Female Close Protection Operatives Training (Level 1) Atlanta, GA, July 9-17

Athena’s Close Protection Operative certification is the next generation in Close Protection training. Our course has been adapted to meet the particular training and educational requirements, specific to female close protection operatives.

Basic Training: Level 1

Including:
-Principles of Executive Protection/Code of Conduct
-Solo Protector & in a Detail -Physical Security
-Protective Escort -Surveillance & Countersurveillance
-Protective Intelligence & Advance Operations
-Armed and Unarmed Combat/Krav Maga
-Anti-Terrorism (identification and and the terrorist cycle)
-Improvised Explosive Device
-Basic Pistol Training & Firearms Safety
-Event & Estate Security
-Behavioral Intelligence and Attack Recognition
-Dealing with Media & Paparazzi
-First Aid & CPR/AED

Our instructors are from Israel, Greece, and the United States. They brings ATHENA students unparalleled real world experience in protective service operations. Instructors that have served Prime Ministers, celebrities, CEO’s and other influential leaders will be teaching you.
We have an excellent success rate and once the course is completed we continue to work with our students to progress their development and assist their entry into the Close Protection world.

To learn more please visit: http://www.AthenaAcademy.com/

For applications please e-mail: charla@athenaworldwide.com

Athena Academy official FB page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=44528524966&ref=ts

Check out our Courses Directory on Thumbtuck <a href=”http://www.thumbtack.com/ga/atlanta/self-defense/female-security-training”>Self Defense Instruction</a>

Course cost is $2,000 with payment schedules available to those who qualify. Deposits for this course are $500, and full course fees paid 2 weeks before starting date

Child Protection Specialist Course: May 28-31, Greece

Athena Academy introducing the new Training Programme developed under the new needs of the close protection industry- working to provide safety to children.

Child Protection Specialist Course: Duration 4 days, May 28-31, Greece

Among others you will be trained in:

– How security team works.
– Driving and walking skills- formations.
– How to work with the CP team.
– Protective intelligence skills.
– Anti kiddnapping.
– Anti-surveillance.
– First Aid for children and CPR.
– Home safety tactics.
– Armed and Unarmed skills.

The cost of it will be $ 950, with a deposit $ 500, and full course fee paid 2 weeks before the training start date.

This course is available to anyone who is currently working with children, nannies, security personnel, or even parents who would like to learn how they can protect their children better.

For more information and applications please contact http://www.athenaacademy.com

ATHENA FACTOR: THE BEST WEAPON IS HIDDEN UNTIL IT MAKES ITSELF KNOWN.

The worlds history is replete with fine examples of female protectors dating back to ancient Africa and China.

These females protectors have served their charge well and effectively. So when I was first asked by my friend Denida to write this article. I thought what an honor, but what could I say that has not already been said about my female colleagues. So I said well, I will just cull from my own personal experiences. Now I know that there are a lot of misconceptions out there concerning female bodyguards skillset. So lets try to educate and enlighten each other and at the same time quell ignorance as we find it, shall we. I have always thought that a female operative was vital to operations. I have had the good fortune of working alongside some of the best women in the business. With a female specialist you have the perfect mixture of really good subterfuge and efficiency. I don’t mean to sound sterile and technical in this writing. But what is better then having a bodyguard that you can’t determine who they are or what they are capable of? I also think crypto-sexism plays a part in this also because most attackers will look at a woman and think they detect weakness therefore a potential target(obviously they have never read anything by Deborah Tannen). There is nothing that makes me more happier than an attacker with a cognitive dissonance when faced with a female agent. Women are making inroads in this business and the demand is ever growing around the world . I just completed a deployment detail with a number of excellent female bodyguards and at 6ft 3(unless I am undercover) I look like security so I always marveled at the ability for these bodyguards to blend in. There is a myriad of thoughts (in most cases)going through a potential attackers mind when confronted with a possible female protector; ..is she the CEO,business executive, nanny, secretary,sister,girlfriend..who knows? It’s a great thing because in our business hardening the target is what we strive for and employing a female operative can do just that. The point being to keep an attacker psychologically off balance for a bit..now that’s not saying that it will prevent an attack per se. But if one does occur imagine the surprise on the faces of an attacker when he realizes how wrong they were.. In my experience I have learned that female operatives have a certain instinct or intuition that their male counterparts just do not possess and that can be a very instrumental tool in EP.

