Mar 23 2012
On Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 I posted the winners of the EVERYTHING IS A WEAPON CONTEST FOR WOMEN. Today, we are going to take an in-depth look at the first place winner Tabitha Martin.
Packing Pretty: When did you start shooting? What got you interested?
Tabitha Martin: I guess I started shooting somewhere around the age of 12 when I got my first BB gun. I know that a BB gun does not count so much in the world of firearms, but we all tend to start off small anyways, right? I think that I was 14 or 15 when my Father got me a 20 gauge shotgun for Christmas. And I was 18 when I bought a gun for myself, a Marlin model 60 .22 rifle.
I don’t really remember what got me interested in guns specifically. I have always been interested in weaponry in general, ever since I was very little. I guess because I was always smaller and weaker physically that most, and weaponry tends to be a bit of an equalizer.
Packing Pretty: What is your favorite gun?
Tabitha Martin: My favorite gun of all time is probably a S&W model 64 .38 revolver. This was the basic service revolvers that we used at the prison in Virginia where I worked for 4.5 years. They are sturdy, dependable, accurate up to 50+ yards, easy to clean, and with a tiny bit of practice, one can reload with a speed loader just as fast as one can stick in another magazine on an automatic. This is why I bought a S&W .357 revolver last year, which has replaced my Beretta .380 as my concealed carry weapon.
Packing Pretty: Do you ever get discriminated against or looked down on in the gun world because you are a woman?
Tabitha Martin: Ooooohhhh YEAH, verymuch so. I have literally walked into gun stores and gotten dirty looks from the guy behind the counter. I have had them talk to my boyfriend instead of me. I have had them look at me with amusement on their faces when I asked about a certain gun, caliber, or accessory. EVERY time I go in to a gun store, they try to sell me the cutesy pink gun. They have on occasion lied to me outright about things. And I have had them blatantly ignore me.
On the range, they treat me like I am 5 years old, make comments about my marksmanship before I shoot, ask me things like “are you sure you don’t want that target a bit closer”, or “oh, you don’t want to shoot THAT, it has a pretty serious kick.” And of course, ask me where my husband/boyfriend is, or if the guy I am with is my husband or boyfriend, as if I could not come to a range on my own account.
Packing Pretty: What shooting and or other self defense activities do you participate in?
Tabitha Martin: I go to a range, whenever I have the time AND money. Shooting is pretty expensive, so I don’t actually get to do it nearly as often as I would like. I do tend to play with the local air soft group here and that is, um, interesting… Other self defense activities tend to fall into the sword fighting realm. I train with dual wakizashi’s, dual shanai, various staffs and spears, dual short daggers, dual tomahawks, and for a bit of spice I play with dual lightsabers. Yeah, silly, but they are fun and look really nifty in the dark.
I also like to work with improvised weapons because I have a tendency to travel a great deal, and often can’t have a firearm or blade with me, especially when I am in a foreign country. I have carried everything from my bandanas to sharpened jacks, jump ropes to majorette batons that have steel rods inside of them. The batons are particularly good for visiting other countries. Though it does help that I know how to actually twirl them, so that when the cops actually ask me about them, I can prove they are toys for entertaining, and not weapons 😉
I have also participated extensively with various padded weapons groups in many states. And, in my youth, fought outright with live steel a time or few. Very exciting, but incredibly dangerous, as the couple of scars I have can attest to.
Packing Pretty: Who is your favorite female role model and why?
Tabitha Martin: This question is actually really difficult. I care nothing for sports stars, or famous musicians. I dislike politicians, and film actresses just don’t seem like a good enough answer. Things like school teachers and nurses and such seem cliché. And my mother was sooo NOT a role model. There have been many famous women that have achieved a lot, or have overcome hardships, or even gone down in history for the fate that befell them. Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller, Anne Frank, Christa McCallaf, ect. But, role model just does not seem to jump out at me.
I really think that one can see the greater things in a conglomerate of individuals, and create a role model out of that. Kind of like having a list of traits or behaviors such as the code of chivalry, for example, a set of ideals that we live by that set the standard, and lead by example.
Packing Pretty: If you were given a choice of one weapon protect yourself, what would it be?
Tabitha Martin: That would depend completely on the situation. I have been well known to carry multiple weapons at once, both on the battlefield in play, and in my everyday life. But, I am also military redundant. When I ever fought, I had a tendency to switch out weapons for what was appropriate for what and who I was fighting.
