One of the things that is stressed in Pretty Loaded’s presentations is the need for continuing to train and push yourself with whatever Personal Safety Plan you’ve chosen. That’s what we do in our personal lives, and the past 4 days spent with our good friends from Fortress Defense is a perfect example of that philosophy.


Beth and Rick

We got to meet some new faces of the Fortress crew, the first of which was Rick Colliver, who has spent 40 years in the military, law enforcement, and executive protection. He is the author of Principal Protection; Lessons Learned, and brought many of the things he’s learned in his career to teach us. We started out with a workplace violence presentation at a local business that is a friend of Pretty Loaded, and then spent the full next day learning about advanced home security, travel security concerns and “executive protection”, the principles of which Beth and her husband use every time they are out with their children. We closed out the evening with a sample screening of the Pretty Loaded Online training that everyone enjoyed.

Then things really got exciting with “Force on Force” training with some of Pretty Loaded’s local friends. “Force on Force” is using situational awareness, decision-making, and Airsoft guns in a myriad of scenarios in which we find ourselves every day out in public. Two new faces of Fortress were Kristi, a professional actress and singer who really helped take the reality to the next level, and Chuck, who used his south side Chicago life experience to become a top notch and very believable bad guy. It was an eye opening experience for all of the students.


John and Beth in Airsoft Gear

Let me first say that there’s not much “soft” about being hit with an Airsoft BB! It really gets your attention which adds to the reality of the situations. The Fortress crew made the situations so real that everyone got to experience some of the physical “fight or flight effects” that the human body is programmed to do in a defensive encounter.


Almost the whole crew

A few of the stand out lessons learned were these:

  1. As we teach in our Situational Awareness Class, an encounter can unfold literally in a second. If you are not in Condition Yellow and well trained to deflect or deal with an attacker, the situation will get very bad, very fast. This was illustrated for us in so many ways over the weekend, I just can’t stress this enough. When seconds count, help is minutes away, and we learned how critical even one or two seconds can be.
  2. A self-defense mindset is paramount because you need to think through scenarios and “what if’s” ahead of time. Your decision-making is critical and life saving. A scary thought is that the most important decision of your life may be made in a situation where you’re the least equipped to make it due to high levels of stress. You need to do the preparation and training ahead of time.
  3. Situational Awareness and avoiding the fight altogether is one of the most important skills you can learn. Both Beth and Miranda experienced times in which their training in this area became clear, but during this training everyone was forced into dealing with a scenario and were only given a few opportunities to use the option of disengagement.

Frank, Miranda, Tommy, Tricia, Beth, Chuck, and Kristi after a great training weekend.

Thank you to the Fortress Defense team and Rick Colliver for the excellent education and experience! Also, thank you to all of our friends who participated in the Force on Force training with us, and Tristan of Better Than New Detailing in Bismarck for letting us use his facility.

If you want to learn some life saving skills then check out our many different training options here.

Be Safe. Be Empowered. Be Loaded.


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