Fight the cure! Women take a jab at cancer

First Posted: 5/2/2009

Fighting like a girl took a whole other meaning Thursday night when more than 30 women gathered for a self-defense class at Mount Airy Middle School.
The class, taught by Eric Latza and sponsored by the Mount Airy Junior Womans Club (MAJWC), wasnt just about protecting yourself from a dangerous attack. The women were also taking a shot at cancer.
The proceeds from the class, which cost $20, will go directly to the local chapter of Relay for Life for cancer awareness.
Cancer is our biggest adversary! Latza, an officer with the Surry Sheriffs Department, shouted last week as he introduced the women to various martial arts techniques to defend themselves against assailants.
From learning how to gauge eyes out to using car keys as a weapon, the women learned enough tools in the nearly 2 1/2 hour class to show them how not be a victim or a target for danger.
We wanted to give women in the community the knowledge to fight, said Amy Heath, a MAJWC member. Some of the participants and MAJWC members wore brown T-shirts displaying the saying Fight like a girl in pink, which was the theme of the evening.
Latza, who teaches martial arts classes regularly in the community, said he was glad to be a part of the MAJWC efforts.
This isnt just my heart thats in this, but Sheriff (Graham Atkinson) too, he said. He also supports this.
Supporting the fight against cancer while learning some self-defense techniques was a cause the entire group seemed to support.
Self-defense is important, said Tonda Phillips, an attendee in the class. You may think your strong, but there is always something to learn.
She said she enjoyed the martial arts aspect of the class because it showed where and how she should hit an assailant.
Latza instructed the participants to aim for the eyes, the groin and the throat area, which instantly weaken any male assailant.
They dont expect a woman to hit back, Phillips said, referring to male assailants. This self-defense class gives you the confidence in what youre doing so you can do it better. Every woman should know how to defend herself.
Lisa Samuel, whose mother is a cancer survivor, is familiar with Latza through taking his other martial arts classes.
I loved it, I love Eric, she said. Its a good workout. It teaches you self-discipline and respect. Knowing self-defense you can sit back and say you tried, you didnt just take it. It will show the person attacking you dont mess with me.
At the end of the class Latza had the participants stand in a circle and demonstrate the techniques the class had learned in the center of the circle. As the last participant completed kicking a punching mat that one of Latzas assistant was holding, Samuel threw her fists in the air and exclaimed Thats what cancer cant do!
Whats that? another participant from the circle shouted.
Beat us, Samuel responded. It cant beat us.
Contact Erin C. Perkins at [email protected] or 719-1952.

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