Now if there are any detractors out there who doubt the effectiveness and bravery just keep in mind that Qaddafi and the Brazilian president and lots of others, have a nice number of female guards. Now in Qaddafi’s case I think that his female bodyguards are also incidentally trained killers. There was an incident with Qaddafi’s female guard named (Aisha) when an AOP occurred she hurled herself on top of her charge and prevented him from getting shot. Now that’s dedication! Unfortunately
this resulted in her body getting riddled with bullets and killing her. I have always thought it a great idea and necessary for female operatives in the field and I welcome them. The Secret Service is hiring female agents and there a lot female agents working Saudi details.

Anthony Burnside CPI

Do you know who you are hiring?

Do we really know what the role of the Close Protection Agent is? Do we really know what characteristics they must have before we start hiring people?

We have taken many times in the past analyzing what kind of training a CPO must have gone through, but this time, after the recent incident with Kate Middleton’s bodyguard I thought to share with you my thoughts in a different topic.(http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1352267/Kate-Middletons-bodyguard-accused-victimising-black-policewoman.html?ito=feeds-newsxml).

Besides being well trained and licensed, a Close Protection Agent must be someone who you can trust, if you trust him/her your life then don’t you think they need to meet some ethical requirements? A CPO must be someone who will not use your personal or business information to write a book or make ‘’a story’’ in the TV. We have seen way too many bodyguards, that after being fired they discovered the author inside them and start putting on a book all the personal details of their ex client. Professional? I don’t think so. Remember that being responsible for your safety they are there with you, in almost every moment of your daily life, in your dates, when you discuss or arrange important business deals etc, so it is very important that person to be discreet and confidential.

What about their personal ethics? Would you hire someone that has been accused or charged for illegal actions? Of course we all deserve a second chance in our life. But it is necessary for you to investigate and do a good research on the person’s you are going to hire background. In my experience I have seen people who have been charged for financial frauds and run security companies, people who have pending accusations against their convictions of violence and many more examples.

So would you rather trust those kinds of people or stay away and look to hire those with Clean Criminal Record?

Denida Zinxhiria

Athena Academy Founder

Section: Professional Advices from Experienced Close Protection Operatives around the world.

What do you expect?

Some helpful hints to getting your foot in the door.

By Jason Collins

CPS, Security Consultant, CP Instructor

You have taken the time to go through one of the many Executive Protection schools around the world. You’ve sacrificed time and money for this training. You’ve learned the core fundamentals to becoming a bodyguard. Now you are ready to break out and start working in the industry.

How do I do this?  First off, begin marketing yourself…..from this point on, YOU make or break YOUR future.

