Self-Esteem Begins with Self-Defense

Pretty bold statement, I know. The truth is that a good women's self-defense training class provides you with the tools to build your self-esteem.

Before we discuss how, let's talk about what self-esteem really is. From a dictionary definition, it is a confidence and satisfaction in oneself, i.e. self-respect. From a clinical definition, it is the value we place on what we believe to be true about ourselves and how we feel about ourselves. Individuals with high self-esteem consider themselves worthy and equal to others. The common denominator in both definitions is "oneself."

We determine our self-esteem levels based upon the feedback we get from our environment. So, applying logic, continuous negative feedback results in low self-esteem whereas positive feedback results in higher self-esteem. So what does all of this have to do with women's self-defense?

A good women's self- defense program builds on the adage, "success breeds success." Meaning that the more positive the outcome, the more willing you are to try again to achieve the same if not better results. What we find with the women that train with us is their inner sense of "empowerment" kicking in because they are doing things they didn't think they were capable of doing. Also, the training environment provides continuous encouragement via Instructors and students.

Overall, we find that a healthy women's self-defense program allows a student to increase their self-esteem because:

  • her self-concept becomes more positive - she sees herself as worth defending
  • she becomes motivated to set new goals and/or tackle new problems
  • she begins to use available resources more effectively
  • she becomes more proficient at identifying and solving problems
  • her sense of personal competence grows
  • she is motivated to start the process again and try new things

    Why does self-esteem begin with self-defense? Because for a lot of women, it is the first time they are in an environment that encourages them to stand up for themselves, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally.

    What would happen if all our girls are taught these skills beginning in elementary school? Don't you think we could reduce the number of domestic violence and date rape situations by reducing the number of potential victims?

    Because an individual with positive self-esteem is:

  • Confident - they don't require any one else's approval
  • Responsible - they are accountable for their actions and decisions
  • Goal Oriented - they are always striving to be and do better
  • Love & Accepted - they love themselves first and foremost and accept who they are. Their image of themselves is not dependent on a boyfriend/husband.
  • Pride - they take care of themselves emotionally and physically
  • Laugh - they are able to laugh at themselves and see humor in the world
  • Happy - they are genuinely happy most of the time

    By teaching women self-defense , we are providing them with a whole new toolbox of options to increase their self-esteem and take back control of their own destiny.


    **Angie M. Tarighi is the CEO & Founder of Women’s Self-Defense Institute providing self defense training, education awareness & personal protection products empowering women to fight back against crime.