Teaching women to fight back is something that touches the heart of one certain sheriff in town.

McPherson County Sheriff Jerry Montagne has been teaching women's safety awareness for over 28 years now and wants to keep empowering women in the community and surrounding areas.

"Lets face it, sexual assault is on the rise and the most unreported crime there is. Men are generally, not all, stronger and more aggressive. This just gives women more of a fighting chance and equal ground," Montagne said.

Montagne is a skilled fighter and has earned his black belt in judo along with a black belt in taekwondo. Montagne is also a pepper spray and taser instructor.

Montagne's class, "Women's Safety Awareness & Self-Defense" offers three segments: part one is on prevention and how to protect yourself, part two covers weapons and how to use them and where to purchase them and part three covers self-defense tactics.

"This is pretty much my basic package. Some people think its just self-defense, but the problem with self-defense is you have practice stuff all the time. I show a move and a month later you forget it. So I like to give the whole package. Otherwise, I'm cheating the person if they don't get the other two parts," Montagne explained. "I try to do very basic, easy stuff, but very good moves and something practical that they can remember."

Even Montagne's daughters have participated in his class.

"My twin daughters were seniors in McPherson High School and their mother said, 'You're going to your dad’s class.' And they said, 'No we don't want to go.' But I'll tell you what, they came up to me afterwards and said they learned a lot and were very impressed," Montagne said. "My one daughter even said, 'It's scary.' But I said, ‘You don't have to live in fear, just take precautions.’"

Montagne has seen life-saving results with his class.

"A lady and her daughter came up to me and said, 'I think you just saved me and my daughter's life.' It was a prevention technique and it actually worked," Montagne said.

Montagne's passion for teaching has given him the opportunity to travel with his class. He has gone to several communities to teach women the importance of self-preservation, safety and self-defense.

Montagne agreed most self-defense classes can be boring, but while he focuses on the seriousness of his topic, he tries to bring in a little entertainment.

"I try to make it fun and interesting and bring in slight scariness to it. I talk about assault pieces that I've had to work on. In phase two, we practice spraying the fake mace and this is where it gets crazy, and women love it, it turns into a squirt gun fight," Montagne laughed.

To participate in Montagne's class, he said all there is to do is purchase fake mace cans and book a time for him to come to your location.

For more information, call the McPherson County Sheriffs Office at 620-245-1225 or visit http://mcphersoncountyks.us/Directory.aspx?did=81. 

Contact Brooke Haas by email at bhaas@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.