Updated: Jul 7
#ProDads is a series exclusive to DadiDeal where we interview dads from around the world learning from them and their unique experiences.
I was super excited to interview Jannie Du Plooy a Professional bodyguard to top celebrities, politicians & business tycoons. What made me more intrigued by Jannie is that he is also a father of 4 children. Interviewing a bodyguard immediately conjured up all the movies I've watched in my mind like kickass Liam Neeson in 'Taken' or cool Denzel Washington in 'Man on Fire'. I wondered if the movie portrayal of a bodyguard is close to the real thing and how does being a dad fit into this unique lifestyle and probably most importantly - how can we protect our kids like a professional bodyguard.
see full Bio of Jannie Du Plooy below
Whats the best thing about being a Bodyguard?
I guess my position is different or let’s say ‘unique’ in the sense that I am both a Bodyguard & Tourist Guide. What I love the most is not being 'office bound’, getting to meet new people, seeing new places, being able to show people new places and always being on the move - like my kids would say: “keep it going, keep it flowing”.
The reward for me is seeing the satisfaction and gratitude on my client’s faces when they are able to enjoy their holiday / surroundings with the comfort of knowing that they can totally relax and be safe without having to look over their shoulder because; there is actually someone doing that for them.
Whats the hardest thing about your job? Ooohhh, a number of things jump to mind...Long hours, lack of sleep and still maintaining a high level of situational awareness. Contending with poor traffic and weather conditions when your client is in a hurry for an important meeting - getting them on time quickly and doing so safely. Sitting around waiting ..... at times. Working away from home - missing your family. As the saying goes: “there’s no place on earth like .... and I add - like your own bed”. Not always being able to follow a healthy diet or get into a proper exercise regime due to the nature of our work and the locations we find ourselves in that change all the time. You're a dad to 4 kids - how does that effect what you do for a living?
It’s a difficult question to answer without contradicting myself. At times its hard because you potentially miss out on important events that are happening in your kid’s lives. On the other hand if you are a Freelance Operator - you choose when you work or don’t work and you could potentially schedule your work around these events which makes it possible to be a part of important milestones in your kids lives. Generally you need to ‘switch off’ from ‘home’ because you cannot let it have an affect on what you do. What we do requires having our A - Game all the time, being on high alert a better part of the day. That on its own has an emotional draining affect on you as a person - add to the mix your personal life issues and you can crash and burn quickly. On the lighter side of life being in the security industry and constantly being aware of your surroundings is often labeled by my kids as ‘being paranoid’. However I've seen how this has rubbed off on my kids and when we're out with the family the kids will comment on a potentially dangerous situation or spot a dodgy character from afar .... which makes me really proud as a father - knowing that my kids are sensible and street wise.
Wow Jannie, that means we could potentially have some new, young bodyguards in the ranks soon :-)
We always see these huge bodyguards around some celebrities but then for other high profile people, like the royal family, you can't make out who the bodyguards are - why is this & what is the difference?
Interesting observation and a huge debate at times amongst industry professionals. The general consensus (and I agree to an extent but have my own opinion on this) is that the term ‘bodyguard’ has a stigma to it and is often seen as the buffoon in a black suit, sunglasses and muscles that intimidates you from the outset, knows how to fight and pick a fight and has no legitimate paperwork i.o.w. Hire the ‘muscle’. Normally ‘bouncers’ .... not trained professionals. Let’s tackle the term ‘bodyguard’. Most industry professionals like to be referred to as CPO’s (Close Protection Operatives), EP’s (Executive Protectors), EPA’s (Executive Protection Agents), PPS’s (Personal Protection Specialists) and the list goes on.
A bodyguard’s primary objective is NOT too stand and fight but rather to cover and evacuate in the event of an emergency or potentially dangerous situation.
You should never find yourself in such a situation in the first place if you are worth your salt because it all comes down to the 7 p’s or fundamentals of close protection which is:
Proper Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.
I used the term ‘bodyguard’ when I registered my business because I think that is the term that the general public is familiar with and understands hence, my indifferent opinion. Blending in, dressing according to your principal (the name we refer to when looking after a client), not “out-dressing” or “under-dressing” is professional demeanour and is sometimes dictated by working ‘overt’ or ‘covert’. The true professional should go undetected by the public eye. As a bodyguard what fighting techniques do you know & which would you recommend for dads wanting to take up self-defence training?
