Attention: Mindfulness in Self-Defense

Learn how to use mindfulness as a self-defense tool to enhance personal safety

Mindfulness is a hot buzzword right now in everything from corporate wellness programs to yoga to meditation.

From helping recognize and process emotions to calming anxiety to staying more present in daily life, the practice of mindfulness can be immensely helpful.

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, there are also clear parallels to self-defense, trauma and personal safety.


Mindfulness is really synonymous with awareness. When we are mindful, we are paying attention to our experience, our feelings, sensations in our bodies, our thoughts, our environment. In every workshop we teach, we discuss how this awareness of not only what is going on around us, but also how we are feeling in our bodies can greatly enhance our personal safety.

When we are aware of what is going on in any given moment, we are therefore not reliving past moments or projecting future scenarios. When we are present in this moment, we are better able to respond in the next.

Being present and “in” our bodies allows us to respond more quickly and more effectively to a threat, whether that be leaving, de-escalating or fighting.


The concept of allowing permeates mindfulness -- the notion of accepting things exactly as they are, without judgment or resistance. “I was laid off and will never get another job because I’m stupid and unemployable” becomes simply “I was laid off.” Fully acknowledging the facts of the situation, stripped of whatever story we tell ourselves about it or meaning we ascribe to it.

For survivors of trauma, this approach can help to lessen the burden of shame and guilt that so many picked up from their experience and now carry. “I was assaulted and didn’t fight back the right way and now I’m forever damaged” becomes “I was assaulted.”


In our customized training events, we address how you can choose to act independently of/despite your initial reaction to a stimulus. Through the lens of mindfulness applied to self-defense training, we allow whatever initial reaction comes up -- fear, for example -- and rather than trying to deny or overcome that reaction, we allow it to be and choose how we want to respond.

A person can be -- and most probably will be -- fearful in the moment and still choose to fight back. The fear doesn’t have to disappear in order to take effective action.

Moreover, this same approach also helps us to get unstuck when even considering an action. For instance, "I'm too fearful to take a self-defense course" becomes "I am fearful and I choose to take a self-defense course."

Learning to cultivate mindfulness can help us have not only a more peaceful (and happier) experience in life, but also help us stay safer in the world.

We’d love to bring our unique approach to women’s self-defense to your organization. Contact us to discuss a customized training.