Empowerment Self Defense focuses on raising awareness, verbal and physical skills to prevent, interrupt, respond to, and heal from harassment, abuse, and assault.

Developed over the past 50 years with more than 100 current practitioners nationwide, Empowerment Self Defense training includes boundary setting, assertive communication and de-escalation, and goes beyond stranger attacks to expressly address violence by partners, acquaintances, and other known assailants. Physical defense skills taught are practical and effective and do not require a certain level of fitness and strength to be effective.

ESD increases awareness of the social context of violence experienced by women, children, the LGBTQ community, people of color, those with disabilities, and other groups targeted for violence, promoting both bystander intervention and community action for social change. ESD is trauma-informed and committed to ending victim-blaming and supporting healing for survivors of violence.

What’s the Difference Between ESD and Other self defense programs?

What the Research Says