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Strategic Living's News & Views
January 2011
In this issue
"But I Can't Say THAT!"
In the Media: Video, Audio, and More!
Upcoming Classes

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Joanne Factor of Strategic LivingDear ,

I hope by now you're settling into the new year, looking forward to all you're planning to do and experience. In this time of facing those resolutions, here's another to ponder.

Who will you be this year?

Do you know precisely what you would do in any given situation? Do you ever do things that amaze you? That disappoint you? Do you ever say things you wish you could take back the minute it came out of your mouth for all the world to hear? Do you ever wonder how you had the presence of mind to say exactly the right thing, and wish you could do it more often?

That's resilience in an uncertain world. Grace under pressure. Cool, calm, collected. What's not to like about those qualities?

Read on for one woman's take on who she is, on who any of us can become.

Sincerely, Joanne

"But I Can't Say THAT -- It's Rude!"

In classes for teen girls I'm often asked what to do when some guy, either a stranger or someone they barely know, approaches and begins asking overly personal questions.  A simple "I don't want to talk at this time" is certainly polite, and right to the point. "I don't give out that information," said in a neutral tone, is also direct and sets a boundary without being nasty. But some girls still take issue with a direct response. And I hear from some adults who work with girls that it's just "who they are."

Who are you, really?

Are you always the person you wish you could be?

Food writer Ruth Reichl faced similar questions, but in a different context. As the restaurant critic of The New York Times beginning in 1993, Reichl knew that her reviews would powerfully influence the rise and fall of restaurants big and small; a great review could mean vastly increased revenue and prestige. Restaurant kitchens, she found, had Reichl's picture plastered on the wall and a reward for any staff member who spotted her. Reichl's clever solution was to come up with disguises for her dining excursions. And her disguises went beyond wigs and makeup -- she envisioned what kind of person she'd become. With the help of an acting coach, she transformed herself. And it worked, sometimes too well. She found herself falling into her roles--often to the delight, but sometimes to the dismay, of her dining companions.(Reichl details her escapades in her charming book Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise.)

"Chloe" was a blonde bombshell who seemed to know precisely how to intrigue men. "Brenda" was warm, funny, kind, and approachable. Elderly "Betty" blended into the furniture, and was treated as a castoff. "Emily" was brusque and bitter. All different  personalities, yet along the way Reichl recognized them all as elements within herself (and she decides she wants more Brenda and less Emily). Reichl had the epiphany that controlling how others treated her could be as simple as changing the way she dressed and projected herself. She tested this out, and for her it worked.

Reichl was able to effectively reconstruct herself for a slice of time, over and over, in different guises.  She got her job done.

As I tell my class participants, self-defense has a performance component. Regardless of who you believe you are, you all have the same job to get done, of keeping yourself safe. You can act. You can project yourself as a skilled, confident person on your own mission, and pity the fool who tries to mess with you.

Personally, I believe my time is valuable. I feel I should choose with whom to spend, not squander, my time. Otherwise I'll end up treated as someone else's entertainment, emotional barf bag, or -- at worst -- victim.

In the Media

Just a couple of new items:

Here's a few minutes from a self-defense clinic I gave at Road Runner Sports in December. Thanks to Chloe Spaith for both organizing the clinic and taking this video.

I was interviewed on KOMO News Radio, also in December, in the wake of a series of assaults on women running or walking in some of Seattle's popular parks.

And here's my latest podcast with some more on what women runners need to know to keep safer.

Finally, do you want our state government to be more responsive to survivors of domestic violence and to hold people who abuse accountable?  Are you concerned about funding and how cuts could negatively impact domestic violence programs in King County? Would you like to give lawmakers your ideas about how to address domestic violence in King County? Then meet with YOUR elected representatives in the Washington State Legislature and let your voice be heard! March 15th is King County Domestic Violence Lobby Day. To sign up contact Ankita Patel ( or phone 206-389-2515 x207).

Welcome to 2011:

Self-Defense 101:
 A five week course that builds progressive skill and prepares you for life's unexpected (and unwanted) moments.  To register for any of these classes, visit for links to each organization.

Five Saturday afternoons, Jan 29 - Feb 26, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, at Bellevue College's temporary North Campus location. NOTE: This class is almost full, so if you were hoping to get in and have not yet registered, do so NOW.

Five Monday evenings, January 31 - March 7 (no class Feb 21), 7:00 - 8:50 pm, through Seattle Central Community College. 

Five Tuesday evenings, Feb 1 - March 8 (no class Feb 22), 6:30 - 8:30 pm, through the UW Women's Center. Register online at the Women's Center website, or phone 206-685-1090.

Five Tuesday mornings, March 22 - April 19, 10 am - noon, at 1426 S Jackson Street, 3rd floor (studio of the Feminist Karate Union). Register online at

Self-Defense Seminars: Sunday Feb 13th and Sunday March 20th, noon - 5:00 pm. For more info and registration visit

For Teen Girls Only:
Sunday Feb 27th, 1 pm - 4 pm. For more info and registration visit

Self-Defense Weekend Workshop:
This class is for women who want more than a one-evening seminar yet do not have the time to take a multi-week course. You will practice easy-to-learn and powerful physical skills: releases from grabs and chokes, strikes to critical targets, basic ground fighting and using your voice with impact. More importantly, you'll learn the signs that tell you that you may need to use those skills. Most importantly, you'll learn to recognize the signs that will let you defuse, de-escalate or evade before an assault ever happens. Next offered: March 11-13 through the ASUW Experimental College, register at

Coming soon: a whole weekend of classes in Burlington, beautiful Skagit County, in early April. Take a class, see the tulips.




Self-defense skills are like CPR, you should review and practice them annually. 

Register for my Refresher Program at And if you believe that these skills are crucial for all women, please take advantage of my Referral Program at

Do you work with a non-profit or community organization that holds silent Self defense class -  striking practiceauctions? Ask me to donate a gift certificate for a private 1.5 hour seminar.

Do you work with a non-profit or community organizations whose staff/volunteers/members/clients would benefit from a safety skills seminar? Visit for information on requesting partly subsidized training sessions. 

Melissa W., a Program Manager for Girl Scouting in the School Day, had this to say:  "Joanne came to my Girl Scout troop and taught girls important physical skills, but more importantly, she told them to love themselves, be aware of their surroundings, and use their minds.  It was a successful approach for any age, and I'm glad to know the girls are more able to keep themselves safe because of Joanne's class."
Who's Watching Your Back?

Proclaim your awearness with these new shirts. Comes in both unisex and ladies styles.  Unisex shirt comes in rich Carolina Blue 100% cotton Gildan Ultra Cotton Activewear, while ladies T is a vibrant Aquamarine 100% cotton Hanes shirt, with V neck and tapered cut.

Front of shirt:  Strategic Living logo (see top of this enews)
Back of shirt:  "Who's Watching Your Back" below Watching Eyes

        Strategic Living T shirt      

Unisex shirt is regularly $15, but through this enewsletter is only $11.99 (plus shipping and tax). 
Buy Now

Joanne Factor of Strategic Living

Ladies shirt is regularly $18, but through this enewsletter only $14.99 (plus shipping and tax).
Buy Now

Sizes available are S, M, L, XL (and 2XL for Unisex only).  When ordering please indicate size in "Note to Merchant" field.
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