I guess though, if I could only choose one weapon over anything in the world, it would be my ninja sword. It is a slightly shorter version of the standard ninja sword and has a good sturdy full tang steel blade that is sharp and holds its edge well. Its scabbard is a pretty sturdy aluminum that has 2 extra knives inside of it, as well as a spear blade that can be attached to its tip.
As much as I would love to say a firearm here, my blade is quiet, accuracy is WAY more forgiving, I won’t EVER run out of ammo, and there is actually a significant fear factor that you get with a sword that would surprise you (yes I speak from experience here). There is a significant drawback in that this is obviously NOT a distance weapon. But then again, it isn’t like I am going to stand in the middle of a field and pick a fight to the death with a guy who is 100 yards away with a mini-14, saying “here I am, shoot me!” It is also FAR cheaper to practice with a sword, or even a decent stick, than it is with an AR-15 at how much per bullet?
Packing Pretty: Where did you learn the “handkerchief “technique described in your contest submission?
Tabitha Martin: Honestly, it was likely a simple ninja movie: blocking a sword with a steel chain. I don’t play much with steel chains though because they are heavy, difficult to use without hurting yourself in the process, and no Police Officer is going let you walk on by with a 2 foot length of heavy duty chain slung over your shoulder.
I toyed with various things over the years. Bicycle lock up chains, jump ropes, even purse straps and articles of clothing, and of course, bandana’s.
Then one day on the battlefield, a guy was using an old wool blanket like a cloak to block and parry with. His opponent was getting frustrated that he could not hit the guy with his broadsword and challenged the validity of using a blanket to block a sword. Having trained a decent amount on such things, I stood up for the guy with his blanket. a 45 minute long argument ensued. Finally, I ran to my car, and brought out a real sword (yes, at that time of my life I carried one with me everywhere I went) and handed it to him and told him to try to hit me with it, while I would block it with the blanket. Another 45 minutes of coaxing him went by before he would take a tentative swing in my general direction, which I promptly stepped into his swing, and blocked with the blanket. The trick is to meet the blow solidly, but give a little with the impact at the same time. Sounds odd I know, and it is sooo much easier to demonstrate than to talk about. Anyway, after a few swings and blocks, with my point basically proven, I blocked his last swing and wrapped the blanket tightly around the base of the sword restraining his movements with it, and disarmed him.
The blocking was well established, but the wrap/tangle was new, as was the disarm. This opened up a whole new twist and additional techniques most definitely put to good use.
Packing Pretty: What would you say is your best character trait or quality?
Tabitha Martin: My willingness to help, and to sacrifice myself if needs be, for someone else. Even a total stranger. I want to die saving the world.
Packing Pretty: If you were to describe yourself in one word, what would it be and why?
Tabitha Martin: Pilgrim. Because, until God calls me home, I am on a journey here. I wander the world, alone usually, surviving, living, seeking experiences and adventure. Looking to leave my mark upon the world, and hopefully a positive one.
Packing Pretty: What is your favorite charity or cause?
Tabitha Martin: I am very partial to the American Red Cross. I have seen first- hand the work that they do, and the lives that they save. I also like the USO because they made a difference to me personally while I was in the military.
Packing Pretty: If you could give all the ladies reading this one piece of advice, what would it be?
Tabitha Martin: Never expect to be saved/rescued when something bad comes down the line. Become prepared for whatever might be thrown at you. Have a bug out bag ready, obtain and become proficient with weaponry and tools, make sure you know how to swim. Obtain at least a basic knowledge of anatomy, biology, physiology, and first aid. If you can, learn a martial art. My personal favorite is Aikido, as you use your attackers momentum and such against them, and you don’t actually have to hit or kick anyone to use this art. I also like Krav Maga, but that is a pretty brutal art, designed to quickly disable multiple attackers at once. Don’t be afraid to tap into your “animal” side. You would be surprised to see how many people leave quickly when you get into a fighting stance and hiss like an angry cat, or growl loudly like a rabid dog, and if you bite someone, and MEAN IT, that tends to end the fight right then and there (the guy that was attacking me that I bit, had to get stitches). Learn to NOT cower in a terrified ball awaiting your fate. To be ready to fight or flee as needed. AND, don’t carry yourself like a victim. Don’t huddle over yourself when you are out walking.
Packing Pretty: And how about some advice for the men reading this?
Tabitha Martin: Having a penis does not make you a man, it only makes you male. Being physically stronger, does not mean that you will win. Size, power, or even skill on the battlefield is not the measure of a man, it is how you treat others that makes you a man.
Packing Pretty: Thanks, Tabitha, for taking the time to share yourself with us. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you.