The impression most people have of bodyguards comes from Kungg Fu novels and the movies: Chinese bodyguards who are unmatched in Kong Fu pitted against western bodyguards who are tall, powerful and mysterious.
Actually the career of bodyguards is not a man’s world. The reporter visited a private training school for bodyguards and met some female bodyguards. They do not appear any different from normal girls but are actually well trained, not only in Kong Fu and taekwondo, but also in driving, foreign languages, laws and business etiquette.
Female bodyguards clear up misconceptions about bodyguards who are regarded to be rude and violent.
Li Hui, 20 years old, is a native Shenyang girl from northern part of China. ” didn’ think too much, I just felt that the career would be very good. I could learn Sanshou, taekwondo and driving and find a job in the future. I’ve heard that it’ also well paid.” Li has bronze skin. She is very serious in training but a little shy when talking.
Li enrolled in university in Shenyang last year, but dropped out of school. “Her parents sent her to our school to learn how to be a ‘Special Guard’. She trained well and is now a school student union cadre.” The headmaster Lu Songlun likes to use the word “Special Guard” when talking about his students.
While many people call them “Private Bodyguard”, from a professional point of view, “Special Guard” is more accurate. The 54-year old Lu Songlun was once a detective in Shenyang Public Security Bureau and he set up this school, first of this kind in Northeast China.
More popular than male bodyguards
The headmaster told the reporter that the demand for private bodyguards has grown in recent years, especially for female bodyguards: “Women are more careful and alert and do not easily arouse suspicions. If there are several tall men standing behind you in a business negotiation, how can it go smoothly? However, female bodyguards often appear in the role of a secretary and do not bring any embarrassment.”
Lu also said that the women who graduate from his school are popular and mostly find employment in southern cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou. The Security Service Company belonging to Shenzhen Public Security Bureau employed 20 students one year. Like male bodyguards, female are hired primarily for the heads of private companies and the Security Service Company belonging to Public Security Bureaus in different cities. He also told the reporter that the salary is quite good for female bodyguards because their job combines being a secretary, driver and bodyguard. One female employer paid the female bodyguard she hired 60,000 a year. Another student was hired by the head of a valve plant in Zhaoqing city, Guangdong, also for a high salary.
What should be learnt and aware of being a bodyguard?
“Of course not all enterprises are allowed to hire bodyguards. We have to check all the certificates and investigate whether it is a legitimate company, whether the boss has a criminal record. We are responsible to our students,” headmaster Lu Songlun added.
Many bodyguards are hired by show businesses and high-level exhibition enterprises, and have the opportunity to travel abroad. A student said she really admired some senior students who have chances to go abroad to protect the clients. “Two seniors, Chen Yang and Zhang Shasha, were hired to go on a luxury cruise from Singapore to protect a client. I hope I can have such an opportunity after graduation.”
“The training is very hard and I have lost weight, but it is worth it,” Li Hui told the reporter. The future bodyguard needs to learn Sanshou, Kong Fu, driving, business etiquette, secretary, foreign language, personnel protection and escort in transportation after one-month training in the provincial taekwondo team.
“Beside Kong Fu, the main part of the cultural courses is legal knowledge. After all, the career is at the edge of the law. They should be aware of what kind of things are allowed and what kind of things are forbidden,” Lu said.
Criminal law and public order regulations are the two most important courses in legal knowledge. A bodyguard can only defend and protect her employer, and is forbidden to offend others unlawfully. They should limit their actions into the scope of defense.
Besides defensive techniques and legal knowledge, professional ethics is also a very important course. “We have a month of military training before lessons on obedience and command. This is the first step,” Li Hui said. Then there are other courses for professional rules including never arguing with the employer, keeping the employer’s information secret such as trade secrets, work plans, personal privacies (address, telephone and license plate numbers, etc). “We even have to keep these things from our family members.”
Managing the relationship with a male employer is also very important for female bodyguards. If the bodyguard is distant from the protected, she will not be able to protect him well enough, but if she is too close, she may draw suspicion.
Lack of professional bodyguards
Because of China’s strict laws, bodyguards are not allowed to carry guns or other weapons. “It’s only in the movie that bodyguards bind knives around their legs. We are not even allowed to carry batons,” Lu said.
“We hired ex-military soldiers or students who have graduated from sports schools. They can beat several people barehanded.” Lu said. Even so, bodyguards still have their own secret “weapons” such as waistband, and iron headed boots or leather shoes. “Female bodyguards’ secret weapons are women’s things.”
When people think of bodyguards, they also think of gangsters. Lu admits that this profession is not normal and has attracted some black sheep. “There are some bodyguards in private detective agencies who do not have good word of mouth because of their low quality.” Lu said he never accepted the work such as demanding loan repayment or guarding an entertainment venue. (Source: nen.com.cn / Translated by womenofchina.cn)