COMMUNITY DEFENSE

Physical self-defense is a narrow, address-the-symptoms concept. Community defense is about exploring threat-prevention at a broader, social level.

COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT

We train in the dojo to become strong, but if we don’t use that strength to empower our community, how can we call ourselves warriors?

ACTIVISM

The dojo aims to be a voice in continuing to challenge damaging social trends and institutions; specifically rape culture, toxic masculinity, gender stereotypes, and the epidemic of physical and emotional violence against women.

Run Prepared is a free ninety-minute empowerment and awareness workshop designed specifically for our female neighbors who run on, walk along, or otherwise enjoy Green Lake. It is based on material from our highly-rated Self-Defense for Women workshop. Taught by instructors Jordan Giarratano and Tayler Fluharty, with volunteer support from students in our Kickboxing Ryoku and Teen Martial Arts programs.

This event is open to the public, you may choose to learn by watching, or you can participate by registering for the event.


Run Prepared is an opportunity to take a stand against how the media reports sexual assault and violence against women. The first Run Prepared event was held in November 2014, both to support the courage and defiance of the victim speaking out, and to push back against the sensationalist, fear-mongering tone of this article from KOMO News.

Hearing about an attack at our lake, a public space where many of us go to take a break from city life and reconnect, was hard enough without the irresponsible tone of this article. This is not journalism, it’s an attempt to get ratings and social media shares. At no point does the article investigate police presence on the lake, touch on the challenges of managing a growing city, or connect it to the larger story about violence against women. Rather than present a realistic view of public safety concerns, it uses dramatic language and isolated quotes to scare women out of running on the lake for the sake of ratings.

I invited the reporter to cover our workshop, held on Green Lake one month after the attack. After numerous requests, a single camera person was sent out to shoot some footage. The spot aired once, and was never archived online. Bad news gets ratings, good news doesn’t matter.

We do not believe in telling women they must walk through their city in pairs. We do not believe in scaring our neighbors to make money. We do not believe in blaming victims nor directing shame at them.

This is our community, and it is our responsibility to shed light on these issues, if the skills our students learn can help our friends and neighbors feel empowered and aware, it is our responsibility to share our knowledge.

We will not stand for fear-mongering, victim-blaming, or victim-shaming; nor will we condone lazy, lurid reporting that perpetuates female victimization.

Jordan Giarratano,
Head Instructor
What is Community Defense?

Community Defense is an outreach program that organizes and channels the resources of our dojo to empower underserved groups or individuals in and around Seattle. Typically this takes the form of classes or speaking engagements focused on physical and social self-defense tools, threat awareness and avoidance, and personal empowerment through mindbody wellness.

Our programs are primarily for women and teen girls, however we’re able to do mixed groups in some instances, and we’re developing material for teen boys and men.

Request a Class

Due to limitations of time and resources, we prefer to work directly with community members who are most in need of our services. If you are part of an organization or nonprofit that serves a community who can benefit from our services, please contact our Outreach Coordinator, Tayler Fluharty for more details.

If your organization does not qualify for donated services, we also offer paid programs for groups and individuals.

Past Classes

We’re proud to have volunteered our services for the following organizations and events:

  • FFCLA, Oct 27, 2015, Our instructors and advanced teen students taught workshops on boundaries, consent, and empowerment to ninety high school girls and boys for this leadership organization.

  • Tree House, Feb 26, 2015, Jordan, Tayler, and students from our Teen Martial Arts program taught a self-defense class onsite for Tree House, an organization supporting foster kids.

  • Girls Without Limits, Jan 2, 2015, Tayler and Jordan taught workshops for forty-five pre-teen girls on behalf of this organization which supports getting middle school girls interested in STEM fields.

  • Run Prepared 1, Nov 22, 2014, A dojo-wide volunteer self-defense class for 32 women held on Green Lake in the wake of an assault on a runner.

  • Junior League of Seattle, Oct 15, 2014, We taught a self-defense workshop for this volunteer organization.