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Empowerment Self-Defense (ESD) classes, which teach a combination of de-escalation strategies, interpersonal skills and fighting, not only make women more effective at stopping attempted assaults but actually make them less likely to be targeted for attack in the first place. ESD is the only intervention proven to meaningfully reduce violence against women.

Surprisingly, most women's self-defense courses are taught by male martial artists. While these well-intentioned teachers might be skilled in their art, they rarely understand the realities and dynamics of violence against women. As a result, they often focus on teaching a set of "moves" that may or may not be accessible to beginners, missing entirely the context of sexual and intimate partner violence. Even worse, they sometimes unknowingly cultivate feelings of fear and shame. On the other end of the spectrum, many feminist self-defense courses that use the proven ESD framework are not taught by martial artists.

My name is Ali Treviño-Murphy, co-founder and director of the SAFE Women's Self-defense program. As a life-long martial artist, professional social worker and violence prevention activist, I have helped hundreds of women and girls feel safer, stronger and more ready to take on the world.

After decades of in-person classes and community workshops through our home studio, Villari's Martial Arts Cooperative in Madison, WI, we moved our operation online during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are excited to reach more women than ever before with our virtual course!

Many women have told me that when they finally took a self-defense course, they felt defeated, like it was a sign of weakness to "need" it. Making the choice to take your safety into your own hands is a sign of strength. Everyone needs to learn to keep themselves safe, but that education has been kept from women and girls, and replaced with freedom-limiting "safety tips" like never walk alone at night. Women at the end of this course have gone from feeling defeated to feeling more confidence than ever before! (And the best part is realizing that power was there all along.)

If you're ready to kick fear to the curb and face the wide open world with confidence, then click the button below and I'll see you in our free training.
Ali Treviño-Murphy About Page for SAFE Women's Self-defense. Image of small woman striking tall man in chin with palm heel.
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