Our Instructors


Laurie Latham
Owner/Lead Instructor

Laurie is the owner and lead instructor of AZ PlayItSafe Defense a self-defense company which teaches women and children realistic strategies to stay safe from potential danger. Laurie is a former police detective with over 20 combined years of experience in both law enforcement and the security field and is a nationally recognized security expert. She has trained thousands of police officers, women and children in self-defense and personal protection. Laurie also has an extensive knowledge in the use of personal defense products, such as pepper spray, impact weapons and TASER. She is a certified “Girls on Guard” instructor for the Women’s Self-Defense Institute and a certified Protective Security Operator.

Laurie is a NRA Certified Pistol Instructor which has helped her furthering her “Weapons for Women” program into a full spectrum of training to provide women with the knowledge and tools they need to gain the best chance of effectively defending themselves from a sexual assault. Laurie’s passion is empowering women and children and giving them the confidence they need to be powerful and self-reliant. She has conducted classes for the National Football League Cheerleaders, colleges, high schools, local businesses, Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops, teen groups, and mother’s groups.

Laurie recently co-authored a book, Why Teens Fail: What to Fix, a comprehensive and insightful book on current teen issues to offer guidance and support for parents so they are better informed to protect their children. Laurie is the mother of three children and holds a Master in Education from Northern Arizona University.


Robert Follis

Robert Follis is known around the world as one of the greatest Ultimate Fighting Championship Coaches of all time. Training current UFC stars such as Evan Dunham and Miesha Tate, along with legends like Dan Henderson and Randy Couture. With a demonstrated passion for the issue of personal safety Robert has trained hundreds of military and law enforcement officers defensive tactics and mental conditioning. As an expert in self-defense Robert has provided strategic prevention programs to students with an emphasis on awareness and avoidance. He is passionate about educating and empowering women and children how to avoid becoming a victim in a simplistic application of the techniques appropriate for the situation.

As a consultant, Robert’s expert knowledge has been instrumental in the PlayItSafe program and curriculum designed to certify middle school and high school teachers to teach self-defense to girls and boys during physical education classes across the country. Robert has trained children and women around the globe and his clients range from Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to NFL, NBA and AFL professional dancers.

Some of Our Clients:
Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts
Scottsdale Honors Cotillion
Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders
AFL Rattlers Sidewinder Dance Team
Denver Nugget Dancers
Denver Bronco Cheerleaders
Phoenix Suns Dancers
San Franciso 49ers Cheerleaders
Spooner Physical Therapy
University of Arizona
Phoenix 100 Club
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
National Pest Management Association
Academy Mortgage
Keller Williams
Local Churches
The Houston Academy
After School Enrichment Programs
Summer camps
Town of Parker, CO
Mission Statement:
To empower children to handle the myriad of challenges they face on a daily basis, to take control of their lives and maintain that control as they grow without being fearful. To teach women and children to project confidence through their body language and to react quickly if necessary. To increase our students level of awareness through fun and interactive awareness training. To build our student's self-esteem by helping them become as self-reliant as possible in the face of danger. To reinforce that fighting is not a good thing and should be avoided at all costs. However, if fighting is unavoidable, know that self-defense is not a game. To enable parents to relax their own fears and concerns once they see their children's capacity to respond in difficult circumstances