International Women’s Self Defense Day

November 17 is International Women’s Self Defense Day, a project put in place by the clothing company fodada. Along with ten others involved in ESD Global — the international empowerment self defense program where I trained last summer — I am offering a free introductory workshop in empowerment self defense on that date in Oakland, California.

There are many other self defense programs participating worldwide. The ESD programs are taking place on two continents: North America and Australia. The North American programs are taking place in Toronto, several places in the U.S. Northeast, a couple of places in the U.S. West, Belize, and Costa Rica. The Australian class is in Queensland.

Below is a list of all of the free empowerment self defense classes being offered as part of International Women’s Self Defense Day. You can register for any of these workshops on the fodada website. Registration is required, as many programs have limits on the number of participants due to space or number of teachers. The location places listed below link to maps for directions.

Instructor/s Location Time
Kim Rivers
Assistant: Sher Mindermann
Unitarian Universalist Church of Pittsfield
175 Wendell Ave. Pittsfield, MA. 01201
Punong Guro JB Ramos Combat Science: Warrior Arts of Asia
603 Gerrard St. E
Toronto, ON – Canada
11:30am – 1:30pm
Corinne Lagermasini Women in Transition
718 Arch Street, Suite 401N
Philadelphia, PA
11am – 1pm
Nancy Moore Flex Circuit Gym
3925 Piedmont Avenue
Oakland, CA
Antonella Spatola
Assistant: Brendan McCarten
359 Montague Road
West End QLD, Australia
10:30am – 11:30am
IMPACT Boston The Non Profit Center
89 South Street
Boston, MA
1:30pm – 3:30pm
Beth Capotosto
Ellen Krause-Grosman
Ronnie Levin
Villari’s Martial Arts Center
54 Union Square
Somerville, MA 02143
2pm – 4pm
Renee Wentz Belize City, Belize
Jose Maria Nunez Street, Punta Gorda
Belize, Central America
8am – 11:30am
Aude Mulliez Costa Rica 9pm- 2pm
Amy Schmidt
Toby Israel
Tico Adventure Lodge
Playa Samara, Costa Rica
10am – 1pm
Dyonne Davidson Rise-Up Self-Defense
Mantis Training Academy
246 E. Main Street
Pullman, WA 99163
12:00PM – 3:00PM

Empowerment self defense differs from traditional martial arts and self defense programs in that it specifically addresses issues of sexual and gender-based violence, and includes training in boundary setting and other skills for prevention and de-escalation as well as fighting techniques. Also, in ESD classes we sometimes play silly games to reinforce skills, so you get to laugh.

There are many other programs participating in this project. If you have not had any training in self defense, I urge you to check out one near you even if it isn’t empowerment self defense.

Though I will caution you to apply one basic rule in picking a self defense class: Don’t train in any program where the teacher uses fear to motivate you. We all already know how to be scared. The purpose of self defense is to give us useful tools, not scare us further.

I hope many of you will join us on International Women’s Self Defense Day.


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