Close Quarter Combat is a fundamental aspect of being a bodyguard in my belief. Bodyguards generally hale from 3 different backgrounds: Ex-Military, Ex-Police Force or Martial Arts Background. In both Military and the Police Force, part of your training consists of basic close quarter combat to overpower or restrain an assailant. I myself have been practicing various forms of Martial Arts from the age of 6. So for me it becomes second nature when the situation dictates.
There is no right or wrong ‘form’ of martial arts either - each have it’s rightful place in different situations and takes years of practice, conditioning and muscle memory to execute effectively in any given situation. What I can tell you is what I think the best and safest defense is for any untrained person in the following order:
see it coming
your voice is sometimes your best defense
if all else fails - look for an opportunity and run from danger
It is never too late to start training. Fitness and endurance training in my opinion is the best - we all have a natural ability to ‘fight’ when we find ourselves in a sticky situation and you might just be pleasantly surprised.
As a Dad what advice would you give your child if they said they were being bullied at school? Always believe your child - there are parents that live in denial and will say: “ never ... bullied, not my kid”. Immediately take it up with the principal of the educational institution. Abuse of this nature is not tolerated anymore. However, I would exercise discretion. Blowing the situation out of proportion or over reacting could mean that your child will not trust you with sensitive information in the future and may cause more devastating affects for your child. It is important to follow through with your course of action and to ensure that the situation is dealt with properly. Self-defense, anti-bully classes or any sport for that matter that builds confidence has my stamp of approval. ‘A healthy body manifests a healthy mind’. I will go as far as saying; ‘an active body will create a confident mind’.
With school shootings out of control & gun violence on the rise what professional advice do you have for any of our readers who may find themselves in the middle of a shooting? If ever you find yourself in a situation like this the best thing to do is:
Push your family to the floor
cover your heads with your arms / hands
roll to safety if possible - safety being something hard impenetrable like concrete pillars or flower boxes or steel structures
listen to where the sounds are emanating from
identify how many shooters there are and the direction of the attack
try and move further away when possible to create distance
get up and run when safe to do so
Alert the authorities and relay ‘relevant’ clear information about the attack
This is what NOT to do:
Do NOT take selfies or try and take pictures or videos of the attackers
Do NOT abandon your family to take on the attackers - do this only if you have no choice and if it will save multiple lives and you think you have a fair chance.
If you own a firearm - use it responsibly - you could potentially endanger lives in the event. Your family and your family’s safety should be your main concern.
What security hacks do you have for dads out there who want to keep their kids safe?
Have the ‘talk’ with your kids .... and I mean the ‘what to do in a situation’ talk.
Arm your kids with knowledge .... tech is not a preventative measure ... it is a ‘what if’.
Build trust with your kids by having open discussions with them about the dangers we face in every day life and how to deal with it.
Know where your kids are at all times. This again boils down to ‘trust’.
Your kids must be disciplined enough to check in with you every so often when they are out and about and not see it as ‘mom or dad checking up on me again’.
If they understand the dangers we face in society then they will understand the importance of ‘communication’. Knowledge is gained through communication.
Nothing wrong with popping a good old canister of pepper spray in your daughter’s handbag or installing useful apps like ‘life 360’ on all your devices.
Thank you so much Jannie. I think I speak for all us dads in saying that I feel like I've learnt a few good hacks on how to keep my kids safe - thank you! I certainly think I need to be more open in discussing these issues with my kids.
Jannie Du Plooy is a Professional Bodyguard SASSETA & PSIRA registered & highly trained in Martial Arts. He is also the Owner of Bodyguard Tourism Services Company which offer executive protection, diplomatic solutions, event security, secure transfers, residential & family safety & secure travel & guiding services. Jannie is married with 4 children ranging in ages from 3 all the way up to 20. Jannie and his wife have a passion for travelling and so they've combined Jannie's Protection Services with Tourism - creating safe Tours through Africa using qualified Guides who are also experienced bodyguards.