Self-Defense is really important for survivors of sexual assault.  It not only includes the physical aspect, but their is also a mental and emotional aspect to deffending yourself.  These tools can be used to help reduce your risk for another occurance of abuse.  To learn more about Mental Self-Defense and Emotional Self-Defense click the link or read below.

Physical Self-Defense

Physical Self-Defense training should educate you in the following areas:

  • Recognizing when you are being targeted. That covers mindfulness of people around you and your state of mind, social "conventions" you follow that can be used to manipulate you, and trusting your intuition.

  • Avoiding, preventing, interrupting, thwarting, and evading an attack. Your most prominent skills here are using the vitality of your voice, body language, and setting boundaries.

  • Simple yet highly effective physical skills. These are skills of last resort, but if you need there there's no good substitute. Your aim is to disable the attacker long enough to get to safety. Even if you never have to use these skills, just knowing that you have them ready will give you the confidence to use your other verbal and boundary-setting skills.




Self-Defense Philosophy

Ideally, a good self-defense program should reflect these
philosophical points in its outlook


1. No one asks for, causes, invites, or deserves to be assaulted. Women and men sometimes exercise poor judgment about safety behavior, but that does not make them responsible for the attack. Attackers are responsible for their attacks and their use of violence to overpower, control and abuse another human being.

2) Whatever a person's decision in a given self-defense situation, whatever action she/he does or does not take, that person is not at fault. Someone's decision to survive the best way she can must be respected. Self-defense classes should not be used as a judgment against a victim/survivor.

3. Good self-defense programs do not "tell" an individual what she "should" or "should not" do. A program should offer options, techniques, and a way of analyzing situations. A program may point out what USUALLY works best in MOST situations, but each situation is unique and the final decision rests with the person actually confronted by the situation.

4. Empowerment is the goal of a good self-defense program. The individual's right to make decisions about her participation must be respected. Pressure should not be brought to bear in any way to get someone to participate in an activity if she's hesitant or unwilling.




Mental Self-Defense


By Dawn Daisy  |   Submitted On April 09, 2009  


Self-defense is a complex concept. There are several major concepts on the topic of self-defense, each of which is closely related to your personal safety.


The first concept is about knowledge. Simply put, Knowledge knows what's out there. There are murder and robbery happening every day around us. You should know that these kinds of violence take place frequently and that where is a dangerous place. You should stay away these dangerous places.


The second concept is about attitude, which is how you present yourself when facing a violent person. Many people refer attitude to the external state such as body language and posture. Actually, attitude is as much internal as external, as much mental and emotional state as posture. The internal aspect is the same important as the external state and should not be ignored. Although it takes longer to build internal aspects such as confidence and mental readiness, these aspects can withstand more scrutiny on the streets.


The third concept is about awareness. Awareness means you should know what is going on around you. When you are defending yourself, you should use all five senses to observe whatever around you. The active awareness is helpful in fight against an attack. An active awareness affects attitude. It also lets you know when something is wrong with a situation.


The fourth concept is about skills. Skill does not mean fighting abilities but your actions. Other than fighting back an attack, it is much wiser for you to defuse a confrontation. If you successfully avoid a confrontation, you do not need to fight. In this way, you reduce the chances of being injured.


They are four aspects of self-defense. All of these four are closed related to each other and all are about your life and safety. When involving into an attack, you should try you best to bring them into use.




Emotional Self-Defense



So what is Emotional Self-Defense? Why is it so important? Emotional Self-Defense is the training of certain skills, like Prediction, Recognition, Observation and Intuition (PROI). These are skills that we all possess and are interchangeable. It is part of our human make-up and falls under the umbrella of ‘Awareness’. It is about listening to and paying attention to your emotions. Skills that we all possess! Yet we fail to use them and even forget that they exist when it comes to personal safety.



Let’s think about Prediction first. People make predictions every day about something. Our Meteorologists are able to use applications to predict the weather and climate changes. Not always accurately, but they often get fairly close. How many of us watch Reality TV shows like ‘American Idol, or ‘America’s Got Talent’ and make predictions at the Top 12 Stage as to who will win? We make these predictions based on previous performances and previous comments from the judges. What about Futures Brokers who invest in future markets, whether it be Oil, Wheat or Gold? These Futures Brokers are trading in predictions of future increases or decreases in commodity prices. So why is it a problem for the majority of people to be able to predict certain situations that may threaten their personal safety? It is because denial, complacency and technology have impaired these crucial skills that are essential to our wellbeing.


I’m going to start now with a couple of scenarios that may change our predictions based on its context. Let’s suppose we see a photo of a guy standing outside a fitness center, wearing sweat pants, sweat shirt, tennis shoes and a type of sports bag. Most people would predict that he is either going into the fitness center to work out or that he has finished working out and is heading to his car, with no threat to anyone. Now if we look at another photo of the same guy, wearing the same clothing and sports bag, standing outside of a children’s playground in the park, will our predictions on what may occur change from something innocent to something potentially threatening? They probably will. Your attention was drawn to these two scenarios in this case, but sadly people do not pay attention to what could possibly be dangerous situations.


