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Defend Yourself offers workshops and classes of any length, from an hour-long workshop to a year-round class. All of our programs cover:

  • Prevention and awareness: steps you can take to prevent or avoid an attack or abuse.
  • Assertiveness and verbal self-defense: using words and body language to stop obnoxious or intrusive behavior and to keep a situation from escalating.
  • Physical self-defense: practical techniques to end a physical attack and get to safety.

All of our classes are tailored to the life situations and needs of the participants. We present age-appropriate material for students age 3 and up! Everyone can join in—no matter how out of shape you are, or what physical limitations you have, you can do things to protect and stand up for yourself.

All Defend Yourself programs are interactive: We involve participants in brainstorming, role-playing, and exercises. Our approach is positive, empowering, and upbeat: We don't focus on how scary it is that violence and abuse happen, but rather on options we all have and ways we can take care of ourselves.

Even in a short workshop, people learn concrete skills they can use. The longer the class time, the more we cover different situations, respond to the risks in students' lives, practice to make the techniques second nature (so you will have them when you need them), and deal with complex, real-life situations.

Contact us at 301.608.3708 or by email. We can customize a workshop for your group!

Here are some examples of classes and what they cover:


Power Lunch (2 hours)

one of the most popular formats, a Power Lunch can take place at any time of day and includes:

  • how to avoid being a target,
  • simple verbal skills for setting limits,
  • basic physical techniques for when escape is not an option.

FUNdamentals of Self-defense (4 hours)

Covers everything in the 2-hour workshop, plus:

  • application of more complex verbal strategies,
  • physical responses for front and rear attack, as well as how to defend when on the ground (as opposed to standing).

Safer and More Confident (12 hours)

Covers everything in a 4-hour workshop. Students also:

  • learn techniques to escape pins on the ground, even when pinned by a much larger attacker,
  • practice complex, real-life verbal situations
  • work on healing from past harassment, abuse, or assault.


Who's learning to defend themselves?

These are some of the places Defend Yourself has held classes and workshops. If you want to organize a workshop for your school, community group, workplace, or whatever, call Lauren at 301-608-3708 or e-mail us.


  • Discovery Communications

  • Smithsonian Institution

  • World Bank
  • Council of Chief State School Officers
  • Center for American Progress
  • J. Craig Venter Institute

  • National Automobile Dealers Assn. 

  • DC Central Kitchen

  • Living Social
  • Golden Triangle Business Improvement District

Community and faith groups

  • Children’s Hospital/Boys’ Club, Girls’ Club
  • Girl Scout troops (lots!)
  • D.C. Rape Crisis Center

  • SISTERS (Julius West MS, Earle Wood MS)
  • Fort Belvoir/Family Support Program
  • The Mautner Project
  • Girls Inc.
  • American Association of University Women--DC
  • Returned Peace Corp Volunteers Washington
  • Asian Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project
  • Asian Pacific American Bar Assn. of DC

Schools--elementary + middle

  • Oneness Family School
  • Sandy Spring Friends School, high school and middle school
  • SISTERS/Family Support Center: E. Brooke Lee MS, Kennedy HS, Montgomery Village MS, Parkland MS, Twinbrook Community Center, Earle B. Wood MS, Julius West MS, Watkins Mill HS

  • North Bethesda Middle School, after-school program


  • Barrie School
  • Sherwood High School


  • Alpha Delta - Alpha Delta Pi GWU
  • University of Md.
  • American University Law and Government Program

  • Catholic Univ. School of Social Work
  • Carlos Rosario International School
  • George Washington Univ. physician assistant program

If you want to organize a workshop for your school, community group, workplace, or whatever, we can do it! Contact us.


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