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What is Women's Self Defense?

What is women’s self defense?

Let’s start with what it isn't.

It’s not a by-product.

It’s not an afterthought.

It’s not a clever way to bring in more students.

It’s not a marketing keyword.

It’s not a promise that you make and then break.

It’s not a gateway.

Women’s self defense is a practice with the objective to give women skills to protect themselves.

There is not one women’s self defense practice, there are many.

It’s situational awareness.

It’s locking your doors.

It’s not getting close to someone’s car because the driver asks you something.

It’s striking training.

It’s grappling training.

It’s firearms training.

It’s knowing the strategies predators use.

It's knowing the dangers of the places you go.

It’s trusting your gut when it tells you to fear.

It’s taking the longer route because there’s more people around.

It’s being intentional about where you position yourself.

It’s getting out of an abusive relationship.

It’s taking responsibility for your own safety.

It's believing that you will survive.

It's anything that it takes to survive.

Women’s self defense practice is focused on the threats women face and the tools a woman can use to protect herself.

If that is the focus of the practice, it’s women’s self defense.

If it's not the focus but a by-product, an afterthought, a marketing strategy, or a broken promise— it’s not women’s self defense. It's something else.

empowerment noun

  1. the act of giving somebody more control over their own life or the situation they are in

  2. the act of giving somebody the power or authority to do something

  3. (Oxford Learner Dictionary)


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Written by Gemma Sheehan, founder of

Girls Who Fight.

Our mission is to help women and girls lead safe and confident lives. Learn about our programs >

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