After a hard training session, I was having a well earned pint of Guinness with my Jujitsu Instructor. It was over this pint that I learned that his day job was teaching unarmed combat and restraint techniques throughout the UK. “You jammy bugger!” I thought. This was the seed, the niggling idea at the back of my mind, and that was 13 years ago.
I continued as a student of Ju Jitsu, both as a student and later as an instructor. But it was really about four or five years ago that I started to look at moving into the world of close protection. I thought that with the training that I had had whilst serving with the military, and my current martial arts status, it would stand me in good stead but beyond that I knew very little of what to expect! So where did I start? With anything, you are only as good as your training, so I started to research over the internet what training was available and what it might cost. Was I employable? What sort of work was out there? What is the pay like? There is an incredible amount of information on the internet but, as with all these things, I found a lot of it useless and irrelevant. After a considerable number of tedious months trawling through all the information, I had established what I needed to do in order to be at the bare minimum of standard for the industry – the SIA close protection license.
I had found several of what I thought were reputable companies offering SIA training but before making a final decision I did some background research on the people running the courses; it is always worth checking credentials, that way you can be sure of what you’re getting. I eventually choose Argus Europe run by Brian Tough QGM, a former Special Forces instructor and bodyguard. He had a wealth of experience and I was instantly reassured by his honesty and frankness. Brian was partnered by Nick McCarthy a former Parachute Regiment soldier, who again had a lot of experience and knowledge which he was keen to share.
At first I was quite apprehensive, but once I arrived late I was greeted by Brian and within a few hours I had met the other guys who were also on my course. We had a few beers around a blazing fire and before long the conversation flowed. The course lasted twenty one days and I found it extremely thorough; I really enjoyed it and my determination to succeed was even greater than before.
It was a long and tedious wait for my SIA license, and not without incident. I tried approaching potential employers but it soon transpired that they wouldn’t even entertain you without your license number. Not disheartened by this, I set about marketing myself in other ways. I spent many years being self-employed so I knew the importance of being proactive. I formed a company, commissioned someone to design a logo and corporate identity and using these a friend constructed a website for me. I then listed the company and website on every free listing site and directory I could possibly find on the internet.
There are dozens of free directory websites which you can register with and get your advertising totally free (so take advantage because often these bring up results of your website on search engines. For anyone starting off, even if you only have a single web page, this is a must. There are also some fantastic forums which regularly post investigative and surveillance work, so get yourself subscribed – a lot of them are free).
I have found that a lot work is at extremely short notice so I had to be prepared to drop everything. I have to admit that I spent every spare minute of my life for over three months tapping the keys on my laptop, but I knew that If I wanted to succeed in this industry, it would take a great deal of hard work and perseverance.
It is now almost six months since completing my course and getting licensed, and I have managed to get a reasonable amount of work, including mobile surveillance, counter surveillance, close protection and some investigative work. Some of these jobs have been through my website which means it has already paid for itself. Other work has been secured through contacts I have gained since entering the industry, so networking is not be underestimated. Over the coming year I aim to gain as much and as varied experience as I can. I have already conducted some unarmed combat instruction and this is something which I really want to develop. I had spent a considerable amount of time at the end of 2008 researching different disciplines of martial arts and combat systems with a view to connecting all the best elements which have relevance to the CPO. With a great deal of help from friends and fellow instructors I have put together a combination of techniques which are ideal for our industry. I hope that by the end of 2009 I will have an affiliation with the British Jujitsu Association, which will allow certification and accreditation with my training. So if there are any companies or individuals interested in this type of training please let me know and I will be happy to help!
By: Max Williamson