Karate lessons underway at Perinton Community Center
Little did Ann Peck know that her 5-year-old son thinking he was a superhero would lead to her getting a black belt in karate.
But there she was in her 40s and taking on a new hobby. She became so good at it that she now teaches classes at the Perinton Community Center.
“He wanted to be Batman; he was going around and kicking everything,’’ she said of her son, Wally. “So I figured I would put that energy to use and sign him up for karate lessons.”
After a few months of taking him and her daughter, Sara, to Fairport Karate at Perinton Square Mall, she decided she might as well take some classes, too. She became a fourth-degree black belt in March. Her daughter stopped taking karate, but her son, now 21, is also a black belt and helps teach classes at the PCC.
When COVID shut down the Fairport Karate studio in March, the owners decided not to keep the school going. So, Peck collected some instructors to run programs through the Recreation and Parks Department
They hold three classes a week on Wednesday nights, teaching beginners to adults ages 7 and older.
“The main thing we teach is my body, my spirit,” the 37-year Fairport resident said. “We like to teach students discipline, respect and to have confidence in themselves. That is really what martial arts are about.”
Peck said she has never physically had to use her karate skills, but she has used the mental process many times.
“When someone is being verbally abusive to me, I use my martial arts skills to keep myself calm,” she said. “That is what we teach. Confidence is being yourself and controlling situations around you.”
How much damage could she do if she did decide to use it?
“I have seen women smaller than me bring a 20-something, strapping young man to his knees,” she said. “You just use their body weight against them and redirect their energy. I have flipped men way bigger than me.”
For now though, she is just happy to give residents a safe place to go to learn how to better themselves.
“It is not about just teaching kicking,” she said. “It is about teaching confidence and how to avoid dangerous situations. Hopefully, my students come away with these very important aspects in their life.”