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The Bay Area Martial Arts Podcast

Oct 10, 2017

In this episode of the Bay Area Martial Arts Podcast, Wade interviews Ami Toben, Director of consulting, training and special operations at HighCom Security Services and author of Surveillance Zone: The Hidden World of Corporate Surveillance Detection & Covert Special Operations; A book that offers a sneak peek into the world of the corporate surveillance detection, covert operations, and special operations.


Ami Toben grew up in Israel, just off the coast of the Mediterranean. Around the age of 17, he fell in love with Martial Arts and began to study any way he could. Mainly, he sought out people passing through his Kibbutz (a rural Israel communal farming community) to teach him what they could of various Martial Arts. Through this, he discovered the Martial Art he really wanted to study; Aikido. He hatched a plan to travel to Japan to study at the Aikikai Headquarters — the original school of Aikido, in the heart of Tokyo. The plan, however, had to be put on hold as IDF service in Israel begins when you graduate high school. After serving in the military, he began his studies in Japan. He studied both Aikido and Koryu for four years then decided to move back to the United States to get a degree at UC Berkeley. Since then, he has been training in the Bay Area and now takes up both Aikido and Krav Maga.


Ami Toben elaborates on his current career of working with HighCom Security Services — A company founded by Israelis that has a strong focus on preventative security. He speaks about why he joined and the security he provides. Wade and Ami deeply discuss the process of surveillance, how to disrupt hostile planning before it gets to execution and the role Martial Arts has played in both his professional and personal life.


Key Takeaways:

[1:18] Ami Toben’s background in Martial Arts

[4:30] The discovery of what he really wanted to study: Aikido

[7:25] After serving his time in the military, Ami Toben makes his way to Japan to study Aikido.

[8:10] After studying in Japan for four years, he took his next steps in the United States. He got a degree at UC Berkeley and decided to stay in the Bay Area to continue his training.

[10:24] Working now at HighCom Security Services, Ami Toben dives into his current work — why he joined and what his work entails.

[14:07] Ami Toben walking through a specific situation from his job at HighCom.

[16:07] The usual client of HighCom Security Services and the process of disrupting a hostile plan

[18:40] Ami Toben’s involvement in Corporate Events and the art behind ‘blending in’ and surveillance detection

[22:10] Making correlations when observing suspicious activity and individuals

[24:34] The science of definitively knowing whether a person is conducting hostile surveillance

[26:54] The difference between the English and Hebrew translation of ‘Security’

[29:00] How Martial Arts has played a role in Ami Toben’s professional development

[30:27] The ultimate defense: Prevention

[31:58] How Martial Arts has impacted Toben’s personal life

[34:44] American mentality vs. Eastern Martial Arts

[35:16] Misconceptions about Aikido

[35:50] Martial Arts: The difference between goals

[37:55] Rooted in his blog, Ami Toben’s motivation to write his new book



Surveillance Zone: The Hidden World of Corporate Surveillance Detection & Covert Special Operations, by Ami Toben


HighCom Security Services