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The closest call in the life of Pelé's bodyguard

Big man Ben Brobby has little doubt which were the best years of his life.

They were those between 2010 and 2018, when, as he says, he was "lucky enough to be the bodyguard of the King of Football," Mr. Edson Arantes do Nascimento.

Born in Ghana, Ben was always very calm, a lesson he learned from the grandfather who raised him, between one game of checkers and another. At 17, he decided to set sail for London. He was studying information technology, but one day he opened the newspaper and read about a personal security course being offered by ex-military men in the British Army. After six weeks of training, he decided to specialize and took a course in risk management.

He became a security guard for the English businessman Paul Kemsley, who was involved in football, until one day he bought the New York Cosmos and the rights to Pelé's trademark. After six years with Kemsley, Ben heard an invitation from his boss:

"Ben, how about going to take care of Pelé? I need someone like you to make sure he is always well."

A football fanatic and a fan of Pelé, Ben was always professional and tough in the right measure. "Although magical, it wasn't an easy job," Ben Brobby admitted to the Brazilian magazine Placar. "Because Pelé was Pelé, and he never said 'no' to a fan."

But Pelé and Ben were only in trouble once, at a farmers' convention in the interior of Brazil.

Ben remembers it well: "We flew there in a small jet and as soon as we got off I realized it would be chaotic. Too many people, not enough security structure. As soon as Pelé finished the work, we went to a little room they had set up for him to have a snack and rest. It was one of those pre-assembled metal and wood structures. The crowd then began to surround the place. I looked out and saw more and more people surrounding us. We couldn't get out easily, and I was afraid that they would try to get in. So I radioed for the driver to pull over touching the back wall. As soon as he arrived, I started breaking the structure with punches and kicks and pulled Pelé out the back."

While the bodyguard was kicking and smashing the wall, Pelé was saying, "Calm down, Ben; don't be nervous. Calm down, Ben..."

Calm and efficient, the good old security guard ended up learning beautiful life lessons when he found himself cornered alongside the king. The first one: the good player sees, but only the star foresees—a quip from Armando Nogueira, Pelé's friend and writer. Without planning and foreseeing how to escape from there, Ben ended up despairing, and had to make his way with the sole of his foot.

But the best lesson really came from the King of Football: calm down, Ben; breathe, Ben. After all, when everything seems hopeless, oxygenating the mind and reasoning is always the best way out. Even if, with a clear mind, you realize that you should dig a hole and run out the back door with a legend.

To become an expert in keeping calm and always thinking tactically about the next way out of any problem, learn Rickson Gracie's philosophy in courses like the one below.


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