We’re hiring trainers!

Defend Yourself teacher Sarah Trembath demonstrating a hammerfist strike to a high school class.

Defend Yourself empowers people — especially women, LGBTQIA+/non-binary people and others targeted for harassment, abuse, and assault — to end violence and create a world in which they can be fully themselves.

Defend Yourself shares skills to prevent, interrupt, heal from, and end violence. All 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 annoying or intrusive behavior and to keep a situation from escalating.
  • Physical self-defense: practical techniques to end an attack and get to safety.

Our students leave better able to deal with everything from subtle acts of exclusion or aggression to full-on attacks.

We’re hiring people to join our passionate, talented team. Would you like to join us?

We’ve reached about 35,000 in the D.C. area and nationally in workplaces, faith groups, social service agencies, youth programs, schools, and more. Although our students learn to fight off an attack, the heart of the work is learning to believe in themselves and to protect and advocate for themselves in everyday situations. They leave transformed, facing fewer limits and more in touch with their authentic selves and the possibilities in their lives. For more on our work, go to www.defendyourself.org.

We’re looking for people who:
  • believe in our principles, including being pro-feminist and anti-racist
  • have some teaching, training, or facilitation skills
  • are “people people”: empathetic, compassionate, good listeners
  • are open to learning about trauma, its effects, and healing from it
  • are reliable: show up on time and prepared.
We’ll train you to be an instructor:

It doesn’t matter if you’re not an athlete (anybody can do this—that’s the point!) or if you don’t know the first thing about empowerment self-defense. We’ll teach you self-defense, and we’ll teach you how to teach self-defense. You do need to have some teaching, training, or facilitation skills.

How it works:
  • Flexible, part-time engagements: All instructors work when they’re You can work around the other commitments you have, and as little or much as you want. This is not full-time work. We especially need instructors who have daytime flexibility.
  • Location: We’re hiring for both in-person and online training. We need teachers in the DC area; we’re also open to those within three time zones of Eastern Time. Instructors will generally be expected to teach locally where they are and on Zoom elsewhere. Travel isn’t expected.
  • Training: The training to become an instructor consists of two levels. First you complete an empowerment self-defense class as a student; this will be 10-20 classroom hours and is unpaid. You’ll have to be in-person in DC for this unless you’re already an empowerment self-defense instructor (or other arrangements are made). After that you begin apprenticing with experienced Defend Yourself instructors and are paid for this time (see below). You’ll also join our regular teacher-training sessions where you learn about teaching empowerment self-defense, and you’re paid for this time.
  • Pay: Once you complete teacher training, you start at $25 per teaching hour. The most experienced teachers earn $55 per teaching hour for co-teaching (which is most of our teaching), and more for solo or lead teaching. (If you’re already an empowerment self-defense instructor elsewhere, we’ll work out a different starting rate for you depending on your level of experience and ability to adapt to our programs and curricula.)

Please let us know of your interest by emailing a copy of your resume (or something similar) and at least one or two paragraphs on the reasons you want to do this work to classes@defendyourself.org by February 28, 2023. We’ll start getting back to people the week of March 20, so if you haven’t heard from us before then, please don’t stress about it.


Native Spanish speakers, BIPOC women, LGBTQIA+/nonbinary people, and people with disabilities especially encouraged to apply.