  • Network, network, network…..get to know potential clients, fellow operators, job opportunities.  The internet and today’s technologies, brings everything you need to begin, right to your fingertips. So utilize it…… your instructors, fellow students and former graduates are always a great place to start.
  • Due diligence and following instructions-  if you are on a job board site and see a job that interests you, DO NOT just apply for it….thoroughly read the post….if it says “in need of a Spanish speaking operator with 2 years experience in south America”, do not apply if this is your first attempt at finding work, you only speak your native language and you have never left your country.  Find out all the facts before jumping into something you have no idea about. Know beforehand, what it is you’re getting into.
  • Be professional…..again, you make or break your future.  You will most certainly be overlooked if you respond to a job bid or post with poor grammar and an obvious lack of professionalism. Sell yourself.
  • Know what you’re looking for … whether you want to go the celebrity, corporate, local or corporate warrior route, due your research. Utilize the resources out there for finding work in that specific niche.         Start small. Make yourself known to local LEO agencies, state and municipal government agencies. Your local mayor, political campaigns, domestic abuse centers and currier services and strike work details are all good starting points.
  • KEEP TRAINING.  I cannot emphasize this enough. Just because you’ve gone through a “bodyguard” school does not mean you’re ready to take on the world…..It is just the beginning….train often. Keep your skill set fresh and evolving. The more you train, the better you become.
  • And finally……apply with multiple agencies, multiple positions and multiple jobs. Always be on “a list” .  more often than not, things don’t “just happen”. Things (jobs/contracts) take time. Logistics and regulations have to be met and followed through. So be on the list so when and if it does happen, you’re there. If you bank everything on one job, you’re going to get discouraged regularly when that job fails to take place.

Hopefully, this can get you on the right track to finding work….always ask questions, be professional, have integrity and don’t burn bridges.

Section: Professional Advices from Experienced Close Protection Operatives around the world.

From Georgios Liakouras

Anti-Terrorism Specialist Agent, CPS

About your Resume: It is what it is. Even if it is only 1 page, don’t ever lie about your qualifications or the personal information you are mentioning within the resume. It is not professional to lie because if a potential employer does their due diligence and researches your qualifications, and finds out you have lied in your resume, that’s a sure way to NEVER be hired by that employer. Most times clients who are well informed can know if you have worked for that ‘client’’ or not. In the past I have dealt with people who claimed to be working in one famous actor’s personal close protection team. When I asked to see his recommendation letter I saw that he was working as a statistic security guard employed by a security company. Learning this, I did not want to proceed and hire this person.

If you have to, attach another document for your analytic “Professional Education & Training” where you are mentioning the exact training you have taken, by which organizations, the dates and the places.

About the color in the Resume: Be sure you are using the right words in your resume and that is in a nice format. Take the place of a CEO that needs to hire a bodyguard for protection. Why should someone reject a resume because a line is blue and not black? Could this difference in text color replace all CP’ knowledge and skills for his protection? Also, the colors, underlines, bolt, numbers make the text more clear and easier/faster to spot the lines that he is interesting in. A red car is not better than a white car but is more bright and visible but the white car is better in the hot weather. Every color has something to tell us. Make your resume as simple and easy to read and understand.

About Hiring a Personal Protection Specialist Agent: The potential client, that needs protection will not just read your Resume within 2 minutes and decide to hire you as the person that will protect his life. Give him the time to have a good look at it, to ‘’study’’ it. He has to read your information without even thinking about the time and he has to understand all of your qualifications prior to decide. If an agency is flooded with resumes and CV’s, they will all be looked over. The person going over your resume will thoroughly look through it. It is a life or death decision. If you don’t read you cannot learn and if you don’t read you cannot know. So keep your resume simple and tailored to that specific client. You want all the information contained to be easy to read and understand without overwhelming the client with language that’s to complex or filled with “operator specific” jargon that the client won’t recognize or understand.

About experience: We know that if you have experience it is probably to get a higher salary and if less experience it is probably to get a less salary. I say probably because the CEO will decide the level and kind of experience he needs (No more no less) and the money to afford. The same thing is for the level and variety of knowledge/education. In the market we have Executive Protection, Personal Protection, Diplomatic Protection, Celebrities Protection, Estate Protection, Vessel Security, PSD Operator that needs different level and kind of experience, knowledge, education and other way to perform the system of protection and social status/character. So, in saying this…..if you are not currently working, TRAIN! Train often and train hard. Learn and grow in your craft. The more knowledge and skill you possess, the better the chances of landing the job.

