Executive Protection in a Nightclub Environment

While the main area of discussion here on the Tao of the Velvet Rope is Nightclub Security, Coast Executive Services finds it important to examine aspects of Security that relate to a variety of subject matters within the Nightclub Environment. To that end, we welcome Guest Writers to submit articles in order to share their experiences and expand our knowledge base. This month’s guest writer is Executive Protection Specialist Kevin Ghee.

EXIT STRATEGY by Kevin Ghee

One of the more dangerous things I’ve found when escorting a Client is the moment when you egress a nightclub environment. For one, you are blind. Meaning that unless you have a multi-member team and you send one of those members to survey outside the club before you leave, you have no clue as to what’s going on outside. In those moments you should be very careful in your movements.

One of the ways I like to work when I’m operating as a solo protector is to use Club Security. If you know at which club your Client wants to party for the evening and the time and resources permit, you must do an Advance of said club. Get to know the establishment’s Head of Security during the Advance. Let him know that you’ll be coming back that evening, and arrange for privileged/VIP parking. I say this because if it’s a very popular establishment, then a lot of locals may attend that club weekly and have developed more of a rapport with the Security Staff than you. They may take up all of the VIP parking, so you should definitely try to secure parking.

Check for a Safe Room in the event a ruckus breaks out. “But that never happens in a club so you’ll be fine!”, some might say. Believe that if you want to. Also, find the VIP section in which your Client will be sitting and walk the route from where you’ll park to where you’re ending up. More than likely it’ll be very crowed once you return. I was just in Las Vegas with a Client and my Advance had to be done while he was still in the SUV, protected by the limo tint and the fact that no one knew he was in the car.

During my Advance I met the Head of Security, who was already aware that my Client would be arriving. I asked him to show me where we would be sitting. He escorted me along this long hallway…and around the back of the DJ booth…and to the VIP section, which of course, was full of people. I asked him to clear the VIP prior to me bringing in my Client. We then walked out of the VIP section and to the front door via a different, shorter route. That was the route I ensured would be cleared and that we would take upon my return.

The point is this: use the Security on staff and try to be in control of as much as you can. You’ll find that the Security, most times, will be more than happy to assist you. In clubs where the VIP section cannot be blocked off or there is more than one entrance, try to have a club Security Staffer present to stop unwanted guests from entering as you take a position close to your Principal.

Fast forward…now your Client is ready to leave. Please – very important – confirm that you have the Driver’s cell number and that he has yours. This is critical, in that if you need to make a hasty exit and the Driver – for whatever reason – had to move the vehicle and is not in VIP parking, you’ll find yourself exposed. You never know what’s going on outside. The disgruntled guy who was put out or who was denied access may be outside ready to exact his revenge just as you want to exit with your Client. I usually have the Client tell me ten minutes prior to wanting to leave so I can call the Driver and have him bring the car up. I then tell the Driver to call or text me that he’s “…in front of the Door” which we will be exiting.

Escorting to a club can be very stress free if you’ve planned properly in advance. Leaving the club can be a gamble. Again, get to know the Security and learn the layout as soon as you arrive. One thing I forgot to mention: find out where the bathrooms are. There’s nothing like trying to find the bathroom in a crowded, unfamiliar nightclub.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

545251_4541725853671_676455005_nKevin Ghee is an Executive Protection Specialist with over 15 years experience in the field. He has worked with numerous athletes, celebrities, and entertainers, as well as Fortune 100 clients. He served as a Team Leader for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, as well as for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. He can be reached at: kjghee@aol.com.

*If you would like to submit an article, please contact us: coastexec@gmail.com

Wrist Locks and Submissions and Joint Manipulations…Oh my!

As our goal here at the Tao is to inform, we find it necessary to revisit certain subjects with some regularity. One of those subjects is Use of Force. While some might see this as proof that Nightclub Security are fixated on being violent, the opposite is true: our goal is to minimize the Use of Force or to remove it from the Ejection equation altogether. However, the reality of the Nightclubs (and their accompanying consumption of alcohol, hierarchical male behavior patterns, and no shortage of foolish behavior) is that this combination of factors unfortunately leads to incidences of physical contact between Staff and Patrons. To this end, it is necessary regularly address not only Use of Force, but its correct and incorrect applications.*

In 99% of the entertainment venues where we’ve consulted, we’ve heard someone say, “We wrapped the Patron up and escorted him out”. And 99% of the time the escorting was done with some type of lock or manipulation. The question of whether or not the Staff was correct in use of the lock will NOT be addressed here. But the reality of using these tactics will. There is a reason that locks and manipulations exist: they are helpful in subduing individuals who are dangerous, violent, or resisting you in some way. Unfortunately, the proper application of these locks and manipulations is oftentimes overlooked or just plain ignored.

