When it comes to protecting someone's safety bodyguards are the professionals. Here are a few things you can learn about personal protection from the best.
1. Prevention is greater than firepower
When protecting yourself the only pen mightier than the sword is the one which writes your back-up plan. When protecting high value clients personal protection services do not pack the biggest gun. Even when they do stow some big firepower it is a last resort when all else fails. Before that there is an inordinate amount of preparation in planning travel routes, checking vehicles, screening venues, having decoy vehicles, and so much more. They know that anyone seriously trying to hurt their client can be packing equal or greater firepower and they aim to keep them safe through better planning to head off any potential dangers.
For you this means knowing your routes and potential dangers and trying to avoid them, checking the back seat of your car before you get in, travelling with others wherever possible, not walking with headphones in, and not pulling out your $700 phone while walking down the street at night. There are many other ways you can keep ahead of potential dangers. Use your head and think ahead. Also take the time to practice ways you can verbally diffuse situations.
2. Have a plan, have a back-up plan, then have four more
This is somewhat in the same vein as prevention and pre-planning. Professionals always have options. When the feces hits the fan they have firearms, block vehicles, escape routes, and a few more tricks up their sleeves.
You need to anticipate your plans to failing. Remember in the movies when the heroes run out of plans and have to improvise? You do not want to be trying to improvise on the fly. Having pre-planned escape routes, distractions, and force options means you can react quickly and decisively.
3. Intimidation only gets you so far
Confidence and competence are where it's at. You've probably all seen celebrities with the massive bodyguards. They are there to keep crowds and unruly fans back and manhandle people. Now look at the Secret Service. These are skilled individuals acting against larger threats. They don't aim to intimidate. They are a subtle but effective presence because they have skills and they, and everyone else know it.
For you this ties back to non-verbal indicators. Confident body language and relaxed social presence can certainly help you. The people who will hurt you do not care how tough you act; don't try. Being calm, cool, and collected, and being able to act is far more threatening
4. Keep your head on a swivel
The only way to know when to change to plan B, C, D, or deploy a force option is to be paying attention to the situation and your surroundings. When escorting a client you have to be constantly assessing for threats and should you come across one you have to be able to analyze quickly to determine the best course of action. Little details can make all the difference and the only way to notice them is to carefully assess the situation.
Stay aware. Pull your head out of your phone, the headphones off and take care to observe what's going on around you. A great way to do this is to quiz yourself, or have others do it for you, later on details of people and things you passed while driving or walking. This builds your awareness and memory so you can take careful note of your surroundings at that moment and later on should you have to report them to police.
5. Training is key and training the way you have to execute in real life is best
If you want PIT maneuvers and shooting from a moving vehicle to work you have to practice them. If you want pre-planning and awareness you have to work at them and practice, practice, practice. If you want to be able to defend yourself physically you need to develop physical skills and train them under a good instructor on a regular basis the way you would encounter them for real.
BONUS: Train to escape, not to fight
Personal protection specialists are concerned with getting their clients out of harms way. They are not training to fight a war and neither should you. Using force in self-defence, and even defence of others, is primarily about creating openings to escape. If you want to train for self-defence don't train to stay and engage the way you would in sparring. Train to hit hard, hit fast, and run faster.