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PostSubject: DOORWORK   Tue 04 Aug 2015, 11:05

DOORWORK
by
NICK HUGHES

It’s been my experience that Martial Artists looking to turn their hard-earned skills into hard cash -in other words, secure a job on the strength of their combat training -usually consider one (or all) of three lines of work: Bodyguarding, Movie/television stunt Work and Nightclub Security. read ‘Bouncing’.
It’s fair to say that the latter is probably the easiest of them to break into, and it has the advantage of not interfering with any ‘normal’ employment you may have – unless you are working ‘shifts’.
In this piece I have given some personal insights into this branch of security work that I hope will be of some help to both those considering a move into what Dennis has termed the ‘Neon Arena’ and to those Martial Artists already working within it.
First off, do not expect to turn up at your local nightclub and have the existing doormen fall down on their knees and welcome you with open arms after you inform them of your Martial Arts prowess. To start with, most doormen are a tight-knit group, they fight side-by-side, back- to- back and, if they’re the genuine article, they’re prepared to go ‘all the way’ rather than let one of their own down. It takes a long time to build up that sort of trust, so most doormen are, naturally enough, wary of strangers. This is why the easiest way in is to be recommended by someone you know.
Secondly, sadly, the Martial Arts attracts an awful lot of ‘Walter Mittys’ …so just because you tell me you’re the best thing since sliced bread doesn’t necessarily make it so. You may dazzle your dojo brethren with your flash kicks and have won some great trophies. .but that’s a far cry from the real world of a hard-core street fight. Doormen do not appreciate it when they think you’re watching their back and find out the hard way ‘that you weren’t, because you suddenly discovered you’re a little short in the ‘bottle’ department halfway through the fight of the night!
This is why it’s so very important to consider your motivation before going to work on the ‘door’. Far too many doormen are in it only for the money and, if that’s you, then don’t do security. At one stage I worked for what is supposedly one of the UK's leading entertainment Security Agencies. At one particular show we thought there was going to be an altercation and I warned the guys with me to watch out for blades. One of them actually said: “Fuck that, I’m not getting stabbed for Ł3.50 an hour; ” which is why the security industry is still, and always will be, so grossly underpaid. That guy knew in advance what the risks were and what the rate of pay was. If you don’t like it, don’t do the job, other- wise you’re there under false pretences. Management and clientele alike are all capable of running away when the going gets rough, which is why they’re paying you to stand in the breech.
So now let’s assume you still want the job, and they want you! There are some very definite ground rules you must establish, the most important of which is who pays the legal bills in the event of you copping for an assault charge in the line of duty? Some club management will, but most are looking only for sacrificial lambs. It’s easier for them to fire you in that event and hire someone else, so find out first. Personally, I wouldn’t work for a club who wouldn’t pay for my legal representation and I’d want it in writing!



GLASS FACTORS
The next thing is to establish what exactly your duties are. I still see lot of doormen out there picking up glasses and that is something you should never do! Management try this on because they get you to do two jobs for the price of one; bar staff don’t bounce, bouncers don’t do bar work! One doorman I know of in Australia learned this the hard way. He was walking through the crowd with an armload of glasses ~ when someone he’d thrown out a few months prior set him up and swung a chair at him. The glasses smashed, carved his arm up and the damage to the tendons was so great he never recovered the full use of it. To add insult to injury, the management never even paid his ambulance bill! Do not, I repeat, do not, work anywhere where they expect you to pick up glasses.
Let’s digress here for one second. Why are night clubs and pubs still using glass when plastic is available? You have only to see some of  the horrific injuries of people who’ve  been glassed in fights to realise the dangers of using them. Most managers don’t care about this because they will not be in the firing line, but if you are asked for your input, per haps in the setting-up of a new club, suggest plastic ones.
Unfortunately the chances of you being consulted at any stage are slim, which is why you see so many doors made of glass and doors that open the wrong way (they should open inwardly as it is far easier to push than pull one shut!). One day, some progressive architect will consult the security specialist, i.e., you, at the same time as he consults the fire department and the owners.