As mentioned, these Emotional Self-Defense skills are interchangeable and so Recognition is closely linked to Prediction.



So let’s take a look at the Recognition of potentially harmful behavior. A couple of the ‘Red Flags’ that we should be aware of. The most universally significant warning sign of all is ignoring the word ‘NO’. ‘NO’ is the beginning and ending of a sentence. There are no negotiations. Discounting the word ‘NO’ is a sign of someone trying to control you.


Another ‘Red Flag’ is when someone tries to ‘label’ you. By this I mean being labeled in a critical way in the hope that the other person will want to prove that the labeling is incorrect. For example, ‘Wow! You’re way out of my league for me to expect you to talk to me’. Or ‘You don’t have to be such a snob. I was just offering to help’! Imagine if a perfect stranger said this to you. How would you react? Chances are you would likely respond to this comment. You are now engaged in a conversation with a stranger!


A perpetrator is skilled, in fact, a perpetrator is an expert at keeping his potential victim from identifying the danger signs, or ‘red flags’. That is why it is crucial to know about and to recognize the signals that could be a threat to your personal safety.



The third Emotional Self-Defense skill that needs to be trained, in order to be aware, is that of Observation. Observation is an activity that helps us find out about the world around us. It helps us to be aware of our surroundings by using all our senses. If you are not aware of what is around you, then you are really putting yourself in a vulnerable position. It is very important in personal safety to be able to give a fairly good description of your location, should you need to in an emergency.


Observation is also linked to memory recall. This can be tested right now by jotting down any businesses, restaurants or churches close to where you are sitting, or standing, right now. Many, many people travel, whether it is for business or for pleasure. It is important to remember that when traveling, especially to a new city, you are out of your comfort zone. It is therefore important to put into high gear your powers of observation.


A great, fun way to train your skills of observation on a regular basis is to do some ‘spot the difference’ puzzles. Another thing you can do is get a photo of a busy town, airport or train station. Take in everything that you see for about a minute. Then pass the photo over to a friend and get them to ask you some questions about the photo. For example, ‘How many people were carrying a suitcase?’, or ‘Name three of the stores you saw in the town’. For this activity you are relying on your memory to recall what you just observed.


So we can train our Emotional Self-Defense skills in Prediction, Recognition and Observation. What about Intuition? Can we train that? What we can do is learn to listen to our intuitive side.



Intuition is an innate ability that we all have. For whatever reasons of nature, females really do have powerful intuitive skills.


Have you ever had that feeling in the pit of your stomach that something is wrong? Have you ever felt that someone’s behavior is a little strange? Have you ever walked into a room and felt uncomfortable, but not sure why? If your answer is ‘Yes’, it is because you are sensing a potentially dangerous situation. Have you ever been witness to an incident, where afterwards you said to yourself ‘I knew that was going to happen?’ This is your intuition at work.

People often feel unsure about allowing their emotions to dictate their decision making abilities, so they tend to ignore it. They shouldn’t! Though you may feel that your emotions are irrational, they are not! They are functional and serve a purpose.


I mentioned earlier that denial, complacency and technology impair our Emotional Self-Defense skills. I hear so many people say ‘It’s fine, I live in a safe neighborhood’, or ‘nothing like that ever happens around here’. This is denial. Or what about the people that follow the same routine every single day, whether it is taking the dog for a walk, or leaving the same time each morning to go for a jog, or parking in the same parking space. This is complacency. We don’t have to look too far from where we are sitting to know what I mean about technology. Our phones, our iPads, our laptops, our iPods. We are so engrossed in these electronics that we do not see what is happening around us.


A great example of this is a recent story I read about on a train in San Francisco. The train was fairly crowded with passengers either talking on their phones, paying games on their phones, or listening to music. Nobody observed the man that got on the train with a gun. They did not even see him hold the gun out until it was too late. He had shot and killed a passenger! These electronic items impeded the natural skills of those onboard the train!



Learning Emotional Self-Defense skills is extremely important to survival. Emotional Self-Defense training is a key component and foundation of the Powerhouse Self-Defense Program. It’s easy to learn. Why? It’s easy to learn because it involves Intuition, and we all have the gift of Intuition. You just need to learn how to listen to it.


Jennifer Riis-Poulsen is the Founder & CEO and also a 2nd degree black belt, who formed Powerhouse Self-Defense as a response to the ever-increasing statistics on emotional and physical attacks on females each year. She made reducing these statistics a mission and personal goal and has set out to develop a comprehensive, HOLISTIC personal safety and empowerment program focused on awareness and powerful techniques to build courage and confidence. For more information visit




I Believe is a compilation of resources and does not claim ownership of these resources.  I Believe is only the creator of the content that has been copyrighted by I Believe The appearance of external hyperlinks does not necessarily constitute endorsement by I Believe of the linked web sites, or the information, products or services contained therein. I Believe does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations.  All links provided are consistent with the mission of this website. Please let us know about existing external links which you believe are inappropriate.