Notes & Quotes: How To Be Your Own Bodyguard by Nick Hughes

The following are my favorite quotes from Nick Hughes's How To Be Your Own Bodyguard: Self Defense for Men and Women from a Lifetime of Protecting Clients in Hostile Environments.

  1. It never made much sense to me to see guys buying guns and going to the range with the excuse that it was for self-defense when the same guy is 100 pounds overweight, smoking two packs of cigarettes a day and eating a diet of fried food, pizzas, and beer. He's going to die from self-inflicted heart attack or stroke before he ever ends up needing his gun for self-defense. My argument is that if they understood the concept of self-protection as opposed to self-defense they'd make moves to remedy that.
  2. How much longer does it take to sit in a seat where you can see the door versus the one you can't? About two seconds. Two seconds is not a long time and the potential return on that tiny investment of time is absolutely huge. For men, go into the stall of a public restroom as opposed to standing at the urinal. Two seconds. Put on boots or lace up shoes as opposed to flip flops. Two seconds. Take your weapon with you versus leave it at home. Two seconds. By now you should be getting the idea. Being prepared takes very little extra time compared to not being prepared, but the payoff is vast.
  3. Most victims have no plan at all. The only thing they'll say when asked about their plan is "well, I just hope it never happens to me." Hope should never be part of a self-protection plan. Ask yourself this question. Would you vote for a President who, upon being asked what his plan for national defense was, replied with "well I just hope we never get attacked." Sounds ridiculous right? But right now, millions of people are protecting themselves exactly that way.
  4. Using and understanding the acronym S.I.V.A. will help you understand the process that most attacks follow. Selection. Isolation. Verbal. Attack/Assault.
  5. One of the keys to helping control the effects of adrenalin on the system is used by snipers, soldiers trying to shoot, and hostage rescue team members just before entry into a room with a barricaded subject, and that is simply controlled breathing. By breathing in slowly for a four count, holding for four, letting out for four, and holding for four before inhaling again, one can rapidly get on top of many of the symptoms.
  6. The OODA loop is the process which everyone cycles through, over and over, be they individuals or even corporations, and it breaks down as follows...Observation. Orientation. Decision. Action.
  7. Having a self-talk "script" is a very useful tool. There are many out there and they can be tailored to your specific goals. One of the best of these that I've seen, and the one that I use all the time, comes from Dennis Martin of CQB Services in the UK and it goes like this:
    "I will do whatever it takes to win the fight. I may be hit. I may be cut. I may go down. I may feel pain. I may feel fear. But I will turn pain into power and I will turn fear into aggression. I will keep fighting. As long as I have breath in my body and blood in my veins. And I will win! Because I will do whatever it takes to win the the fight. I will do whatever it takes to win the fight!!!"
  8. Develop the habit of gathering intelligence. We do it by taking five to ten seconds when exiting a building (the mall for example) or your home to pause, survey your surroundings, and take in information. The best way to do this is to break the area you're looking at into a foreground, a middle ground, and background. Begin by looking at the foreground and do it from right to left and not left to right. Why? We read from left to right and so, as a result, we tend to skim over minor details when looking in that direction. By forcing ourselves to look from the right to the left we tend to take in more information. The other step to keep in mind is that you search the foreground first, and then the middle, and then the background last. That's because anyone in the foreground is going to be the most dangerous due to their proximity.
  9. A favorite of sexual predators at malls for example is to wait beside a victim's car in a van. As the victim approaches, the door slides open, the victim is grabbed and dragged into the car, in less than three seconds, and carted away. By pausing for the five seconds before you blindly head to your car you would have a chance to spot the suspicious vehicle and go back for assistance from mall security.
  10. Get into the habit of locking your doors within three seconds of getting into your house, car, or hotel room. If a predator is following you to take advantage he has a limited amount of time to get into where you are by following you through the door. By locking the doors immediately, you deny him that access.
  11. I know it's fun to work hard and spend your money on the status symbols, but you really do have to pick when and where you wear them. Walking around a third world country with a Rolex and you may as well wear a sign that says "mug me."
  12. Special Forces usually travel in four man teams. Executive protection specialists travel in teams of anything from two to twenty-four members, juvenile gangs and bikers all travel in packs. The common denominator here is that there is safety in numbers. I want you to adopt the same methodology whenever possible and that is adopt the buddy system and least go out in pairs. Take a workout partner to the gym, car pool with someone, go shopping with a friend, etc.
  13. Remember that criminals are opportunists, so the harder you make their job, the more likely it is that they'll pick an easier, softer target. Remember, their goal is money, not necessarily YOUR money. Anyone's will do and ensuring it's not yours is YOUR number one priority.
  14. To be blunt, it's better to be safe than sorry. If your gut is telling you something, listen to it and then heed its warning. One day you'll be hugely thankful that you did.
  15. You new empty mark on your car's gas gauge is now the half way mark. This is Standard Operating Procedure--SOP--with regards to security driving when protecting a principle and needs to be adopted by you as well.
  16. Make sure you have the following in your car at all times:
    1. A fully inflated spare tire.
    2. A jack.
    3. Jumper cables.
    4. Flashlight.
    5. Water.
    6. Duct tape.
    7. Flares.
    8. First aid kit. 
    9. Survival blanket.
    10. Tool kit.
  17. Utterly important, and oft time ignored, the Bug In Bag--BIB--is a critical piece of kit. It is a small backpack, or equivalent, packed with some simple items that will help you get home (Bug In) in the event of a breakdown, blackout, or similar emergency. The Bug Out Bag is similar in content except it is usually bigger and contains elements to camp out and survive in the wilderness should it ever become necessary to leave home and head for the hills.
  18. While the contents of your individual bag will vary depending on your needs and where you live, etc., some basic items should include the following:
    1. Walking shoes.
    2. Water.
    3. Bandana.
    4. Power bars.
    5. Flashlight.
    6. Batteries.
    7. Lighter.
    8. First aid kit.
    9. Whistle.
    10. Compass.
    11. Dust mask.
    12. Survival blanket.
    13. Mutli-tool.
    14. Swiss Army knife.
    15. Poncho.
    16. Hands free light.
    17. AM/FM radio.
    18. Handi-wipes.
    19. Duct tape.
    20. Paracord.
    21. Chapstick.
    22. Sunscreen.
    23. Gloves.
    24. Pry bar.
  19. The most important part of all the above is knowing how to use it. Do not include something in your kit that you don't know how to use.
  20. "Who's around me and what are they doing?" That's situational awareness summed up in one sentence and is the bedrock of anyone's self-protection plan.
  21. Another major part of situational awareness is not only being aware of who is around you but also your environment. Where are the exits? What improvised weapons are available? What cover is available, and what concealment? Not a lot of stuff in commercial workplaces and/or schools will stop rifle bullets.
  22. "If you knew you were going to be fighting a gunman for your life tomorrow what would you be doing to prepare for it today?" Another way to look at this is, "if the time to perform has arrived, the time to prepare has passed."
  23. To be effective there are three things someone must have to win a street fight. They must have technique, they must have tactics, and they must have the correct mindset.