UNIFORM
Alright, you’ve got the job, they’ll cover the legal bills (providing you were justified in the use of force) and they don’t expect you to pick-up glasses or do anything else outside I of your job. Now we have to decide I what you’re going to wear. Some places will want you to wear a uniform, which is usually black shoes,  black trousers, white shirt and dark bow tie, and other places will just expect you to be smartly dressed. There are two schools of thought on this. Your own clothes allow you to blend into the crowd and be very unobtrusive, which is perfect if the owners are looking for low-key security. The downside of that is, if you do move-in to break-up an altercation, a lot of people will assume that you’re just some jerk sticking his nose into something that doesn’t , concern him.
If you are going to go traditional, here’s what you’ll need from the ground up. Your shoes must have a non-slip sole, which you can have put on for less than ÂŁ10 at any shoe repair shop. Ideally they should be lace-up and they should protect your ankle. Running shoes are fairly popular, but they don’t protect your foot at all, especially where blades are concerned. A final consideration is to use some of those cushioned insoles in your boots if you’re intending to be on your feet for long hours, they’re fairly expensive but worth every penny!
Your trousers are next, and you should honestly consider getting these tailor-made. That way you can have a small gusset inserted and save yourself the embarrassment of   having them rip asunder the first time you have to throw a kick. Another consideration is to sew-up your pockets. Your hands should  never, repeat never, be in your . pockets anyway, and it is the  weakest point of a pair of trousers, if a. someone get a grab of it during a fight, they can tear them right off. Finally make sure your belt slides smoothly through your belt loops, it’s a great improvised weapon if you need it.
There’s nothing much to say about shirts except that you should have a spare one with you every night. You’ll get blood on it, you’ll lose buttons and/or it will get ripped. If you don’t have a spare, at least carry a small sewing kit and some spare buttons to do some. running repairs. Blood can be got out with either ice cubes or club soda!
Now we arrive at the tie, whether it’s a bow-tie or not it should only ever be the clip-on variety, anything else will just get you choked to death!
Now if you work in a fairly up- market establishment, you may never need what we’ll run-through here, but if you work on the other side of the tracks, you may need some of the following:
Steel toe-caps in your boots or shoes, for obvious reasons. Shin pads that either go over your whole calf or ship in behind your socks. A cup, or cricketer’s box, for two very obvious reasons! A bullet-proof vest, a stab-resistant vest or, if you haven't got the money a motorcyclists' motocross plastic chest guard.. These will all help prevent you from being stabbed or slashed. Something else that works well is a forearm guard, if you work in long sleeves. Wear it on whatever arm you lead with to absorb blows from clubs, chairs, knives, or, bottles. Finally, a mouthguard; keep it handy and slip it in on your way into a big brawl where the shots may come from anywhere. It will save you a fortune in dentists bills!

TOOLS OF THE TRADE
 Next thing to consider is your tool kit. You should always have the following:
 1] A small flashlight, ideal if there is ever a power blackout, and for checking in dark corners for handbags and wallets that have been ripped off. Also as a weapon for those of you who have studied the Kubotan;
 (2) a notebook and pen -an absolute must for taking down details, i.e. hours worked, number plates, names and addresses (of witnesses to an altercation, for example), etc.;
(3) a small first-aid kit- I’ve worked a lot of places where the only first- aid kit has been a container with 3 or 4 old sticking plasters and a bottle of iodine. Don’t wait until you’ve been sliced open to find out that’s all they’ve got until the meat wagon arrives.
Communications is another important facet of door work. If you’re on your own on the inside and it kicks off, it’s nice to thing someone is coming to back you up. Having said that, the stupidest think I’ve ever seen since an ashtray on a motorbike (and yes, they’ve got those, too) is the secret service ear- piece communications set. Those guys can get away with wearing them because they are not going to be doing a lot of brawling. You go into a melee with that crap on and somebody hooks you in the ear, they’ll be pulling bits of plastic out of your ear canal for the next three years!
The best system is still a series of different-coloured light bulbs above the door. Each colour corresponds to a different area of the club and is hooked-up to a buzzer under each bar. Bar staff are always the first to spot trouble starting anyway, and this way you keep all the doormen at the door, where they’re needed most, until absolutely necessary. If you don’t have that system yet (it costs nothing compared to the money they spend on the light-show over the dance-floor, so there’s no excuse not to) and you must go inside, then do it in pairs, or tell someone how long you’re going to be, and which area of the club you’re going to.

