The Art of Self-Defense at Umlauf Sculpture Garden

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum is located in the heart of Austin, near major attractions such as  Zilker Park and Barton Springs. Its location attracts a high volume of visitors, and the open layout of the expansive Garden lends itself to Umlauf’s mission of being accessible and welcoming to encourage the public to understand and appreciate the art.

However, a few incidents with people in the area that necessitated police involvement left the staff feeling vulnerable.

Dr. Katie Robinson Edwards, curator of Umlauf, recognized the need for practical and effective self-defense and safety training for her staff and reached out to us for help.


“We felt it was critical to make our staff more aware of their surroundings and learn some basic skills for ‘what if’ situations,” said Dr. Robinson Edwards.

She wanted to provide safety and self-defense training to equip her staff with the tools, skills and knowledge to stay safe before, during and after their work day.


Because personal safety is so much more than (but definitely includes) physical self-defense skills, we designed an onsite workshop for the Umlauf staff that addressed the entire self-defense spectrum.

We spent time talking about fundamental principles and concepts in self-defense, including everyday safety strategies. We led the group in activities that focused on using words and body language to communicate effectively and persuasively. And we taught them how to strike powerfully and effectively, and gave them the opportunity to practice with partners.


The staff learned a variety of skills to respond effectively to a wide range of situations they might encounter at work, at home and beyond.

Specifically, they walked away with:

  • Safety strategies and knowledge

  • Boundary-setting skills

  • Physical self-defense skills

  • Enhanced personal power

  • Increased self-confidence


We think the note we received from Dr. Robinson Edwards after the training says it all:

“The training you provided was invaluable. Your content and presentation were excellent. Everyone felt like they learned a lot, and we are grateful for the training and tools you gave us.”

Sound like something your workplace or organization might find valuable? Contact us!