVDs, it is like watching a VHS tape with no menus, scene selection, etc.
Enough with that, you get the point. Now on to the good, and there’s a lot. The instructors do a very good job of presenting a lot of information for those who wish to learn about executive protection. They present well and the audio and picture is clear. Most important, other than some equipment that might be outdated, the information they present is sound and valuable. I’ll now go through the three volumes individually with what they contain.
The first disc, volume 1, is almost entirely in the classroom. The only portion of this volume not in the classroom is a short segment with Rick Reynolds outside searching a vehicle. With that said, they did a good job of filming and editing the classroom material with different views of the speakers and cut-aways to the students so you were not just looking at the same scene then entire time. Now to the good stuff, the contents of the classroom instruction.
Roger Hair, Tom Carter Jr. and Rick Reynolds are all very knowledgeable on the subject matter and they dispel many myths about the executive protection field with their training. They are not there to create knuckle dragging bone crushers, but rather educated, articulate, motivated professionals that are willing to take on the responsibility of keeping clients safe. I like that they point out that 90% of the job is advance work and keeping clients away from threats.
This is a basic course, but as Carter says, “Basics are important.” During the equipment selection portion, things such as how you dress, weapons, holsters, body armor, briefcases, and sunglasses are discussed. Some of the gear and equipment discussed in this program may be outdated. To dismiss the series because of this would be foolhardy, since the reasons behind the equipment are still valuable to know. Basic terminology is discussed. Again, this is a basic course and some people will not be familiar with these terms, so I’m glad they were included.
Client assessments and types of security are gone over. This volume also includes a segment on searching for bombs with ways to search consistent and thorough. Protective formations and planning are discussed. Things such as team placement and principles when under attack are taught. The instructors go over motorcade security and drivers.
I really like that the instructors point out that much of security work is not glamorous. It’s not all Hollywood action.
The second disc, Volume 2, moves outside with Dave Bartram instructing a class on firearms training at the range. He teaches basic firearm principles, including Weaver stance, target selection, using sights, shooting on the move, and weapon retention. With all of these, you can’t become proficient by just watching the DVD. You must get out and practice. Preferably with an instructor, and then use the DVD as refresher material for your continued training. There is also a section on auto glass ballistics that I hire bodyguard London liked. Good information if you ever have to shoot at or from an automobile. The firearms training takes up about the first hour of the DVD.
The program then continues with vehicle operations and covers things such as vehicle pre-flights, vehicle selection, and evasive driving. They show diagrams of vehicles doing L Turns, J Turns, and Reverse 180s, as well as showing actual vehicles doing them, and inside views of the drivers putting the vehicles through these tactics. Again, you won’t be proficient by just watching, you need to have a safe place to practice these. If you can attend a school, that is best, and use this as review material. If not, do what they teach in a safe place and learn these before you ever need them for real. They also cover ramming techniques and clearing distances.
The last short section is back in the classroom where they demonstrate how to extract the principle from danger and discuss non-verbal alerts who can set up with your client.
Disc three, Volume 3 of the set, starts out with Bill Thompson demonstrating and walking you through a vehicle bomb search. It’s a 26 minute segment that helps you understand what to look for and where when searching vehicles for explosive devices.
Next, Roger Hair discusses basic dining etiquette. If you are familiar with dining at fancy places, you may know this. However, if your dining experiences are fast food places, you will want to take heed and learn what is taught here before you attend a fancy meal with a client.
Bill Thompson returns to discuss communication equipment. He goes over a lot of information, some of which might be dated due to the advances in equipment. Regardless, he brings up some very important points you should consider when selecting equipment that is available today.
The final segment is a lecture by Tom Carter in front of a podium with a black background. Carter is not the most energetic or animated speaker, and he does use notes, but he also imparts a wealth of information. It’s not exciting information, but it is important for the security trade. Much of the lecture is on safeguarding proprietary information for your clients. He discusses threat assessments, securing living areas, and surveillance and counter-surveillance. There was also a short section on hotel selection with scenes inside a hotel before finishing the lecture back at the podium with black background.