WRIST LOCKS AIN’T EASY

Let’s start by removing the myth of the “easy” submission. The “real world” application of any type of lock, manipulation, or submission is far different than the application of the same in a controlled environment. Most martial artists are introduced to these techniques in class, with a compliant partner. But very few are asked to apply the same techniques against someone who DOES NOT want to be locked up or submitted. Keep in mind that no one wants to be submitted. There is a basic feeling that keeps people from being locked up…PAIN.  In most cases, grabbing an intoxicated Patron – without even attempting to apply a lock – will cause them to resist. Attempt to apply a lock or submission in this scenario…and more often than not it will fail due to resistance. In addition, should you be able to apply your technique, the second that the Patron in question feels PAIN, they will react by trying to get out of the lock or manipulation or submission as quickly as possible.

One of the potential problems which occurs is that the person attempting to apply the lock will OVERCOMPENSATE and use excessive force to set the lock and/or manipulation. Add to that the fact that alcohol dulls pain (in this case on the part of the Patron) and the end result is something getting torn, ripped, or broken. As a matter of fact, one of the most common injuries to martial artists in training are as a result of excessive force being applied in the attempt to submit! And these are individuals who are expecting to be submitted. So, do you avoid “over-excitement” in the application of any submission technique?

TRAINING

The only way to get better at something is to train. Period. Want to get better at submissions? Train. Want to perfect wrist locks? Train. Feel the need to develop a sweet armbar? Train. Training does a few things:

1) It helps you realize that the “real world” is different from dojo world. People resist and often in creative ways. How will you discover how to work the lock with them, against them, or even move on to another possible manipulation? By constant attempts at application. And by constant attempts at application UNDER PRESSURE. Training should be as realistic to the scenario as possible, while remaining safe. (We can discuss quality of training in another post)

2) Training helps you refine your technique. There is a reason that even professional fighters and martial artists have favorite holds: they work what works for them. Some techniques will work on some people better than others. And some techniques will work more comfortably for you than others. Only by working a variety of techniques against a variety of partners can you find what “works”

3) Working submissions regularly more importantly give you an idea of what the human body is capable of handling. Meaning that you will know how 95% of the population will move and react to having a lock applied. Human anatomy is fairly consistent. True, there are those among us with incredible flexibility and high pain tolerance. But most humans’ bodies don’t take a lot of pressure to feel pain or discomfort. With constant training, one can come to understand by “feel” when the body is reaching its discomfort areas. Which, in the long run, can keep you from “over excitement” when it comes time to apply a hold in the real world.

APPLICABILITY

So now you’ve trained and you understand that you can’t just “put someone in a wrist lock”. The next question you should ask yourself (and one you should continually ask yourself while working Security) is, “Do I have to apply the lock/hold/submission when escorting someone from an establishment?” Ultimately, this comes down to where you are in the Use of Force continuum. Have you exhausted all options prior to putting your hands on someone? As far as we are concerned, if you have gotten to the point where getting physical is necessary, you’ve already lost the battle. But the perfect world where everyone is sober, gets along, and follow directions does not exist. Which is why things like locks, holds, and submissions where invented in the first place!

Careful consideration should be given to Use of Force, regardless of the type of force. Unless you are properly trained in the use of locks, holds, and submissions, you should probably err on the side of caution and NOT use them. Even with proper training, a thoughtful examination of the scenario in which you find yourself should be undertaken before going “hands on.” In the long run, it will not only make you a safer employee, but a more knowledgeable and tolerant Security Staffer.

Until next time…

* We will ALWAYS state that use of control tactics opens you and your Staff to a world of possible liability. And in turn, this can lead to criminal and civil lawsuits. We DO NOT condone Use of Force and ALWAYS recommend using every other option available to you and your Staff prior to putting your hands on ANYONE. The Use of Force continuum exists for a reason, mainly to cover you and your Staff’s behinds. We cannot emphasis this enough: IF YOU OR YOUR STAFF USE FORCE IMPROPERLY OR USE IT IN THE WRONG SITUATION YOU WILL BE SUED.*