BE SAFE. BE EMPOWERED. BE LOADED.
Beth Warford has had her concealed weapons permit for eighteen years. However, a brief stalking incident led her to really take control of her personal safety, and that meant more than just having a gun and knowing how to use it.
Soon thereafter, she learned Krav Maga, a type of martial art developed for the Israeli Defense Forces and started researching self-defense and teaching women specifically. She started teaching her friends some simple Krav Maga, and they loved it. “Krav Maga is intuitive to learn and works with your instinctive reactions so it’s easy to remember and Master Tomas (Reis) is a brilliant teacher with real world experience,” said Warford. “It teaches you how to buy yourself a few seconds and get away from a threat. It taught me to take charge and not be fearful, and my confidence was boosted after just one class.”
When she was eight years old her best friend’s mom was murdered in her own home, just behind Warford’s childhood home. Being allowed to see more of the crime scene than would be allowed these days she became afraid for her safety, a fear that lasted into adulthood. Learning about firearms was a big step in overcoming that fear. In 2013, after learning Krav Maga and becoming an NRA Instructor after taking more intensive firearms courses, she was encouraged and empowered to start teaching other women.
Warford is now offering classes (private and corporate) through her new business, Pretty Loaded. She wants to help women avoid violent encounters, ‘the best fight is the one you’re never in,’ but also wants to empower them with knowledge and skills if that chance encounter occurs.
The Pretty Loaded team feels Situational Awareness and Self-Defense mindset is crucial, because it can prevent anyone from becoming a victim and, it teaches how body language can either make someone a target or not. “Most women think they can just carry pepper spray on their keychain and they will be safe, but they have misconceptions about its efficacy,” said Warford. “You also need to have a back up plan if your primary defense fails.”
Most women give more thought to their hairstyles than they do a self-defense plan. The plan of ‘giving in so he won’t hurt me’ is another dangerous mindset that is dispelled. “The more submissive you are the more likely you will be hurt by a predator. They have a twisted mind that is hard to understand,” said Warford.
She went on to say, “With gun sales at record levels, it’s not surprising that we get a lot of requests for firearms training. One course focuses on handguns and concealed carry methods and includes live fire at the range. People are justifiably concerned and anxious about choosing a handgun, learning to use it safely and also storing it safely in their home. We strongly promote gun safety and have a special talent for making people feel comfortable with concerns related to firearms.”
She has brought together a team of certified instructors to teach a variety of self-defense methods. Fellow NRA Instructors, personal friends and babysitters for her four children, Kristen McKinzie and Miranda Bergan, round out the female side of Pretty Loaded. Two other Pretty Loaded members are considered local experts in their fields, Master Tomas Reis of North Dakota Krav Maga, and Mark Sandness of Capital City Sporting Clays. “We bring Tomas and Mark to our clients because they are exceptional at what they do,” said Warford.
Her husband, an NRA Instructor with extensive training as well, is currently playing a supportive role but may start helping with the requests they’ve been getting for couples and men’s training.
There is a full listing of classes and their descriptions on the Pretty Loaded website. Warford is very excited about the extensive exposure their classes provide. Women will be safer and more empowered after taking them all.