In China, it’s now young women who are training to be the “must have” mercenaries — or bodyguards — to the country’s wealthiest.
There are now at least 300 billionaires and almost 1 million millionaires in China. For many of them, having women serve as their private protection — not men – is the ultimate status symbol.
Answering this rising demand is Chen Yongqing, who once worked as a bodyguard for superstar Jackie Chan. Sporting a deep tan and tight Armani T-shirts, Chen is part-Gen. Patton, part-self promoter, with his own personal cameraman in tow.
At his Genghis Security Academy in Sanya, Hainan, which Chen said is the first training camp of its kind in China, men and women train side-by-side for 30 days to become professional security details. Blood, sweat and tears are on the syllabus, but brute force — and no complaining — is what it takes to survive.
Women here learn how to put attackers in a headlock, pin them to the ground and deliver a solid right hook. Hand-to-hand combat training is key for any bodyguard in China, because the country has severe restrictions on gun ownership.
Despite the physical risk, women from across China want in. Wang Yalan is one of them. At 24 years old, she dropped out of medical school to come to Genghis.
“I feel like it is my true calling,” she said. “It has more of a sense of justice.”
Although Wang struggles through almost every exercise, she is one of the many who are happy to pay the hefty $3,000 tuition and follow the rules. That means no dating until after age 28. Chen, who is 29, said dating is a distraction.
But he is so confident he can turn anyone into a bodyguard that he challenges me to take his course.
Watch what happens when ABC’s Gloria Riviera goes through Chen’s program in her “Nightline” report HERE: