Front Sight Resorts Interviews Student Beth Fish
July 12th, 2006
Interviewed by Jim McMahon
Beth Fish has taken quite an avid interest in her self-defense training at Front Sight. Within the past 18 months Beth has completed a number of handgun courses, a rope and rappel course, and is now working on her third martial arts course at Front Sight. Originally signing up as a Copper First Family Member, she has recently upgraded to Gold.
But Beth isn’t doing her Front Sight training alone. Accompanying her is her husband, who is also a Gold First Family Member. And her two daughters, ages seven and nine, who have taken both the Two-Day and Four-Day Children’s Safety Courses, plus Rope and Rappel Courses. Both girls are Bronze First Family Members.
Beth is a wonderful example of a woman and mother who has taken definite action to equip herself with the tools of Front Sight’s self-defense training, to protect herself and her family. I met up with Beth during her late afternoon drive picking up the kids from school.
FSR: What event or reason prompted you to search out firearms training?
Beth: Home defense coupled with my husband’s business travel really was what prompted me to seek out training. We live in a very safe neighborhood but you can never take anything for granted. I wanted to have some sort of protection when he’s traveling and the comfort of knowing that I have the skills to keep both myself and my children safe.
There was a family that actually had a gang break into their house. An Asian gang broke into their house and tied up the whole family. One of the kids was a classmate of one of my daughters. They held the family at gun point, tied them up, robbed the house and left. This was two blocks from my home. I live in a very nice area of Southern California, Palos Verdes. We have a Neighborhood Watch that sends out monthly newsletters. They consistently give tips regarding safety such as “Don’t leave your garage door open because typically if something is going to happen, that will be their point of entry.” What if I opened the garage and had an arm full of groceries and someone followed me in? How would I respond?
Reading over these newsletters and thinking about my own personal safety and self defense, and the fact that I have two young children in the house, if something was to happen and I was home by myself, what would I do? I want to be prepared.
FSR: Did you have any previous firearms training experience prior to attending Front Sight?
Beth: I actually had no exposure to firearms until I met my husband. He was, at the time, pretty much just a bird hunter. He didn’t really do much with handguns or rifles. I had shot a couple of times with a shotgun in 1993, but wasn’t particularly successful with it. I had no martial arts training at all.
FSR: How did you find out about Front Sight?
Beth: We got a flyer in the mail from Front Sight. This was back in 1999. I’m not sure why we got the flyer, but it came in the mail inviting us to this free one-day submachine gun course. And so my husband and I said “Why not? Let’s go do it”. It was shortly after that we thought that maybe having a handgun in the house for home defense might be a good idea.
I told my husband that I wouldn’t use the gun unless I knew how to use it. That was the catalyst that prompted us to go to Front Sight for our first handgun course. I think it was probably a year-and-a-half after the submachine gun course that we actually went. That was really what drove us to go to Front Sight, to get training.
FSR: What made you choose Front Sight over all the other choices in the firearms training industry?
Beth: My husband looked into two other major firearms training schools after the Submachine Gun Course, but we decided to go to Front Sight. We picked Front Sight because of the proximity to where we live, and Front Sight offered what we were looking for at the time.
FSR: What course did you first attend?
Beth: After the Submachine Gun Course it was the Two-Day Defensive Handgun Course, plus the third day CCW.
FSR: What was your impression of your first course?
Beth: I loved it. I’m very competitive with myself. At first it was frustrating because I didn’t do that well. The flip side is that I had never shot a handgun and I was cross-eyed dominant. The instructors were very patient in working with me. There was one instructor, Kelly, a woman, who I really enjoyed working with. She was particularly helpful.
Given that I had never handled or shot a handgun prior to that class, I definitely felt far more comfortable around them by the end of it. The following day I was certified on two firearms for a concealed carry permit, so I guess I didn’t do that bad. They were a Glock 9mm and a revolver.
FSR: How did the initial training impact your life?
Beth: Well, one big impact was that it made me far more comfortable around firearms, and handling firearms. The other impact was the Color Code of Awareness. It definitely made me more aware of how unaware I was. It was also helpful to have a clear system that I could refer back to.
FSR: What aspect of the training have you found most valuable?
Beth: Since I’ve been going to Front Sight I’ve taken a handgun course, an edged weapons course, a few martial arts courses, and a ropes and rappel course. I think for my own personal enjoyment I love the martial arts training.
I remember when we first attended Front Sight and heard Naish talk about the different classes that he was going to offer, I leaned over to my husband and said, “I can’t wait till they start the martial arts stuff”. I was really interested in that. When they finally got it up and running I was out there just about as fast as I could drive there.
I have really enjoyed the Martial Arts training I’ve received from Front Sight. I have enjoyed the way they tie all of the training together. Not only do you learn how to disarm someone, but you also know what to do with a firearm once you have it in your hands. They also teach you how to defend yourself against a knife attack.
FSR: Have you used any of the training to protect yourself, family or friends in a real life situation?
Beth: You know, I haven’t needed to. I think one of the most important skills they teach at Front Sight is to be confident (or at least look like you are). They talk about staying aware of what’s going on around you, and I think that’s played a key role in just making sure that I don’t get into a bad situation.
If something, or someone was to look a little bit iffy, I will notice it. I can take measures to avoid that situation such as walk in the other direction, or go back into the store, etc. The point is having the confidence and the awareness to see potential danger before you are in it’s midst. I am learning this through my Front Sight training. Luckily, I haven’t had to use anything to defend myself in a real confrontation.
FSR: How many courses have you attended at Front Sight to date?
Beth: Let’s see, the Free Submachine Gun Course, Two-Day Defensive Handgun with the One-Day CCW. I’ve done the Four-Day Defensive Handgun Course, Edged Weapons Course, Three Martial Arts Courses, and I’ve taken the Rope and Rappelling Course. That was through last December. Incredible! I haven’t had a bad experience yet! It’s just really challenging and invigorating.
FSR: How many other students have you directly or indirectly referred to Front Sight?
Beth: One for sure. I’m working on some others, but they haven’t made a decision yet.
FSR: What is the biggest challenge you find in trying to encourage friends to attend a course at Front Sight?
Beth: A lot of people are afraid of firearms. I can sell them on the adventure part of Front Sight, the ropes and rappel, the empty hands defense, those classes. My kids have done the kid’s safety courses a few times, and I’ve even tried to sell them on the concept of taking their kids too. I have one friend that says to me “You are so adventurous, I can’t believe you are going out there and doing that stuff, I wish I was that brave.” My response is that she can be too.
I have been very happy with the training that my children have received at Front Sight in the Children’s Safety Courses. My girls are ages seven and nine, and the courses have really had an impact on the two of them. They have taught them how to get out of bad situations. That if they feel uncomfortable with someone to trust their feelings. They have learned not to be afraid of the dark. They also take them on the ropes and climbing wall, which helps build their confidence and teaches them to overcome their fears. It is amazing to me that they remember and can recite the 10 rules of safety even a year later, which they learned in the children’s courses. I find that talking to parents about these children’s safety courses is a way to get them to open up to Front Sight.
FSR: When did you become a Front Sight First Family Member?
Beth: About two years ago.
FSR: What level membership did you purchase?
Beth: I became a First Family Member about a year or year-and-a-half ago. So did my husband, and our two girls.
FSR: Why did you choose to become a member?
Beth: Because I wanted to do everything. I mean honestly, I had this tremendous interest in the whole self-defense, martial arts curriculum but wasn’t so sure about all the other.
My husband went out to Front Sight for a rifle course. I hurt my knee so I couldn’t do anything for the weekend. But I did go to Front Sight toward the end of his class. I was given the opportunity to shoot an AR-15 and I was hooked. I told him that I would like to come back and do a rifle course, and the defensive driving, and ropes, and… There were just so many classes that I became interested in that we figured we should just buy a membership. So when Naish offered this last deal with the Gold, we jumped on it.
FSR: What is the purpose of the Front Sight Organization?
Beth: It would be two-fold: To teach people to avoid bad situations but if you happen to find yourself in one, to equip you with the skills to know what to do.
FSR: What does Front Sight and your participation with it, really mean to you and the future of firearms ownership in this country?
Beth: Because I’m a normal person, and I’m a woman, and I have two little girls, and I’m willing to train at Front Sight and take my children with me is a huge statement about Front Sight, its staff and the people permitted to train there. Front Sight provides a safe environment to learn about firearms and self defense. There are not a bunch of crazies out there, or militia types.
I see my participation with Front Sight as a positive influence in the fight for us having the freedom to own firearms. It’s important for people to realize that even the mom next door with the two little kids living in a suburban neighborhood, that just wants to understand how to use a gun and defend herself and her loved ones is okay, and may even be a smart thing to do.
I think if more people like myself can talk openly about firearms ownership and safety, and communicate that there’s nothing wrong with guns, and that training can be fun to do rather than full of fear, we may be able to save our Second Amendment rights. My participation with Front Sight training provides me with a basis on which to communicate that it is fine for people who are responsible and safe to own firearms, and so these rights shouldn’t be taken away from me.
FSR: If you were standing at the speaker’s podium in a large stadium, addressing 100,000 people, and you only had one minute to tell them why they should attend a course at Front Sight, what would you say?
Beth: What wouldn’t I say! I would say Front Sight is place where you can go, and whether you’ve had any exposure to firearms or none at all, or any exposure to any kind of self defense or none at all, this is a place where you can come and learn in a safe environment. Especially for the people who are afraid to pick up and handle any kind of weapon, I would say that this is probably the safest place on Earth to go.
The staff members are very professional. They are not intimidating at all. They are very encouraging and will help build your confidence in yourself and your ability to defend yourself and the ones that you love. They will help dispel your fears. It’s a very safe environment to take risks and try things you haven’t done before and have fun while your doing it. Best of all, there is something for the whole family.
FSR: What course are you going to attend next?
Beth: Martial Arts Level Two. I know that they enhance what we’ve already learned in previous levels. In level two they will start teaching us more about how to fight if you’ve already tried all the defensive moves from the Empty Hand Defense course and the Martial Arts Level One course. I will begin learning more about offensive positions.
A lot of martial arts studios I have found around the area I live tend to have a very rigid system. With many of the Tae Kwon Do and Karate studios I’ve looked at they only teach one style of fighting. Front Sight offers a reality based system which is really what people need to defend themselves. For instance, if I were to go to one of the above studios I would only receive training in forms for kicking and boxing. As a woman, if a man were going to attack me he would probably push me to the ground. What would I do then? Standing to fight wouldn’t work at that point. I need to have ground fighting experience to defend myself in that situation. Front Sight offers that kind of training whereas many traditional martial arts studios don’t.
FSR: Thank you Beth. See you at Front Sight!