About the active role of Bodyguard/PSD Operator/Vessel Security:

Bodyguard:

There are many people who work in security industry and they have a background from Special Forces, law enforcement, private investigations, etc. The training is good and prepares you mentally, controls fear, physically and use of weapons, but it does not make you automatically an Executive Personal Protection Specialist Agents without a specific certified Bodyguard training. A Bodyguard does not make look for confrontation but protects his/her client and goes for an avenue of escape. He does not have heavy weapons and cloths and nor any other army/aerial/navy support. He cannot utilize his martial arts in the street or take his gun and start to shoot as we do in the combat. He will lose his job and the CEO will pay a high liability. Have in mind that in England and many other countries we cannot use weapons.

PSD Operator: A PSD Operator is a civilian and not an active soldier. He is not there to be the aggressor, but , like the bodyguard, he will protect and escape with the client. No army support no heavy cloths no many and heavy weapons and ammunitions as a Marine. Even in Iraq as a PSD Operator you cannot shoot anyone with no reason (PSD Operators court case of Armor Group in Iraq assault).

Vessel/Maritime Security & Escort: They compose of 4 to 5 people on the ship. Some of them with no weapons against pirates, who usually have many and heavy weapons. The military training and war methods cannot be applied on the ship.

About your Experience & Education/Training : If you have 10 years experience and this is also hypothetic (The client will judge it according his needs). Also, if you have 10 years someone else will have 15 and if you have 15 years someone else will have 25 e.t.c….So, if they want to hire someone with the MAX of years experience then not many people will be available and what about the others with less years (No work places?).If you finish a Police Academy you cannot start working as an officer? Do you need experience for that?. What about the training? Is it not an experience? In this case why do they send the marines after their training in Iraq to make real war? Where is their experience? But as we know the training is experience!!

The knowledge is power and not anymore the weapons and muscles. We know that many marines and Special Forces lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan from simple people with just a simple weapon. Where is their experience? Nothing is really guaranteed or experience or knowledge in the real war but the bodyguard is not in the war nor is he a soldier.

Working as a Bodyguard or PSD Operator or Vessel/Maritime Security, very important is the preparation and execution of the security plan and to perform a complete plan, you need a vast and various knowledge/education/training/life experience/maturity. Weapons are the last resort and in some countries you do not even have this last resort. You can use a pistol but not rifles/ machine-guns/grenades/rockets in many countries so the training in the army will not be applicable.

So, when you start to study and training you will understand that the education of the different fields such as: Security, Investigation, and Homeland security, Anti-terrorism, Security management and many others as you will mention in your documents is a powerful combination and create a powerful weapon called “knowledge”.

According to the statistics 95% and up the bodyguards was dead after an organized ambush.

Many of them had no time to draw their guns and if they have guns. The key is the preparation to avoid the ambush and/or escape and to make it happen you need knowledge to the subject.

You cannot find people in the market that have many years experience with deadly ambush, but you can find some people with the knowledge to avoid them.

A bodyguard/PSD Operator/Vessel Security cannot and must not react as a Police officer or Soldier and many of the military or police training and experience cannot be applicable. You are a civilian! Only if you work as mercenary you can react as soldier.

About Muscular Size and Martial Arts: Some clients ignore the real role of a bodyguard and look to hire muscular people or people with a black belt in a specialized martial art. This is not a guarantee. What about if the killer/terrorist/assassin is more than one? What about if they know martial arts too? What about if they are muscular? What about if they had Special Forces training? What about if they have weapons and the bodyguard does not? Can a single bodyguard be against them? In the movies, yes but not in reality. The muscles, weapons and martial arts are just some last tools to use in some cases.

About EX Secret Service/FBI/Police Officers: Some clients prefer to hire retired agents because they have good training and knowledge and think that they can protect them as the president but they are wrong. One, they are civilians, two, they do not have the support of their organization (Equipments and Agents), and three, they can only use pistols or nothing according to the law of the country. So, they can offer protection like any other bodyguard.

