Groups offer ‘Fight Like A Girl’ self-defense clinic


On April 20, the JaxTHRIVE club at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville and the Generation WOW club at Ponte Vedra High School came together to host the sixth annual “Fight Like A Girl” self-defense clinic.

With the help of PROTACTX Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Nocatee, the class was led by Danny Yakel, the owner and lead instructor, along with Professor Mark Czarnecki and one of their students. The two-hour class taught life-saving techniques including the benefits of using body angles and basic stances to protect yourself from a larger, stronger opponent.

JaxTHRIVE is a student-led nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of refugee students who are making their new home in Northeast Florida. JaxTHRIVE’s mission is to create a nurturing environment for refugee students by offering tutoring, life skills, mentoring and friendship to advance in the classroom and grow in the community.

Generation WOW is a girl-focused program that emphasizes leadership, education and mentorship to uplift girls with the power of the positive and the possible. Generation WOW’s programs build future leaders and empower the achievements of young girls.

Recognizing the mission common to both programs, Maya Jones from JaxTHRIVE and Ivey Dionne from Generation WOW combined their efforts to offer this workshop. Refugee girls from Afghanistan paired with high school girls from Ponte Vedra High School and Episcopal School of Jacksonville and spent the Saturday afternoon together.

This event sparked a higher confidence and greater self-esteem of safety in all the Afghan girls in attendance, integrating the two clubs’ main ideals. Both Jones and Dionne wish to continue to fuse their clubs to make a lasting impact on the local female, refugee community.