Self Defence for Women


On-going Self Defence classes

Short courses

6 week courses for women who have experienced violence

Workshops and seminars for various community groups and educational institutions

Mother-daughter courses

On-going Self Defence classes

It is recommended that women do ongoing self defence classes as it is not possible to enable anyone to be able to competently and confidently defend themselves against an aggressive or violent attacker in a "short course".

There are four gradings available for women doing the self defence program. The usual time taken to complete these is around four years.

First grade covers basic issues that apply to the use of self defence, the importance of developing appropriate strategies for self defence, the use of the voice, and "easy to learn and use" techniques.

These techniques are in two categories for the first grade, disengaging techniques that allow the defender to use minimum force to escape, and disabling techniques for a more dangerous situation. These techniques usually involve a strike or kick and the use of the voice to escape.

The second grade introduces defences against weapon attacks and a wider range of options for defending against a violent attacker.

The third grade concentrates on controlling the attacker and introduces the use of tanbo (short stick) and jujutsu stick in self defence. For more information on short stick - click here and for jujutsu stick - click here.  Blind folded defences and multiple attackers are dealt with in this grade.

The fourth grade is a basic weapon grade involving the use of Tanbo.

Women are encouraged to begin Jujutsu or Silat classes if they develop an interest in these arts, and often commence classes with their children.


Short courses

Introductory courses are available, usually a six week course because we acknowledge that most women have little time to allocate to themselves and their resources (time, money, childcare and energy) are often limited.

These courses are an introduction to the issues surrounding self defence, psychological, physical and legal.

6 to 8 week courses for women who have experienced violence

A six or eight week course comprising of 3 hour lessons (total of 18 or 24 hours instruction) is conducted twice yearly in conjunction with the Patricia Giles Centre (Women's refuge).

This course is designed to cater for women who have experienced fear and violence and need to feel safe and comfortable in the learning environment. It is free to the women who attend and child care is provided by the refuge.

Participants receive a certificate and booklet and are encouraged to continue classes after completing the course.

Workshops and seminars for various community groups and educational institutions

Debbie Clarke does a range of workshops and seminars.  For further details click here.

Mother-daughter courses

Girls as young as 10 can enrol in a self defence course if they will be accompanied by an older female family member. Some of the issues discussed in a Women's self defence class may need further explanation and discussion at home to ensure that young girls understand the course content and appreciate the importance of learning to defend themselves. Girls should do the course because they want to, not because they are being coerced in to it by anxious parents.

Groups of mothers and daughters sometimes arrange a "private" course or seminar, often when they are planning to travel overseas, or if someone in the group has experienced an assault.