Out of nowhere—this man pulls a gun and shoves it into my face.
A screaming shiver runs up my spine, as I realize I'm hair trigger away from death.
I have no idea how this happened.
Yet without hesitation, in one smooth motion, I move out of the line of fire, control the wrist, and take the gun from the assailant. I take two steps back and I point the gun directly at his heart with my finger beside the trigger. I calmly say “Hands up. Cross them behind your head. On your knees.”
Now who’s in control? Now who’s the boss?
Then…He Takes Out His Cell Phone
To my surprise, the man says “That’s my gun! I want it back. I’m calling Bobby to let him know you’ve gone crazy." He does this softly and smoothly while taking the phone of his pocket and dialing a number.
“Stop!” I call out.
“Why? I’m just calling my friend.”
“I will shoot you!” I scream.
By this point, his phone call has gone through and he’s speaking into the mount piece “Bobby! You hear that? Will’s gone crazy! He’s taken my gun and he’s going to shoot me!”
This is real life. It’s not a movie.
I have his gun. I have the appropriate distance. But as far as the one witness in the world is concerned (i.e his friend Bobby), I’ve gone crazy and I’m about to kill a man.
The question arises again:
Who. Is. In. Control?
Fortunately This Was A Training Exercise
For the past few years, I’ve been learning a martial art called Systema from Master Alexandr Popeskou, a professional bodyguard (the man with the gun in my face).
I met Master Alex in his martial arts studio in Sarasota, Florida back in 2011 after searching for an instructor for several years. I'm not Rambo! I needed to find an instructor with the patience and expertise to work with me.
In our time together, one of the dominate “personal protection” principles Master Alex has helped me understand is "If you want to think like a bodyguard, you’ve got to throw Hollywood-style theatrics to the wayside." The hero rarely lives to tell the tale, because the hero acts out of ego. In real life, the hero often gets himself killed and innocent bystanders in the process.
Master Alex explains to save your family, to save your friends, to save your co-workers…you MUST first save yourself. You must live and breathe this philosophy in every aspect of your life. You do this by cultivating a strong spirit, keeping your body and mind in good health, and developing your combat skills.
Think about it: without a strong spirit, without good health…who can you protect?
Now that Master Alex has finished the lesson for the day, I’ve added these three notes to my training journal:
- A bodyguard does the advanced work. “All this kick punch, is good,” Master Alex says with a hint of a Russian accent. “But you must be aware of your surroundings and be aware of yourself, in such a way that nobody will surprise you!”
- A bodyguard lives and breaths respect. As long as you have RESPECT for yourself and others, using what you have to achieve your goals is the essence of life.
- A bodyguard never relies on someone else to protect them. Your life is 100% your responsibility. Put yourself first, always!