Courts & Crime

Lawyer-preacher couple teach women self defense

Slightly built with gray hair and kind eyes, Kay Curtis makes candy and stained glass, and has a genteel politeness rarely seen outside old movies.

The Lenexa grandmother makes her living with guns and self-defense training.

She wants women to have power.

So does her husband, Bob, a soft-spoken soul who has spent much of his life as a Presbyterian minister. Today Bob and Kay, a former lawyer, are a pistol-packing pair with a federal firearms license who make and sell their own ammo, train people how to drop a bad guy at 30 feet, and teach women how to fight.

Through Equalizer Defense Instruction & Training, a company they run from their home, the Curtises teach state-mandated concealed-carry classes for Missouri and Kansas residents, shooting skills and two kinds of women’s self-defense courses.

One of the women-only courses is called "Fight Like a Girl."

"The whole idea of 'Fight Like a Girl' is if we fight a man like a man, we're going to lose," she said. "Fighting like a girl means learning to use all your strongest assets against their weakest targets."

The Curtises emphasize six principles of self-defense, including awareness, staying with or going toward people, and controlling the hips and hands. Offered at a variety of centers, the one-time, three-hour class teaches specific skills to counter real-life dangers, such as choking and kidnapping.

A male assistant plays the role of an attacker. Classes are small, ranging between eight and 16 people.

"Fight Like a Girl" focuses on a stranger attack. Another class, "Girls on Guard," adds some techniques for when a woman knows her attacker.

Kay Curtis knows why.

"Women and girls can feel powerless," she said. "One of the benefits of these classes is realizing you can do something to defend yourself and resist physical and sexual assaults."

For Kay, it's all about reducing the number of victims and empowering women.

Since starting their business three years ago, the Curtises (both 56) have trained more than 1,100 students. And that number is bound to go up. Across the Kansas City area record numbers of people are applying for permits to carry concealed weapons. And when the first concealed-carry permits in Kansas expire next year, gun owners will have to take a refresher course to renew them.

Bob thinks it’s funny when people find out what his wife does for a living.

"She's not the stereotypical, gun-carrying Second Amendment dude," he said. "She's just this tiny little thing. Most guys look at her and think she sells jewelry.”


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