About Night Club Security and People of the Night: These people are simple security guards with a better salary because they work at night and for a club and with some tips. From my experience as security club in Belgium, I have noticed they are usually big guys or regular but with knowledge of self-defense. They do not have any knowledge and qualification to be Personal Protection Agents. These people are able to protect someone from an attack of “wallet thief’s”, drunken people or ex-wife/ex-husband attack and keep far the journalists. Their salary must not be the same or above the salary of a Professional Personal Protection Agent that must do everything against every kind of threats nationally and internationally.

Breaking the myth of the “Gorilla” Bodyguard

A bodyguard profession is 90% pre-intelligence (mental awareness) and 10 % physical combat abilities.  When an attack or fight occurs, it is the responsibility of the bodyguard to spurn the attack and get the client safely out of harm’s way.  It is never a bodyguard’s job to fight. Another important point: bodyguards need to blend with their environment.  In many photos taken with celebrities it is easy to point out the bodyguard. With diplomats and prime ministers or presidents, this should not ever be the case. Why? Because depending on the importance of the detail and threat level, it is known well the requirement to set when hiring a close protection agent.  These requirements will always include: good physical condition, acceptable weight and those who can react and move fast.

Knowing what being a bodyguard entails, I wonder why 99% of the descriptive involving bodyguards revolve around the “huge” or “big guy” phrases.  Simply put, the media is used to showing the celebrity bodyguards who have come from the doorman or club scenes and sometimes people have close connections in the music scene.  What is most alarming is the large number of them having no relevant close protection-operatives training. In some cases those who do attend a training school are unable to meet the physical or mental demands due to the intensive training level. Therefore eliminating themselves from the program.

If you happen to be a “huge” or “big guy”, you will do good if you want to keep the paparazzi at bay and block photos of your clients, however it is not ok when you have to do an actual close-protection detail.  Some may say that being that “big guy” will keep attackers from reaching the client or detail.  This is not fact.  Keep in mind those who have experienced boxing training or a street fight will say that they felt exhausted after 2-3 minutes of the fight.  No matter your athletic ability or physical condition, you will find yourself exhausted after minutes. With this said, it is not my intention to offend, but to inform.  Could you be so sure to rely that a “huge” bodyguard will be able to react as well as the physically conditioned and fit protection operative?

Gone are the days of the hired “thug” or “goon” as protection specialists…..today’s bodyguards are highly trained in their skill set and training and are of all shapes and sizes…..male AND female

Denida Zinxhiria

Founder and World-Wide Director of Athena Academy of Female Bodyguards, LLC

Jason Collins

C.P.S. Security Consultant

Working in the shadows

A professional close protection team isn’t limited to the close protection operator observed standing next to the VIP. There are often personal protection operators working and contributing to the VIP’s safety from a distance and who are never seen by either members of the public or the media. Their job is as equally important to the close protection mission as the team members who stand next to the VIP. They have to observe anything that appears suspicious, then investigate it, report it and take action on it.

Imagine this scenario: Your principal is going to take part in a charity event. As it is a high profile event, the guest list and other information have been released to the media in advance of the event. Since only a little information is needed in order to harm someone, (WHO they are, WHERE they are going to be and WHEN they will be there) any potential enemies of your client now have the time and information they need in order to make their plan and act against you. Given this scenario, what can you do to limit or eliminate any possibility of the threat against your client from being made a reality?

