Third Person Protection

In this module our CQB (Close Quarter Battle) expert Kevin McPherson will give you a basic introduction to third person protection. As a bodyguard third person protection skills are more important that traditional self-defense or martial arts skills. Kevin McPherson has provided with unique insight into his methods and techniques.  


This module contains the following:  

  • Video introduction with Henrik Bramsborg (DK).
  • Text about third person protection by Kevin McPherson (DK)
  • Text about mental preparation.
  • Text about moving a client through a crowd/venue. 
  • Release and remove techniques.
  • Training tips and getting started. 
  • Introduction to reaction time/stress.
  • Introduction to brown paper bag. 

Under development:

  • An interview with Kevin McPherson (DK)




Henrik Bramsborg

Henrik Bramsborg (DK) is a professional bodyguard operating out of Northern Europe. Henrik Bramsborg works as a security professional and is also an author of several books. 

Kevin McPherson

Kevin McPherson (DK) is a security operator and CQB instructor working out of Scandinavia and Europe.  

How to move through a crowd

As a protector you sometimes, if not most times, work alone and in many cases you will be working with a client who enjoys the night life in general and clubs specifically.

In these cases you will need skills, that can get you and your client out of the club and to safety, if something critical suddenly happens – it could be a fight between some guests, could be someone threatening your client, it could even be something external as a fire or something completely different.

No matter what, you decide it is time to get away – and between you and the exit is the crowd. How do you get through that crowd?

My experience is, that the SPEAR system of Tony Blauer is an excellent “Crowd penetration skill”.

You make the SPEAR arm by bending and pointing your arms 90 degrees in front of your body, Kind of in an angle of a pyramid.

Moving through a crowd you can use either one or both arms, depending on the situation.

Use one arm if you have to hold you client bend over while running, or use both arms if your client is right behind you, holding on to your belt.

Training Tips

Awareness of your surroundings, and your ability to keep a solid attention on patterns and details around you, is the cornerstone of all good security work. According to Gavin de Becker it is perhaps the greatest of all challenges for professional protectors

In his book, “Just 2 seconds” Gavin de Becker describes, that all crimes happens at the same time –NOW.

To be aware, is basically to be present, here and now.

As a protector, you have to be concerned about patterns of behavior, which in the future may be a threat to your client.  This could be someone looking at your client and you for just a little too long. It could be someone who tries to place himself closer and closer to you client by repeatedly shifting his place in the crowd, or someone nervously looking around, waiting for the right moment to launch an attack.

You need to train your ability to spot if someone may be carrying a concealed weapon and you need to be aware of escape-routes as you move along.

I will present a few of drills on awareness enhancement, the same training my company use when educating protectors.

The first one is what we call,

Commentary walking.
This exercise force your attention away from your inner dialogue and out to the surroundings, where it belongs.

As you walk (or drive) you use all your senses. Notice and mention everything you see, smell, hear and feel. You can talk to yourself or tell it to your training partner.

On a security detail, you can maintain your attention by;

Create suspicion.

This exercise will make you aware of behaviors and approaches that attract your attention. As you stand and watch the crowd in front of you, create suspicion. Give them a short intense gaze. The most suspicious is the one that best attract your attention. It could be someone who acts a bit different from the others, someone who may look in directions that seem out of context. It could be someone that makes you wonder.

On a security detail, look for;

The tapping behavior.
When someone who is not familiar with carrying a concealed weapon, decides to carry such an item, they will have a tendency to tap or lightly touch the area on the body where the weapon is concealed. It is a subconscious action, very hard to avoid. Behavior like this should make you suspicious.

Constantly practice on your awareness drills is essential if you want to be a protector.

Reaction time

80 % of all attacks against a client happen at close quarter. On a mission, this means, that you have less time to react if someone attacks your client. It’s not like a martial arts match or a sports fight. In our business sparring does not necessarily train the skills needed to handle the situations on the right level.

When YOU are under attack, you have the luxury of knowing where the hand, knife or bullets are supposed to land – right in your face. It’s an entirely different matter when the target is your client.

Your timing, the distance and the whole balance game is different. In other words – your reaction time is altered.

I personally find that not only do I have to train my reaction time, but I also have to train my ability to make dynamic decisions under the threat of violence. On top of that, I still have to keep my awareness on the surroundings.

One drill that I have found very useful when it comes to develop all three skills (reaction time, dynamic decision-making and awareness), is a drill I have named “Brown paper bag”.

Brown Paper Bag

For this drill, you should be at least four people, giving each person a different role.

These are:

Training partner 1(TP1) = the protector.

Training partner 2 (TP2) = the client.

Training partner 3 (TP3) = the attacker.

Training partner 4 (TP4) = the string holder.

If you are more participants’ the rest could play the role as a crowd.

You should use a hood or something like a paper bag with a long string (3 to 5 meters) attached to the top.

TP1 stands about an arm's length from TP2 with the hood over his face TP4 holds the string attaches to the hood, ready to pull. As TP4 pull the hood away from TP1, TP3 (the attacker) launches his attack against TP2.

As TP1 it is your task to stop the attacker and get your client out of harm’s way.

The whole idea with this exercise is to realize where the attack comes from, what kind of attack and how to deal with it, and obviously to get your client in a safe position, in a split second.

You can make many different variations on this drill.

Kevin McPherson

Born in 1961 a little north of Copenhagen, Denmark .

He has a unique approach to close protection work, by combining bodyguard skills, with knowledge of criminal behavior due to his experience in forensic psychiatry. Kevin has for many years been protecting public servants against violent behavior, by mentally ill criminals with an abusive behavior.

He is the inventor of the protective close quarter combat system  ADAPT, that combines hand to hand combat techniques with awareness, decision-making, adrenaline control and mental toughness.

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