Every woman can benefit from taking self-defense classes. They’re empowering, they help to build confidence and studies have shown that they really do prevent attacks. A 2015 Canadian study on the Enhanced Assess Acknowledge Act Sexual Assault Resistance Program (EAAA) found that, “One year later, those who took the EAAA had experienced 46 per cent fewer completed rapes (5.2 per cent versus 9.8 per cent) and 63 per cent fewer attempted rapes (3.4 per cent versus 9.3 per cent) than the control group.” Those statistics are impressive!

Women’s self-defense classes are more than simply martial arts training — although that can be helpful too — and all programs aren’t right for all women so it pays to do a little research to find one that fits your fitness level, lifestyle and psychology. We’ll get you started with these five women’s self-defense modalities.

Read Related: Self-Defense: Is It Always Wise to Fight Back?


1. The Soteria Method
Celebs like Amanda Seyfried swear by the Soteria Method — named for the Greek goddess of safety. It was developed by former ballerina, sexual assault survivor and expert in hand-to-hand combat, Avital Zeisler. This program goes beyond self-defense classes by helping women develop an empowering mindset without sacrificing femininity. One example: you train in heels (which can make excellent weapons), so that you’re prepared for real-life scenarios.

2. Krav Maga Women Only Program
Krav Maga means ‘contact combat’ in Hebrew and it’s the official self-defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces. It focuses on easy to learn techniques to use in real life situations when you need to fight off an attacker. According to their website, “The self defense for women program incorporates training methods to build women’s’ fighting spirit and to train them how to respond both mentally and physically in a time of need, eliminating the danger of “freezing” or “shutting down” in confrontations.”


3. Model Mugging Self Defense for Women
Dating back to 1971, Model Mugging is the OG of women’s self-defense programs. It is based on the 5 Principals of Self-Defense:
• Crime Is an Emotional and Physical Problem
• Options
• Preparation
• Mind-Body-Spirit Are One


IMPACT teaches self-defense techniques with strangers and it focuses on strategies for addressing situations with people we know who aren’t respecting boundaries. This program is sensitive to the fact that survivors of abuse or attacks are also dealing with emotional trauma and it encourages a community approach to preventing violence against women.

5. Situation Effective Protection System (SEPS)
SEPS is a free online series of courses aimed at teaching women how to prevent attacks by learning how to identify potential risks and steps to take for minimizing everyday situations that can make them vulnerable. Each of the eight modules focuses on a different threat such as Rapists & Sexual Predators, Stalkers, Potentially Abusive Partners, etc.