unhand the security guard

Security Guards’ Rules and Regulations


by Keith Pascal

I know a lot of martial artists who mistakenly believe that if they become security guards they’ll have all sort of opportunities to practice their martial arts and self-defense.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.


Note: In the early 1980′s, I did a stint for a year, where my duties included being night security for a hotel. I never had to use my martial arts, except to help the bouncer escort someone rowdy from the lounge, one evening.


As an official representative of a security company or the corporation that employees you, you won’t be able to “go all whoop-arse” on any customer who doesn’t afford you the respect you deserve. You have rules, regulations, and … lots of limitations.

If you watch a store, for example, my bet is that you won’t often (if ever) find yourself shooting someone in the store. Nor will you beat them with an oversized flashlight. You’d also better nix carotid artery holds, eye jabs, breaking the knees, and so on.

The key to being a security guard is to exhibit professional restraint.

When Can You Use Martial Arts in Security Work?

Of course, you need to obey the law. And you need to obey any specific laws that may relate to security-guard work.

Next, you need complete mastery of any rules, regulations, and specific guidelines mandated by your employer. Also, if you work for a retail outlet inside a mall, you need to know the law of the land — mall rules.

Once you take all of the above into consideration, we can talk about …

Security-Guard Self-Defense

If the original question was, when can a security guard use martial arts in his or her work, then the obvious answer should be … for the purposes of self-defense.

If you have to defend yourself or someone nearby, then you might have to use your skills.

So, how do you defend yourself AND obey all of the limitations imposed by official agencies and employers?

Answer: By using the minimal amount of self-defense possible.

In other words, don’t haul of and pull a Bruce Lee on the perpetrators, unless you really, really … really have to. Realize that no matter what, you’re probably going to have a lot of explaining to do. It’s easier to rationalize a wrist lock than a broken knee cap.

Wrist lock?

Yes, a joint lock is sometimes necessary to gain control of a situation. (Remember those guidelines and regulations.)

Stop the aggressor without hitting, kicking, poking out, or breaking. Ah … the elegant wrist lock!

When Should You Effect a Lock Control?

There are probably many answers to the above question, but the easiest answer is … you can lock, when someone grabs you or attempts to grab your weapon.

Look at it this way, if you lock from a grab, then you aren’t slowing down a punch to effect your wrist lock. This is a plus.

This also means that you will probably be able to snap on your lock without hitting your lawbreaker.

Taking a grab into a non-breaking lock is probably easier to explain in a court of law than busting up someone’s face and breaking bones. Wouldn’t you agree?

Final Thought on Security Guard Joint Locks

My ultimate goal would be to deal with, and survive, any encounter without touching the suspect. This means that I consider avoiding a wrist lock to be a success … a win. I lose if I have to use self-defense, even a wrist lock.

Sure I protected myself or someone else with a joint control, but I still had to exert force. In this case, winning is losing. Right?

But if the choice is your safety or controlling with a wrist lock, then …

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