Self-Defense for Your Group

Thousand Waves offers personal safety programs for both staff and clients of social service and other nonprofit organizations, employees in the private sector, and teachers and students in educational institutions. Self-defense training from Thousand Waves goes well beyond physical skills suitable for emergency situations.


Benefits for social services staff

Many staff members experience high rates of burnout and compassion fatigue and chronically high stress. Self-defense training from Thousand Waves can help staff speak up for themselves when they need to, promoting healthy self-care habits that can contribute positively to staff resiliency. Moreover, greater confidence in the ability to realistically assess threats paired with the ability to respond effectively can help reduce stress levels. Providing self-defense training for staff also sends a strong message that their agency takes safety seriously, which can build trust and increase organizational resiliency.

Benefits for social services clients

Social service agencies often serve clients who are at elevated risk of violence, and many of them will have endured significant trauma in the past. Thousand Waves’ self-defense instructors have training in trauma and resiliency, and our empowerment-based framework is trauma-informed. When clients discover that they have the inner resources to protect themselves from both physical and emotional violence, the effects can be transformative.

Benefits for the workplace

As an HR professional, you have a mandate to provide training to help your staff deal with issues of sexual harassment and respectful communication with colleagues. Why not hire us to provide a training that will be engaging and fun, and will give your staff concrete tools to deal with these issues before they escalate into a formal complaint? Our Assertive Communication trainings can help staff identify and navigate tense situations and respond pro-actively to difficult situations, leading to increased worker satisfaction and higher productivity.

The Five Fingers of Safety for the Workplace will help your employees feel safer and more confident in their everyday lives.  This is a great choice for a teambuilding activity, and a great way to show employees you care.

Self-Defense for Groups 1

Benefits for students (Higher Education)

College-age young adults – especially college-age women – are at a high risk for sexual assault. Our programming helps young adults realistically assess and mitigate risks in an empowering framework so they can make choices that maximize their safety while exploring all that the college experience has to offer.

Benefits for students (K-12)

Students – whether they be children or teenagers – are generally at higher risk of violence, whether it be bullying or violence perpetrated against them by adults. Our trainings give students the skills and confidence to deal with a variety of situations – all presented in a safe, fun, and empowering format that is tailored to the age of the students.

Benefits for Girl Scouts

Like the Girl Scouts, Thousand Waves supports girls in their efforts to be kind, strong, respectful, and wise in all areas of their lives, and to develop and maintain healthy relationships. Our workshops can be used to satisfy the four content areas of the “Be Tough” (B.T.U.F) patch, a Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana Council initiative. We offer workshops for all ages of scouts, from Daisies to Ambassadors.



Scheduling a Program

To arrange a program for your organization or for more information, contact
Amy L. E. Jones, LSW – Violence Prevention and Self-Defense Program Manager
Email: / Phone: 773-472-7663

Program Options

Program Length

Programs can be virtually any length, and can be presented in one session or as a series. Programs presented in series format have the highest impact over the long term.

Program Content

All of our programming is designed to teach concrete mental, physical, and social skills that will help participants move through the world with less fear and more confidence. Classes are a mix of group discussion, role plays, and physical drills and activities. Our goal is to reduce both the prevalence and the harm of violence. All programs with physical components (which include all standard offerings) include skills that can be used against a single, unarmed attacker. Longer programs can include units on defenses against weapons (guns, knives, and clubs) fighting from the ground, and/or defenses against multiple attackers, as well as extra practice time for core skills.

All programs with verbal components (which include all standard offerings) include boundary-setting skills. Longer programs include units on de-escalation and/or bystander intervention, as well as extra practice time for core skills.

We offer customized programs for

  • Customer service staff
  • Social workers and other home visitors
  • Staff working in high-conflict settings
  • Adults, teens, or kids
  • All-gender or gender-specific
  • People with mobility or sensory challenges

Programs can be tailored to emphasize verbal or physical skills, though the majority of programs combine both in roughly equal measure.

Self-Defense for Groups 2


Pricing varies based on length of program, location, and number of students. Thousand Waves has a strong commitment to affordability and organizational scholarships are available. Seminars can be held at your Chicagoland facility or at our site. Travel and mileage rates apply outside of Chicagoland.

Scheduling a Program

To arrange a program for your organization or for more information, contact
Amy L. E. Jones, LSW – Violence Prevention and Self-Defense Program Manager
Email: / Phone: 773-472-7663