Your advance/protective intelligence team can investigate and gather information on the venue, the venue’s regular staff and any additional staff hired for the event, the other guests, allowing for the preparation of a contingency plan in case of any problems. They should also travel the client’s primary proposed route a short time before the client and observe for surveillance or anything that could prove problematic. It may also prove necessary to conduct a low profile security sweep of the premises prior to giving the OK to the close protection team to bring their principal in. It is unprofessional and dangerous to allow your principal’s entrance into a place that hasn’t been subjected to an advance security detail – the more thorough the advance the better however, if time doesn’t permit this then at least a cursory security sweep should be carried out first. Placement of undercover close protection operators inside the venue can prove extremely advantageous. Having them mingle with other guests is better still since a great deal of valuable information which could prove instrumental in ensuring the client’s safety can be obtained. Additionally, if anyone planning to harm your client is present at the venue, then they are unlikely to have accounted for the undercover operators, giving the undercover operators a distinct advantage. A female close protection operator can work very well in these circumstances, since most people will think she is just another guest. Being a part of the advance security/protective intelligence team isn’t easy, it requires patience, keen observation skills, the ability to blend in any social setting and the ability to move unobtrusively while being acutely aware of one’s surrounding environment. You have to be able to constantly scan and evaluate your surroundings and be able to observe anyone who could be a threat against your client. Persons ideally suited for this task would be military intelligence operators, police detectives, private investigators or others who have been trained and employed in an investigative role.

Denida Zinxhiria

Athena Academy Founder

http://www.athenaacademy.com

Red Cross: 8 Staff Kidnapped in Eastern Congo

The international aid organization in Geneva announced on Tuesday the kidnapping of 8 Red Cross staff near the town of Fizi in South Kivu, Eastern Congo.

For extremists groups, the kidnapping of volunteers who are offering aid services has become daily news. They hit an easy target as the most of the volunteers are medics and generally people who had never experienced any kind of security training. Most of them are arriving in an unknown country having the motives to offer aid and ended finding themselves in warzone situations. They experience threats to their life, fear and some of them end murder (according to Control Risks of London only 40%of victims are released safely after payment of a ransom). Authorities estimate the number of kidnappings per year near to 8000, with Iraq being in the 1st place as the high risk zone for kidnappings leaving Mexico in 2nd place.

Extremists seems to prefer kidnapping not only locals, but foreign missions staff in order to reclaim not only money ransom but also political and in this case we have to wonder how prepared those people are when they decide to travel to a impoverished country, are they aware for the real risk facts they are dealing with? In most of cases those people are volunteers not missioneries who are payed and payed well in some case, people who are offering services to others miles away from their home.

What we would like to emphasize is the need of proper security training to people who decide to offer their services in high risk countries. For sure they cannot get through a military training but they can have short seminars to learn simple tips in how to protect themselves or how to behave in cases that a kidnap is taking place. (Tips to avoid kidnap http://bit.ly/bao0Xv )

Are Gaddafi females bodyguards overdoing it?

Are Gaddafi females bodyguards overdoing it?

When you see the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi with his personal security escort, one thing can comes to mind ‘’too much’’.  You can see 200-300 females bodyguards dressed in a military look and high heels…It makes you wonder if their role is to support their leaders image by being part of his harem or providing him security?   Are they part of the next Vegas act or is the local circus coming to town?  Is all this showmanship necessary? Is their role to impress western societies with their appearance and military discipline or to provide close protection services?  Does Colonel Muammar Gaddafi need to have the huge number of 200-300 female bodyguards every time he travelsl? How effectively they can react dressed like that?

We are sure that they have a degree of training and all of them are possibly ready to give their life for their leader and put themselves as a shield between the threat and Gaddafi.  One must wonder though, if a threat revealed itself how could they ever be positioned to stop it? The bottom line is that Gaddafi does this all for show and there is safety in numbers.  However, the show is nothing more than a sideshow.  Do we think that they could protect him? Yes, we do, but it is obvious that this “leader” is interested in having his own place in Las Vegas than being a diplomat with a reasonable security team.

Athena Academy supports the belief that a female bodyguard should be hired with the same requirements and have the same responsibilities as a male bodyguard. A female bodyguard is to be accepted in a close protection team as an equal to any others participating in the security detail and they are not there as “window dressings”.  In our courses Athena Academy female students receive the same level of training as their male colleagues.  In short, Gaddafi will never be treated as a real leader and his female bodyguards will never be revered as professionals.  However, I do hear that after Cher is done in Vegas there is an opening.

Denida Zinxhiria

Athena Academy Founder

http://www.athenaacademy.com