Muscle beach: Beat ‘em to the punch at China’s seaside bodyguard school

Source: Published: 2015/10/30 10:33:32

Highlights: Bodyguard training is no day at the beach. For students enrolled at Genghis Security Academy, the seven-week program conducted at seaside Beidaihe, Hebei Province includes classes in hand-to-hand combat, crisis management and “pain endurance.” The class of 125 hails from a mix of professions - security guards to secretaries, all looking to better roll with the punches, and land some in the process. Photos: CFP

  • Zhang Guang (front) and other students show off their reddened chests after a round of strike endurance training on Beidaihe beach, October 15, 2015. Zhang, a businessman, said he registered for the program in the hopes he would “lose some weight” while “learning skills to protect his family.”

  • Zhang endures painful slaps during a strike endurance class on Beidaihe beach, October 15, 2015. According to a course instructor, slap training helps students learn how to experience and endure prolonged pain while on the job, which requires willpower and focus to stay clear-headed in crisis situations.

  • A student winces in pain as a male student slaps her shoulders on October 15, 2015. Though students usually pair off in the exercise, instructors claim that female students often hold back and do not strike each other hard enough.

  • Zhang Jiao (front) practices her boxing technique on Beidaihe Beach, October 15, 2015. Zhang, a professional boxer now employed as a bodyguard by a private company, said she signed up for the training with the hopes it would help her go pro.

  • A trainee, named only as “Marius,” struggles to subdue another student during combat training on October 11, 2015.

  • A doctor enrolled in the program treats another trainee for a neck injury on October 13, 2015.

  • Martial arts instructor Li Fucheng stresses the importance of keeping the eyes open during an attack on October 13, 2015. Li, an MMA fighter, explained that closed eyes are a moment of weakness an opponent can exploit.

  • Trainees withstand prolonged exposure to cold ocean water as part of their endurance training on October 14, 2015.

  • Trainees roll in sand after enduring the cold waters at Beidaihe Beach on October 13, 2015.

  • Trainees carry tires during a physical training exercise on October 13, 2015.

  • Students drill on how to protect a client on October 14, 2015 in Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province. In the field, bodyguards often work in teams of two; one covers the client while the other confronts any threat to his or her safety. According to a foreign instructor with the course, professional guards must react quickly to an emergency, even if their response is the wrong one. Only through training can bodyguards condition their reflexes appropriately.

  • Four trainees learn to protect a client from attack on October 14, 2015. Chen Yongqing, an instructor at the school, said the drill aims to develop concentration and focus. “One student was assigned to act as the client to let him experience what it feels like when bodyguards fail to do their job,” said Chen.

  • Students set up dominoes on October 13, 2015, as part of a lesson to illustrate how an overlooked detail can take down a whole team.

  • Trainees are tested on their ability to observe and remember details from their environment. During this exercise, students are asked to recall specific details of random items from their immediate surroundings, such as license plate numbers.

  • A trainee calls it quits only three days into the program on October 14, 2015.

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