GO CODES
We also had a system where I could let the others know what was going on. If I stopped to talk to someone and thought it might get out of hand, I’d start playing with my ear. Whoever was watching my back then knew trouble was brewing. If I started to touch my nose, that meant I was about to grab the guy and start dragging him out; if I stroked my chin, that meant I was going to do it. ..NOW! That way, if there were only two of us surrounded by a group of ten, we had an organised, co-ordinated attack plan that usually meant we’d dropped half of them before they even realised it had kicked off!



SITUATIONAL AWARENESS
Next thing you need is bundles of awareness. Sixth-sense, eyes in the back of your head, a gut feeling, call all it what you will, on the door it will be in your best weapon. I’ve covered it in  another article,(which will appear later in this Reality Check series) but I’ll repeat some or points again pertinent to the door. Know where your fire escapes are and check they’re not blocked, and  know the location and type of all fire  extinguishers in the building. A lot of people have been burned to death  in night clubs all over the world. Have some sort of fire drill worked  out and a meeting point outside the  building for all security staff so you know, in the event of a fire, that you  all made it out O.K.
 Don’t drink on the job, if any of my guys ever did  that, it was grounds for instant dismissal because you cannot do this job with impaired reactions. There’s time enough for one after work.
Two other things to bear in mind as far as drinking sodas goes: one, don’t ever put your drink down  somewhere and come back to finish it. A friend I worked with in Australia did this and was nearly poisoned as a result. It was only the fact that some customer warned him that he  thought he saw someone slip something into his drink that saved him. The Commonwealth Serum Laboratories analysed the contents and  found out there were approximately  eight L.S.D. tablets in it! The second  thing to remember is not to drink anywhere near customers. It would take someone just to palm-heel the  base of your glass while it was to  your mouth to give you a grin like one of the Muppets. I’ve seen it  happen to customers and it’s not at pretty sight.
Other things to watch (apart from t your back) is who’s moving nearer  while you’re talking to someone. You may think he’s on his own, but his ten friends are on the dance- floor.
Where are the chairs and tables? What’s the floor surface like?, If you’re moving through a crowd, keep your teeth clenched, which will .save your jaw from being broken by  ‘sucker-punch’. If you’re standing  somewhere, keep your back to the wall and don’t ever put your hands behind your back and lean on them, that’s as stupid as having them in  your pockets. If you don’t have a staff bathroom and you have to take a leak, use the cubicle and not the urinal. Once again, as I say in the forthcoming article on awareness, this is mostly common-sense stuff, but if you want to survive in the “neon  arena”, you’d better have it.


[This lump of concrete was hurled at us, the dent is still on the wall]

PEOPLE SKILLS
Two other things that are an absolute necessity in the job are the ability to size-up people, and a great memory for faces. When you’re on  the door, you’ll have the width of a pavement, if you’re lucky, as the man exits a taxi, to size him up and decide if he’s a desirable customer, or, a potential troublemaker. If you do this part of the job right, you will almost never have any trouble inside. Things to watch for are: how he’s dressed; can he walk straight or is he intoxicated?; is he on his own, with a girlfriend or with twelve ~ his mates? Other indicators are his body language and how he responds when you talk to him. One pointer here is, if he’s dressed like a slob and drunk, don’t tell him that’s why you’re refusing to let him in. That’s an insult to any man’s pride, totally unnecessary, and will back him into a corner he will have to fight out of- even if he doesn’t want to. Use your brains and a little tact and tell him it’s a members-only night – he’ll know you’re lying, but at least it . gives him an out without losing face.
The memory for faces is important. In a year in a fairly rough club you are going to aggravate a lot of people whilst doing your job. Some will accept it gracefully, some will want to get you back but won’t do anything about it. But a small percentage will actively plan to get you at some stage. They have only to remember the one doorman who upset them; you have to try to remember the 450-odd flakes you refused entry, asked to leave the premises or physically threw -or knocked -out. That skill has saved my bacon a few times.
Alright, short of going into hands- on techniques for removing people,  that about wraps it up. Bouncing is not an exact science, however, so there is no way I’ve covered every aspect of this particular trade.
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Nick's book Be your own Bodyguard is a must read.

_________________
Check Six,
Den
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Dennis Martin
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Website WWW.CQBServices.com
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