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Do Security Guards Need Martial Arts?
Security guards are better off without martial arts training
Imagine going for a job interview and being asked to fight with two other people in the office to prove that you are good enough for the job. This is how security guards used to be employed to work in club security. The club manager needed to know that you could handle yourself and protect the patrons by throwing out the drunks.
I remember it well because the manager interviewing me looked at me and then turned to two locals drinking at the bar nearby and said, I will pay you both $50 if you can stop this guy throwing you out of the bar. He then turned to me and said, throw them out.
I was surprised at first but these two locals were keen to earn more drinking money and stood up to fight.
It was not my best ejection but I managed to defend myself and get one of them out the door with some force applied. The manager said I was hired, not because I could two people out, but I was willing to give it a go and not be intimidated by them.
The manager told me that it was more important for security guards to be able to challenge intoxicated people with authority and confidence, not necessarily the ability to fight. He said that no matter how good a fighter you are, someone is always better than you, and even experienced security guards have trouble dealing with two or more intoxicated people. Anyone tells you otherwise is an idiot.
Is martial arts required?
I get asked all the time if you need martial arts to work as a security guard. It is better if you don’t know any martial arts because the techniques usually rely on unreasonable levels of force or cannot be used in the environment.
For example security guards should never punch anyone. My reasons for this are simple.
The purpose of an ejection is to get the offender out of the club quickly and with minimum damage to them and you. To do this you need to restrain and control their movements with momentum always going towards the exit.
Self defence techniques
Most self defence techniques involve a level of harm that quickly immobilises the offender. What security guards need is restraint and control techniques that prevent the offender from harming you but also allow fast movement towards an exit. You don’t want to rolling around on the ground or exposed to their friends who will put a boot in or smash a bottle over your head. Try to learn a martial art style that uses biomechanical techniques instead of strikes and kicks.
Fancy footwork and roundhouse kicks
No security guard should ever have to kick anybody. This just indicates that they don’t have any competence in ejecting patrons of conflict resolution techniques.
I was working at a venue in Sydney when I needed to eject an intoxicated patron. He was fairly drunk but also quite a big guy. As I approached him he started to limber up and move through some martial art moves to let me know that I was going to be in trouble. He then also told me he was a black belt in karate.
I now know what style and technique range he has and with his height will probably favour a kicking strike first. As I continued to approach and entered his foot strike range he spun a roundhouse kick through the air to try and hit my head. Kicks are always slower, no matter how good you are, than moving or hand techniques. In addition, this leaves only one leg with all your weight on. I ducked under and applied pressure to his hip effecting a quick takedown with his leg crumpling under the pressure. He was then restrained and frog marched out to the laughs and claps of the other patrons.
Confidence to work without martial arts
Practice and learn some simple but effective restraint moves over and over with a partner and you will be able to better handle yourself than most security guards with some martial art training. Learning to detect possible trouble before it occurs is still the best way to prevent your need to fight. Study behavioural patterns and body language so you can advise potential trouble makers before they become a problem.
© Copyright 2008 by Paul Baker
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