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Mondays from 7pm to 8pm
$15 per class

The Beginner Class is the foundation for the whole Women’s Self-Defense program.  We meet every Monday night from 7pm to 8pm and the cost is $15 per class. The class is divided into two parts.  In the first part, we use discussion, modeled after Charlene Senn’s article in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed about a 50% reduction in sexual assault in freshman college women who took her class compared to those who received a brochure on preventing sexual assault.  Just to give you a frame of reference for how significant this research is, those who wear seat belts while driving have about a 45% reduction in risk of death related to accident and a 50% reduction in risk of injuries.

Beginner Women's Self-Defense Class

Our discussion centers on the following subjects:

  • Defining assault

  • Understanding consent 

  • Identifying the characteristics of predators

  • Understanding fear and its role in protecting ourselves

  • Defining coercion

  • Identifying cues for assault

  • Common myths about assault

  • The role of substances in assault and the types of substances used in assaults

  • Identifying situational risk factors

  • Identifying the five behavioral cues of coercive men

  • How to reduce the time between a cue that something is wrong and the action required

  • Identifying emotional barriers to taking action

  • Understanding the goals men have in connection

  • Understanding how needs for connection can conflict with needs for safety

  • Understanding you’re worth defending


Dr. Senn’s work suggests that the discussion of subjects like these is perhaps more important than the actual physical training in her study.  We believe that it is important for women to share their experiences in a safe environment. 


The second part of the class is the physical training.  We have developed a robust curriculum that is specifically designed for the needs of women.  If a woman is to fend off an attacker that is bigger, stronger, and faster than she is, it is imperative that she take advantage of her strengths and have a clear strategy for getting to safety.  We teach reliable and practical techniques that are easy to remember - and that give women realistic chances to escape common attacks.


We focus on skills that reduce the risk of being injured and improve the likelihood of survival such as:


  • Standing in a way that reduces the loss of balance and allows women to strike when necessary

  • Getting up from compromised situations in a way that improves the likelihood of escape

  • Understanding how the distance between the woman and the attacker is imperative for survival

  • Kicking (three types)

  • Punching (two types)

  • Choking (three types)

  • Using pepper spray and other weapons

We focus on learning to ESCAPE common kinds of attacks that women experience such as:


  • Wrist grabs

  • Being sat on when on the floor while being choked, having your wrists pinned, having your hair grabbed, or being punched

  • Being choked while standing

  • Bear hugs from the front and rear

  • Having someone between your knees while on your back and while they are punching, choking, pinning your wrists, or grabbing your hair

  • Being in a headlock (two types)

  • Being trapped in a car

  • Having wrists duct-taped or zip-tied

As with all of our classes, safety is our first concern.  In this class, as with all of our classes, when we work with a partner, we require women to ask for consent before touching their partner.  If consent is given, then the practice begins. If it is not, then participants take a break to observe others practice. We understand that sometimes women can have strong feelings when practicing a technique and we make sure that we attend to those feelings.  No one is ever pressured into practicing.


We teach every technique slowly and with an emphasis on learning why the technique works.  Understanding the principles of each technique enables women to use variations of it when necessary.  Women do not need to be athletic or in shape to take the class. They do not need any martial arts experience.  And, even if women have some physical limitation, we work hard to adapt techniques to meet their needs.

Even though we talk about serious subjects and train to escape serious situations, this class is a ton of fun.  We joke, laugh, and generally don’t take ourselves too seriously. We encourage an ethic of helpfulness, kindness, and respect in every class and women who take the class become friends.  It really is a great class. But, don’t take our word for it. Here’s what one of our students says about the class:


“I can’t recommend the women’s self-defense class at Poos highly enough. It is a safe space to learn, the skills taught are practical, the instructors are awesome, and it is a lot of fun!”  Leigh S.


“I can’t recommend the women’s self-defense class at Poos highly enough. It is a safe space to learn, the skills taught are practical, the instructors are awesome, and it is a lot of fun!”  Leigh S.

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