Class Overview

Self-Defense 101 for Women | Seattle Central College - Continuing EducationResearch shows that women who have successfully defended themselves quickly recognized threatening situations and enforced their boundaries, and using physical means if necessary.

Join this comprehensive self-defense course for women to learn how to recognize potentially unsafe situations and how to protect yourself.

In this class, we will learn and practice:

  • How to recognize assailant ploys and manipulations and how to thwart them
  • Releases from common grabs and decisive strikes to vital targets
  • Using your voice and body language with impact
  • Recognizing the signs that will let you defuse, deescalate or evade before a physical assault ever happens
  • Assessing your risks, and plan around them
  • Understanding the connections between awareness, threats and our media environment

This is a progressive skill-building course.

Learn the most basic elements early on, and practice them in later drills.

In between each session, you'll have time to practice your moves and become more comfortable with them.

The first sessions will focus more on physical skills: strikes to vulnerable targets, releases from grabs, body language, and using your voice.

Later sessions will put your new skills in various contexts, look more at setting boundaries, and different verbal strategies to control uncomfortable situations.

Finally, you will learn to recognize domestic violence, and how to get help if you (or someone you know) are in an abusive relationship.

Each class is complemented by extra enrichment activities (some call it "homework") -- what you get out of your time in class will be greatly enhanced by just a small amount of time spent practicing between classes.

Come prepared to challenge yourself and enjoy the self confidence you will gain!

Learning Outcomes

Participants will gain a basic understanding of personal safety and self-defense in order to:

  • Recognize “red flags” that someone may mean harm
  • Use their “exit strategy” skills to thwart intended harm
  • Use physical skills to disable an attacker and escape, if necessary
  • Seek support and appropriate self-care after an intended assault

Who Should Take this Class?

  • This class is for women and older teen girls who want to learn everyday personal safety and self-defense skills

Video of Instructor Joanne Factor on King 5

Joanne discusses basic self-defense strategies such as establishing boundaries and being aware of your surroundings (begins around 50 seconds if you want to skip ahead) .

Student Testimonials

Our instructor Joanne Factor is a real expert in her field. It is obvious she has years and years of training, teaching and sharing her skills with the community. I found her to be very tactful and progressive in her teaching about rape. Her curriculum was well developed and the teaching materials she provided were clear and uncomplicated. It was also nice to be able to practice our skills/knowledge in each class (the repetition was helpful). I wish every female I know could take this class!


[I enjoyed] learning how to use physical defense skills, as well as learning how to avoid needing to do so. -- Julia Y


[I enjoyed the] multimedia engagement, combination of listening and active participation, very practical and real. -- Katrina Peterson


I really enjoyed the Mingle exercise and being able to practice with other classmates of different sizes and heights. -- Carolyn Maher

Session Details